Place is Everything…

While I was in Maine a couple of weeks ago – memories – some simple moments in time, like a snapshot, others like mini movies, popped into my head. As we drove down Water Street, I remembered helping the Stevens clear an empty lot alongside the river to build a skating rink, which made me remember the year someone dammed up the Lake Brook across the street from what is now On the Marsh restaurant. With the cold winter temperatures, the brook froze back for what seemed like a mile. Mum bought me new skates at the Ski Barn. On the way to the dammed up brook, Mum told me about how when she was 12, her mother bought her ice skates for Christmas. Every day after school, Mum unwrapped the box and took the skates down to the local pond and skated, until she fell through the ice on a warm day and her picture appeared on the front page of the newspaper.

My point in this little trip down memory lane is when writing memoir, it is important to return to those places that defined us. Those familiar streets, buildings, neighborhoods, playgrounds, etc. will inevitably jar memories from their deep permanent residences. They jarred forgotten memories for me. And for a few fleeting moments, I thought I could actually hear Mum’s voice. That is a gift I had not expected.

So take your trip, return home, go back to that place that defined you and see just what you might find. For me, I found a little more of me and a little more of Mum.


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