Sunday, November 21, 2010

For You

The memory box outside my mothers room looks like a window with 4 shelves and a locking pane of glass to protect the view inside. Up until last week, if you paused to gaze within, you would have seen a 5x7 black and white photo of my parents taken on their wedding day as they prepared to cut their cake. Their hands are clasped closely over each others and there is a faint blush in my mothers cheeks and a smile in my fathers' eye. Their whole life is ahead of them and surely only good fortune and the promise of a long happy future lay ahead. Next to this photo, is an exact duplicate in sterling silver of my mothers life membership card in the American Legion Auxiliary. Alongside is a platter given to her in 1964 when she was state president of the American Legion Auxiliary and next to that, the teacup pictured above. I gave my mother teacups for every special occasion when I was growing up. They hung on a rack in the kitchen and often we would try to guess each others favorites. I bought this one in 1975 as a gift for her 25Th wedding anniversary. A typical mom in some ways...she always insisted they were all her favorites.

Last week upon the arrival of her new roommate, I found that the platter and teacup had been carelessly taken out of the box and placed in the magazine rack in her room. Her wedding photo and sterling card had been moved to a higher shelf and placed behind the figurines and photos of her new roommate. I'll be the first to say that neither my mother or her roommate give a damn about their memory box. My mom knew about it once but that piece of information is long gone. The memories are mine and anyone else's to view, should they gaze into the glass window on the wall. Clearly whoever changed things around and rearranged knows this. I have been at a loss since this happened to identify my feelings on can someone so clearly value ones memories at the expense of someone else's?

My mother asked me my name today and when I told her I was Pamela, she asked me if I knew her daughter Pamela. When I told her it was I, she looked at me sadly as though I had lost my mind and said, "I really don't think so." I take heart that she remembers her daughter and pray that she doesn't think she has' abandoned her. Memories.....for some of us it's all we have.

I have set about arranging my mothers memory box once again. I use only one shelf of the four, and I am careful to not upset Ellie's memory items. The teacup sits front and center and brings me back to the anniversary party on a July afternoon in my grandmothers backyard. I counted her teacups today when I got home...I have 32 more ...You mess with the teacups, you mess with me.

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