Sunday, November 20, 2016


and i tell you that we all replay the past changing some facts while keeping others to fit a different history we play the what if game but then go back to the reality moving the facts back into place as best we remember but memory is what some refer to as a slippery slope changing with years and the stories we construct i remember jean whose husband collected records and sat in a wing back chair in the middle of the living room wearing earphones listening to opera loud enough so that the sound leaked out into the kitchen where jean cooked meals for her three boys who really preferred cans of spaghetti o's or hot dogs rather than her meatloaf and sweet potato casserole but they loved her cakes with their inch deep frosting and her fruit juices which she shared with every child in the neighborhood and the neighbors referred to her as mother earth and her three boys--matt,ben,and joey--loved how she let them build castles in the basement and run train tracks around the washer and dryer and they brought all their friends into the house and because she didn't have any daughters she loved her friend's daughters she taught them how to string beads and shells i can't remember if jean made the necklace i hung on a nail in the basement until the dental floss frayed and the beads slipped down and rolled on the floor or if a child beaded the floss with help but it didn't matter I loved the feel of the shells and the way they caught the light when eric's job took them to chicago we wrote long letters for several years and then we wrote shorter letters until we wrote three times a year until we wrote only at once a year and it was a letter tucked inside a christmas card where I'd read about her singing in a choir and her foray into managing a book store and what the boys were doing and sometimes we missed a year and i'd wonder about their life and then a letter would come with an apology for its lateness and a litany of what everyone was doing and in time how all the boys were going to marquette and what they thought they might want to do after school and then i received a letter in the middle of the year a letter that didn't fit into a card it was a short letter because what she wanted to say could be said in a few words her youngest boy joey was dead and she told me how it happened and how they all never saw it coming and couldn't understand the why and all I could remember was how he had long straight bangs that hung down over his eyebrows and how he loved hamburgers from mcdonalds, caught fireflies in a glass jar, and won a one legged race


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