Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pieces of the Landscape of My Youth

[This was written in response to a prompt from Cafe Writing's Jewels Project. For Option 1 I used the following words: landscape, paper, museum, touch. ]

I was anxious to leave my hometown, something that might have been in my genes.

My great-grandparents left the area, taking their children west to homestead in Oklahoma. That didn't work out for them and so they came back to the area of southern Illinois that eventually gave birth to my mom.

She, in turn, wanted to leave and finally managed o do so, though not until her husband retired.

I left sooner, happy to be from there – it is a great place to be from – and happier to be living elsewhere.

But since I left small pieces of the landscape of my youth have followed me east. Some are quite concrete like my baby blanket or the folder of stories and artwork I created on lined paper in the first grade, and some other tidbits of my own creation – old in my life but new in the timeline of my family's history.

I have my mother's high school ring. She gave it to me years ago. Although I finished high school and college I never had a class ring of my own. Hers has three colors of gold and an element of age about it – it doesn't look like the most modern school rings. I wear it on my pinkie from time to time.

But the pieces that drag people and places out of the past belonged to my grandma and great-aunt. They are mostly kitchen things – hardly museum pieces.

There are some old brown crockery bowls – nothing special. I don't use them much, but I love seeing them every time I open the cabinet my measuring spoons are in.

The old, once-white, oval plates, one small and one medium, send me down memory lane when I use them. The small one is perfect as a spoon rest, though I don't remember what it was used it for before. But I can't touch the medium one without seeing it piled with chicken-fried steak, sitting on Grandma's dining room table.


Becca said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets special satisfaction from using heirloom kitchen utensils. My mother has the large bowl my grandmother always used for the turkey stuffing, and I'm deathly afraid I'll break it. I also love my mom's old pyrex mixing bowls from the 50's...the red, green, yellow and blue ones that all the women seemed to have.

Lovely post - thanks for sharing this :)

sister AE said...

Hi, Becca. I have the green and red bowls too (but the blue and yellow went missing before they came to me).