eternally grateful

My mom has been writing about her childhood in response to a poem sent to her by her sister.  Of course her “way back when” is “waaaaay back then,” and as she talks about the way things were, I start doing my own cataloging of what is the same and different.  Of course the changes are vast and significant between her youth in the ’30’s, mine in the ’50’s and my children of the 80’s. But I am also struck by what has been the same.

Our families remained intact while others have not.  We grew up for the most part in houses, not apartments, and in neighborhoods with other children and families.  My own children had the amazing experience of growing up in the same house for 20 years and are still in touch with friends from that cul de sac.

All of the generations in my family had experiences of coming together for vacations and holidays, of hearing stories of the past and present and witnessing people who were fully engaged in society and wanting to learn about and help others. Education was important and as children we were always asked what we were learning, what books we were reading, what field trip our class was going on that year.

While I remember the changes in appliances and technology, my parent’s VW bus and the beat up Dodge Dart my husband and I first put car seats into.  I can look at pictures and remember fashions and toys, and of course my siblings and I will always have different stories to tell about the same occasion but I think we’d remember the big picture the same way; I am struck by the atmosphere that permeates my memories. We were a family, connected to family and with enough positive feelings about family that we went ahead and created more family.

The textures and fixtures that surrounded my mom and me and my kids may have  changed from wood to metal to plastic to recycled but the essence of love and belief in the importance of one another has remained the same.

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7 responses to “eternally grateful

  • Gretchen Staebler

    “I am struck by the atmosphere that permeates my memories.” In my memoir of my first 8 years by the bay in Olympia, this is exactly what I tried to convey. It isn’t the snippets of memory that form the story for me, but the feeling that overcomes me when I recall them. It is the glue that holds the snippets together.

  • Stacey Shubitz

    How wonderful that you can reflect on not only what has changed, but on how the important things have remained the same.

  • Laura LA

    Boy, did I need to read this today. I have been struggling with what family means to me since my Mom died. I had a horrible week of sadness as I tried to imagine my motherless future; it felt so much like a loss of my whole family. Your words brought me back to that shared value. Sure, it’s different now, but so important to have family.
    Thank you.

  • Two years and finishing strong...

    I felt eternally grateful for my life as I read your piece. Our neighborhoods back then were so much fun to be in. Everyone looked after each other and noticed if something wasn’t right. My parents, though they grew up in apartments in Chi town had the same experience with the families on their blocks. They were struggling immigrants but had each other. xo

  • pamela hodges

    Loved the last sentence, your description of what changed — from wood to metal to plastic to recycled
    and to what was the same ——the essence of love and belief in the importance of one another.
    Very thoughtful and powerful.

  • Linda Baie (@LBaie)

    I think we must be very close to the same age, Amelia. I connected so much to your words, & as you know, love your mother’s stories. I love all this & believe the strength of family, the fact that I have so many I can call upon if needed, is my strength. “We were a family, connected to family and with enough positive feelings about family that we went ahead and created more family.” Beautifully said.

  • fireflytrails

    The blessings you describe in this post are immeasurable. You are so wise and perceptive to tie together the similarities rather than thdwell on the differences! I do love the oh-so-descriptive line, “(things) have changed from wood to metal to plastic to recycled but the essence of love and belief in the importance of one another has remained the same.”

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