Friday, June 7, 2013


A la recherche du temps perdu - Proust's Remembrance of Things Past,
or Times Lost, whichever way you might want to translate the title,
is a bit longer than my humble blog effort.
Do you, as I do, think about certain items you’ve lost or lost track of during your life?  Every once in a while I think of things I had over my seventy years,  fondly remembering of some of them, or really wishing I had some
others right now.
My daughters came to me by marriage, and they were already fifteen. But I have seven granddaughters, and I often wish I’d had my dolls to pass on to them. My sister and I “lost” our dolls via an overzealous Mother who decided, because we were then into our teens, that my sister and I didn’t need those dolls any more. She up and gave them to a local orphanage. I can still recall the tirade I went on because I was not pleased at all. And ooooh was she mad that I was mad! We weren’t even consulted: she just took them and gave them away. Many, many years later she thought to make it up to me by buying me one of the first Baby Beans dolls, and she told me that’s why she got the doll. By then it was all part of the past, and it didn’t make up for the loss of my beautiful Madam Alexander doll with the clothes my Mom had made, or my Amosandra doll, to name just my two favorites. I do still have the Baby Beans, as well as several other dolls I’ve accumulated in my adult years, but I still miss my childhood dolls.

Amosandra - someone else's, not mine, alas
There are a few books I miss. I miss my dragon book.  I’ve searched all over – on line or any time I was in a second-hand book store – but I’ve never found it. I don’t even remember the title of the book, but I can see the cover and the pictures in my mind’s eye. It was a story about a princess who found a baby dragon.  She was allowed to keep it as long as it didn’t use its fire.  Well, one night robbers came to the castle and the dragon used its fire to protect the princess.  Knowing it had done what was forbidden, it took itself away from the castle – and the rest of the story is how they found the dragon again.  I loved that story. I know the book was from England, so I’ve even searched there.  One day I’ll find it and I’ll probably break down in tears.  

When I was the same age as in the dragon book time, we had Christmas records, old 78’s, that were my favorites. (To this day the carols have to be sung that way, in that tempo, or they’re just wrong!) Over the years the records got chipped and cracked.  They are no longer playable, even if I had a record player, but I still have them. Yeah, I know, I’m a nut!  But one day, browsing in the CD’s in a store in the mall I came upon a re-recording of the original Robert Shaw Chorale album, Joy to the World. Well I just stood in that store, getting stares from some of the other customers, the tears just running down my face and my throat all choked up. Chokes me up now as I write just to think about that moment and how much I love that recording.  So – to end this paragraph – that is why I know I’d cry if I ever found my dragon book.

Let’s see, what else is on my list of remembered things past?  The Dutch wooden shoes I wore as a child. My Dad brought them home after the war. I had a pair to wear and a decorative pair. Gone. I outgrew the pair to wear, and the decorative pair went to that great closet in the sky. I bought ‘a pair to wear’ in Amsterdam, but I think you have to get accustomed to them from childhood – the new ones just hurt my instep after a while.
I miss three or four of my favorite dresses, none were very fancy or formal, wishing I’d just kept them in my closet to look at and just ‘have’. I’ve a turquoise silk shell and jacket that I’ve outgrown – I am, after all, a sometimes growing child! - I keep just because I love its color.
In the lost book category I’d also put B.F. Skinner’s Walden Two.  Yes, I know you can still find it, and yes, I have a copy, but losing the first two copies of the book taught me a lesson: don’t loan out your books.  Book plates do not insure you’ll ever get it back. I had to devise a system of reminders for myself to get my books back.  Over the years, trying to be gracious, I’ve loaned out other books. If I’m not really persistent in remembering to ask for them back I can kiss the books goodbye.  Unlike the dragon book, which might have gone the way of many childhood possessions, I’m not upset with the later losses because they were my own fault. How true: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

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