Before there was Walter Payton and Michael Jordan in Chicago as icons, there was Ernie Banks, and you couldn't get enough of him. His smile and enthusiasm and love of life and of people was something I had never experienced. Period.
That house brought together my father and mother's families. As a child, my parents brought me back there so often that even now, the thought of that old house triggers in me the smell of my grandfather's old workshop or the feel of the old rusty fence that ran behind the chicken coop.
In 1976 we took a family vacation by car and one of the stops was Washington D.C.. After a full day of sightseeing in both Washington and Virginia, we checked in to our hotel and my mother -- always being prepared -- got out the AAA Guide Book for the city to find a place for dinner.
Our culture is vigilant about documenting faces with photographs before they grow and change. But their voices? Those seem to disappear into time and history like a curling spiral of smoke rising up into the sky. Just like that -- poof -- and the voices are gone.
magine riding through a neighborhood with the windows down, warm air blowing through your hair, and laughing hysterically as the driver yells, "Woohoo! Get out of our way!" while beeping the horn non-stop. Yea, that was my grandmom.
I suppose I thought making a memorable summer for my girls had to include traveling to new and exciting places, but we seem to have made a million little memories just enjoying the simple things summer has to offer right at home.
We slept with our bedroom windows open and our blankets at our feet. We heard the conversations of passing teenagers and lovers through the windows, and we heard the drone and swoosh of the occasional traffic. We could hear the ballgame on someone else's radio.
Cleaning out my mother's house has been both painful and eye-opening. Her photos, keepsakes and written words remind me of the amazing woman she once was, and highlight the glaring contrast between her then and now.
It's uncanny that Mum died the day before we were scheduled to depart. I ate volumes of candy during that long train ride. Nobody suggested I shouldn't. And I've always suspected that a lifelong pattern of episodic over-indulgence began that day.
When I was growing up (half a century ago), life was different. Telephones had rotary dials and did not double as game consoles. Kids sat next to the TV because we didn't have remote controls to change to the other three channels and rabbit ears needed constant adjustments.