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John Palcewski's Journal

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Summer, 1954, Youngstown, Ohio.

I’m twelve, and I just learned my mother was not dead but living on the other side of town. That’s her, in the photo below the cut.

She was 32 and gorgeous, but her eyes always showed a chronic sadness. Bully, President Teddy Roosevelt's nickname, later became my step father. By trade he was an iron worker, and ran a weekend bookie operation out of his living room. In great contrast to my father Chester, Bully slowly nursed a single shot glass of Seagram’s 7 as he took calls from the three phones on his coffee table. He never took notes, he kept everything in his head. I never saw him drunk, not once. Never saw my mother drunk, either.

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Hi, John! As for me it's very sad to look through old pictures.

It's unavoidable--especially if you are writing a memoir!

I saw your name on the list of ljers who visited my blog, so I thought I'd stop by. Mind if I add you? It's nice to see some life left in livejournal.

Thanks for your interest, ariadnelives, and welcome aboard!

Huh. So how long had you been under the impression that your mom was dead? I can see why you would've looked happy to learn she was alive after all.

My father told me my mother was dead when I was six or seven, and I was twelve when I finally learned--from a next door neighbor named Caroline--that she was still alive, and what's more regularly called Caroline to ask how I was doing. All this happened half a century ago, but now that I'm working on my memoir it seems like only yesterday.

In the making of 'memory'

dear friend,
how's your life?
it's been a while since I heard you laughed,
I, sometimes, reading of you,
dream of you so clearly,
in this making of 'memory'

I thought:
our past days surely were bad, were beautiful,
the things keep our memory books so full.
the things we left unchanged are so many,
in this making of 'memory'

dear friend,
where have you been?
your day, your time,
do you still have that memory?
we live our lives now, differently.
better or not? I don't know...
we are, but for the making of another 'memory'

Re: In the making of 'memory'

An excellent and moving poem which captures the great paradox of searching the past: We want to remember clearly, but sometimes we can't...or won't. And in examining the bones in an archeological excavation, how can we know if our interpretation is correct? Or if indeed the bones are those of who we think they are.

In the end we have to say to ourselves: "What do we make of this?" The key word is "make." We are obliged to shape the experiences that have shaped us.

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