Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Half-Lived Girl In A Polka Dot Dress






I had just come from an out-of-town funeral.
I had dead people on the brain.
One of you should have stopped me.


I knew the place. I knew it well. More than twenty-five years had passed. Still, I knew it well.

Now before you think I randomly descend upon properties unannounced with my camera and notepad I so do that and risk trespassing incarceration, let me explain.

And besides, Monet had an impression to paint in the door glass above (don't you see it?) It was a sign.
And I had a story to tell.




I called the previous tenant who was not the owner my first mistake to see if anyone would mind my nosy news skirt and he said, "No. No one has lived there in years. Just be careful." I hoped they wouldn't mind. It was literally a mile off the highway, thick brush and cornfield roads, and I, in my funeral clothes which were anything but black, a loaded camera...

and memories
I'd laughed in this house. Cried in this house. Seen death in this house. Sang in this house. Weddings. Wakes. Parties. New Year's. Christmas trees in each room in this house. Kissed by the fire in this house.
Climbed the mahogany stairs in this house.
Loved in this house.





















Oh, I knew there were ghosts, real and imagined, floating about in the oak trees above, peeking through the broken windows and cobwebs. Briars and snake grass, dilapidated steps and peeling paint, rotten boards, sagging roof. It bore little resemblance to the beautiful sprawling old 2-story home with real wooden floors and an elegant polished staircase. The lady of the house kept it spotless she did. The rose bushes had died and all the flowers - almost - were but a whiff on the breeze in my mind. I wanted, I needed....to find some.

And besides, have you ever known me to run from a memory?
Look....just look....what I found.



You know I had to.

It had been waiting all these years for my return.









For one afternoon I was eighteen.
...sitting under the protection of my wise and omnipresent friend whose careful watchful wisdom transcended the quiet diversion my life's journey took.


We knew each other well. Steady. Wise. Massive. Strong. Listening. Absorbing. Affirming. Holding me and my swing and my memories just fine.
Old friends always do.
Don't ask me how but I know we heard the music up the creaky old stairs and I danced a dance of memory bold while he nodded and witnessed the precarious passing of time through the eyes of a half-lived girl in a polka dot dress

who knows that she knows that the most important tentacles never change and that somehow the girl is still laughing in that polished house and always will 'cause love buried down that deep never goes too far.


She still looked familiar standing in the Monet. Eons of time .....opening and closing, fleeing and finding.
I knew her. I knew her well. Maybe all had changed.
Except the strength of the trees
the smell of the bark
the swish of my skirt
And roots

that go deep in my heart

63 comments:

Bond said...

You know how brilliant I think your words are, but I also believe this post could have just been pictures and the story would have been told...they are fantastic!

Mimi Lenox said...

ADDENDUM:

I didn't want to spoil the mood of the experience by including this in the story but....as I drove away, I stepped out of my car to take one more picture. A "person" (??) jumped out from one of the bushes in the yard and ran toward my car. There was, apparently, a homeless person in the house watching me the whole time I was outside frolicking around and taking pictures. Either that, or it really was a ghost. Spooky, huh?The house was unlocked and I cracked the door but something told me NOT to go in.

Yeah. I know. I should always take reinforcements....

Mimi Lenox said...

Bond - Thank you. Read the comment above. I was not alone!!

I love the pic sitting under the tree and interestingly enough, it came out "white" like that straight out of the camera. I left it alone.

Thom said...

You always write so well and these pictures this time could have told that story. Excellent Oh Queen of the Blogosphere :)

Autumn said...

I can't even imagine a place like that. What a beautiful story...

Akelamalu said...

Beautiful place, beautiful memories.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thom - Thank you. I really have no camera skills. Point and shoot and experiment. That's about it. Sometimes I get lucky when the natural light is as perfect as it was that day.

Mimi Lenox said...

Autumn - It was always one of my favorite places to be ...once upon a time way long ago.

Mimi Lenox said...

Akelamalu - And so far removed from the rest of the world.

Kitten said...

Those were some amazing photos. The tire swing brought back a lot of memories. Our neighbors had a swing dangling from their huge oak tree, and we'd swing from it every day, all summer long. It was just a simple board held up by two thick pieces of rope, but it was our favorite amusement.

Kori said...

This is one of the most beautifully written and well-photographed posts I have read in a long time. You are truly gifted, be it intentional or not.

Mimi Lenox said...

Kitten - Simple pleasures that I wish all children today could experience. As much as I enjoy a culturally diverse and artistically progressive community to live in now, as an adult, I wouldn't give anything for the peacefulness I learned to love in the countryside near my hometown.
It was a special place.

Mimi Lenox said...

Kori - I appreciate that very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

Mimi ... I forgot how I adore your posts. You always capture the emotional side, as you project thoughts and feeling into text. Your signature photos, with glimpses of your profile, somehow give a personalized touch as well.

Big smile, and a big "hello" from SpeedyCat .... back in business ;-)

Dawn (Twisted Sister) said...

I'd laughed in this house. Cried in this house. Seen death in this house. Sang in this house. Weddings. Wakes. Parties. New Year's. Christmas trees in each room in this house. Kissed by the fire in this house.
Climbed the mahogany stairs in this house.
Loved in this house.

This house was a home. In every sense of the word. Beautiful memories Mimi... beautiful post.

Finding Pam said...

"love buried down that deep never goes too far", I loved that line. Thanks for sharing a lovely photos and your memories with us.

I am glad you have so many wonderful memories in that home.

myhomecomforts said...

WOW! A wonderful piece of writing. Very impressive and the photos were beautiful.

CJ said...

This was a truly beautiful story ---and just a bit creepy. I loved it. (Visiting from MR.Knowitall.)

Mimi Lenox said...

Speedy - It was good to see you golfing on the blog today. And thanks...

Mimi Lenox said...

Dawn - And you just finished my thought perfectly.
You get it.

Mimi Lenox said...

Pam - There ar good and bad in every house. Lately I've been having a love affair with dreams about houses as well. This was cathartic for me.

Mimi Lenox said...

MyHome - Welcome to my blog. Thank you so much.

Mimi Lenox said...

CJ - I agree about the creepiness too!

Charles Gramlich said...

Love the pictures and the story to go with it. Beautiful countryside. It reminds me quite a lot of Arkansas. And the tire swing. I remember those too.

Vodka Mom said...

Mimi- that was spectacular! The images and writing took my breath away.


xoxox

Duchess Dethroned said...

Oo, tire swings are so fun! I've got a 5-foot tall thistle in my yard. I didn't know they got that big!!

Thanks for letting me know about the meme!

The Gal Herself said...

Mimi's back! Mimi's back! Welcome home to the Palace, Your Majesty.

You always have such *pretty* adventures when you leave us. It's like you create your own world, filled with sun and trees and beautiful greens and polka dots and friendly ghosts ... Promise that you won't be seduced into one of your reflections, never to come back.

Julia Smith said...

Beautiful post, beautifully done.

Jamie said...

It is a beautifully written memory piece and the best part is that girl is still so alive in you.

SandyCarlson said...

This was wonderful. Made me think of one of Mary Oliver's poems in her newest book, Evidence. Trees are not decorations; they are friends.

Desert Songbird said...

Bond is right; your photos could have stood in their right and told the story, but the words were certainly stunning. That said, your added comment made me shudder!

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

You told me the story before I read the post. But, to be honest, I was as moved had you not explained it. It is brilliant. Truly...

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - Arkansas? Really? And tire swings are the best!

Mimi Lenox said...

Vodka - Thank you my friend..

Mimi Lenox said...

Duchess - Well, these "thistles" had been untamed for many many years. I can't believe I didn't step on a snake.

Mimi Lenox said...

Gal - You are so kind. It would take a lot of seduction to make me stay away from the blog for long. But you right about "creating my own world".. I've been doing that since I was seven.. Writing poems, telling stories, creating.....It is truly who I am and I thrive in a reflective quiet mode sometimes.
Glad you liked it.

Mimi Lenox said...

Julia - I think of you everytime I have a "ghost" moment. I remember your comment on my Damned Ghost post last summer. Intuitive minds think alike, eh?

Mimi Lenox said...

Jamie - Whhheeeeeee!!! Yes, I believe she is....hopefully, she's a grown up too. (But not tooo much)

Mimi Lenox said...

Sandy - I would love to read those poems. Thank you.

Mimi Lenox said...

Desert - I still can't believe I saw what I saw!!! It kept me from going to sleep that night. Shudder is right.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bud - Thank you sweetie.

Sue said...

summer. old trees. memories. sigh.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sue - I so love trees.

shopannies said...

this is so great I love it

Cogitator said...

Well well, I've never thought of the concept of a blog poet before, but why not? Nice to have my thinking expanded in such a dramatic and beautiful way.

maryt/theteach said...

I don't know why but my eyes filled with tears almost immediately I began to read your story... I loved it Mimi!

Thank you for the invitation to the Queen's meme, Mimi. You know Ruby Tuesday keeps me very busy... but I'd like to try somehow... :)

katherine. said...

ah Mimi...this one is just about perfect.

I so know what you mean about having dead people on the brain....and how that can lure and compel our minds.

danced a dance of memory bold... this SOOOO perfectly defines my recent experience...totally different situation...but perfect!

this just might be my favorite post from the castle ever.

katherine. said...

on another note

WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING TRAIPSING OUT THERE BY YOURSELF WITH GOD KNOWS WHAT MANNER OF MEN LURKING IN THE BUSHES

give me that wand...I'm gonna slap you upside the head

(always proofread before admonishing...rolling my eyes)

Patti said...

This is simply beautiful, Mimi.
You have such talent.

It is one of those posts of yours that will always stay in my mind...truly unforgettable.

jennifer said...

Oh Mimi.... captivated. Your words and pictures... *sigh*... this was a wonderful post.

Travis said...

I won't scold you. I'll just say that I enjoyed the pictures and the story.

One Wacky Mom said...

Wonderful Mimi. I could feel it.

This was the best of the best...

What a story!

Mimi Lenox said...

Annie - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Mimi Lenox said...

Cogitator - Breathe in. Breathe out. Expand....
and thank you

Mimi Lenox said...

Mary - That means a lot coming from you, Mary. Thank you.

And I'm sure you are totally occupied with Ruby Tuesday on Tuesdays as it should be. Having said that, you know I'd love to have ya!

Mimi Lenox said...

Katherine - "how that can lure and compel our minds"...that is exactly what happened.

I knew you would get this post. I knew it. Thank you.

Mimi Lenox said...

Katherine - I deserved that. In hindsight, it was stupid to go alone. Really stupid....

Mimi Lenox said...

Princess Patti - I thank you, O Royal Succinct Writer who has been making a living crafting words her whole life. I humbly thank you. Bowing....

Mimi Lenox said...

Jennifer - I am so touched that you connected with it.

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - Uh. Yeah. I know.

Mimi Lenox said...

Ev - If you could feel it then I've done my job.

Glennis said...

Wonderful, so glad you had the chance to slip back in time and for a moment relive the good times.
Its an amazing feeling returning to your childhood home, it stirs up so much emotion.
Great pictures to go with your story, nice of you to share the moment with us all.

Mimi Lenox said...

Glennis - Hi Glennis! Welcome to the palace. I'm glad you enjoyed my story. Isn't it awesome to sit under a huge tree?

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