Monday, June 20, 2011

An evening unlocking myself

I'm used to waddling in the muddy waters of time concerning others, so it was a rare treat having it done to me...

A quick train ride into the country, the mouth of the Hudson opening wider and wider. A car ride to a 100 year old house with the cousin who fled my home city forty three years before, whom I didn't meet till I came running in her footsteps.

Dusty boxes and plastic containers full of pictures of people I heard of but never met to be sent in pieces to the cousin in Virigina to scan so that others can have them too.

" If he doesn't send these back, I'm going after him."
 she says over her glasses.

 She labels, and I type and listen to stories weaved in between..

"Papi always dressed like a professor no matter what he worked at, and no one could eat till he came home for dinner.. which included salad which in those days meant a slice of tomato, iceberg lettuce and mayo".      

"grandma came from Ireland, I always wanted to go over but never did. She was a nurse, ironic that the same hospital she met her husband, her son would be nursed back to health by his ex-wife's new husband, Uncle Kei some forty years later."

the great-great grandmother whose story I only heard in pieces growing up..

"she fled up to Maryland....he was stabbed, as you know interracial marriage wasn't exactly accepted back then. No one was allowed to ask where she came from or how she met him.."

"....funny how families carry learned behaviors and cultures..atleast you and I stop the pattern in its tracks"

thirty six years apart, but strikingly the same, guess some patterns don't change...

people constantly running, the white woman who ran north only to have three out of four grandsons and one grand daughter head back to place she didn't want to be. And her great-great grandchildren wandering all over...
after a day of unlocking ourselves and worn out, a spur of the moment drive to the next town over for food...                      

then finally heading home, possessing equal questions and answers, and more mystery in those boxes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

wrap your troubles in dreams

It's rare that I have a dream that I can fully remember in the morning and when they do happen they usually leave me rattled. The one this morning ( at least I am guessing that it is when it happened as I woke up near 4am) was a mix of me being a kid sitting in a passenger seat of a car, trying to peer out the window and glancing at who was at the steering wheel.

Each time I turned back the driver switched from being my father, my mother and other family members.

Then I was a grownup, except the dashboard of the car went back about oh 80 years and I was wearing items that someone today would pay a ridiculous amount of money to own or replicate. And the words and images gleaned from within 50 plus microfiche cards ( containing over 25 pages of photostatic images mind you) came back and I got out of the car only to have that broken nosed ghost in a fedora to be walking toward me with a smile on his face. Stops in front of me and smiles patiently at me. At that point I woke up.

The rest of my day proceeded to be a whirlwind of hell, as if I was in a teacup at an amusement park and couldn't get off.

The point I realized was that I had and have become too stretched, worn out and jumping around like a mouse on steroids for everything and everyone except those things that have a higher level of importance for me. Those things that bring me joy.

Time to put the car in reverse and go back in the other direction, and boy am I looking forward to it.