Mon 20 Sep, 2010 01:50 pm
I've never kept a diary. But I treasure my mother's diary that she wrote for a year when she met my father in 1928. My father died when I was 7 months old and my mother died when I was 12 months old, so I have no memory of them. So her diary is the only thing that gives me a sense of her thoughts, the kind of person she was, and why she loved my father.
SEARCHING FOR MEMORIES
By BumbleBeeBoogie - April 19, 1991
I've no memory at all of the tall young man
with twinkling blue eyes and straight brown hair,
wrenched from this world in the seventh month of my life,
leaving an aching, sobbing, unfillable void.
No memory at all of the feel of your arms
or the curve of your shoulder against my soft downy head.
I loved you, clung to you, but no matter,
death still stole my sweet papa away.
Three months older, wiser, but still yearning,
death found its way back down the road to our house
and stole another memory from this mourning child.
How sad the hungry babe,
reaching for the breast no longer there.
My mouth twitched in silent, useless suckles
as I groped with tiny fingers for long brown hair
no longer dangling there.
Without warning, you, too, were suddenly gone,
snatched from my screaming, frantic grasp,
leaving no memories of your laughing eyes.
I can't quite remember your kisses
on the warm folds of my neck
as I giggled and shrieked with delight.
Only one-dimensional treasures are stored in my memory bank.
Photographs of two lovers on their wedding day.
Disheveled rompers at the beach in funny, baggy wool swimsuits,
with their toes buried in the warm golden sand.
A laughing, waving babe held close by loving arms
in front of a Berkeley house on a shade-dappled street.
A thin, yellowed scrap of a worn obituary column,
creased from opening and refolding, as if in disbelief.
A sapphire wedding ring, a tiny size 4,
wrapped in ivory tissue in a small red silk box.
A gold pocket watch with a long thin chain,
given to a grandson unknown to its owner.
But you left me a two-dimensional memory after all, Mama,
in your wonderful, treasured diary,
of what it's like to be sixteen and in love.
For three summer months you filled the pink pages,
in your precise slanting, slightly faded blue script,
with your feelings about papa and the secrets you shared.
I can remember you both vividly now,
because you left your lonely graves to enter my heart.
My own three-dimensional creations are now safe,
forever protected by your diary's silvery clasp.