Heartbeats and Memories

IMG_0496Kitchens are the heartbeat of any family.  It is where you pour another cup of tea to fend of an impending cold.  It is where you pour another cup of coffee and sit down to listen as the people dearest to you cry at the kitchen table.  It is where Grandmas and Grandpas cement their place as better than parents (because every kid knows there is always dessert at Grandma’s), countless hours of homework are done, important talks happen, grievances are aired, people laugh and cry and fight and make-up.

Show me a family that has issues, and I’ll show you an empty kitchen.

So it is fitting to me that the only memory I have of great-grandparents’ house is of the kitchen.  My great-grandma died when I was a baby, and my Great-Papa died when I was only four.  They lived far away from my family, and so we didn’t often make the trip.  The only memory I have of my Great-Papa is actually a memory of the house.  They had this classic, farmhouse-style white kitchen and there was this plastic, daisy “thing” in the window by the sink.  I believe in my soul it was a sun-catcher, however pictorial evidence proves otherwise.  Most of my memories of my Papa are really my mom’s memories, passed down to me.  But that one memory–that flower thing–is mine.

When I was wandering a vintage shop near my house last winter, I saw a plastic daisy IMG_0499“thing.”  It’s not exactly the same, but I saw it and The Memory summoned itself up.  I remembered that big, airy, white, old-fashioned kitchen.  I remember looking up and seeing my mom and grandma talking about something–I’m sure it was probably the funeral.  I remember the world seeming a lot bigger.

My mom is one of five siblings, four of whom had kids.  I know whatever heirlooms my great-grandparents had, I will not probably inherit any of them.  It is just as well.  For me, most of them would just be “things.”  But those plastic daisies, sitting in that vintage shop was a memory, and one that I wanted to lay claim to.

I bought those daisies, and they had a place of honor in my kitchen.  So when people ask me why I have them, I can show them the picture of four generations of my family–my great-grandfather, my grandmother, my mother, and a tiny, baby me–and say, “Do you see that little orange blurry thing in the background?  It was this daisy thing that’s just like this one, and I remember that…”

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Szymusiak
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 16:40:36

    This is such a wonderful memory. I love that you found the daisy thing. It’s funny how a small thing can transport us to times in the past. The kitchen table has so much meaning for many of us. It’s where families gather. Thanks for sharing. Happy Writing!

    Reply

  2. Lori Sheroan
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 16:54:01

    This slice is very powerful because it is a testament to the little everyday things that plant themselves in our mind’s eye. I love the fact that you found a similar memento to set in your kitchen. What an important slice! Loved it!

    Reply

  3. franmccrackin
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 17:19:59

    “Show me a family that has issues and I’ll show you an empty kitchen.” I think I agree! I really enjoy your writing. This piece about a memory-trigger is really nice.

    Reply

  4. janefhelms
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 17:35:45

    A lovely and wonderful slice. The heart of sharing goes naturally to the kitchen, I think. Takes a chair. Leans in: tell me more…!

    Reply

  5. Debbie Lynn
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 18:15:48

    What a heart warming story. I’m glad you found the daisies and bought them for your own kitchen.

    Reply

  6. ReadWriteThruLife
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 18:17:09

    Funny, the kitchen is my favorite memory of my Grandparents’ house in addition to the play room, of course. Kitchens really are magical places aren’t they. When folks come over to our house they gather in the kitchen despite the fact that only steps away there is a nice, comfy sofa. Is it the food?

    Reply

  7. cflathers
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 18:42:05

    What a wonderful memory. You are so right about families around a kitchen table.

    Reply

  8. mrssurridge
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 19:24:10

    Best line ever: Show me a family that has issues, and I’ll show you an empty kitchen.
    You reminded me of my grandma’s spiral rug. I’d love to find one of those. You can be sure I’d follow your lead and make it part of my home.

    Reply

  9. macrush53
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 22:53:04

    Yep, the kitchen table is where many conversations took place at my house. This piece evoked some memories. Thank you.

    Reply

  10. bjdonaldson
    Mar 17, 2016 @ 15:29:18

    “Show me a family that has issues, and I’ll show you an empty kitchen,” is a truth that your words beautifully captured. It is special that you included the four-generations picture, too. Memories are way more important than “things,” but I’m glad you have the daisy thing that links you to your special memory. I love your writing so keep writing!

    Reply

  11. Betsy Hubbard
    Mar 19, 2016 @ 10:11:12

    Every house I’ve ever visited that had a full kitchen of laughter was all the evidence I needed to be assured that love lived there.

    Reply

  12. Trackback: Day 24 of the March SOLSC #SOL16 | TWO WRITING TEACHERS
  13. Vickiela
    Mar 24, 2016 @ 13:03:43

    Wow! What a wonderful reflective piece. I love how you portrayed the memory that you had of your “pa-pa” and connected it to the plastic daisy that you found. I love to hear stories of past generations, but there is nothing like having your own memories (ones you remember fondly) to pass down. What a great conversation piece.

    Reply

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