Memories Come Flooding Back

This morning I was "thumbing" through my computer and came across a couple of sites that grabbed my interest. Perhaps, those of you that read, you may recall some time ago I mentioned family and generations. I went on to say that, statistically, "we" are generally able to personally recall 3 generations of our family's past. This does not include those who make a study of or professionally follow their family trees. This involves you and me. Some of us perhaps just abit more and many of us somewhat fewer than that "3".

Up popped on screen the names and photographs of persons, now deceased, whom I was very familiar with over the years. As I read each name memories washed across my mind. "I remember when he did this"; "Oh yeah, she said that when she was .." As I read each name and looked at each photo these memories stirred others about my own family's history. A television personality during the 50's stirred memories of what my grandmother was doing at a particular moment in time. With these memories I also felt and sensed remembers sounds, words, smells, activities. I remembered a cold winter morning in Oklahoma when my mother was getting me dressed for my trudge to first grade. I recalled stepping out the door and listening to the snow crunch beneath my smelly rubber boots, my nose suddenly beginning to run and burn from the cold. I heard the voices of my pals walking up the road by my home where I would join them. I recalled that first leave in the military when I spent Christmas with my grandparents. My grandfather and I made oyster dressing for the meal. Later he sat and played his guitar and sang blues songs in the living room. He told me about his terror when he and his company sprang from their trenches and ran, screaming, across "No Man's Land" to fight the Germans. About the cold and the rain and the mud. The great bus rides to downtown and the Roy Rogers movies. I smelled popcorn again. Water gun fights with my pal, J.C. Higgins. Sunburns. Visits to my grandparents were always high water marks for me. Loved to listen to him play guitar and sing the blues. I would sing along when I knew the words. My grandmother's cooking - Wow! Listening to music on the radio. Frankie Laine, loved the Big Bands.

I "thumbed" to another site and discovered the stage names and actual names of stars, most now long deceased, and scrolled down those names. Each name, once again, bringing back memories of many, many years ago. Sometime around 1943 or 44 I remember a huge sign near our apartment with John Wayne in pilot's gear advertising "Flying Leathernecks". This brought to mind peering at the Oklahoma TIre and Supply across the street from our apartment that I looked at out the window each night around the same time. Another name, another memory.

I stopped and thought again about family. I remember the farm in Arkansas where my great grandmother lived from around the turn of the 20th Century. I remembered the smell of the wood stove in the kitchen, the water pump on the cabinet and drawing water from the well for the brown urn on the kitchen cabinet. Yes, and that terrible Outhouse! Remember that too. I remembered tales of family moving across country in horse pulled wagons, of camping beneath trees, of wood fires and iron cooking pots, coffee boiling at the edge of the fire. Moves from Virginia, from Texas. Resting for a couple days beside a river and in the shade of huge trees.

All this from "thumbing" through the computer. I sat this morning and remembered. I saw faces I have not seen in 30, 50, 60 years. I heard names not spoken in over a hundred years except to a wide-eyed little boy drinking in family stories. I stood before graves and read, in my mind's eye. the epitaphs of grandfathers and grandmothers. of great grand parents, of mother and father.

Should you read this, and it is doubtful that you will, perhaps you will sit for atime and remember. Try it. It is very rewarding and afterward you will catch from time to time, just a snippet of a conversation, a smell, a laugh, crying, the first bicycle, a couple of those special Christmases long forgotten but suddenly vividly in your eyes. When you grandmother held your hand and you walked down that path beneath those trees and she told you about when she was a wee girl in those wagons, those horses.

Yesterday, today and .........

David Stanley is a La Mesa resident and a member of LaMesaToday.com.

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Comment by chris shea on August 22, 2013 at 1:03pm

You should never underestimate the power of writing from the heart like this.  It invites people in, which is what you really want to do when you're trying to share something meaningful.  Nice job.

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