Thursday, May 21, 2015

Norman, Joe, Elliot (Boyhood Stories)

Baby boy 2 is coming any day now and I am instructed by my doula to start relaxing so it's a good chance to curl up with some stories over a cappuccino (decaf!) and to say hi to you guys here!! For some reason, I am gravitating towards stories about boys growing up... hmm, wonder why...

Norman Cain
My Grandmother's Laundry Room

My grandmother's laundry room was not located in a finished, attractive basement. It had no shelves (containing detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners) that hovered above a modern washer or dryer.

And when clothes were washed, there was no humming coming from a washing machine. Likewise, there was no humming coming from the dryer and there was no choice about the drying cycle. No hot. No warm. No delicate.

My grandmother's laundry room was located in the back of the family house, in-between the well and smoke house and chicken coop and cotton field. Instead of a washing machine, there was a big black cast iron pot filled with hot water that was mounted by fuel chopped wood. There was no detergent in the water, but rather home-made brown lye soap. The clothes were stirred with sturdy ax handles.

There was no modern dryer but there was a natural drier – the sun, which beamed down upon the clothes that hung absolutely dirt free from clothes lines.

My grandmother did not have a modern laundry room, but her wash was always 100% clean.

Joe Garrison
Early Morning Concert

I used to go to a summer camp for sightless adults. I always had a good time there and met some great friends. This particular summer, I attended camp and one of the counselors was a guitarist. He had a Beatles song book. We got along great. I remember his name was John. He and I always had little sessions where we’d sing a few songs. Didn’t always have to be Beatles songs We like all rock n’ roll. One morning at around 8:15 (this was before breakfast and even before flag racing), my counselor friend accosted me and asked me if I wanted to sing a song. Naturally I said yes. And we decided to do a rendition of “Hey Jude”. Before it was over, it seemed like the whole camp was singing, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, Hey Jude.” I am telling this story to share that I love music and singing and the fact that it brings people together.

Elliot Doomes
What Do I Really Know

When I was 16, I knew everything. No one could give me advice. And when I turned 21, all the things that I knew at 16, I rejected. When I became 31, the things that I thought I knew at 21, I rejected. When I became 41, my ideas changed again, and I let go of half the things that I believed at 31.

I was married and raising children by then, so of course my ideas changed. Before, I was only responsible for myself, but now I was responsible for my family and my wife. All that foolishness I might have valued before, it seemed so trivial, as I tried to keep my family stable.

Someone said once, “Youth is wasted on the young.” It is! When I was young, I had no direction, no stability, I was carefree. I was all about myself, all about fun, I thought I knew it all. If I had the knowledge and wisdom I have now as a youth, there’s no telling where I would be now. That’s why I say, What did I really know about life? I know that there’s always more to learn about life.