Tag Archives: childhood

::family(part 12)history::

One, two, three, four, five.  Five.

I have five Uncles.  My Grandmother had five sons.  Five.

Five boys.  One house.

One whole counted hand of converse sneakers, scraped knees, dirt and mud, baseball, blue jeans, late homework assignments, broken bicycles, stray animals, campouts, tree houses, bruised bodies, fist fights… my poor Grandmother.  I can’t even imagine.  And they are all so unique.

My Uncle Don is wise.  He pursued education and has a quiet but loving manner about him.

My Uncle Jim is the ace.  He’s talented at everything he does and can smooth talk his way out of anything.  He’s always got a wink and a sly smile ready.

My Uncle Chris is the joker.  He embraces his goofiness and can make my entire family cry from belly-aching laughter in 30 seconds flat.

My Uncle Doug is a ham.  He’s sincere to the core and gives the best hugs.

My Uncle Shawn is a sweetheart.  Everybody knows him, everybody loves him.

Five boys.

Five men.

Although this photo only features three of my Uncles, I love how much it captures their personalities.  Uncle Don the ‘wise’ and oldest is on the far right.  Uncle Jim the ‘ace’ is center, and Uncle Chris the ‘joker’ is far left.

Rushford Lake on a hot summer day.

Call your boys, now that the table is set and shining,
no one’s seen, them in many days,
Call your boys, they shot a buzzard off a Chrysler,
and you still taste, all that you swallowed before grace,
and you’ll forgive, even the time they burned the hen house,
and ran from you, and ran to the hills with burning hands,
setting sun, framed in the doorway right behind you,
several chores, surely some lessons left to tell,
setting sun, wolves in the hills are now before you,
sit you boys, each with their shining silverware,
they’ll bury you under wood beside the carport,
bury you, at some neon stop along the way,
radio fuzz, on the fencepost by the pasture,
long ago, Liza and you would dance all day,
now you lay, buried to stir and a sacred father,
in a sacred urn, under a billboard, in the rain,
but one last toast, here’s to the brave who went before us,
and died in vain, died in a movie for a dream.

-Sam Beam



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::net of wonder::

As a kid I was always fascinated by the animal world.  I remember subscriptions to some sort of National Geographic for kids program in which I would get fact sheets about particular animals every month.  I organized all of these in a series of binders and would spend hours pouring over the colorful pages.  I can still remember distinct images- the hairy fanged tarantula, red-butt baboon, a diagram of a cobra next to a man showing their full height (over 7ft), the razor sharp teeth of a piranha.  One set of pages was particularly worn, the set of facts I had about my favorite animal at the time- dolphins.

I knew lots of girls when I was younger who loved horses.  They read the Saddle Book Club books and had horse posters around their rooms.  I harbored this same obsession but for dolphins instead. I loved hearing stories about their intelligence, learning of human and dolphin interactions, watching films and reading books that told of the creatures.  I watched Flipper hundreds of times and my favorite book was Island of the Blue Dolphins.  I even sported a bright orange and teal Miami Dolphins winter jacket (despite my family’s die hard devotion to the Buffalo Bills) just so I could wear something that unashamedly showed off my interest in the animal.

Gradually over time, my interest in dolphins shifted to all marine life.  For several years I strongly declared that I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up, barely understanding what the title meant.  The summer my parents finally took me to Sea World we got to go to Dolphin Cove and pet and feed the dolphins.  Pictures from the day documented my tears of joy and extreme excitement.

Eventually, realizations about my lack of skills in math and science deterred me from my childhood dream and other interests took over.  However, I still hold a great fascination for our marine world.  This past weekend we made a trip to see friends and 4 of us visited the Atlanta aquarium.  We walked around for hours, dazed and delighted, blue light from the tanks illuminating our faces.  I loved experiencing that thrill that I had as a child, the extreme wonder and interest in a world so unlike our own.

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.  -Henry David Thoreau

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.  -Jacques Yves Cousteau


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in time of roses(who amaze

A few days ago I spent an hour or two exploring the Savannah Botanical Gardens.  I was quite surprised to see how much was still in bloom in the garden, ignorantly assuming that my fall and winter climates would look similar no matter where I live.  The muted gray and brown tones of fall and early winter I’ve grown up with in western NY have not overtaken the scenery here.  Pansies and roses were still in bloom along side small trees displaying glowing golden leaves, hesitantly turning to shades of amber and crimson.

In compliment with my time at the garden, I’ve recently been re-reading a childhood favorite book- The Secret Garden by Frances Hogdson Burnett.  The story revolves around Mary Maddox’s experience growing up in her Uncle’s home, Misselthwaite Manor in England, after being recently orphaned.  She spends her time at the Manor getting lost in a garden she finds and claims as her own.  Mary and her friends care for the abandoned garden, planting and pruning, bringing new life and watching the  garden grow before their eyes.

It’s been refreshing to read a story so pure, focusing on childhood and the beauty of the earth, exploring and learning, reminding me of the richness of simplicity and how awe-inspiring our environment is.

in the time of daffodils (who know

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be

(when time from time shall set us free)

forgetting me,remember me

–ee cummings

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