5 Things I Saw – April 2022

1. Dolls that make you think. A lot of people find clowns creepy. I do. What about dolls? What about these dolls? Once upon a time these were for children….little children…to play with! The third doll was actually part of my childhood. We called her Ellen. She didn’t belong to any of my three sisters or myself. She was just there; an old doll that could take a bottle and pee out the other end. We made diapers out of pieces of cloth and thought it was fun to change her. It’s crazy how ‘playing’ life used to be a game. I had such high hopes when I lined up Ellen and my stuffed animals and taught them all arithmetic. One day I would be a mom, a teacher, in charge of a household. Did I become a mom? Yes. Did I manage a household? Yes. But I’m not sure it was as fun as when I pretended what it would be like. I wonder if I missed something along the way, working and figuring out life and how do I change that for the rest of my life? This is the stuff of a good novel. The character on an epic quest to transform what tomorrow holds or ….maybe I’ll just have a cup of coffee.

2. Piano music that almost made me cry. I heard piano playing over all the noise of a dinner party. Sounded like someone brought in a professional pianist. I walked into the next room and there’s my nephew, hands roaming the keyboard, a cinematic flow of notes filling the air. Forget that he had no sheet music in front of him, he’s never taken piano lessons. I asked him if he was making it up as he went along and he nodded, the music still spilling forth. I was caught up in the swells of sweeping melody, feeling my soul respond to the fullness of it, then he abruptly stopped and said he could not do it if someone was watching him. Really?

The path to the plane

3. 100’s of people herded like cattlewillingly. Maybe someone in airport crowd control has a twisted sense of humor. The beginning of the security check line looked like a confusing maze of multiple lines heading to eight actual security check points. It’s an optical illusion. There’s only one line and you’re on it for a good twenty minutes. Lanes of black canvas ribbon snake through the an area the size of a banquet hall before looping back and narrowing to the heads of the eight check points. The sick thing is, as you near the endpoint, the line passes right by those who are just beginning. Their faces are hopeful, seeing the check points just a few feet away. In just a few more feet, they will figure it out. They’re being sent on the detour of a lifetime. I get it. It’s the only way to keep hundreds of people orderly and not standing still, ready to blow a fuse because they can’t get through Security to their flight that will leave in ten minutes. They weren’t joking when they said show up two hours before your flight boarding time.

4. Friends and family I haven’t seen since Covid. It’s one thing to not have the time or money to get on a plane and visit friends and family across the country (or world). It’s a whole different beast when it’s practically not allowed. There was a point during the height of the pandemic that flying and visiting were not such great ideas. Separation ruled the day. Safety is important because a virus can take our grandiose acts of courage and march right into our bodies and kill us while ‘I’m not afraid’ is still on our lips. Even so, at this point the need to refill and refresh relationships with actual face time and real hugs, can’t be denied. I’m sorry for those who for health or physical reasons still can’t (or shouldn’t) get on a plane.

Inside Cover
  1. The sinking of the Titanic. Not an exaggeration…in context. When I was a kid, we had a big brown bookcase, not higher than three feet. It was packed with all kinds of books. Picture books, Encyclopedia Brittanica for kids, the giant “Children’s Bible” and books not necessarily for children. One of them was “The sinking of the Titanic”. I was probably ten when I read it. My life was forever changed. Well, okay, it was not that dramatic. But reading the story with actual photos and knowing all those people died haunted me. Mind you the edition in the photo was published in 1912. It’s practically like watching the news the day of the disaster for that time period. I was in a conversation at my mother’s house saying how some books pull me in so fully that I won’t read them if I’m not in the right frame of mind to rebound. I mentioned the Titanic book, described how it was a red book with a photo on the cover. My mom said she thought she still had it. I went to one of her numerous book shelves, looked for a red spine and pulled it out. Amazing. Writers don’t underestimate how you impact people’s lives or whose lives you impact.

Write on! Write well.

Check out previous “5 Things” posts by choosing it in categories. Be a fan and ‘Like’ this post. Join the fan family and follow this blog for a variety of posts from “5 Things”, 100 word stories, Writing tips, poetry and reflections. Wishing you a great day, Clare.

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