penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

All those years ago

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My cousin had been cleaning up this parents’ basement.

His mother had passed away last year, and his father was in a hospital, waiting for his next big move.

My cousin was preparing the house to be sold and so was emptying boxes of who knows what – including some photographs.

In his travels he came across a picture of his mother, and her sister, my mother

The picture is one of those from our timeless childhood.  Certainly my mother is younger in the picture than I am now. It was taken on a summer day at the cottage. She has just dropped whatever she is reading, surprised someone has taken her photo – and as yet too surprised to tell if she is angry by that or not. Her hair is dark, and swept back in that feathered Farrah Fawcett look that was popular at one time.  She’s wearing a sky blue bathing suit, sitting in a lawn chair, her feet dipped into the water.  You can almost hear the “children, what children?” on her lips, as she is brought back to earth by her photo being taken.

Beside her, her sister has not bothered to acknowledge the photographer. She continues to read her book – probably one of the many hundreds of Harlequins stored in the cottage. She has a perpetual cigarette lazily held between two fingers.  Her hair is held in a scarf, her skin that deep tan that can only be brought on by coconut oil.

When my cousin sent me this photo I was instantly shot back into all those endless summers.  When we spent almost two months in Lord of the Flies blissfulness of running barefoot on the beach and in the forest.  Our mothers were buried in their books and the kids were kicked outside at the crack of dawn after a bowl of mini boxes of cereal.  We found frogs and sparkly rocks and leeches by the shore.  Swimming “out to the raft” and learning to manage a 10 horse power motor were rites of passage. Water skiing was de rigueur and the child who could manage one ski would receive a chocolate milkshake the next time they were in town. The only food available was hamburgers and Kool-Aid (except when my aunt got a yen for barbequing lamb chops.) Fishing in the early evening with ten children and two adults was an adventure.  Nights brought endless games of Monopoly and euchre – neither of which I was very good at and I constantly, miserably lost. The moon rose impossibly silver over the lake and the loons called to wake us at midnight.

I received the photo not long before my mother’s birthday.

This year, on her birthday, I suddenly realized I had no one to call, no one to signify the day to.

But when I looked at the picture, I realized that she lives outside of time now. She could be, and is, at the same time the woman in the photo and the woman who is no longer here. She lives both inside and outside of the picture. She is ageless.

She is for all times now.


Written by pennyinacastle

June 20, 2015 at 2:24 am

Posted in Random thoughts

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