Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Remember

I Remember....

I remember the way my mother’s feet tanned in the summer, except for that tiny dry patch just below her ankle bone.

I remember my first crush--a blond, tanned life guard and tennis pro at our club. He always wore a white swath of zinc oxide on his nose. I asked him if I could be his ball girl. He said yes. I was eight.

I remember the hypnotic morse code of Henry's heart beating through his chest and into mine as we snuggled in the light blue glider. The well-worn arms were stained with spit-up and baby lotion. I remember that I didn't care.

I remember when I was in seventh grade and Josh asked me out. I remember my answer, Yes!, escaping my lips as I heard the snickers and laughter from the mean girls who put him up to the task.

I remember that in elementary school, I could close my eyes and know, based on the heady scent of freshly cut grass, that the end of the school year lurked imminently.

I remember the rusted hole in the trunk of our car that acted as a portal for runaway groceries.

I remember the first time Abby looked up at me and furrowed her seconds-old brow.

I remember my first designer tennis shoes—leather Nike’s with a sky blue swoosh. (Important: They were most definitely NOT the generics from JC Penny.)

I remember the first time I took my husband's hand; I figured I didn't really ever want to let go.

I remember a summer night, lying on the itchy blanket in the backyard with thick, summer grass tickling my ankles and mosquitoes feasting on my legs. I stared at the stars and felt pleased that they sparkled their ancient glow for me. I felt like I took part in a vast secret.

I remember watching in amazement as my brother's wrist hung limply from his arm. I remember my stomach churning because I loved him so much and just wanted my love to fix him, just like that.

I remember stuffing the jump rope into the top of my one-piece white terry cloth romper. The red ties strained at my shoulders. I also remember my mother taking me back to the store and every bit of my body shaking as I returned the stolen jump rope to the store manager.

I remember squinting at the stick, willing the two lines to appear.


This weekend, I got to spend three days learning about writing memoir from one of the greats,Dani Shapiro. Not only did I get to delve into the writing craft, I was flanked by dear friends. More on this phenomenal experience to come.

One of the many thought-provoking writing exercises that Dani gave us was to write (without stopping) for 10 minutes and to begin all sentences with "I remember." (An exercise inspired by Joe Brainard's Classic, I Remember). My friends, Lisa, Lindsey, Christine and Sarah and I all found this both fun and surprising - we discovered that we wrote down both long-cherished memories and ones percolate that we hadn't realized we remembered.

We think this is a powerful and revealing exercise, and wanted to share a few of our "I Remembers" as well as invite you to participate. Please join us - either by writing a post on your blog about what you remember or by adding a few of your memories to our comments. Start with five "I Remembers" and if you get a good rhythm and flow, keep going! If you write your own post, please come back and link it here - and we look forward to reading and responding to your memories. And please be sure check out Katrina Kenison's beautiful I Remembers, dedicated to her mother.