This is a story of my brother, John. He was a very complex figure in my life and for the rest of my family members, I suspect. As the youngest I was shielded from the more intriguing family matters, so I can not be certain of how others felt about him. Though the mixed emotions that I had for John would be clearly defined one day.
His fine intellect was not always apparent as he held people’s attention at the level of his mysterious and sometimes frightening countenance. I admired and respected him, though. I could see beyond that to another part of him, I thought. I was so pleased believing he was able to see that I could be trusted, and talk to me the way that I wanted, without looking down and making exceptions for the little sister. He always had my respect and admiration. And he would come to be my hero.
He saved my spirit and I loved him for the incredible bravery and generosity that he brought forth on my behalf. He put himself in harms way for me in regard to a matter that we never shared with anyone.
That night, when I returned home, John was there and quickly realized something had gone wrong in my life. He demanded to know the trouble and when I told him about what transpired, his disposition immediately changed. He took control of my fear with a response seeming to reveal at least a part of his mysterious nature. He was completely prepared for the situation that I presented to him, so much so that I feared for his safety. Thank heaven, my prayers were answered and no one was confronted that night, but not for lack of John bringing his considerable might to the situation. He went looking for the person involved but could not find him.
John was consumed by the incident so I left him alone to settle down in the aftermath, so that we might, after a reasonable interval, enjoy something of our usual repartee on the ride home. But we had a completely silent ride in our parent’s car, which as I recall, he had started without the benefit of a key. He was so enraged, there was no asking permission which would not have been granted.
His bravery saved me from the depths. Selflessly, he brought all that he had to my defense. He healed me then and even now, I feel he shields me from the memory. Unless I make the decision to recall that day, it is far away from my life. And, when and I do, with each recollection, what I remember is more of John. It is the amazing thing that I’ve noticed. It is the love that remains…and grows!
Years had gone by without a thought of the summer at my grandparents farm in Virginia. Then suddenly one day it was there, this forgotten experience, unprovoked and effortlessly revealing itself to me to become my little book of 50 pages.
This extraordinary childhood experience took place in 1957. As I wrote, I felt the warmth and comfort of that time so long ago and so very dear to me now. I was unaware of how much meaning it had brought to my life, this glimpse into their world. It was written with love and a deep and ever-growing appreciation for my family. It might well have been entitled , “The Gift”.
You try to bond with, love, or at least strive for acceptance with some people. But it seems impossible to get beyond a certain point with them. Then one day, you realize that the only reason you have to continue trying is to keep alive the notion that with perseverance you will eventually succeed.
It may be necessary to protect yourself from investing more time because your spirit is at stake in these situations. It almost feels like war, the relentless discussion without end, disguised as intelligent discourse…you’re just not getting it. But why not? You’re using everything at your disposal; being as honest, open, and true as you can possibly be. You’ve been invited to the party but you are the only one there.
You realize the need to take care of yourself, to take the things that you offer from a situation that seems only to reject or belittle your every attempt.
Family is fertile ground for this pointless excursion to nowhere. It is here where it is most difficult to discern the machinations, because surely love exists and isn’t that what we are hoping to experience and isn’t this the place where we want it most? But it can be a minefield of deception that may take years to realize. And that may be all there is to that!
Alas, the classic move is when much later, you are confronted with the person, seeking your attention now. Where have you been after all…rather demanding as a matter of fact, perhaps there is a degree of anger for you’ve given up the pursuit of their approval. This is where you get to say a few choose words if you wish. But as valid as that may seem, you feel little inclination in that direction. Geez…
“Dear Lord, Make me a bird so I can fly far, far far away from here.”
Jenny from “Forrest Gump”
Nevertheless, be love and enjoy the beauty of the day, everyday…create something!
My brother John Issac was an enigmatic sort of person. He was 4 1/2 years my senior and next in line with me so at times we’d play, if he had nothing else to do that is. He was a risk taker, a little dark, unapproachable, impenetrable, and brilliant. I looked forward to the times when I was allowed access to his inner-sanctum.
His bedroom was collection of unusual, mysterious objects. With the general feeling that he’d over looked the placing of a skull and crossbones, I imagined it there above the door of his bedroom.
There was, among his collection of things, a bottle of mercury. How he came upon the substance is quite another story I am sure. As with most other matters concerning my brother, I never knew the answer to that question.
In my mind, his character is brilliantly revealed with the event of one particular day. He might have been 16 years old then and I, 11 or 12. We were alone in his bedroom. His mischievous expression, always prelude to something unexpected, commanded my full attention as he opened his sock drawer and reached to the back for a little brown bottle. It was filled to only 1/4 capacity. John told me to be very careful and still as he placed the bottle in my hand. The weight was extraordinary. Grinning, he took it back, unscrewed the top and spilled the contents of the bottle onto the floor. It dispersed to all directions into the tiniest of little silver balls. Using a piece of cardboard John scrapped the floor coaxing one ball toward another. When the two made contact they instantly became one which he pushed toward the next until they formed one large silver puddle. There was no trace of reside left behind. It seemed like magic to me. John used the torn edge of another piece of cardboard like a dustpan pushing the silver ball onto it with the first piece. Then he curved the board with the mercury into a funnel shape and artfully poured it back into the little brown bottle. John beamed triumphant. I was speechless.
They would that you never realize your brilliance.
They would that you never live a day knowing your truth, your strength, your creativity.
They would break you into bits, conviscatible little pieces.
They would absorb these parts of you to become one with them…mercuracle.
A great gust would take away what’s left of you…perhaps as far as a desert!
Your bones could bleach there under the heat of the sun.
With the stolen pieces they attempt to realize how you are but they can’t. They can only express a gross misinterpretation of your intention.
And in failing they feel contempt and loathing for ever having taken notice of you.
What a collossal waste of precious time!
Will they ever come to realize the beauty and wonder residing within themselves?
No matter…be Love, be generous, glorious you. Inspire!
We tend to forget many of the events of our lives. Some, though we may not think of them when they occur as pertinent or relevant, remain with us somewhere deep inside.
In the midst of struggling with my life’s complexities, I was presented with the most amazing gift. A long forgotten memory suddenly emerged and I began to write. Effortlessly, with every detail that I could recall I was gifted another, until all of the shapes and colors were there within a my 50-page novelette.
It is a story from my childhood which took place in 1950s on a farm in Virginia. As I wrote the words I felt warm and comforting support for a time that I spent with my grandparents, so very dear to me now. Until the time of writing, I was unaware of how much meaning that summer with my grandparent’s had brought to my life. And how impossible that it remained safe in my heart all along It was written with love and a deep and ever-growing appreciation for my family. It might well have been entitled , “The Gift”.
Here is an excerpt.
Two Little Girls
As far as I was concerned, summer began with the day my father installed the screens in the windows. Early that morning, Mother would have taken the summer sheers from storage to the clothesline in our backyard. By the afternoon, she swooped up the freshened bundle and brought them back indoors to hang on the rods at the tops of the windows. When the transformation was complete, I’d run from room to room to see the curtains flying on the breeze that raced in through the windows of our big old house. Like a magical invitation to adventures possible only with summer, when one day melted into the next and no one asked about the time, I felt that I could fly too and that anything could happen.
There were 5 children in my family. My brother Lionel was the oldest; my sister Cecilia was next, followed by my sister Rose, then my brother Isaac, and me. We spent summertime totally absorbed in keeping pace with our friends as was our Mother in keeping up with us. She mended our scraped knees, our bruised egos, and the holes in my brothers’ dungarees. I remember lemonade and tuna sandwiches, cotton sun dresses and hair ribbons; the pennies I collected for the corner candy store, and my ankle socks that never stayed up. Summers seemed much longer then when hopscotch and jump rope, hide-and-seek and tag, dress-up and make believe, with my bicycle, my dolls and friends filled the days until supper time. When August finally came around, among the five of us someone would be chosen to vacation with our grandparents in the country. It was in the year 1957 that I was to spend my first summer there.
I’d thought so often about my first trip to the farm. But like the landing of a cascading boulder, my mother’s cheerful delivery of this summer’s plan completely shattered my vision of it. Leaving little room for the way that reality alters things but similar to most events concerning “the children”, I was quite certain of my unvarying reverie. It was always the same. My brothers and sisters are running through a country field with me, very happily and as usual, following close behind. But everything had been arranged and I alone would spend two weeks on the farm that year.
My family had gathered in the living room when Mother made the announcement. But my frustrating lack of enthusiasm was like a call to dinner in emptying the room of everyone and I found myself alone, save for the dog. While I struggled with the concept of being on my own, Spiky jumped onto the couch next to me. Placing his head upon my foot he kept a concerned and watchful eye over my disposition until we both fell asleep.
Later that day, I listened to Dad’s recollections of farm life adventures while Mother prepared supper. As she filled in with the finer points and particulars she’d taken note of my mixed feelings with her knowing smile that always took the sharp edges off of things. “Don’t forget that your cousin Joanna is just about your age and lives close to Grandpa‘s”, she nearly whispered. Then I thought of the pocket inside the little green suitcase as the place where my Jacks would find a perfect fit.
~~~~~~~ Truth is Beauty is Love ~~~~~~
You are amazing. Create something beautiful today!