Category Archives: memories

I Remember

So there is this other thing going on on Facebook that I am totally late for. I have to say, I am very bad at keeping up with trends. Everyone is posting updates asking for their first memories from other people. Basically, what is your first/best/favorite memory of me? I am asking that on here, plus, because I am late, I will post all the ones I missed, or may have missed. I would totally repost this to Facebook, except it would have to be broken up into several bits, and we all know how people love having their feed clogged by my multiple postings. So, despite that probably half of these people don’t read my blog, here is my list of memories of other people.

Tanya: I remember coming to class once, and you were sitting in my chair talking to Ari. I stood there quietly, patiently, waiting for you to leave. You turned, noticed me, and just shrugged. Twenty plus years later… hello.

Stephanie: You were in my English class in middle school. You knew everyone else I knew, and you still do. You were my bridesmaid.

Arianna: You sat behind me in homeroom in middle school. I didn’t know that years later I would still be going to your family Christmas party and driving four hundred miles to help you move. I also remember the trip to San Francisco together six years ago. You sat beside me feeding me powdered donuts so I wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel. I was driving Stephanie’s car.

Cam: I met you at Maury’s house. You were there, I was confused, but little did I know you were more confused than me. We have had an interesting relationship. You, too, were my bridesmaid. And I was your maid of honor.

S: You quoted Coleridge to me, and taught me Catch 22. I graded your papers when you were too tired, and gave all of your students very good grades.

B: You and your sister taught me how to build a coy pond. I wasn’t listening, but was fascinated by the pretty pictures.

Arick: You proposed to me in the midnight line to Harry Potter. I was pregnant with your daughter.

Casey: You were about to move in with my best friend. I was skeptical about your abilities, but really I was jealous that you were taking her away from me. Now we are planning a lunch to discuss our short stories, and we get along just fine. It only took over a decade.

Sean: We were walking across a parking lot and you found a Hello Kitty charm, picked it up and gave it to me. Twelve years later I still have it. It is on my black purse. I don’t wear it often, but when I do, I think of you.

M: You told me I reminded you of Lady Macbeth. I liked that, and hope I still do. We sat at the Coffee Bean for over three hours talking and laughing.

Allie: We worked a shift together at the mall many years ago. I thought you were strange, you thought I was strange, and now we spend special events together.

Hannah: I met you in theory class. We didn’t really talk, but then in Victorian Lit we became friends, and have kept it up.

Mary: I met you at a party, and you said we would be friends. I didn’t fight you on it. So far so good.

Julian: I remember you sitting in your apartment, listening to Rush and trying to finish your dissertation while I was in the kitchen trying to reorganize your Ikea utensils. And then if I remember correctly you baked me a chocolate cake that night. I think. That part is a little fuzzy.

Trish: I met you in my first year of college. You taught me to smoke during finals week behind Royce Hall, and I nearly choked my first time. You would sit with me at Northern Lights and watch me hand write my papers before typing them up because you thought it was inspirational.

George: In high school we would sing B-52 songs at lunch, and you would take pictures of me that I would later get developed at Thrifty’s. I still have a couple of them.

Jason: I don’t know why, but one of my memories of you is at your house as your mom was teaching me how to wash dishes properly, telling me that unless I wear gloves I will ruin my soft hands. I think I still have one of the skirts she sewed for me.

David: I remember when you and Jason broke up for the first time and you were in quite a state. I came over and you turned your garden hose on me. I can’t for the life of me remember what we argued about, but I remember getting wet. I think it was years before I went to your house again. It’s good to know we are still friends fifteen years later.

Ian: I met you at Tanya’s wedding. You and Jason made a very cute couple, and you were the only one who got me to dance.

Aaron: My favorite memory of you is my most recent when we met for drinks in Emmeryville last time I drove up north. Those little sausage things we ordered were delicious!

James: I remember the first time you introduced me to your family as your girlfriend because you were too scared to tell anyone you were into men. I have been attending your family functions for thirteen years as your girlfriend. I think they are expecting us to get married soon.

Henry: That time I told you your coffee was heavenly and I didn’t care that you were gay. I told you I wanted to marry you for your coffee and that James would totally understand. I am sorry, I was drunk on amazing French pressed caffeine. I guess we could just be friends.

Ashlyn: We were out in a parking lot, talking. It was the first time we really talked, outside of socially mandated niceties, and it was good.

I am probably leaving a bunch of people out. I am sorry, but I can’t possibly mention every person I know. However, if you *really* want me to tell you one of my first/best memories of you, then email me, and I will do so.

Memories of My Grandmother

Today my grandmother turned 96. I emailed my aunt to wish her a good day. I can just picture my grandmother sitting at the table asking my aunt to “turn on the box” to read it (referring to the computer), or “turn on the little box” (laptop) if she is in bed. She likes to read my emails, even when she doesn’t understand what I am saying.No, I don’t write in English, but I do so many things that she just doesn’t have any concept of, it all sounds very strange. She has never driven a car, and even though she has been in them she can’t wrap her head around the distances I drive each day simply to get to and from work mainly because she has never lived outside a large metropolitan area where you walk everywhere, and driving is reserved for special excursions to the country side or the beach (4 hour drive from where they are). Grocery stores are still a new concept for her, as opposed to specialty shops for everything (bakery, diary market, butcher shop, farmer’s market). When I write to her telling her how my week has been, or what I have been up to, it is not so much that she doesn’t understand (she has an idea of *what* these things are), but she doesn’t understand, which is also a result of her progressing years, where certain things just aren’t clear anymore.

I remember when I was little my dad and I used to write her letters. They would be long, spanning several days, in the style of journals, and once they became thick enough we would mail them out. It would take at least a month for a letter to reach my aunt and grandparents, and vice versa. It still does actually. Which is why I hardly ever send them cards, and just use email for all communication (this wasn’t always an option).

I ordered some books from Romania for my mother for Christmas in early November. I am still waiting. This summer I learned to order things early. When my dad was in the hospital with almost nothing to do, I wanted to get him some of his favorite books, ordered them in Romanian on Amazon knowing they would take slightly longer, but had no real idea of the delay that still existed via actual mail. They arrived too late.

At this rate I would have had to send out my grandmother’s birthday card to her back in October. Which, come to think of it, was how we used to do it.

Considering I lived with my grandparents and aunt for my first years (until about five and half), I have dozens of memories and stories about my grandmother. Sometimes when I remember them I write them down, almost afraid I will one day forget. When my children get older I will tell them some of the stories. Sadly I don’t think my children will ever meet my grandmother.

Here are two pictures I found in an old album a few months ago… the first is with my grandparents and my dad (and obviously me)… the second was taken a few years earlier (not entirely sure when).

Soup and Memories

I had soup like my grandmother used to make. It is an odd Romanian soup that I have found others don’t care for, so I have never inflicted it upon anyone else. My children won’t even eat it. They stare at the strange orange liquid with “floaty things” and immediately become suspicious. Ally asks why there are apples in her soup. There are no apples, but the little red quartered potatoes with their skin still on resemble apples. My grandmother used to include pig’s feet, or chicken feet. We didn’t eat them, but she insisted they added flavor. I don’t put them in. I also leave out the ingredients I have either forgotten (to be exact, I didn’t forget the ingredients, but simply what they were called, and can’t look them up), or the ingredients I have never been able to find. So the soup is only a replica of the one I grew up with but it still brings back childhood memories.

My grandmother used to starch everything. She loved starching clothes, sheets, table linens and everything else, and then ironed them into perfect forms. The days when we would wash the sheets were my least favorite as it would take several nights of restlessness to get them soft enough to make the bed comfortable. The table cloth was a pristine white, slightly embroidered, and of course, starched. It would collect crumbs from our bread, and small spills of orange liquid. She would make the soup in the wintertime. Around now in Romania it would begin to snow, the air was as crisp as our table cloth, and we would eat lunch (at around 4 p.m.), of soup, and warm bread with butter. My grandparents and aunt would also have a small glass of vodka. I have never tasted vodka like that again. I used to be allowed small sips from my grandmother. I was only about four, so I would simply dip my tongue into her glass for a taste. Nothing was off limits. Whatever the adults would taste or drink I was allowed to try. I thought it was disgusting. In fact, all of the things the adults had (alcohol, coffee, cigarettes) were disgusting. I figured if that is what adulthood did to your tastebuds, well then, no thank you. But I was curious, and always tried.

Every winter I remember the cold days of soup and vodka. The taste haunts me, but I will never be able to recreate it. I don’t know if my memory has skewed the taste, or if these things simply don’t exist anymore. I don’t make the soup with all the original ingredients, and where am I supposed to find authentic Romanian vodka?

I guess it is strange that I remember some things and not others. I have the most odd memories of my childhood, glimpses of events and everyday things which seemed so innocuous at the time, but have somehow formed my perception of that time. And the older I get the more I want to go back and find those memories again.

And then I wonder what my children will remember. What strange habits of mine will they take with them into adulthood? What everyday events will leave imprints into their memories?