The Weight of Memories

San Diego

I visited my dad on Saturday. Our visits tend to be short – not because we run out of things to say to each other (two writers talking? Never short of words!) but rather that he gets tired and I’m way sensitive to it, even when he’d rather I wasn’t. At 84, though, he’s allowed to get tired.

We did the usual things. Took a garden tour and liberated several Meyer lemons from his famous tree, and also got quite a few white grapefruit. I had printed a couple family photos, so I helped him put those into frames. And then came picture time.

late 1800's photo album
late 1800’s photo album

 

My Great Grandma Mary Eva (Meva) Burritt Jones Cunningham and Walter Jones, her first son by her first husband. Up in the corner is Sanford Jones, her first husband.
My Great Grandma Mary Eva (Meva) Burritt Jones Cunningham and Walter Jones, her first son by her first husband. Up in the corner is Sanford Jones, her first husband.

He’s been having me go through boxes of photos, to see what I’d like to keep.  I found several, and then I found the big box. Full of one book and several journals. My Grandmother Hazel’s journals. That just added to all the memories I’d collected that day.

My Aunt Amy, me, and Grandma Hazel Cunningham. Amy and Hazel were sisters.
My Aunt Amy Zedicher Whitmore, me, and Grandma Hazel Zedicher Cunningham. Amy and Hazel were sisters. 1988, Los Angeles, CA

With total permission, I lugged the box to my car and panted, doing so. (I’d added my photos from the batch I’d gone through earlier.) So many photos. So many memories.

Then I came across some photos of Scott. Here are two of my favorites.

Scott Cunningham, at the piano - 1975 or 1976 - not sure (photo undated).
Scott Cunningham, at the piano – 1975 or 1976 – not sure (photo undated). Sorry it’s blurry – it’s a photo of a photo. =(

And this one…

Scott and me at about 6 months pregnant - June? 1990
Scott and me, when I’m about 5 or 6 months pregnant = May or June, 1990

Carrying the box to my car, I strained under the load. It was a long, old fashioned cardboard file box, and it was full. My dad hovered as I carried it.

“You okay? You don’t need help? Looks heavy,” he said.

I smiled at him. “Memories carry weight,” I answered.

He nodded. “There must be at least fifty years of memories in there.” He was referring to his mother’s daily journals, I know. In those, she poured out everything but in such sparing details, which is a blog post for another day.

But as I loaded the box in the car, I noticed he stood a little taller. “You’re officially the family historian,” he said to me.

And it looked like a bit of weight had come off his shoulders.

Happy to help, Daddy. Any time.

Dad's first computer, a Trash 80 (TRS 80) 1983. He was definitely an early adopter.
Dad’s first computer, a Trash 80 (TRS 80) 1983. He was definitely an early adopter.

Happy Monday, my friends. What memories do you carry, that have more weight than maybe  you want?

)O(

About Christine

Writer of paranormal, contemporary, and erotic romance. Find me on Amazon...
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6 Responses to The Weight of Memories

  1. LorieV says:

    How wonderful that you have those journals. We struggled to get our paternal grandmother to write up a family history and only got brief one. Our maternal grandma was way too much of a terse German farmer to bother with it. So nice that you have her life impressions as they happened.

  2. Maria Powers says:

    I love this, I love the memories and the connections and the links to those who’ve gone before us and those who come after us to move it all forward into the future. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Leo Dufresne says:

    It’s funny what people consider brave. I remember a few years ago I had quit my job and started my own business; something I had never done before. A marine friend of mine had just returned from Afghanistan and he called me brave. I just stared at him in disbelief.
    Seeing your dad’s office again (especially the carpet that hasn’t changed 🙂 ) brings back memories of his true bravery. How he got laid off from his “real job” after having moved here less than a year earlier and decided to make a go of it as a writer. Supporting a family by penning magazine articles. Talk about performing with no safety net.

    • Christine says:

      Ah, Leo. Daddy’s always been a closet renegade. By which I mean, I never knew he was being brave – he was just being Dad. You know? Sending love and hugs…

  4. Christine! I loved this post. It reminds me so much of my family. There is so much stuck away in shoeboxes and folders. I don’t know what will happen to all of my family history. A few years ago, my dad did take the time to put together a picture book of my Grandfather which I cherish greatly. Having something organized with stories with it is a great way to begin building a history for the family. You have my mind running now… 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Jason! So glad to see you here. Yeah, the family history – what to do with it all? It’s definitely carrying weight on me, I can tell you that. Cheers hon!

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