Saturday, October 03, 2009

Unforgettable

This subject chased me down and made me promise to address it, so today I will tell you about moments in my life that I always remember, in essence moments that Haunt me.

10 Unforgettable Moments
In My Life


Yesssss...

Where to begin? I guess I should try this chronologically, so allow me to rewind for a moment.

Unforgettable Moment #1: Being Potty Trained
Early memories are fuzzy for most people, and I'm no exception. I don't recall any of my infancy, but I do have a toddler memory or two. I have a vague image in my mind of my parents and this green potty chair, I remember thinking that the potty chair was kinda gross. I also remember getting to graduate to the 'big toilet'...

It was a moving experience.

Unforgettable Moment #2: Shopping for a Beanbag
My Daddy was one of those Dads, you know this because I have written so many things about both my parents. Good things, loving things... because for my parents there are no other words but good ones. I was still a toddler, somewhere between 2 and 3 years old I think, and my Dad took me to Memphis with him on a mission to buy me a Bean Bag. I don't remember everything about it, but I do remember the trip, and being in the store to pick one out. We visited a photo booth too, and got one of those classic '3 frame black and white photos', which I still have (although I can't remember where it is right this second). I made a copy once and used it as the border for a poem I wrote for my Dad, entitled "My Daddy and Me". If I can get it all together, I'll share it with you.

Unforgettable Moment #3: The Death Of My Pony, "Penny"
Penny was the first horse I ever rode, my first horse ever. Although she was a wild thing, for some reason Mom and Dad allowed me to ride her by myself, which I find odd now in retrospect of how over-protective they were with me. Horses are mostly supposed to be able to swim. I must have been all of 5 or 6 years old, when Mr. Butler's dogs had apparently chased my Penny around the pond until she fell in and was perhaps too exhausted to swim. My parents informed me very carefully, I suppose thinking that I was going to be devastated or have a fit. It was not because I wasn't sad, I was... but I was very curious too. The only request I made was, "Daddy, can I touch her?" He said yes. I moved forward and gingerly placed my fingers on her lifeless body. She felt very weird to me. That was my first real taste of death.

Unforgettable Moment #4: Starting Kindergarten
Most of my childhood up until this moment was spent either with my parents and their adult friends and other family members, or simply with my two neices, "The Kids". So a classroom full of children was something I knew nothing of. The day finally came with my true childhood innocence would be replaced by that of a school aged pupil. I didn't want to go, I didn't know what to expect. She took me into the building (the site of a Methodist Church) where I met Mrs. Lewis, a wonderful older lady with pointy glasses. Aside from Mom and Dad, she was my very first official "Teacher". Although Kindergarten was only half days, they seemed like forever at first. As time went on, I adjusted. As far as grades go, who fails Kindergarten? I did well, but I think my highest score was on my appetite. Go figure.

Unforgettable Moment #5: Discovering Black & White
Kindergarten had been all white children, for some reason. Perhaps it was because it was part of the Methodist Church. However, when I started first grade at the Public School, it was my first integrated setting. I was curious about the black children and liked them. Although in my innocence, I didn't see anything strange about other skin colors, I was intrigued. They were pleasant and fun to play with. Once I remember talking to a girl whom I'd befriended, and I accidentally grazed her arm with my fingernail. It made a little white scratch, and made me wonder if the color simply "scratched off". The girl and I both looked at each other curiously. Then, my very first crush was actually on one of the black boys, and I was quickly corrected by my Mother and informed that races should not mix. It wasn't their fault, you understand, my parents themselves were raised by very old fashioned and very strict parents, and they didn't mean any harm I don't think. It's just all that they know. Old habits die hard I guess, and I was "cured" of my colorblindness.

Childhood purity... melting away.

I made it through school, a lot of that is a blur I guess, I never attained any popularity. I was always a bit of a loner and an oddball, although I did embarrass myself totally once by trying out for Cheerleading. I couldn't even turn a flip. What was I thinking?

Unforgettable Moment #6: My First Taste Of Freedom
College was a whole different ball game, and although I didn't get to move far away from home and go to Art School, I made the best out of my local Community College. Those turned out to be the most care-free and fun times of my life. Daddy was teaching truck driver training there at a JTPA program, so I got some financial benefits there too. Even though the dorm that I moved into was considered the crappiest one, I made the small room my home away from home (which was really less than 15 minutes from home, ironically). My roommate and I fixed up our little haven and I began to enjoy the non-stop party of college, and the freedom that came along with moving out of parents' houses. Like most things in life, however that too was temporary. It would be some time before I would officially leave my Mom and Dad's nest. College, the most fun I may have ever had. I miss those days.

Hard to believe I survived!

Unforgettable Moment #7: Falling In Love For The 1st Time
Although I had learned a thing or two before then, barely, I had rarely dated in High School. I just barely skimped by with an escort to my senior prom, and even he and I didn't quite see eye-to-eye. That's probably because my nose came up to his armpit, which was thick and putrid with body odor. So when I met Lee, we shared an almost instantaneous ignition of what I thought at the time was true love. Met on a Saturday at the Dairy Queen in the food court of the Mall Of Memphis, and by the end of our first weekend together he proposed and we'd begun making plans for our future together. Our fairy tale was short lived, however, as his "ex" girlfriend back home had dropped the news that she was pregnant, and his devoutly religious minister of a father nearly forced him to do the right thing. A couple of months after it started, it ended just as swiftly and of course painfully.

I cried in my Mother's lap for a week, my last bit of innocence replaced with grief and hostility.

Unforgettable Moment #8: Falling In Love For The 2nd Time
My job experience with Walmart thus far had virtually disintegrated my once painful shyness, and I made friends much more easily in adulthood than ever as a teen. Well into my 20s, I began working in a "plant" environment... Magazine Printing. I really liked everyone I worked with, some more than others. I'd had a few "suitors" there, nobody that I had more than a fleeting interest in. Then one day the friendship that had developed between Z and Me erupted into a boiling hot lava cake of love. It smacked me so hard I couldn't see straight. The feelings that happened between the two of us was something I had never before experienced, and even now sometimes I wish I didn't know those feelings and possibilities existed. The first kiss was every bit and more like that of the slow-motion, drugged and star struck movie kiss. It really was a kiss to build a dream on. Time really slowed down, and the heat went from my skull to my toes. I was in way over my head. Everything about the two of us, our love, was completely wrong and so very right, all at once.

As beautiful and magical as he'd made me feel, when it ended I felt worse than ever. My soul was eternally ripped. This I had to endure alone, I couldn't cry in Mom's lap this time.

Unforgettable Moment #9: From Dark To Light
After Z, my self-esteem hit an all-time low. I had many dark moments in that time period that were unforgettable, and also unspeakable. Even though I may detail them in my Memoirs some day, a long way down the road, they remain in the blackest corners of my heart and mind, hush hush. These were the Dark Ages.

Then came Richie a.k.a. "Mr. J" (although I didn't realize it at first)... he shined his bright light and his positive and magical laughter on my dark and dying soul. He threw out a lifeline and reeled me in. Did he save me from worse fates? We may never know. I would've never met him if it hadn't been for my niece Jolie (R.I.P Girl) dragging us to see a metal show... so maybe She saved me. Either way, yes I fell in love for a third time. He was another soul mate that I was fortunate enough to find in this lifetime... how many people get that gift? He meshed right in with my family, and he's been my family ever since.

Unforgettable Moment #10: The Death of my Father
Who could forget a moment like this? I had received the news earlier that day while I was at work that he was not doing well and the words you don't want to hear, "you might need to come on home and be here with the family". I had that feeling of dread, I knew it was the final countdown. I felt so guilty for not having spent the last few days right by his side. It had been a long haul, his illness had gotten the better of him, and he was very tired. He was so ready to go, even though he really didn't want to leave US, he was exhausted. I sped home as fast as I could, and was approximately like thirty seconds too late. He had passed before I could walk through the door and say my last goodbyes. I looked at him, I felt his skin (still warm), I touched his huge, loving hands and for the last time ever, I would sit by his side in the spot where he spent so much time watching all of his favorite shows. Although "his chair" had been replaced, we'd hoped temporarily, by the hospital bed I had still leaned down next to him and put my head on his shoulder, or held his hand and visited with him. Now, this giant man who'd been the hero all of my life lay there small and frail, without breath in his body, and all I could do was look at him and try to memorize every detail so I would not lose his face. The thing about my father though, Jack Cutler, was that to know him and love him was also to commit him to memory because he was truly a strong, honest and loving man, one that was and will always be Unforgettable.

"Life is a succession of moments, to live each one is to succeed." ~Corita Kent

"One doesn't recognize the really important moments in one's life until it's too late." ~Agatha Christie

2 comments:

Four Dinners said...

That was fascinating babe x

Had lots of unforgettable moments in my life. I'd tell you all about them but...er....I forget

Chelly said...

Wow Jackie. That was beautiful. Every word had me gripped. Good on ya for trying out for cheerleading! Love that.

Also the part about your Daddy was just lovely.