I never tease friends about their phobias, even when they’re ridiculous (the phobias-not my friends). There was a classmate who wouldn’t swim in the ocean after Jaws opened in theaters. I haven’t seen her in years. Maybe she still won’t swim. I knew a seriously out of shape woman who was terrified of elevators: When her mother was hospitalized, she visited by climbing eleven flights of stairs. When she finally reached the patients’ room wheezing, with cheeks flushed and hair tamped down with sweat, her mom called out, “Good Lord, Jane. You look worse than I feel.” Once, a dinner guest jumped straight up on our dining room when Fido V barked his hello. I am sure each of these otherwise normal folks have their reasons, but even if they don’t, I firmly believe everyone is afraid of something-rational or not.Read More
One More Thing Before I Go
Last spring when the scent of lilacs followed me from the backyard into my kitchen, I thought of my mother’s distant cousin and her daughters, who, like my lilacs, visited yearly when the earth warmed and the days grew longer. I pictured us all in idyllic memories of jump rope games and playing with dolls. But, except for MaryAnn, the littlest daughter, I could not remember their names.
A few years ago, I could have called my mother. She would have teased me for my forgetfulness, asked what I was making for dinner (there was never a phone conversation where we didn’t talk about food) and repeated her mother-to-daughter mantra, “When are you coming over?” We would have shared stories of those long-ago days before hanging-up and re-joining our lives. But my mother has passed on and while the images of our family lingers-the details are lost. I write One more thing before I go, my living record for my son, in hope that one day, when he has a question I can no longer answer, it can be found in this blog.
I heard her name before we met. At a teacher meeting, I asked a question and was told to speak to Barbaramogelhoff. I thought it was one word; like the name of rare Russian caviar. To this day, I can’t say her name slowly-it always rolls off the tongue in a hurry.Read More