Moma kept a baby book on me for a while. Its wasnt as elaborate as my brother, Brocks 2 volumes, but I have it now. I look at it from time to time and trace my fat finger over the notes she wrote about what I did on those first few months of life and my reactions to things. Now the silky pink threadbear book with the cartoon baby woven into the fabric is more precious than ever. See, I have been thinking about the times between Baby Book notations and Obituary write ups. What happens to folks in between times should be notes somewhere too. I just dont know where.
I dont know if my sister Ann has a Baby Book or not. Moma was living in the house where the Wright Dairy Farm is now, with my grandparents when Ann was born. Daddy was in the Air Force and stationed overseas so Moma had Ann there on the farm. I have been told that the same Doctor that delivered Moma delivered Ann. Stands to reason. Moma was just a teenager when she had Ann, so its possible he delivered both. Neat I think. How many folks can say that the same doctor delivered them and their moma?
I have been telling Moma for years that I am her favorite. She has not YET told me that I am but I think so. Being the ever diplomatic Moma, she says, Ann is the oldest, so she got to spend more time with the family, and with Daddy and she got to travel all those places.
Brockie is the only boy and the middle child. He is the spitting image of Daddy so he has a special place too in this family.
I am the baby. Thats it. No mention from her of any of the notable things I have done or who I resemble, no facts about who delivered me is memorable, nothing. I am just the baby.
So what happens between the notes made when you are born and the notes written by someone else when you die? Who makes notations of the things you did or memories you have? Thats what bothers me.
I dont have children, so I dont have the need for Baby Books. And we have enough photos of the 4 legged babies to plaster a wall. But other than, eats, sleeps, played a little, got out of yard, slept, ate, died, well thats about all I can write about them. I can tell you and everyone else that knows me how much I love them, how they make my world turn, but they dont have books.
I have a wedding album. I can show you my photos of my husband of almost 30 years and his head full of dark curly hair, and mine too at that time. Now both of us are overweight and white haired, but thats about all thats changed.
In the between years of Baby Books and Obits, there are so many things that have happened.
I have worked all sorts of jobs. I started out cleaning toilets and working at City Hall and wound up being a long distance operator. I sold cars, made loans, collected on said loans, worked for attorneys, did legal work in a Trust Department in Two banks, survived an FDIC audit at one of the banks, loved, lost, married and stayed married. I have had surgeries, lost my sight and got it back again. I have been a volunteer on several local Boards and am back to being a volunteer with groups in Weaver, Alabama. I have traveled, been richer, been broker, and now I stay broke. I have a lot to tell, and my ambition is to one day have a book in libraries and book stores with my name on it. I want a real book, one with pages that make a sound when you turn the page and have a real spine and a real cover with a Forward in the front and Acknowledgements in the back.
So what happens to the stories in between birth and death? How do you compact all those years and memories into just a few matter of fact paragraphs that inform of the date of birth and the date of death, survivors and funeral arrangements? There ought to be something to show the time in between.
See I am a packrat of sorts. Guess you could call it a hoarder of memories.
I have kept the times I have been in the paper, articles I have written, photos of me in the paper or other periodicals. I have been the person that was featured in a State of Alabama Instructional Video on Selecting A Jury. It was made during the time I was serving on a Civil Jury and the photographer approached me after 2 days and asked if he could come to my house and take a photo of me getting the summons out of the mail. I told him yes, and that was the beginning of the film. It was shown to prospective jurors and I dont know if there is a copy of it anywhere but if you know of one or have seen it please let me know. It was made in the 80s so I had dark hair and was about 45 pounds lighter.
What has brought all of this about today was the fact that a man by name of Mark died. He was a very nice man, and a friend of mine. He was an avid hunter and spent lots of time in the woods not only hunting but just enjoying the out of doors. That much you can read in his obit today.
But there was so much more. What it didnt say was that he was the Dog Catcher for the City of Oxford for several years. Not a job he loved but one he had and he did with the best of his abilities. He loved dogs. He gave me a dog one time, a daschund by the name of Gretal. She was on her way to the pound and I had mentioned to him a year or so before that if he ever got one of those dogs I wanted it. She was a mini dach and I loved her. For years I loved her.
It didnt tell about how he would play Scrabble or Dominoes on Sunday nights with my mother, aunt Gladys and aunt Myrtle. For hours. I dont know how to play Dominoes.
It didnt talk about how he would take my Mother and aunt Gladys looking for arrowheads in creek beds and wood trails. I just sat in the truck and waited. I am not an outdoors type of person.
It didnt talk about how Mark would take the dogs into a field in Oxford and let them run and bark. He had one named Pete and one named RePete. He had a female dog named Queenie. And he loved them. Pete was old and grey but he would run and Mark would encourage him to bark and "bay" by saying "Talk to me, talk to me old man" and the dog would howl and carry on. Pete died. Queenie was stolen and I have no idea what happened to RePete.
As you can tell, I knew Mark before I did my husband. My husband knew about Mark and how he was a friend of the family as well as my relationship with him.
Its not something we talk about, but he was saddened today when I told him of Marks death.
So, in between the Baby Books and the obits, I think there should be something else. There should be a diary of each day. If you have children, make it a point to note something that happens every day. And if there is no big momentus occasion that happens that day, make a note of that too and reflect on it as a restful day.
I may be a packrat but hopefully in years to come, I will have more to pack away with memories of things I have experienced in my life. Good thoughts and feelings I have had and friends I have made.
So start that diary, and if you dont have children, make one for yourself. Start a journal, dont wait. Dont put it off, start filling in the pages with things from your past or your mates history.
Who knows when you might want to reflect on these memories or share them and let someone else fill in the blanks between Baby Book years and Obit.
I hope someone will do that for me.
Peace be with you Mark, you were a good man and a great friend. Tell the dogs hello for me.