Thursday, June 17, 2010

Managing Memories

All change seems to send me into a cycle of grieving; I’m the only person I know who can grieve over a dead tree. Right now, I’m grieving over what I bought to be my lifeline to all of our old world after we lost our home and everything in it to Hurricane Katrina. We lived without a physical address for nine months while I kept current and connected to those people and places we love with my new, first-ever, sleek, silver laptop computer.

That computer has been my almost constant companion into which I’ve poured my soul when no one else could bear to listen. It’s been rattling and wheezing for some time, so I have backed all the information up to an external memory -- much like I’m attempting to have Mamie download her ninety years of memories into my mind.

My silver soul mate is now unable to access any of the stored information. I know I need to find a replacement, but there’s not only the decision of what new machine would best suit my needs; there’s always a learning curve to overcome. I’m just not yet ready to learn the ways of a new partner in prose. What kind of nutbag do you have to be to grieve over a computer?

I think I’ve been sent to Coker Creek to make peace with the cycles of nature: creation, gestation, birth, production, reproduction, decay, dormancy, and rebirth. If there’s one thing that I desperately want to learn from my mountain mama, it’s how to get over grief.

She left her whole family and her home state when she eloped with the love-of-her-life at the ripe old age of fourteen. It was two years and the birth of a grandchild before she dared go back to face her father. She made a lovely life for herself in her husband’s home state, and has many awards to show for the success of her endeavors.

It’s not as if she didn’t have challenges to face; it simply seems that she took each challenge to be another adventure in education. She was the oldest of five daughters; don’t you know how desperately she must have missed her mama and sisters before the days of nearly-free long distance telephone calls? Maybe that’s why she began assisting her new postmaster father-in-law at the local post office; she could get her letters from home as soon as they hit the counter. She and at least one of her sisters still write regularly to one another.

Mamie was showing me some of her citations and happened upon her penmanship primers from when she was ten years old. She said, “I’ve been told that I have nice handwriting. Here’s the books I used to teach myself. They gave them to us at school, and I just took an interest.” Obviously, her interest paid off; Mamie has beautiful penmanship and quite a way with words. Anyone lucky enough to correspond with Mamie is indeed luck enough.

We’ve gotten into the habit of visiting her past for a bit every time I stop in; then she accompanies me to the garden whenever she feels up to the task. There, she shows me how to plant the future in foods and handle a hoe to ensure that the wonderful exceeds the weeds.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, do you send flowers to a computer? Is there a name to the beast? If I search I can probably find the suitable prayer and possibly a saint.

    Now on a lighter note. It seems you have a great relationship with Mamie and the makings of a great book.
    TAke care, there in the Coker Creek area. When you see Jack, please tell him hi from us!