Tag Archives: family memories


Dusting my office shelves, I found a relic of the past crumbling to pieces. It was a tiny clay Halloween pumpkin that my sister made for me when she was 5, and I was 18 and away in my first year of college. She had painted the little clay piece orange and its eyes and mouth green, but it had flattened on the bottom when it dried. She and I both had a hard time that year. She kept running away from her kindergarten class, running all the way home whenever she could. And if I could have run away home, I would have, but I didn’t have her certain, independent, little spirit. How difficult that year was, the first time away from home, few social skills, and certainly no flirting skills. I didn’t know how to fit in, and that’s what I wanted, to fit. What did my sister want? Not to fit? To go her own way? For the teacher not to scare her? Her year was just as hard for her.

The little relic was past repair. It crumbled away when I picked it up. I thought I’d kept it all these years because it was funny looking and dear that it had been given. Only as I write this do I realize the pure love it contained. Sweet, sweet little sister.





By telegram

I’ve been thinking a lot about Daddy, she says. He died in 1992. And sometimes she calls my brother, “Daddy,” with that questioning arc at the end of the word. DadDEE? I find an old scrapbook of hers, of her wedding shower cards. Old pressed roses from Dad are dust in the wax paper she pressed them in. There is a telegram in among the cards and rose dust, sent from aboard his ship when he was a new merchant marine officer, sent from the Newhall Hills by radiogram to a Western Union office. It arrived by telegram on the 24th of December 1946.

Wishing Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the most wonderful person in the world Love Clyde, it says.

I am amazed by look and feel of the old telegram, those pieces of paper delivered by messenger that once apprised people of important news, usually not good. It is thin and fragile, nearly tears at the folds from age. I frame it for Mother’s Day, and when I bring it I think about timing, seen and unseen, wondering if Dad is speaking to her from wherever he is, sending his love one more time by telegram.