Destination: Memory Lane
by Grace Sammon
In the last few years of my Dad’s life, he liked to sit in the evening, in what he called the dark of the evening, and remember. Sometimes I was enthralled by stories of his days in early radio and television. I was intrigued by his invention of the wireless microphone or the shoulder television camera. I ate up his stories of spending days with someone like Marilyn Monroe, President Harry, and First Lady Bess Truman. In truth, sometimes I was frustrated and inattentive at an oft-repeated story or the simple telling of a tale I could not care less about. Now, decades later, especially as the year draws to a close, I find myself in the dark of the evening – remembering.
I wonder where the kitchen tables, intended for six and over-packed with fourteen Aunts and Uncles and oh so many cousins, went. Does anyone still keep boards under beds to be laid across kitchen chairs turning them into benches so everyone has a place at the table? Will I stumble across, in a random thrift store, a set of Welch’s Grape Jelly Jars turned “Flintstone Drinking Glasses?” I remember taking my first sips of Chianti at those crowded tables.
I look at the photos of those days, and of the photo of “the kids' table” once we had moved from Brooklyn to Long Island. There are people in the pictures that my siblings and I can’t identify, surely a friend-of-a-friend who was welcomed in to share the occasion, whatever the occasion happened to be. I close my eyes, and I can smell my Mother’s arancini, savoring it. I can remember the laughter, the special sisterhood of the women cleaning up in the kitchen, and the fellowship of the men chatting at the table. In truth, I miss their voices and their stories. But, I’m grateful for the lesson of how important it is to share our stories. In the dark of the evening, it’s the stories that allow the trips to Memory Lane.
Here’s to you heading into 2022 with a year’s worth of good stories to share and with a wish that your new year is ready for more.