Saturday, August 23, 2014

I Hit The Ground Running

Another Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street excerpt
(For an introduction to this memoir in progress, see "Prelude")

The Pilgrimage

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sue and I have made a very special, long-in-the planning trip to Elyria, Ohio, the place of my birth and childhood. I have not been there for more than thirty years. For more decades than I care to remember I have not laid eyes upon the places we will visit.

We arrive on Friday at the home of my cousin, Sallie, where we will stay.  Sisterhood among the three of us is our central organizing principle.

Friday evening, following dinner, Sue goes to bed early, tired after our eight hour plus drive from Maryland. Sallie and I stay up until almost 4:00 a.m. We have lots to talk about, family news to catch up on, photographs to see, hearts to expand, as if we could tolerate more abundance than the vastness we each contain for one another.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

We awaken to a dreary day and a feast of lox and bagels. By early afternoon the rain has cleared and our essential mission, beyond sisterhood bonding, is set in motion.

I have a detailed itinerary to guide us. Sue will drive, Sallie navigate a tour around the town. We will visit each and every place of my too-soon-cut short, idyllic childhood. By day’s end only the hospital where I was born is not included.

So we get started on an adventure, a pilgrimage to the mecca where my heart and soul are celebrated. Both are in need of healing a small child’s wounds. Little do we realize what is in store. As the day unfolds, however, it becomes clearer and clearer; “the goddess is alive and magic is afoot.” By day’s end our mission accomplished, I have revisited the most important sites of my core self and revived parts of me, sealed and buried a long time ago.

Most significant, as it turns out, is my visit to my elementary school. Sue and Sallie, now functioning as midwives for an unexpected rebirth in me, drop me off in front of the school. I get out of the car, eagerly, with a certainty of purpose, walking up the sidewalk leading to the front entrance.

Then something pops in me; a heightened awakening of my child’s heart and soul. Nearing the building I recognize the steps I mounted on my very first day of school, the doorway I crossed that day.

A concrete slab above marks the building as being erected in 1921. This is the starting place, old or renewed, of the steps I walked up and the threshold I, originally, crossed to formal education and learning. My Ely School “feels” the same as the day I started kindergarten.

Sue and Sallie have now been directed to get out my way as I continue a private exploration of my once familiar turf. I walk around “my school,” taking photographs, remembering. I see the windows of my first grade classroom. They wait in the parking lot behind. 

Soon one spot feels out of sync. The playground has been moved! And I do not like it!

Hurriedly I seek out the old spot. All that remains is a concrete area.  Still, for me it is “my playground.” I walk over to it and “feel” the familiarity. In an instant, a second pop bursts in me! And I, absolutely, know what I must do next.

I hit the ground running!

Actually I am walking exuberantly, striding with intention, joy and determination. With a purity of body, mind and spirit I had forgotten, I am “walking home from school.”  In my body I “feel” myself on the last day of my young life -- before tragedy hit. My body, remembering the last day before the birth and death of my newborn sister changed everything. Walking home, I even recognize a same crack in the sidewalk or so I imagine it.

At my house, at least on the surface, all is just as I left it many years ago.

As I “hit the ground running” and, then, reach my house, past, present and unknown future converge. I am, at least momentarily, conscious of me as all one whole integrated piece in motion forward.

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