Friday, October 14, 2011


This picture was posted on Facebook this morning by my friend Frugalmom, at Fancyin' the Farm life. The caption reads "an intense game of Memory going on here."

Memory. My memory is that my sister, Teri, and I always called that game Concentration. We played it with our best friend, Ginger. She lived next door, and Mom started babysitting Ginger when she and Teri were 2 months old. We were constant playmates as children, and best friends as teens. Teri and Ginger were best girlfriends as adults, and I considered Ginger a second sister.

As kids, Teri and Ginger and I would kick our game of Memory up a notch by stringing our cards from one end of the house to the other. The 2 of Spades might be on my bedroom floor, while the 2 of Diamonds sat in one of Mom's plant stands. X-games? We started them in a small 3-bedrooom ranch in 1969.

My sister passed away 2 years ago, and Ginger died when she was 30, from an asthma attack. She left her husband and 2 young sons here with us. I am lately often melancholy about my lost loves.

At the same time I ache for them, I have a wonderful renewed appreciation of all that I have left.

I have referred to this summer of 2011 as "My Summer of Nostalgia."
  • In late June, my cousin Susie, whom I have not seen in 30+ years, sent me a note indicating she'd be in town, and maybe we could scrape together a few other cousins for lunch? Three weeks later, 40 Stewart-types gathered for a cookout. As my immediate family grows smaller, I hold my cousins nearer and dearer—dearer than they will probably ever know. Notes from many of them through Teri's illness kept me afloat.
  • My 30th class reunion was in July. Seeing so many friends in one place is a blast, and reminiscing about Teri was also sweet. Dan P. told me that to this day he drives with one hand, because my father told him, in a high-school shop class, that all of the best drivers do. I talked to Dan P. for all of 5 minutes that evening, but he gave me a gift: something new about my Dad, 10 years after his passing.
  • A new Facebook group put me back in touch with over 200 people that were part of our lives in the 70s and 80s, when my father was drag racing. Photos and stories have been brought to my attention, and more memories come to life.
Posted by my cousin Dan Stewart, on the racing Facebook site.
This was Dad's second car, out of 3.
  •  Last month Clint and I met up with two of those racing friends, a couple of boys from Bement, IL that used to drop in to visit me and Teri during our high school years. This drove my Dad batshit crazy. For those of you that know how big my Dad was, you'd know those boys were either brave or insane. I'll confess right now, and admit that I was a tad nervous about meeting up after 30 years—what if they were jackasses they didn't like me anymore? Worry was all for naught; we fell right back into our respective roles, and I laughed like I haven't laughed in years. We'd still be there laughing right now if Clint and I hadn't had to take our leave for another engagement. 

I am in love with my Summer of Nostalgia.

I feel blessed with every story, photo, and connection, and I am more prone, lately, to being jarred into waxing about long lost memories. Jarred, I tell you! Frugalmom's photo sent me racing to the keyboard with all of this!


I suddenly want to write about games of Concentration that spread through every room in the house. I want to tell you that Teri and Ginger and I made go-go boots from mud, and tried to feed our dead goldfish to a cat named Snoopy. I remember a painting of Susie's, a tree silhoutted on orange background, that hung in our Grandmother's house. And that guy on my left punched me in the eye when he took a swing at my high school boyfriend and missed.

Actually, I *totally* forgot about getting punched, but it sure was fun giving him crap when I was reminded.

That's how things are lately. Maybe it's my age; maybe it's recovering from the storm that was the last 5 years. Maybe it will pass, this sentimental, sappy side of me that I have poo-poo'd all of my life.

I seriously hope not.

Because I love this.