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Posts Tagged ‘memories are made of this’

My nephew almost died last week. He’s still in the hospital but he’s much better and should be going home in another three or so days. He presented with what appeared to be an ear infection but turned out to be viral meningitis. Had they not drained the fluid around his brain when they did, he would have died within just a few hours, according to the doctors. Pretty scary.

I spoke to my sister-in-law earlier today and she was frustrated because they wouldn’t let her visit him because of the fear of the flu and her age. She’s in her seventies and not in the best of health so if she were to contract the flu, it could be fatal. We’re having such a bad strain of it this year that it’s not a good idea to tempt the fates. She said she felt like having him walk to one of the windows where she could see him from outside, just so she would have the satisfaction of seeing him for herself. That’s what mamas need.

It reminded me of when that same sister-in-law was in the hospital with the birth of my second niece (from that brother’s side). My first niece was staying with us. I was in high school. My sister-in-law wanted to see her but the hospital didn’t allow children, not even siblings, in to visit. So we did the next best thing. My brother and I drove my niece to the hospital. He went up to my sister-in-law’s room and wheeled her to the window where she could see the car we were in. Then I pulled her out and held her up so her mommy could see her and pointed out her mommy to her. There were tears on both ends but they got to see one another and luckily it was only a couple of days before they were all together in the same room, at home.

Those are the little things that we forget about until years later when they come flying back into our memories. Little things. Little things that mean so much at the time. Little memories, but so important.

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My ex-husband has always been an avid sports fan. He follows baseball, football, and basketball. At least when we were married that was all he followed. Of course he also watched tennis and golf and every other sport on TV, but as for attending games and really following on the radio (ooohhh what’s that?) and TV, it was baseball, football, and basketball. We lived in Los Angeles (Santa Monica to be exact) so we were Dodger fans. He still lives there and is still a huge fan with season tickets and all that. I still love the Dodgers, too.

I remember going to as many games as we could afford. We went in triple digit heat, in rain, in wind; we went all the time! As soon as there was a hint of post season play, he would mail in the postcard to win the chance to buy tickets. And he would use every name he could think of, his, mine, his sister, his niece, his brother-in-law, friends, on those post cards so he would have more chances of winning the right to buy the tickets. One year, I think it was the first year we were married, 1978, he got tickets to the World Series against the Yankees. He invited his father to drive up for the game. It was a huge thing to have his dad come. Hid dad was a big fan too so he really appreciated the chance to go to the game.

So the day of the game arrived. His father drove the three hours that day and was in town in the early afternoon. When the time arrived, off the two went to the game. Then a couple of hours later, I got a phone call. It was from a pay phone (no cell phones then). It was my husband. He was out of breath and upset. I think he called me just to vent because there was nothing I could have done. It seems that his dad was holding the tickets and put them down to buy a program then forgot about the tickets (his dad was elderly, tired from the drive, and excited about the game). When they got to the gate, they had no tickets. They retraced their steps but the tickets were gone. Stadium police were called and because my husband had looked at those tickets so many times since they had arrived in the mail, he had memorized the section and seat numbers. So Stadium Police (and they are definitely Police, not just security, with the right to arrest and their own jail inside the stadium) went to the seats, got the people out of the seats. They didn’t have the right ID. The stadium had a record of who the tickets had been mailed to. So the people that were in the seats were taken away by the Stadium Police and my husband and his dad got to watch the game in their seats.

It’s one of those things that sticks in your mind and pops up every so often. They were lucky that he remembered the seats and had the receipt in the envelope in his pocket to prove he was the rightful owner of the tickets. They missed the first inning and a half but that was okay, they were relieved to be able to enjoy the rest of the game…a World Series game…against the NY Yankees!

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I mentioned yesterday that my three grown kids were at a wedding for a cousin on their father’s side. The two girls were sharing a hotel room and will be flying home together tonight. I’ll be picking them up (at the crack of midnight) tonight. I may have forgotten to mention that they were in my home town.

While driving around Japan Town in search of nice chop sticks and some rice bowls for the boys, they ended up near the house where I grew up. They texted me to ask which street. Was it 5th Street? I replied with the street address on 7th Street and the cross street. A little bit later, they texted me a picture of the house. It is very well kept and looks amazing. It’s a Victorian with a full basement, two kitchens, two bathrooms (at least when I lived there), a bay window in the living room, and a very large backyard. It has been painted a nice, pale pink. I had never seen it painted anything but white, even in the years after I moved away and went back for drive bys, the last one being about eight years ago.

I looked it up on Zillow and found that it last sold four years ago for almost $500,000 and the estimated sale price for a sale now is $978,000. It has some amazing upgrades. Indeed, much work has been put into it since my parents bought it for $8,000 around 1957. You can read about the main improvement here and here.

It got me to wondering if it was still the same house. The outside certainly is and from the photos on Zillow, the living room is basically the same with the big bay window with mosaic glass at the top. Some of the features that were there when I lived there are still there, or at least recognizable. In fact, the claw foot bathtub is still there. Not sure if it is the one that we used or if it has been replaced but it’s there.

Do the walls still remember the laughter we marked them with or the tears? Do the floors bear the tears from all the falls we took on them? And the basement we built? Is it still dark and does it still remember the spooky stories my big brothers told us all those years ago? The yard. I see in the photos that most of the fruit trees my father planted are gone. The garage is gone. Does the yard remember the laughter of the children who played there? I certainly recognized the front yard; the place where we ran through the sprinklers in the summer time; where we played with hula hoops given to us by our neighbors across the street; the place where our games of hide-and-seek and red light green light, and tag you’re it all began. The sidewalk in front of our house was where we could stand to watch Fourth of July fireworks set off at the Spartan Stadium about five miles away.

Is it the same house? Do our memories haunt it or do its memory haunt us?

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An old poem that resurfaced today:

Southbound On the I-5
Middle lane of the southbound I-5
listening to the classic oldies
singing along
“… oye, como va mi ritmo,
vamos a bailar …”

rudely interrupted
by that noisy Harley
coming up on my left

just as it reaches me
I am jolted, snatched, and
catapulted
backwards
to a time I barely recognized
my teen years
a foreign place
a different time zone

I see that girl
she’s wearing hot pants
the lime green ones
they have a matching top
sleeveless
sailor collar
that awful huge bow
right in the middle

She’s laughing
I hear it clearly
She’s happy
I can almost feel it too
The girl is filled with youth
filled with joy
filled with the unknown
the future

The girl knows little
not what life is about
not what the future will bring
not about the sorrows and the losses
not about the joys and the triumphs

The girl knows only NOW
she knows only wonder
she knows giddiness
she knows That Boy
and the dizziness she feels
she knows That Boy
and the way his leather jacket smells
she knows That Boy
and the way he looks at her
she knows That Boy
and the safeness he brings

The girl wonders
wonders about the uncomfortable feeling
in that secret area
wonders what her name would sound like
next to his
the girl smiles
not knowing much

Then I’m back in my blue Camry
“… you put a spell on me Baby…”
back in the middle lane
going southbound
and I smile
knowing so much
I still smile

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