This & That


In my last post, I mentioned that Doug and I were on our way to an outdoor wedding in Rhode Island. The forecast called for heavy rain and high winds but I am delighted to report that it was wrong.

Although the sky turned a threatening gray and the wind picked up quite a bit right before the ceremony began, the rain held off and the wedding and reception were absolutely beautiful.

I first met the groom when he was nine years old and his mother and I had  become fast friends. We caused that poor boy untold embarrassment with our antics over the years.

It has been a joy to watch him grow up and I am honored that I was invited to share his special day.

I also told him now that he is a married man, he can stop calling me “Mrs. Brown.” :)

****

On Angie Smith’s recommendation, I read a most wonderful memoir called The Middle Place  by Kelly Corrigan.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Middle-Place-ebook/dp/B0012095DK/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

She is not a believer and there is some language but I absolutely loved this book. Kelly’s writing made my childhood come alive in living color (we are only two years apart in age) and I identified with the close bond she had with her father.

The very first line captivated me and brought me to tears:

“George Orwell once said something about how childhood necessarily creates a false map of the world but it’s the only map we’ve got and no matter how old we are, at the first sign of trouble, we take off running for those fabulous countries.”

I totally relate to that.

My childhood map was drawn on a dead end street dotted with nineteen houses in a small town in western Pennsylvania. I loved it there and to  this day when I return, happy memories fill my mind. It seemed like such a simple time. Dads worked, moms stayed home and gathered on front stoops with iced tea and coffee, and kids played from morning until darkness fell and the lightning bugs lit up the night with their mysterious and beautiful brilliance.

To me it seemed like a magical place, exempt from the sorrow of real life. Of course, it wasn’t. The years would show that the mother of two of my friends had been an alcoholic who died full of bitterness and cirrhosis of the liver . My classmate Kenny O’Toole was killed in a car accident just before we were going to be juniors in college. Another classmate suffered a tragic fall and was paralyzed from the waist down. Marriages crashed and burned and much loved neighbors began to leave this earth one by one.

But for one shining moment in time, life was sweet on Theresa Avenue and that is what I choose to remember. Sometimes when life seems hard, I close my eyes and go back there. I am forever grateful that I have those memories that time cannot take away.

At any rate, Kelly’s story is not only about her childhood but the fact that both she and her beloved father were diagnosed with cancer at the same time. Their fighting spirits are an inspiration. In addition, Kelly’s writing is fantastic.

Get the book and be prepared to laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page.

***

Last night we had my son’s girlfriend and her family over for dinner.

It was the first time that all of us got together and I am happy to report that we had a fabulous time. There was never a lull in the conversation and the laughter was frequent and loud.

Maeghan had spent the month of  July in Ireland and I asked her to bring any photos she had with her so we could hear all about her trip. Of course, since I am old, I envisioned her bringing over a stack of photos. However, she had put together a lovely computer program for us to see, where one photo melted beautifully into another.

I admire her courage at going to another country by herself at the age of sixteen.

At one point, they noticed this photo of Josh and Julia when  there were 3 and 2, respectively:

As I was telling the story of the kids’ first Halloween and how Josh felt the need to tell everyone who commented on his costume, “I’m not really Superman ya know!” I felt an unexpected lump in my throat.

My little “Superman” is now a confident and mature 16 year old who is in the process of editing his second novel, is passionate about his music, and is loyal and committed to his family and friends.

I am proud to be his mom.

And as a ferocious storm rose up and a heavy rain lashed the windows, I was grateful for the warmth and laughter all around our large kitchen table as new friendships were celebrated.

Life is good.

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