“Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories – and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories.”
Winter is rearing its ugly head. Today is downright cold. It is 20˚ right now and today’s low will be 8˚. Gracie and I were going to the dump, but I think now I’ll just stay comfy and warm at home. Gracie is asleep on the couch beside me, her usual spot this time of day.
When I was a kid, my mother had a picture with a little boy in a blue bathrobe standing by a soapy tub. There was also a poem in the picture about taking a bath and cleaning up after yourself. That picture hung on the wall across from the toilet. I used to read the poem every time I sat on the throne as my dad used to call it. The bathrobe had a fuzzy texture as did a towel on the boy’s arm. I don’t know what happened to that picture; I’m thinking it was probably thrown out when my parents moved. I saw that same picture, with the fuzz, hanging at a B&B in Ireland, in Youghal. I tried to buy it. They didn’t want to part with it.
I had to memorize all sorts of things for school when I was a kid. The worst was when I was in the eighth grade. I had a crazy nun named Sister Hildegard. She used to eat candy from her desk drawer. It was no secret. We knew she did from her chewing. Once she even spit nuts on my paper when she talked to me. She called us devils and said she would write thanks be to God across the whole blackboard when we graduated. She made us memorize the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I got through all of the Declaration of Independence and part of the Constitution when I decided I’d had enough. My desk was directly across from Sister Hildegard’s desk with only a small space between us. I put my history book on the floor opened to the Constitution. Every day during history I’d recite a new section, but I cheated by looking at the book on the floor. Soon enough anyone who could get away with it did the same thing. Sister Hildegard would have called me an occasion of sin.