Sunday, November 02, 2008

Walking With a Camera


When I was a young girl, I had a skirt made of the softest velveteen. It was sewn of squares in different fall colors—russet, mustard, forest green, brown. I loved the way it felt under my fingertips, the way the material shimmered in the light as if the colors were actually sunlit leaves. I wore it as often as fashion sense would allow; when I was 13 those things mattered more than they had at ten.

It’s funny what jogs the memory. Yesterday I was walking along my street past the pond, basking in the fretful sunlight, drinking in the last of the autumn colors—russet, mustard, forest green, brown. I saw that skirt in my mind’s eye as clearly as if it still hung in my closet. It brought back a rush of attendant memories, thoughts of other clothing (oh, that lovely flowered dress with bodice ties of black velvet, the leaf print blouse that looked like a watercolor, the brown dress with tiny balloons embroidered on the collar), of the scent of the leaves I scuffed through while walking to the neighbors’ house to iron (the wife had severe arthritis; her husband loved freshly ironed shirts but was unable to do them up properly himself). Injured during his stay in a concentration camp toward the end of WWII, he regaled me with tales of the war as I starched and ironed his shirts.

I stood stock still for the longest time as one memory after another washed over me. All that from the sight of a few colored leaves. I walked on, the young me, the present me, all of a piece and happy.

11 comments:

Barbara said...

Isn't if funny how memories are stored? How it takes just a palette of fall colors to bring back closets of the past that have not been entered for years? I'll bet that was a beautiful skirt. Why don't you recreate it for your granddaughter?

riseoutofme said...

Isn't it amazing how memories are triggered? And then, once triggered, tumble out like falling dominoes?

Loved the patience of small things ... made me stop in my rollercoaster ...

focusfinder said...

Walking with a camera, eh? That's very good, P.

Pauline said...

barbara, the clothing memories continue to tumble out. I'm amazed at how much I remember about what I wore as a child! I've been homesick lately so it may be that the memories of childhood are just closer to the surface right now.

rise - I fell in love with that poem, reading it over and over. It's all a kind of love, isn't it?

lol B - thought you'd smile at that. Wait for the next post - inspired by you!

Ruth D~ said...

How beautiful! I've had to do a bit of highway travel the past few days, and noted the more muted colors of late autumn. I tried to name them . . . mustard of all flavors . . . but you've helped me with the names I couldn't place. Lovely.

Mother of Invention said...

I have strong vivid memories of clothes worn as a child and fabric that was in my life, like couches, mom's fur coat, and sleeping bags...Maybe it is because I'm so tactile....and had a blankie! My mom made all our clothes too.

Diane said...

Oh, this was beautiful!! Thank you for bringing me back to some of my memories :)

Molly said...

There's a certain shade of pink that always reminds me of these god-awful, long-legged knickers my mother used to make me wear in winter. Pepto-Bismol pink. The memory always makes me shudder.....

Dave said...

The colors of Autumn they are some how magic. They aid in giving us an energy that will last thru winter.

herhimnbryn said...

Amazing how our memories are triggered.

Have linked to your previous post over at my place:)

Pauline said...

thanks HHB! It's an amazing poem.

glad I could help ruth ;)

MOI - i must have those same heightened tactile senses

you're welcome, diane ;)

lol molly!

thank you dave. I see you're noticing the colors too!