Thursday, December 6, 2018

HOMECOMING



The film is grainy. It is Christmas, 1950, and, one by one, the beloved faces come out the door at 364 Christleton, my Grandma’s house. Smiling into the camera, our grandparents, beaming with their children around them, come from afar, my favourite uncle, his wife and daughter; my mom and dad; my mom’s younger sister, with her piquant smile, tip-toeing down the stairs. My younger uncle with his shock of wheat-coloured hair, and his wife, only she left alive, now as curled and frail as an autumn leaf. They were so beautiful, impossibly sophisticated, I thought then, with their then-considered-cool cigarettes, and their laughing chatter. My aunt would take out a cigarette and tap it on the package, my courtly uncle swooping across the room to gallantly light it. “Time to go, Mother Bear?” he’d ask, as the evening lengthened, and she would smile, theirs the love story that fed my dreams, until it all fell apart and his eyes took on the hurt look of one betrayed. 

On our last Christmas with our mother, (though we didn’t know that then), we played this film of her glory years, and she cried and cried, for all those missing faces, all that was gone. And now I am almost the age that she was then, and more faces are missing. But I remember, I remember, the small cottage on Christleton Avenue, when I was young, and all those shining, smiling, beautiful faces, coming out the door, one by one. All but my last frail aunt now gathered Home.

Aunts and uncles smile
Christmases of bygone years
Tears for dear ones gone


for my prompt at Real Toads: Homecoming. What are the places that gather you in, that say "Home" to you? Is there someone of whom you can say "I loved you more"? Also shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading every Sunday morning.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, this snapshot from the past is so fragile to touch and so evocative in its emotion. The memories, the lives lived, and all that remains today are to be treasured. It is like a beautiful tribute to everyone we encounter here and of course the home — the center of this manifold scene. I love every detail in it. :-)

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  2. A wonderful grainy haibun snapshot, Sherry, which was so clear to me, as if I’d been there too. Yes, one by one the faces disappear, but we still have memories and photographs.

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  3. Memories are a bittersweet gift.

    Love how you takes us through the events, show us the people, let us cry and smile with you.

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  4. I feel like I've just begun reading a wonderful new book. I so want to read more about them.

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  5. This is wonderful, Sherry. I always like to see when the prompter has written. You did not disappoint. If this house pictured it is similar to Mom and Dad's that they bought when they retired, finally, and moved to town. It was a one bedroom with a sleeping/sun room at the back. The next buyer burned it down with a Met fire. I was expecting your Mom to not allow the cigarette to be lit inside the house but that was okay. Sorry about the split. Now we, perhaps you also, are the Aunts and Uncles. And my cousins are dying off, we have a funeral this Sunday and Monday for one. I won't go though, way to far away.
    ..

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  6. In those days, everyone smoked inside, Jim. Horrifying to think of now. Only the petite aunt died of lung cancer. My grandparents lived modestly their whole lives. They would be appalled at today's excesses....and prices!

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  7. It is a sad time remembering all our families who have passed. Beautiful poem about beautiful people.

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  8. This is beautiful. I see all your loved ones walking out that door, smiles, love, life. It gets hard at times to count all those who no longer walk among us.

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  9. What a wonderful, beautiful piece this is Sherry and brought back many memories of family get togethers in older, difficult days during World War 2 and the years after as Britain slowly recovered.

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  10. as curled and frail as an autumn leaf...

    This line captures the mood of gentle reminiscence so well.

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  11. I love this beautiful telling Sherry. I find myself missing others more and in those moments of looking back, I find comfort.

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  12. These words on fading and grasping the warmth of home are truly touching. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  13. Oh, this breaks my heart, Sherry. Perhaps because it triggers my own memories of those who are no longer alive....Only people of my generation left --cousins, and even some of them have passed. We do have to savor the memories though, especially at this season of the year.

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    1. I agree. Savoring the memories is an important task at "our age." :)

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  14. theirs the love story that fed my dreams, until it all fell apart and his eyes took on the hurt look of one betrayed. ... why must all good things come to an end? Heartbreaking nostalgia always overwhelms the big holidays.

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  15. I could see the film frame by frame and it touched this reader with the tenderness of times gone by - reminded me somewhat of Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales'

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  16. Oh, you took me back to the big family Christmases when I was a kid. Yes, all my grandparents, aunts and uncles and my parents are gone now – but they have been gone for many years, and my nostalgia is now more tinged with fondness than grief. Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing.

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  17. Love this especially; "as curled and frail as an autumn leaf."❤️ Such a touching poem, Sherry!

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  18. This gave me goosebumps. Those times were so foundational but fleeting. Well captured here.

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  19. Thanks for your haibun share of memories Sherry. Family and home precious every detail
    Happy Sunday

    Muchđź’ślove

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  20. The picture you paint with words is as tender as the photograph. This is such a lovely memory of family and days gone. Brought back my own memories of relatives gone and those that remain.

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  21. You writing certainly delves into the love of family. Sad for those gone, but also full of warmth and love.

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  22. This is heartwarming. This year our holidays have been slightly thrown off kilter and I've been doing a little bit of reminiscing as well. Lovely.

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  23. Beautiful, Sherry … so tenderly penned, I can feel the love that is there, still. A lovely and poignant remembrance - captured now, for posterity, with your wonderful words.

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  24. Memories abound at Christmas, don’t they, Sherry. This is such a great group of memories, and a lovely tribute to the family you love.

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  25. A beautiful collection of memories, Sherry. It's a blessing we even have them.

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!