Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Continuing the Sentimental Journey

Okay. Maybe it's because of the holiday season. Maybe it's the dream I had last night about being back in my parents' house, which was about to be lost or was already lost (hard to explain this in non-dream reality). Maybe it's the latke fumes still in the air. But sentimental thoughts . . . And then I was sorting through some papers over the weekend, and I came across this.

That is my father's turkey recipe. Note that first he gives the standard recipe, taped to the page. Then he gives his own (typed at the bottom), which is the opposite of the standard way. I bet the typing is my mother's, as she did most of the typing. I love the typewriter-ly look of it with the corrections and the uneven line spacing and left-hand margin, and especially the crooked last line. I love the dark imprint of the scotch tape. And of course, we have the handwritten addendum, about the book group discussion (Wide Sargasso Sea, which I've never read but now am feeling inclined toward) and the potential suede jacket. He mentions Elaine, who is my sister. And he mentions "all three of you," which would be me and my two sisters. So he sent this to all three of us. Elaine tells me she has a copy hanging in her kitchen.
     How long has it been since someone wrote to you and said they would love to buy you a jacket? My father was not a Saks kind of person by nature, so it's interesting that the jacket was from Saks. I did let him buy it for me, in the green. My mother got one in the tan. I wore it for years until the lining was completely shredded.
     My husband makes the turkeys in our house, and they are quite delicious. He does not use my father's method, but I will say that my father's turkeys were remarkably delicious as well.


Anonymous said...

The smells, the food, the memories of times when all the chairs were filled, and whatever else encourages such thoughts - we surrender to our pasts.

That you have chosen to share your holiday thoughts has pushed through more facades that may not imagine.

in a broader sense, the young rockers from CA didn't think about the legacy of their music. Your writing affects all of your readers. It grabs our emotion, especially your readers who grew up near Outer Drive and Hubbell, as did Phonzo Williams, writer of Detroit 187. Different years.Same emotion.

My father carried my first bike to me on the Dexter bus. i wear his 40 year-old pjs and a brown zip fleece lined jacket.

My mother's cookbook was her hands and her nose. I found a pad advertising Morton Salt, probably from the 40s, It's pages, her best Palmer handwriting listed ingredients for her baking recipes. I was thrilled until I realized she had recorded only the ingredients she did not keep in her kitchen. Sadly, in my anger at her omission, I tore the pages in small pieces. My only consolation is that I would never duplicate her talent. Although our dining room table was always full of people inhaling her food, she gave herself no credit. In my favorite picture of her, she is smiling while she holds a platter of potato latkes on one hand and a platter of matzo latkes in the other.

Despite the holiday busies, truth is "we" are not in a very good place now. Maybe remembering gives us hope. Whatever, it sure feels good and that can't be bad!

Happy Healthy New Year to All!

Margaret P. said...

What a wonderful memento.

Susan Messer said...

It's hard to know what exactly to do with all these things and feelings. I guess the internet has solved this problem in some way. I was thinking that my parents were the first people I knew to be in a book group. It was (or seemed like) a new concept back then. That encouraged me to start at book group in Ann Arbor. And I have been in book groups pretty much ever since then.

I was wondering, Margaret, if you remembered the jacket. I think I still had it when we worked together. But that's a long time to remember someone else's jacket, and maybe I worse something dressier to work??? so I don't really expect you to. said...

I am your first comment. Must have selected incorrectly.

Margaret P. said...

It's funny about memory. You say you wore a green jacket to the office in those days, so I remember you wearing it. Was it tapered at the waist, with lapels? If not, then I have inserted a fantasy for a memory. I do that a lot.

Margaret P. said...

I want to make another comment, this time about our parents. I am still fortunate that my parents are alive, both in their eighties, still married, still taking care of each other and of their children, though we are trying to relieve them of that responsibility bit by bit.

But we are all acutely aware that in time--perhaps a short time--all we will have are our memories and mementos. In light of this, I spent a great deal of time this past summer putting up on my website all my parents' writings, as long as it wasn't a copyright violation to do so. I love that the internet gave me the opportunity to create a this online compendium and that I could do it while they were alive to participate in it. I also put up the biography my grandmother wrote about her husband, who died tragically. I knew she would have LOVED this, because in my copy she had written a note that if I didn't want to keep the book, there were many other relatives who she could give it to. She only had a limited number of copies, after all. A limited number of copies...the concept is practically ancient, isn't it?

Susan Messer said...

It wasn't tapered at the waist. It actually had no waist at all, but a drawstring at the bottom, mid-thigh. It was an outerwear jacket, not an inner-wear one. I remember a pair of very elegant navy suede pumps to wore to the office once.

Susan Messer said...

What a world, what a world. A friend of mine in the publishing biz says they used to do long-term planning (5-7 years out). Now they only do mid-range planning (2 years out), since no one can yet envision what's coming next.

It is wonderful that your parents are still around to see their work on the web, available to the whole world. Thanks for telling me about that.

Margaret P. said...

Of course, I remember that jacket perfectly now. :-)

Susan Messer said...

Yes, of course. Got those wonderful cards today. When I saw the envelope, I hoped that's what I would find inside, and my wish was granted. Thank you so much, m'luv. And happy holidays.

About Me said...

What a rich bit of memorabilia this is.

Susan Messer said...

Thanks for stopping by, "About Me." Just when I was feeling discouraged, someone new shows up. I failed to post last Weds and have been feeling bad about it, but I will try to reignite soon. Maybe even tomorrow, which is, after all, Wednesday.