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Posts Tagged ‘fire’

So much to say today.  When we took the boys, we were told never to come back to our see our other grandchildren who we had babysat and spent time with continually for years. We were like second parents.  Had I known how bad the abuse of the boys was—I mean, we knew some and that is why we took them, but I had no idea it involved a month locked in the closet, three days without food—had I known this type of thing, I would have called DFS out immediately.  Instead, the step-father got what he wanted. He wanted the three boys who were not his blood out of his family and he wanted us out of his life.  He was smiling when we left.

 

I woke up with a dream of my granddaughters.  I often dream of the oldest girl.  She and I had a special bond. While granddaughter’s number two and three, favored Grandpa and granddaughter number four was Gaffer’s baby. Oh, how she loved her big brother.  Granddaughter number one was my girl.

 

She seemed to favor Granddad to begin with but I had gone away for a month and when I returned, the babe in arms she was then looked at me with such admiration and love and that was it. She was my girl, from then on.  When we would arrive and be descended upon by the other children (this is a family of eleven children), granddaughter number one would hold back. I would look around for her and she would be at the edge of the room, near a corner, watching with her slight, shy grin to me.  When the other children then focused on their granddad for tickles and play time, she would come and sit on my lap and almost melt into my body and we would talk.  I miss her so much.  I miss all of them so much.

 

So, in my dream, I was at my mother’s apartment, outside and instead of the city houses, there was a large park and there, playing in the park was a passel of children. With the modern children playing were my two oldest granddaughters, in pale and shapeless, worn prairie dresses. And, they ran to me and I picked them up, and held them tight to me and was so happy. 

 

I tried not to wake up, but I did.  It has been three years now since I have seen them. How much they must have grown.  I am told they will find me.  But, knowing the damage that my grandson’s (who live with me now) suffer from, I fear for what shape they will be in. 

 

On other fronts:

 

I am watching the storm coming into New Orleans as I finish my morning rituals. It brings back a feeling that I have been through and, I’m sure, a lot of New Orleans families are going through now.  Your life becomes focused on one thing. All other concerns and fears and worries are pushed to the back and there is one focus of your life. Will you have a home, when you get back?

 

I went through fire evacuations several times during my years in Wyoming.  The worse was when we were told, as we sat in a Red Cross shelter, that the fire had reached our rural street of four houses and surrounded a house.  It had but the firemen saved all our street’s homes. 

 

Then, we were in Northern Indiana, for Electrician grandson’s graduation, and one of the boys came out and told me that I might want to get online and check our area because it was said to be under water.  So, for that night and the next day, we did not know what we would go home to.  Many people did lose their home and I still remember watching the damage from the tornado a week before, as we drove home. We had only slight water damage.  We were lucky.

 

But, I know the fear that is in New Orleans and area heart’s and my heart is with you today.  If you don’t mind me reserving a little bit of it for granddaughters.

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I’ve never had a great memory. Whether it was genetic, from being thrown under the dash, in an auto accident, when I was two, or a random neurological problem I have had, I will never know.  I have always worked very hard in school to remember things. I take notes, transcribe notes, transcribe my transcription, make index cards and go over them again and again to set facts in my head. The strange thing is that I will often shock myself by making a statement that I did not know I knew.

Gosh, that sounds strange. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to that. It is how I feel though when I find myself mentioning a name or fact, I had no idea I knew. If you would have asked me outright, “who is x”, I would have probably blanked. If I got into the “cash cab” I would have a brain freeze of unimaginable proportions.

Then there is my “professor” mode. This is the mode I go into when I teach art or talk about art. I have given up trying to figure it out, but all the things I have to look up to be sure I am doing it right or just plain remember how to do it, come pouring out of my mouth when I am teaching an art class or talking to a client.

For my writing, I have notebooks.  Notebooks with research, characters, location, mythology, the whole thing. I have folders for the same stuff in my computer and on a flash drive.  Okay, I’m paranoid. But, I’m not losing it.  I knew of an artist who shipped all of their sketch books to their new home and they never made it there.  That would be like losing part of yourself.  I have years worth of sketch books and guard them closely. I lost a lot of artwork in a move one time.  They are my memory. That and photos.

And, this is why, I treasure some memories, that I don’t need help with, so much. I’m sure everyone has their favorites. A few I left off my last list are here:

We start in the sky where so many of my memories are. I was at a backyard picnic once and someone brought a telescope he had put together with his father. The moon was suddenly closer than I had ever hoped to see it.  I wasn’t just seeing dark shadows, I was seeing valleys and craters and mounds. It was inspiring.

I used to travel from coast to coast twice a year doing art shows and placing work in galleries. I had a large Chevy cargo van, customized with household insulation and tongue and grove paneling. I slept in it at 120 degrees and at 30 below, comfortably, during the weeks I was on the road.  I shampooed in the highway reststops. I found out you can keep squeeky clean with wet wipes. The occasional motel bed and shower were appreciated all the more for it.  I would use the opportunity to take photographs too. I love the darkroom. It is my deviation to being an environmentalist. I love the smell of developer.

I used these trips for resource material and just because I love being outside.  I could live in a tent. I was one of the first cars allowed to enter Yellowstone  Park, I believe it was in 1988, right after their huge fire.  They were still dropping water from the helicopter buckets. I will never forget the smell, nor seeing a perfectly normal forest and then turning a corner to see black, devastation as far as the eye could see.

I worked in Chicago when they started the Music Festival on Navy Pier. One night I sat in near empty bleachers to watch B.B.King sing and play piano. How cool!  I felt like he was playing a concert for me.

Think about your great memories today and share them with someone

 

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After we took the second and third boy from their mother’s home, I was so stressed out that I did not sleep more than two hours at a time for a good three months. I still find it necessary to sleep with a book on tape going to keep my mind from wandering/remembering.

 

The stress resulted, or so I am told by doctors, in my having a spasming artery that necessitated emergency open heart surgery. It has been a year and a half now since my surgery, and I am trying to balance things out with good memories and funny movies.

 

With that in mind, I have a few of those, the memories, that I did not list in my first list.

 

I attended an outdoor party one night, long ago, and someone brought a very good telescope, they built with their father. The moon was a full and awesome sight. I almost touched it. Honest!

 

The first time the music festival was held on Navy Pier in Chicago, I had the privilege of sitting on bleachers that were far from full, and spending time getting lost in the music of B.B. King. It felt like a private concert.

 

I think that everyone should spend two years of their early twenties living in Chicago. There is so much to see and do there and, while I never lived in Chicago, I did attend two years at U of IL, Chicago Circle, over eight years working downtown and another three years at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Another memory is Venetian night when the illuminated boats sail on the river. I was watching from one of the bridges when the fireworks that lined everything started going off. I was right in between fireworks strung on each side of the bridge. I don’t think they allow that anymore, but I am glad I was able to experience it.

 

The fireworks over Lake Michigan are another fantastic thing to see. One of my big childhood disappointments was when dad felt I was too old to bother taking to the fourth of July fireworks in our Indiana town.  No one is too old for fireworks. 

 

I was driving through, maybe Kansas City, KS on a fourth of July and saw some spectacular ones once. But, the best ones were spent on the porch of a friend’s house on Lake Dale, in Indiana. He lives right on the lake and the homeowners there try to outdo each other with fireworks. We sat on his porch, with refreshments, and watched for hours as they set off one after another of their fireworks. It is especially beautiful when reflected in the lake.

 

This memory is not so happy, but is very memorable. I was one of the first cars allowed into Yellowstone after the fire they had, ?in the late 80s? I was alone, on an art selling/placing trip out to California. The water bucket helicopters were still dropping water and the burn smell suffocated the air. I drove for a time and all looked normal, then I would turn a curve and it was mass destruction. The last half of the trip, the tears were flowing quite freely.

 

I will go to sleep tonight remembering these special memories.

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