Heirlooms.  Memories baked into pans.  Keepsakes. (August 2023)

Susan’s Thursday morning note August 17, 2023 Heirlooms.  Memories baked into pans.  Keepsakes.  

Good morning!   Bright pink/orange reflecting off of the clouds on the horizon.  One little bird friend waking nature with his little twill.  One large moth just saved after fluttering for his life from a little purring hunter.  My angel of dawn appears handing me a freshly brewed cup of coffee, knowing I forgot to get the pot ready last night. The sky encouraging me to look early to the heavens.   Calm.  Distant clouds disappear into the heavens. Will this morning light that is already disappearing as I speak get to also shine on those we love in heaven?  Do they see our sunrises?  Do they get to personally thank the Creator of these beautiful paintings every morning?   Do they get to see the palate He works from and watch him paint our scenes?

This week I listened to an older link to a BBC interview of a Jamaican immigrant who never scrubs her cooking pots completely clean as she believes, “You’re cleaning your memories away…” She builds up flavors on the aluminium walls and also builds up the memories of who she shared her dish with over the years. The link of this short interview starts at 19:50 near the end of the story.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csvsby. She discusses how if she discards any dishes she is discarding memories.

A small coffee mug. I feel the coffee cup in my hand. My mom’s. I picture her each morning with this cup. I treasure this cup as if her voice is speaking to me. Her eyes are shining. Her love is inside. I can picture her stopping as she drinks. Taking the time to stop time. Stopping time to savor the coffee. I see the stains inside. Stains from years of comfort given from the inside of this little cup. A stolen cup from a hotel in Texas. How she loved this mug and couldn’t resist the temptation to tell herself it came with the room. Smallest of treasures what we hold dear. Memories only our own minds replay that give us the ability to look at life as beautiful. To be reminded.

A spoon. A chapter from the book, Alice’s Piano, the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, who until her death in 2016 at the age of 108 was considered to be the oldest Holocaust survivor. She writes on her ability to find the beauty in life. A spoon. All she has left of her husband who died in Dachau. Below are the words from her chapter on the spoon when it was brought to her by the man who sat with her husband when he died in the camp.

“Alice invited the man in…In Dauchau he had shared a bunk with Leopold Sommer…Silence fell. Finally the man fumbled in his pocket and drew out a packet rolled in newspaper and handed it to Alice. She nodded to him as if to say that he should unwrap it. It was a battered tin spoon: Leopold’s spoon, which he had taken from Prague to Theresienstadt, and on to Auschwitz, Flossenburg and Dachau. “Did he have to suffer much?” Alice asked, looking through the man into nothingness…As they were going out Stephan’s gaze fell on the spoon without taking it in.   Alice followed him. “It is just a spoon,” she thought. “The memory of our time together no one can take away from me. And Stephan? He is Leopold’s legacy. He must not suffer.” But Alice still has the spoon.”

Sunrise looking like a fireplace. Coffee cups. Spoons.   All giving us strength. All giving us the ability to keep perspective.   To look to skies. I will end with what I underlined this week from Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. This scene is of a father’s words right before he dies to his young girl who will become an orphan. Of looking to the heavens. Of finding life to be full of beauty.

“You mustn’t be afraid of anything, Emily. Death isn’t terrible. The universe is full of love – and spring comes everywhere – an in death you open and shut a door. There are beautiful things there – I’ve doubted many things, but I’ve never doubted that. “I wish you could take me right through the door with you,” whispered Emily. “After a little while you won’t wish that.   You have yet to learn how kind time is. And life has something for you – I feel it. Go forward to meet it fearlessly, dear. I know you don’t feel like that just now, but you will remember my words by and by. “I feel just now,” said Emily, who couldn’t bear to hide anything from Father, “that I don’t like God anymore.” “Yes, you do, honey. You can’t help liking God. His is Love itself, you know.”

Emily all at once found that she wasn’t afraid any longer and the bitterness had gone out of her sorrow, and the unbearable pain out of her heart. She felt as if love was all about her and around her, breathed out from some great, invisible, hovering Tenderness. One couldn’t be afraid or bitter where love was – and love was everywhere. Father was going through the door, no, he was going to lift a curtain, she liked that thought better because a curtain wasn’t as hard and fast as a door…He would be there in its beauty – never very far away from her. She could bear anything if she could only feel that Father wasn’t very far away from her – just beyond that wavering curtain.

Emily had inherited certain things from her fine old ancestors – the power to fight, to suffer, to pity, to love very deeply, to rejoice, to endure.   These things were all in her and looked out at you through her purplish-grey eyes. Her heritage of endurance came to her aid now and bore her up.”

Heirloom – a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.

Keepsake – something that you keep to help you remember a person, place, or event

“There are some things that don’t change much. I find the smell of a dish, or the way a certain spice is crushed, or just a quick look at the way something has been put on a plate, can pull me back to another place and time. I love those memories that seem so far away, yet you can hold them and carry them with you, even forget them, and then, with a single taste or hint or a smell, be chaperoned back to a beautiful moment.” Tessa

Latin for this week: Tempus omnia sed memorias privat – Time deprives all but memories. nostrum monumentum – Our memories memoria– memory, remembrance, recall, recollection recordatio-recollection, memory, recall