Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Didn't Know Anything

Memoir Notes III

Mom's in her garden in the backyard of our red brick house with black shutters and the white picket fence. The yard, an explosion of snow-white dogwoods and the lone crabapple. She's on her knees, green garden gloves on her hands, smoothing and clearing around the irises. 

Mom loved to garden. She had a very green thumb. Everything came to life under her fingertips, lush and colorful, but with a sense of order. Knees in the dirt, she'd push her face deep into the flowers, eyes closed. 

I remember the snapdragons; tiny fists of yellow and pink flowers on long green stems. I was little. Maybe four, five? 
In those days, I didn’t know about Bill, my brother. I didn’t know anything about Mom losing her son, about her other life in Canada, how she probably thought about her son every day. How Bill was living with his mean cousin, Murray. How his Dad was dead. How we were here and he was there. I didn’t know anything about my brother until I was older. Nine, ten? 
My brothers and I were always running around the yard, swinging on the swings, 45’s playing on the portable turn-table, Build Me Up Buttercup, crawling along the ground in a game of army with the Ashby and Trexler boys who lived just beyond the canopy of pink blossoms through a small opening of fence.
Every night Mom had dinner on the table for us; her one girl and three boys, and her preacher husband. I didn't know that somebody was missing. I didn't know anything about her other life.

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