Archives for posts with tag: memory

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

I saw this quote yesterday and it echoes the thoughts I have often now that there are more days behind me than in front of me in this life of mine.  I’m fascinated with the things we remember in a lifetime.  There are a lot of things I can’t believe I don’t remember in detail and wish I did.  There are things that I remember vividly and wish I didn’t.  Maybe this is why I like photos so much – they trigger memories of all kinds in this cluttered brain of mine.

I recently read that old people don’t think slower, they just have more stored in their brains to sort through, like a giant file cabinet filled to overflowing that you have to search methodically for the information you need.  That’s a pretty old school analogy, hunh?  At least that’s comforting – to think you’re not losing it, you just have too much of it.

The other thing that I wonder about is the way people remember the same thing.  I’ve talked with friends about the way members of a family see an event differently, based on their age, family position, personality, etc.  Sometimes a small moment can make a lasting impact on a person’s life while a potentially life-changing occurrence is put in perspective and has little importance in the long run.

Perspective on the memories we have is something that takes some conscious effort most of the time.  We can make choices about how we absorb a memory and it can also change as the years go on and we learn more about why it happened or how others perceived it.  Perspective is what keeps us going through life’s unexpectedness.  If we get locked in on the single impression as only seen by us, we may lose the ability to see it from other views, other people’s perspectives.  I’ve found that we’re healthiest when we learn to look at an event from many sides, to let it grow or shrink in importance to find its proper place in the timeline of our lives.

We all have memories and they can sustain us or crush us.  It’s all about working to put them in place.  It would be nice if we only had happy ones, but that rarely happens.  Memories make us who we are.  For better or worse.  When you lose your memory, you lose a lot of yourself, as seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

Enough of that – may all your memories be put in their place and may they mostly make you smile!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




There’s a lot of talk these days about our need for more mass transit or rapid transit.  Way back when I was little, the bus was a big part of my life.  Not that I took it all the time, but it was a pretty fun way to travel or get around town.  One of my grandmothers drove a little, around Ardmore, but not on the highway, so she always took the bus to come see us or stay with us while my parents were on a trip.  We would pick her up or drop her off at the bus station.  I loved the bus station when I was little.  It was such an exotic place to go and watch all the people coming and going.  Tulsa had the beautiful Art Deco bus station – and airport – in those days.

Union Bus Terminal Tulsa, OK

Sometimes, I would go home with my grandmother, riding the Greyhound with her all the way to Ardmore, which must have been about a 6 hour drive in those days.  It was fun to sit beside her watching the landscape go by, different than from the back seat of my parents’ car.  As I got older, and I’m talking about 9 or 10, I got to ride the bus by myself.  I would take it to Oklahoma City to see my other grandparents and my cousins.  Once, I took it all the way to Ardmore.  On that trip, my aunt in Oklahoma City met me at the station there and waited with me until it left again for Ardmore.  I remember sitting next to a window, reading a book and looking out the window.  And watching the other people on the bus.  Quite the adventure.

While my grandmother stayed with us, we took the bus downtown.  I think she could have driven my mother’s car, but that was a scary thought for all of us.  She wasn’t the best, an understatement, driver, even in her own car.  She walked a lot at home.  Anyway, we’d walk about two or three blocks to the bus stop and ride downtown to eat and shop at the Kress store, walk around,  look in all the store windows, and come home.  It’s hard to describe how much fun that was.  I guess it was just different than driving downtown with our parents and because she always bought us some little thing at the store.  She didn’t have much money, so it wasn’t much, but it was a treat.  And, we weren’t in any hurry so the waiting and slow pace was nothing to us.

As I got older, my friends and I rode the bus downtown.  I can remember being in Oklahoma City when I was about 12 and going to a movie downtown with my cousin.  My aunt dropped us off and we were to take the bus home.  We got tired of waiting for our bus, so we just took the first one that came along and ended up somewhere other than where we were supposed to be.  On purpose.  Not that we were scared…we often did stupid things together, giggling all the way.  We walked for a long time after getting off the bus and I can’t imagine how we found a phone to call my aunt to come get us when we realized we were probably in trouble.  No cell phones in those days!  My aunt wasn’t too happy with us…giggle, giggle.

As shopping centers popped up and I became a teenager, we began to walk to those places for hanging out with our friends.  Waiting until we could drive cars.  No more buses after that!

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a city bus in Tulsa.  We’re very much a driving city, which doesn’t help those who can’t afford cars or don’t want the hassle of parking or driving in traffic.  The only thing that will change our driving habits is the cost of cars and gas, although that doesn’t seem to matter to most people. I drive a small car that costs almost as much as my first house.  And it’s a cheap car comparatively…a hybrid.  Getting places quickly is the main issue, I think.  Nobody has or takes the time to wait for a bus… or anything else.  The age of instant gratification extends to getting places, too.

The buses I take these days are mostly charter buses or tour buses or shuttle buses. Taking the bus long distances has the reputation of being dirty and dangerous.  Pretty sad.  Oklahoma State has wonderful buses, the BOB (Big Orange Bus) system, for those who commute to the university in Stillwater.  I rode one with a group and they are plush compared to what I remember.  A comfortable place to study on your way to class down the highway.

I rode the buses a lot in Seattle when I used to visit my son, later son and daughter-in-law, there.  I easily learned the bus routes and loved the ease of jumping on and riding downtown or back rather than fighting that traffic or finding an expensive place to park.  They were colorful trips to say the least.  The diversity of Seattle was seen in force on the buses, a never ending parade of humanity.  I looked forward to it actually.


I still have a little origami bird that an elderly Chinese man made for me while we rode.  I was sitting across from him, watching him create this little treasure from a piece of newspaper.  I found out later that he was known for riding the buses, giving away his little birds.  He quietly folded the paper, then looked up at me, smiled, and handed me the bird.  Charming!  One of those serendipitous experiences in life that we should treasure!


I don’t know where the bus system will end up here in Tulsa or if my habits will ever change or have to change.  All I know is riding the bus was a special part of my childhood, one that I wouldn’t trade.  As I sing “The Wheels on the Bus” with my granddaughter, I’m sure what I see in my mind is so different than her vision…the wheels go round and round, round and round, all over town.



I’ve been a kid and I’ve been a parent and now I’m a grandparent.  How does that happen so quickly when I’m still so young?


Anyway, I have four kids and eight grandkids, so I’ve got a little bit of experience.  I’m not saying I’m an expert because each one is different and presents you with an infinite variety of happiness, challenges, pride, fear, disgust, amusement, moodiness, anger, tears, laughter and every other emotion…sometimes all in the same day.  You never know everything about them because it changes all the time.  Mine are all pretty good kids, not perfect, but pretty great all the same.

This week, I’ve had two of my grandsons for several days while their parents are out of town.  It’s been quite awhile since I had the day to day routine of a 15 and 11 year old, so it’s brought back a lot of memories.  They’ve been pretty terrific, so I’m not really getting the first-hand experience their parents get to have.  They get up and get ready without a fuss, say Thank You for every little thing I do, don’t fight, and are cute as can be.  Isn’t that what they’re like at home?  I know better.

Their parents warned me that the older one might retreat to text and not talk much.  Well, duh!  I don’t think I came out of my room during high school except to run to get the phone, which was in the hall.  Then I stayed on it for hours or went back to my room to read, study or…what the heck did I do?  I just didn’t find it that fun to sit with my family all evening long.  They called me the “mole in her hole.”  Which was annoying.  I can hardly criticize any teenager since I was one myself and so were my friends.  Even good kids do some stupid, idiotic things.  All we can hope is that they don’t get hurt.

I’m also rediscovering how they go through food, have homework and endless activities, and, in general, take a lot of time to raise.  No slacking off in this job.  Glad I’m still up to the required energy level.  I also get to share their day and spend some time with them.  Pretty special!

There is a reason that we usually have our children while we are young.  The best reason is to watch them grow up and have their own children and watch this wondrous cycle continue.  I loved Lady Violet’s comment on Downtown Abbey, “People forget about parenthood.  It’s the on and on-ness of it.”  When you hear that as a parent, you sigh.  When you hear it as a grandparent, you sigh…and then you smile!

When I try to think of a perfect day, I always go to this photo.

Perfect Day

Don’t ask me why.  I know I’ve had days that were more fun or adventures that lasted longer.  We’d been fishing at a private pond and we’d all caught fish.  On the way home, we stopped to show my parents and my father took this picture.  Simple in all ways.

We had lots of days that were less than perfect and we had many days that were beyond perfect.  Why this one?  Maybe it captures a minute with all of us not trying to be anything but what we were.  It was a pretty day, we’d piled in the car and gone fishing.  It was the middle of all our days, the middle days with four healthy children, a happy couple, and our dog, moving through life.

I’m not sure any of us would remember too many details about this day, but it was a conglomeration of many others in many places.  Daddy trying to get everyone’s line in the water and thrilled when we caught a fish.  Mommy trying to get us fed and keep the kids from falling in the pond.  Nothing out of the ordinary.

Maybe, just maybe, I consider this one perfect because memories like this are what kept us all together and got us through the harder times, the sad times.  And, times like this are the foundation of our other happy and happier days.  And, maybe, because it’s always good to remember that there are people who never get to have a Perfect Day when we’ve had so many.  And, to remember that the Perfect Day may not be, and probably won’t be, something you plan.  It will just happen and then stay in your heart forever!


Baking has always been fun for me since I got my first cookbook and started making little bitty cakes and pies and cupcakes in my tiny oven, before Easy Bake or maybe an early edition.  I just know I had little pans and made little things to eat.  Then I graduated to my mother’s pots and pans and stove.  Maybe that’s why I still have her old mixing bowls and still think they are the best bowls ever.

Today, I was hungry for my grandmother’s ice box cookies, but heaven help me if I make something that starts with a pound of butter when I don’t have a crowd in the house.  Yikes!  My paternal grandmother, Aggie, made these when I was little.  I keep her cookie jar, minus the lid, in my kitchen window.


My mother made them, too.  Nothing was better than the cookie dough pressed into squared rolls and wrapped in waxed paper in the refrigerator.   As kids, we would sneak in and slice off a hunk, making no pretense of polite slices, and eat the dough raw.  Can’t believe how wickedly good it was.  I made them for my four kids when they were little, but I must have…okay, I know I did…been caught with the dough and they picked up on it.  One of them told me she couldn’t remember having these baked.  For your information, they are nice little butter pecan cookies.  Really.

I’m not sure Aggie ever ate the dough but there was a twinkle about her, so maybe.

Aggie on 39th St

Many years later, I was teaching a course for the American Red Cross on Safe and Healthy Kitchens and we had to tell the people that it wasn’t healthy to eat raw cookie dough.  That was the hardest bit of information for me to give anyone, nonbeliever that I am.

I’m trying to restrain myself from running to the kitchen to start creaming the butter and sugar right now.  Help!  You go make them for me.   Note:  The recipe doesn’t say how long to bake them.  What does that tell you?

Aggie’s Ice Box Cookies

Preheat oven to 350

1 lb butter

2 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 Tbl Karo syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sode

5 1/2 cups flour

1 cup nuts

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add 1 cup flour sifted with soda and salt.  Add rest of flour with nuts.

Work on board and make 4 loaves.  Wrap in waxed paper and keep in refrigerator.

Slice and bake as needed.