Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pearl's Red Hair Ribbon

While in Oregon my mom and I worked quite a bit on family history.  I found this story about my grandma and her brother when they were in an orphanage, and thought it would be cool to digitilize it, along with the photo I took of the actual Red Hair Ribbon.  So here it is, Pearl's Red Hair Ribbon by Brother John:

Being at Kemmerer Home for awhile, I soon learned that pretense was used all the time to keep kids from knowing what was actually happening.  If a child was being taken for placement, that child's brother or sister was called to the basement.  Always the basement.  When the child came from the basement, his or her sister was gone.  I really remember the procedure when my good friend Donald Evans left that way.  It really hurt.
Keep in mind this is mid-to-late 1930's.
On this day, we kids were playing at the weeping willow tree near the front porch.  Tag was the game.
Mr Rector (Parent) called for me to come to the basement locker room.  I started walking.  "Hi Johnny", yelled Pearl.  I looked up at the porch.  Pearl was dressed in her good clothes.  Not her play clothes.  I then realized it was happening again to me.  I started crying but kept on walking.  At the basement Mr. Rector turned into the locker room.  I turned opposite and ran into the laundry room and out the side door.  As I opened the door, the car Pearl was in drove past me.  I ran for the car.  "Pearl," I yelled, "wait".  I reached inside the car window.  I remember grabbing Pearl's arm and head.  I remember touching her hair.  The car sped down the driveway and off grounds.  I ran to the hedge row and stopped.  I was crying now.  "Pearl, come back.  You can have all my marbles," I yelled.  By now the car was passed the caregiver's house.
I watched the car disappear way down the road.  "Pearl come back," I said to myself.  I dropped to the ground crying.  The car was completely gone from sight now.  "Pearl's gone.  I can't play tag anymore with her,"  I said to myself.
I felt my hand.  I looked down.  Pearl's Red Hair Ribbon.  I touched it.  It is!  I put it in my pocket and ran for the house.  Upstairs in the bedroom, I folded the ribbon and put it in a small Christmas box I had in my drawer, not knowing 49-50 years from then, I would be handing Pearl's Red Hair Ribbon to her.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dorm Room Dread

This past week I decided to start thinking realistically about moving to England, and what I should or should not take with me.  Mostly because I am uber sentimental and I will need a few months to say goodbye to the things that I have to leave behind.  I thought that I was doing a good job of being realistic, in my mind narrowing down the list of items to be packed.  I reached what I thought was a good balance of leaving the things I don't actually need and taking enough "essential" possessions (essential emotionally perhaps, not necessarily physically).
Then I googled images of my dorm room.  

How will I fit anything?
I don't know why I am so sentimental and attached to things that remind me of the past.  My mom is the complete opposite, and throws away EVERYTHING.  But I can't.  Even as I was packing my books, it was the most heart-wrenching, soul-crushing, agonizing event ever, thinking that I wouldn't be able to see those books for another 2 years, at least.
The worst thing so far was the realization that I shouldn't take my painting.  It is my all time most prized possession.  Not only is it gorgeous, but it represents so much to me.  It is a symbol of all that Italy was for me, and what a gift that was from God.  But I have to leave it behind.  It costs way too much to ship over, and once there, I really don't have a place to put it.  I feel as if I am stripping away every ounce of my identity, leaving all of myself behind as I step into a new world.
It's always an exciting process, to move.  You get to reinvent yourself, throw out bad habits you developed in a prior location, start new good habits you've been wanting in try.  In my 29 1/2 years, I've moved 26 times, and I've gotten so used to becoming a different version of myself that I sometimes wonder what parts of me are actually real.
I was reading an old journal the other day where all I did was talk about baseball and how obsessed I was with it and how it was the purpose of my life and everything I did.  Anybody who has met me in the past 4 years from the various cities I've lived would probably be shocked by that statement.  Only a slight handful of people would even know that I don't mind watching a baseball game, and perhaps only 3 or 4 times in 4 years have I had a decent baseball conversation where it could be inferred that I know a thing or two about the sport.  To anybody else it would seem like a minuscule, almost non-existent part of my personality.    But as I read that journal entry, I wept.  It was like re-reading a letter from a best friend or a family member who had moved away and I would never see again, or who had died.  I missed that person terribly.  I missed their confidence, their joy, their passion, their ambition.
The hardest thing for me as I read that journal entry, is knowing that I can never be that person again.  Even as I mourn the loss of baseball in my life, I know there isn't a place for it in my current life.  Not like it was anyway.  Clearly, I'll still go to a game or two.  I'll root for the Red Sox, I'll curse the Yankees.  But I will never be that person again.
And here I am once more, on the brink of another life change.  Unlike the previous changes, I will literally have nothing of my old life with me, connecting me to the past.  But perhaps I shouldn't complain, this new regeneration could be my favorite one yet.  I'm not going to lie though, someday it would be nice to stop changing.  Someday it would be nice to be someone for a long time, and to be with the same people for a long time.  Of course, with strict visa/labor laws kicking me out of England as soon as I finish grad school, this dream certainly isn't foreseeable in the next few years.  But maybe someday.