Memories Too Precious To Forget


The embroidery from a dresser scarf from long ago took me back in time. The General and I mostly put our sunroom back together after work yesterday. Perhaps we have a propensity for filling a room with too much stuff. For the past three weeks, the contents of that room have been stored on one side (the side for my truck) of our garage while we awaited installation of the flooring in the sunroom.

Yesterday while I was at work, the General obviously worked like a Trojan. Not only did she vacuum and mop the new floor, she also started the tedious and laborious task of cleaning the grout in the tile floor. That sounds like a simple process until you realize that our home is all hard surface flooring. That mean we have lots of tile.

Of course, there are professional cleaners who use a steam-cleaning device and make the laborious task look like an easy process. They also charge and arm and a leg to get the benefit they provide. Despite the cost, it was my recommendation that we outsource the project to the folks who have the right equipment. That is code for: “Don’t ask me to help. I’m not doing it”. Seriously, my body is not agile enough to crawl around on my hands and knees and scrub the floor with a toothbrush or whatever other “special” equipment you can scarf off the shelf at Home Depot to make an impossible task seem possible.

This is the second time in the past thirteen years that the General has taken it upon herself to tackle the task. She started in the laundry room that spills over into my small home office. Did her labor make a difference? I noticed immediately that it looked like Mr. Clean had waved his magic wand in the laundry room and in my office. In addition, the General said that the process was surprisingly easy. Last time she purchased a commercial product to do the job. As is often the case, the ease at which the product worked fell significantly short of the product description on the label. This time she did it differently.

I’m not the only Google guru in the house. The General is pretty adept at finding almost anything. For example, several years ago when she awakened in the middle of the night in extreme pain, she used the assistance of Google to ascertain that she was either having a gallbladder attack or a heart attack. She opted to believe it was the gallbladder. By the time she awakened me, my only responsibility was to hurriedly get dressed and drive her to the emergency room. Of course, my confidence in her medical prowess isn’t nearly as high as hers. Before we made it to the emergency room, I was wishing we had called an ambulance. Initially, the folks in the emergency room thought heart attack rather than gallbladder. In other words, we didn’t have to wait in the waiting room. She got their full attention immediately. The General’s medical self-assessment had been correct. It was her gallbladder.

At any rate, her newly found formula for cleaning grout came from the Internet. It was a simple process. Step One: Cover the grout with baking soda. Step Two: Spray the baking soda with vinegar. Step Three: Wait a brief period of time and then scrub the grout with a brush. Step Four: Dry and clean away the residue and move to the next section of grout. She said the process was relatively easy and far more effective than the commercial cleaner she used the last time.

At any rate, I headed immediately to the sun porch early this morning to pick-up where we left off last night. There were still a lot of things to retrieve from the garage and straighten. The dresser scarf with embroidery had been the handiwork of my mother. It had been on the dresser in the room Ronnie and I shared as a kid.

In the early morning hours, as I placed the scarf on the flat surface of the roll top desk, my mind wandered back in time. Ronnie, Larry and I were loved and nurtured as children. That has never been a topic for debate. Actually, I’ve mostly taken that reality for granted.

Two men stopped by my office yesterday. One of the men had been in placement at the children’s home where I work. He couldn’t remember exactly the year that he came, but he graduated from high school in 1968. From his recollection, he thought he was in care for six to eight years. He couldn’t really remember the time frame. He was hopeful that I could assist him in finding something from his record that he could share with his children to substantiate his past.

I visited with the men in my office for about thirty to forty-five minutes. During that period of time the former alumni shared stories about his time at the children’s home. He was a resident in cottage #7. When he shared the timeframe of his placement, I realized that I had visited the children’s home over a weekend during the time he was in care. In fact, I had stayed in the cottage were he resided. I was part of a youth group from Belmont Baptist Church in Abilene that came to the campus to participate in a weekend revival.

I offered to take the men on a tour of the campus. As we walked past the chapel, the man who had been in care asked if we could go inside. He said, “I have so many positive memories of time shared in that place. I’d like to walk through it one more time.”

I had to locate a key, but gaining entry to the chapel was a must. Once inside, the man was like a kid in a candy store. His teary eyes were wide with memories from long ago. The man accompanying him, a next-door neighbor, asked if he had a favorite song? He answered, “Amazing Grace”. The neighbor sat down at the grand piano and played and sang the song. I watched the reaction of the man for whom the chapel held so many memories. He was lost in thought.

As I drove them around the campus to show them the property, the man who had been in care mentioned the horrific abuse he had experienced as a child from his mother. He said the love and care he experienced at the children’s home was a welcomed contrast. As the two men were leaving, both thanked me for the tour. The former resident said again, “If you can find anything that I can actually touch and see to substantiate that I was here, it would mean so much.”

Perhaps it was with that thought that the embroidery from a dresser scarf that I held in my hand jogged my memory of a mother’s love and a childhood of nurture and love that I should never take it for granted. I am both grateful and teary eyed with the thought.

All My Best!



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