Monday, December 10, 2012

Stories or Memories!

The joys that I have processed are ever mine; out of thy reach,
behind eternity, hidden in the sacred memories of the past,
but blest remembrance brings them hourly back.
                John Dryden


Standing here in the doorway of our old family home, my Mom’s tiny hand tucked in mine, I tug my jacket tighter I look at Mom standing there with last year’s winter coat on, and it appears that she is swimming in it, her little white head popping from a sea of cloth. She has lost so much weight but we had to do this, she insisted, the house will be gone next week and tossed into a few bins and hauled away forever taking all the memories and treasures with it. I asked her to stay in the doorway as we watch Pierre work, I let go of her hand.

Pierre drops the wrecking bar and walks over to greet Mom, he has always treated her with so much respect I admire that. He must be a good son to his own Mom. He asks her how she is doing and she replies ”Not too bad, thanks for asking” They start chatting about what will happen in the next few days and how beautiful the new house will be. I watch as Moms head turns and she looks to the crooked window in what used to be an upstairs bedroom. There is no floor to block her view now and she is smiling reliving happy memories I no longer remember.

I look to the same window and sadness overtakes me as I stare at two boards together with some old water stained wallpaper with no insulation between and imagining how cold my brothers must have been huddled under tattered blankets in those cold Canadian winters. My parents did the best they could I know that but it still makes me sad. Mom laughs and those thoughts retreat. 

I watch as she walks closer to the middle of our old living room. I rush to grab her hand to make sure she does not trip over any dusty old boards or step on one of those old square nails, I knew I would not be able to keep her near the door. She needed to do this I know that and I will keep her safe. She deserves to say a proper goodbye. Pierre watches every step she takes, he understands this too.

Pierre picks the wrecking bar back up and asks if I would like any of the old boards with the bark and old snippets of newspaper still stuck to it. I immediately answer yes. He rips off one then another and sets four pieces on the ground. I never really wanted any part of this house but now that it is almost gone forever I feel this tremendous need to have pieces of it.

I listen to Mom chatting with Pierre and telling him stories of things that may or may not have happened here long ago. I truly do not remember a lot of these stories. I look to the wall of hidden boards behind another wall and notice what appears to be cloth stuck to it. I grab one end and pull.


I pull off a strip of dusty twisted fabric which had been jammed into the cracks between these pieces of pine. Someone had jammed them in there long ago trying to stop the cold winds from blowing into the house. I untwist the cloth and marvel at the colour still intact I roll it up along with another piece I pulled off and put it in my purse. I had to stop myself from pulling all the boards off and searching for more of these bits of cloth insulation remembering this is no longer my house. It is Pierre’s and he deserves to find these treasures, not me.

Mom is such a storyteller, this wall between a very old addition and the original outside wall has never been seen in my lifetime but she tells Pierre how she had put all that cloth in there and remembers doing it. I love how she dreams. I am cut from this same cloth I am sure of that now.

I explain to Pierre how valuable these one and a half inch thick pieces of sawed pine lumber were. They have never been exposed to the weather, protected between two room additions for over one hundred years, I am almost positive of that. Someone would love to have them. He decides to remove them carefully and try to sell them rather than scrap them.

I explain to Mom it is time to go so Pierre can get back to work. Pierre reminds Mom she is welcome anytime and she will be one of the first to tour the new house, Mom smiles and shakes his hand. I think to myself he is such a gracious man and we are so very lucky that he is the one who bought our old home. I thank him and grab Mom’s hand once again and guide her around the dusty old boards with those square nails and through that crooked old door way frame.

 I help her into the Jeep and buckle her seat belt she waves to Pierre. I shut the door and walk back to get the four boards Pierre had removed for me and place them in the back of the Jeep; I close the door and jump in the driver’s seat. I watch for a moment as Pierre removes another board very carefully and sets it down. We shout goodbye and he waves.

Mom and I head back home for lunch both of us smiling ear to ear. Mom tells me another one of her stories as we drive. She needed that and I now know so did I.

I cannot help but think what my girls will make of my stories someday. Will they also wonder “Stories or Memories?”

Later

34 comments:

  1. Pierre sounds like a wonderful man...so willing to let you and your mom be a part of his project. I'm sure you will find something meaningful to do with those old boards...I hope you tell us what it is!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Buttons what a beautiful story and what a story teller you are! Even though I'm all stuffed up now from tears - how many of us can truly relate to this . My mom is so tiny and frail now and I remember her as being so tall and tough and strong. I'm thankful for every memory and some do soften with age- that's a good thing too! What a wonderful gentleman who is doing this!!
    Fondly, Rain

    ReplyDelete
  3. So important to listen to those stories. A good daughter you are.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Will you do something special with the boards? I hope so!

    ReplyDelete
  5. oh buttons! you get me every time!

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh and yes, hopefully something nice will be done with the boards!

    ReplyDelete
  7. So hard to watch your old home being torn down and yet, so necessary. You will treasure those old bits of board and cloth and paper. Could you salvage a couple of decent lengths and have a small box made for yourself? A memory box?

    ReplyDelete
  8. love the quote!

    and your story telling is always so mesmerizing. it's so nice to be able to spend time with your mom...and share the memories. i'm sure your girls will treasure your stories, just as you do your mom's!

    (i would make a collage on the old wood...)

    have a happy week buttons!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a wonderful story - thanks for sharing :) Hugs M xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  10. The joys that I have processed are ever mine; once shared, they are ours.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a wonderful story. Love this post. It would have been neat to get enough wood to give all of your siblings. Make a sign that says something like..."Home Sweet Home" or "Live Laugh Love" or "Memories" or whatever speaks to you, then write on the back of that wood where it came from. Neat gift for the siblings and youself.

    ReplyDelete
  12. that would have been tough for me. i am glad you took your mom over...

    ReplyDelete
  13. A beautifully written story . It is hard to watch a home you all grew up in be taken down . I haven't been to our old farm because of this , they tore it all apart to build a modern home so I have heard . But just think of all the wonderful stories you all have and the memories will always be in your hearts . That's wonderful of Pierre to take a few boards off for you . I am looking forward to see what you make from them .

    ReplyDelete
  14. Beautifully written. How lucky that Pierre has been so understanding. Will you make something from the boards? Glad your mom had a chance to say goodbye. That is so important.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is so very beautiful! Pierre sounds like such a nice, gracious man. I'm so happy you and your mom were able to be in the house and get a few pieces to take home with you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. So you have the cloth your Mom tucked between the boards to keep the cold out. How neat is that? I can't wait to hear what you will do with it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, thats a pretty amazing story Buttons. Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  18. How sweet you took your Mom to the ole homestead for one last looky see. You are such a sweet thoughtful daughter.

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is so kind of him to allow the two of you in your old house. I hope you do something special with the boards you salvaged.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am touched that Pierre is such a gentleman to you and your Mom. He sounds like an absolutely wonderful person! I am glad you are able to share these memories with your Mom, and I am thankful you are sharing them with us as well.

    Not only are our Moms lucky to have such wonderful girls, we are also very lucky to have such amazing Moms!

    Keep warm, Miss Buttons.

    Hugs,
    Mandi

    ReplyDelete
  21. Kudos to you for taking your mom to the house, Buttons! I;m glad you discovered that you needed to see it too.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love that your mom is smiling and remembering, and I am glad that although this house of priceless memories must go-as old houses sometimes have to do-it is being done by someone with so much obvious care, reverence and respect.

    Beautiful and touching post B.

    ReplyDelete
  23. So very touching, Buttons. All those memories, the good and the bad.... and your sweet, frail Mother full of her own. Life does move on, doesn't it? Sometimes we have to wrap up all the loose ends before we can continue on, creating those new memories for our loved ones to treasure. Thank you for sharing. Hugs to you xx

    ReplyDelete
  24. What a wonderful outing and Thank you for the adorable bears!

    ReplyDelete
  25. You are such a good daughter! I'm sure your mom really appreciated this little outing. That Pierre is truly a wonderful fella! You could take the old boards and make a frame for an old family portrait. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I feel the sadness and yet, the need for the last goodbye.

    Beautifully written. I hope one day my children will care as much.

    ReplyDelete
  27. You really should write a book. :)
    This moved me to tears.
    Years ago our old home had to be torn down before it fell. I was married and in another state and didn't get to have this experience. I'm glad you did. I think my tears are for both of us.

    ReplyDelete
  28. When you write about your mom, love shines through your post. This love reminds me of my own mom, gone a long time now, and tears come to my eyes. You are a gifted writer able to evoke both memories and stories for me, from a time long ago. I hope this makes some sense.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I do hope you do something with the boards!

    ReplyDelete
  30. darn. i got something in my eyes...

    hug your mom for me, please.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I imagine it's hard to say goodbye to the house for your mom. You are a sweet daughter for taking her out there to see it for the last time!

    ReplyDelete
  32. You have become a wonderful story teller already. Following in your moms footsteps. The treasures and secrets that are hidden in the old home. Must be so hard to see it go.

    ReplyDelete

The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

Please do not copy my work. If you like it let me know I am sure we can work something out. Copyright is in place.