Saturday, April 9, 2011



My four older brothers and one younger sister could readily recall childhood events as full-color motion picture shows. My own recollections are more like Brownie box camera snapshots - with some extensive blank spaces of time between them. Consequently, I thought my brothers were making up whoppers of stories or, at least, exaggerating as siblings often do.

~ In my adult years, long forgotten snapshot memories do occasionally surface, rather like an image coming into view as it developed in the darkroom. It would simply appear before me and shout "Surprise!"

~ One surprise recollection was related to my second or, probably, third birthday. On that day my Aunt Emma came to visit. I did not like her. She was big and fat and loud and bossy. She seemed to think she was more important than anyone else. She was so awful she made my mother cry! I figured out her meanness at an early age and stayed as far away from her as I could.

~ On this particular day, however, I was plunked into the high chair that usually stood in a corner of our dining room. Perhaps Aunt Emma needed my chair since all the family was gathered at the big round table as we did every evening for dinner. With everyone else seated, my mother would carry in hot dishes of food to serve her large brood, but on this day Mother carried in a huge, empty glass bowl which she set on the high chair tray in front of me. Aunt Emma, with great ceremony, began to open white paper bakery bags and slowly pour beautiful cookies into the empty glass bowl. She must have repeated the process with three or four bags until the bowl was filled to the top with cookies - my most favorite things in the world.

~ I was surely surprised and overwhelmed. I have always loved cookies - especially those big buttery ones that come from a really good bakery. Who could ask for a better birthday gift?

~ That cookie birthday is the only time I remember Aunt Emma involved in anything that brought pleasure to someone else. It was important to my mother that I always treat her with respect (and I did). Even remembering this birthday, however, I never did like Aunt Emma.

~ The simple joy of this childhood memory is a single snapshot of a frail, little girl, her arms wrapped around a giant glass bowl filled with cookies. It was Paradise - and I'm not exaggerating.

~ April 9, 2011. I won the EMERY AWARD for my story "Childhood Memories." Each month, members of TwinLakesWriters are invited to write a brief piece on an assigned topic which they then read for attendees who vote for their favorite presentation. The winning author is presented with the Emery Award - a hand-made wooden box containing a Red Canoe. I liken it to the Stanley Cup for hockey in that it travels with the winner until the next playoff. In this TwinLakesWriters organization, the Red Canoe floats on, each month, to the next writer and winner of the Emery Award. ~ Also see: & Nancy yTe ~

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