Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SAVING MEMORIES by Radine Trees Nehring

My niece is moving.The two-story home where she and her husband raised their two children is too large, two expensive, and--perhaps--too full of memories. Her husband died two years ago. One child finished college last year and is off pursuing his career. The second child entered college (away from home) last week. And now, niece, who was a stay-at-home mom, has returned to her "before children" career. That's a happy thing, having a career waiting for her. Otherwise, I'm not so sure about her current feelings about memories and happiness. She lives in a distant city and is too busy currently to think of thoughtful communication. So, all my husband and I can do for her now is save our own memories of her and her family, and--pray.

Some readers here will be familiar with Spring Hollow in rural Arkansas. It's not a place on the map, but what my husband and I named the acres we bought in Northwest Arkansas in 1978. Camping trips in Canada and the northern US had introduced us to country life. Then, on a spring weekend camping trip to the Arkansas Ozarks our rural interests were reborn in a grove of blooming dogwood trees sheltering our old van. Two weekends later we had purchased our Ozarks acres. We spent weekends in a cabin we built there until we quit our jobs and city life and moved to Spring Hollow full time in 1988. It was heaven, and it lead to my first published book, DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow, a collection of essays and stories centered around our discoveries in the Ozarks.
My first mystery novel was also set at Spring Hollow though I named it Blackberry Hollow in the more-or-less fiction story.

Around 2010 my husband and I  began to realize that our home and the care of 23 Ozarks acres would soon be more than we wanted to manage. Time to think about moving. By 2013 we had purchased a condominium in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Spring Hollow was for sale. Eventually the perfect new owners for Spring Hollow came to us (environmentally conscious, appreciative of our compost containers, no-chemicals housekeeping and gardening; and with four lively children to run free on the land). We moved full-time to a city condo on a street called Meadow View.

Yes, it was a huge change. But there are so many new and interesting things in our hilly city. One major excitement (no, not joking) was watching the recycle truck come by once a week to sort our recycle tub into bins, followed by a magnificent trash truck that used metal arms to lift our trash container and dump it over inside the truck. Such mechanized wonders had been unknown to us at Spring Hollow. We had hauled both recycling and trash to collection locations.

We can't count the times people ask "Don't you miss Spring Hollow?"  Surprisingly, I missed only one thing--Spring Hollow's hundreds of spreading and blooming daffodils. Otherwise, I have a book, you see. And, of course I planted a few daffodil bulbs in the small personal garden space allowed at our condo--so now they are growing and naturalizing there.

What do today's memory savers use to save things they hold dear?  We have a book, We have photo albums. They have--smart phones?  And, of course, thought memories.

How do you save memories?  If you are a writer, maybe I know one way you do.  Otherwise?

No comments: