Creating Memories

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Good morning on a cloudy and humid day,

This morning began early 4:23 a.m. to be exact. It seems an aspirin taken to manage a fever last evening decided to raise havoc with my stomach. So after a bit of puttering around the house this morning, including a load or two of laundry, I went to the diner for breakfast. I thought some food might alleviate the upset stomach. No such luck. I am afraid this morning is a harbinger of what is to come. I detest throwing up more than most anything in the world.

I worked on a number of necessary tasks yesterday and today will be more of the same. This afternoon I am meeting with a Lutheran Brotherhood (my old school term)/Thrivent agent to make sure some things are in order. I want to try to make sure that some day I leave no debts or problems for others to have to manage. This past week, the fact that my sister did not do this so well came back to haunt me. It is one of those moments when I am aware that I am almost 60 and then I am trying to figure out how I got this old. I know that 60 is not old, but when I was in my teens or even perhaps my early 20s, it certainly seemed a long ways away.

As those who really know me are aware, I am a process person. I have to figure out how things work and why they work that way. I wish I had answers for some of that now? “Why am I still here?” is one of those questions. I have been told by more than one doctor “you are a miracle”. I have never really felt that miraculous. Perhaps a bit of an anomaly, but that is I guess because I think that I think differently. I have been trying to figure that out. How and why did that happen? I think merely trying to live each day as a someone who wanted to make some small difference kept me most often from thinking about who I was or what I  was about. I don’t really think most of us are that different. We merely go about our lives.

That brings me to my focus (the title of today’s post). Some of my earliest memories are of my grandparents and living at their house as a little boy. The best memory is of breakfast and soft poached eggs, a half of grapefruit, and a piece of some kind of toast (from the various bread options from her bakery). What is perhaps the most important memory or realization of my living at or visiting my grandmother’s house was that she loved me, and she loved me regardless. I am still amazed by her capacity to love and give. She, in spite of her difficulties, never quit giving. I remember the summer I lived at her house between my junior and senior year of high school. I think I grew up more that summer than I have actually realized. I worked at the bakery from 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning until about 3:00 in the afternoon. Then I went to a second job and worked from 5:00 in the evening until midnight or so . . . and I did that 6 days a week. It is actually one of my favorite summers. I was all of 16 years old and I never felt like I was working too hard or had it rough. I bought my first car and I learned that hard work was an okay thing. I am not sure I always remembered those lessons as well as I might have.

In my elementary and into middle school (as they call it now) years, I think my best memories are being in the Sioux City Children’s Community Theatre and in the Sioux City Children’s Choir. A fellow member of both groups was a girl named Miriam Oesper. I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. She was the first person to kiss me. I was so amazed and frightened. She was an amazing person. I still remember her birthday (March 3rd). Her family moved to Des Moines (Urbandale to be exact) and I never saw her again. I did actually catch up with her by email a few years ago. Amazing how the memories and even the feelings of she must be wonderful were still there somehow. However, unlike some I know, if it is in the past, it is probably best to leave it there. There was also another person from that group and her name was Carolyn Wayman. She was another person I found to be wonderful: smart, funny, and beautiful. I have wondered from time to time about many of those theatre persons. I realize that experience was more important to me than I ever imagined.

When I came home from the service, there are memories, and perhaps the most important one immediately was meeting the Peters family. David and I still communicate until this day. His sister, Barb, was the first person I might have really loved. I remember this picture of her (it was a school picture) with the most amazingly beautiful long hair. I can still see it clearly. I also learned an important lesson to never like your best friend’s sister. However, emotions are seldom rational. There are certainly memories from beyond high school and into college and other places, but they sometimes seem to blur together and I am not sure that there is something that really jars my memory or emotions the same way. Perhaps my trip to Europe with Dr. Nielsen during the January interim class of 1981. Interestingly, again, when I think about the events, there are so many things that flood back . . . . Lutheran Youth Encounter (LYE) team, summer Greek class, East Germany, Oberammergau, Denmark, Garmisch Partenkirken, meeting biological relatives, college, graduate_school). Over the past week, I have connected with my cousin to chat about things. I noted her in my last post. She has been kind and texted me almost every day since our talk last week. She noted that I am the one who really understands her. She is one of the few who has always accepted me. The memories . . .  Grandpa’s, Firefall, The Marina, the white Buick Regal or the green Cadillac.

As I noted, I have a number of tasks to try to manage today and some time will be spent in my office organizing and getting things off my plate. I also have to go to the bank and get some more things managed there. I am merely hoping for a productive day. Over the weekend I had the opportunity to spend Memorial Day with Mr. and Mrs. Galán. I had the most wonderful food and the greatest conversation on a number of levels. At one point, Mrs. Galán and I spoke for about 45 minutes. She does not really speak English, though I think she understands more than most might think. My Spanish is nascent at best, but we were able to communicate and understand each other for the most part. It was actually quite amazing and it created another important memory for me. It meant a lot for me because it required me to use my beginning skills, but I hope that she realized how important I believe she is also. Too often I believe she is marginalized because of the language issues and that is not acceptable for me.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to create another memory. It was unplanned, but it was poignant. Muchas gracias por los 45 segundos en la mesa y la mirada en su cara. Gracias por sus palabras y sus rasgones. Soy bendito usted está aquí. Nunca olvidaré. Well, it is time to do some work. Thank you for reading and for those who have commented, thank you also. I am fortunate you are in my life.

Michael

2 thoughts on “Creating Memories

  1. yes, you are working on your Spanish.. another thing to cross off your list of accomplishments. Thank you for your posts- they are poignant and compelling.

  2. I am always amazed to learn of your life experiences. I am sorry to hear that your stomach has been bothering you. I hope that your summer days are being productive (although I am sure that they are) – but make sure you get some rest and relaxation in there as well.

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