Misty water-colored memories


Now you, too, can have that song stuck in your head.

I am going through boxes upon boxes of family memorabilia that have been in storage since the Enlightenment. It’s amazing the things we hold onto. Three of the four members of my immediate family have packrat tendencies, with me quite possibly leading the charge.

It has been very satisfying to throw away/recycle decades’ worth of papers and photos and things we kept for rainy days. Photographs of people whose names I’ve forgotten. Blank cards I thought I might someday use. A notebook from college about the Protestant Reformation, with one-sided conversations scrawled in the margins to whomever was sitting next to me.

Throwing away that stuff made it possible to unearth other mementos that are worth holding onto, like my dad’s birth certificate, a war rations book, a ribbon from the 1956 New York World’s Fair. Letters my dad wrote his parents from the army. Cards my mom wrote to my dad before they were married (n0t to worry, I didn’t read them). Homemade gifts and cards from my sister and me. My birth announcement. My childhood autograph books. A program from the pinnacle of my theatrical career: June 22, 1980, 3:00 pm, The Westchester Children’s Theatre Workshop Presents “The Music Man” (with 9-year-old me playing Amaryllis). A script to an episode of “Different Strokes” signed by the inimitable Conrad Bain. (Actually, it’s just the cover, and yes you may have it.)

These boxes have been sitting by my desk taunting me for months, and I finally went through them and discarded more mercilessly than ever before. I feel lighter. I want to do a lot more of this.

I have set a goal of finishing this next draft by the end of June – forgive me if I already mentioned this. After that comes intense copyediting, than I start pitching the thing in August. Exciting, terrifying, unwieldy. Since I can’t run off to New Orleans every week, and I need a space to work on this, I’ve applied to join a writers’ room in town for the month of June, with the option to extend. I had a trial day there on Tuesday and it was great – space for about 60 people, good lighting, quiet except for the sound of typing (in the workspace; there’s a lounge area/kitchen where one can “conversate”, as my Uber driver said yesterday).

That said, in streamlining the storyline, I will be expanding certain elements, including the New Orleans section. So I was wrong, I do need to get back down there soon.

Miss those moss-covered vines, the tall sugar pines, and all the rest. Including the best iced coffee I’ve ever had, at Café Rose Nicaud.

Last night I dreamt I was in a park trying to meditate and was interrupted by a bear (I dream about bears a lot), then an ostrich, then some elephants. I said to my meditating partner, “If we see a hippo I’m out of here.” And that was the end of the dream. Feel free to analyze.

Please send my sweet Lou a telepathic happy birthday wish! He’s 14 today, or 98, depending on who you ask …



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