I have one of the best memories of any one I know. People call me requesting that I give them retells of stories gone by. What did they say? What happened then? Details and descriptions of a time long forgotten by most, but still distinct to me.
I have had an exceptional life. It has been full of drama and its fair share of loss, but at the same time it has been marinated in comedy and peppered with pure joy. Movie reels in my head –set to the soundtracks of the time, play with vibrant color. Some memories are still so clear to me I can smell the rooms, touch the walls, and feel the essence of the moment.
The problem with this gift is that it is just as often a curse. The beauty of always being able to remember has a counter balance of never being able to forget. Sadly at 46, there remain a few rooms in my head with the doors still firmly shut closed. A fail safe keeping me from getting too far in, too far gone in the past.
That is the beauty of growing up, and allowing yourself the Grace and Permission to choose how you want to spend your life. I know that there is eventually going to be a time with James and Ansley, that situations may arise that require me to go into those rooms, open those doors, replay those memories. But that’s not today, or tomorrow, maybe never.
However, should that day arise, I have enough Trust and Faith in the Lord above that I will be able to open those doors with poise and confidence. Without the fear or dread that what I find inside will be reminiscent of poor Carol Ann’s bedroom In Poltergeist.
Moving on, because THIS HOUSE is clean.
On a positive note, I have so many beautiful and blessed memories of spectacular events, historic milestones and adventures that need to be shared now with my children. This is the time we can spend together as a family that the soundtracks they will one day hear will be Bruno Mars and Maroon 5, a little Lourde , Swift and Perry. Some strange waves of Zelda and a strong mother’s influence of Stevie, Dave, Sting and Jerry. These are fleeting days, like sand flowing through the hourglass…I know Eric and I have just a few more years to make those impactful moments they will look back on and smile.
That brings me to 1979! (What???) Yes, February 26, 1979 to be exact. I was 8 years old and in the second grade at Jonesville Elementary School. I wish I could say all of this was me being an idiot savant or genius, but I’m not! I got a little assistance from a fellow historian, Lora Layne Evans, someone I have literally known all the days of my life. We started kindergarten together in Mrs. James’s room, 1976. I clearly recall that but needed Lora to reminded me that in second grade, we had the very sweet Mrs. Hentz. I suddenly clear as day saw her in my head!
She was tall, bigger built, but not fat…just womanly. She had creamy smooth cocoa brown skin with dark freckles and a smooth, soothing, soulful voice. She kept her hair short and simple, and I remember she used to wear fuzzy soft cardigans, a lot of matching skirts and jacket sets. She rode to school daily with Mr. McGill. Mr. William McGill, such an amazing man, who I would have later in life in sixth grade. He would become one of my favorite teachers of all times. He wore sweater vests by the way.
But I digress. I know, shock, right?
Anyway, on February 26, 1979 at approximately 11:53 in Mrs. Hentz class we witnessed a Total Solar Eclipse. I distinctly remember having to look down on white sheets of paper because the danger of burning your eyeball’s out by looking directly at the sun. Something I am sure at 8 I took very literally!! Of course, it should be noted, this was an eclipse who’s path wasn’t remotely close to Jonesville, North Carolina. We only witnessed a “partial” eclipse, the narrow path only covered five U.S. states which were Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. Still though, very big deal.
Such a big deal, once I figured out the similarities of events, I wanted to fling open the door and go running into this room in my head and dance!!! I wanted to plop down and make grown up versions of snow angels in the layered dust bunny covered floors of that room, I want to look at all of my scribbled writings, narrative drawings and get all warm and fuzzy inside from the glow of Mrs. Hentz infectious smile.
I wanted to soak up every morsel of my memory of that event because now, I have my own eight year old daughter! Ansley just finished her second grade year, with a teacher every bit as delicious and warm and wonderful as Mrs. Hentz was, Mrs. Smith. But most important, is here we are a mere four decades later and BY JOVE, we have our own TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE on August 21st, 2017. This is what gets me excited folks–Serendipity!
Take this as my public service announcement if you have been living under a rock.
THIS is a big deal!
On Monday, August 21, 2017 I will be proudly standing in Greenwood, South Carolina experiencing what I hope will become a forever memory with my children. A room they visit when they are older that makes their hearts sing and brings a smile to their lips. There I will be, one arm wrapped around each of them at 2:39 for 2 minutes and 28 seconds as the sky goes dark and the Earth, Moon and Sun line up in total perfection.
The birds will go quiet, the wind will fade, the leaves will droop, the temperature will drop and running a close second to the actual phenomenon we are experiencing…Ansley Rose Stone will stand there speechless. Stars will glitter like diamonds, and if we were living in ancient times, we would be banging on pots and drums to drive away the celestial demons from devouring the sun.
People from all over the world will stand in amazement at this rare and beautiful sight. Maybe they will be standing right beside you depending on where you decide to be. Instead of the “eye of the storm” we here in the Carolina’s are in the “path of the moon” with places like Columbia, SC expecting to draw crowds of up to 1 million to witness the eclipse. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will get 2 minutes and 26 seconds of totality on it’s Tennessee side. Anywhere you are on that day, in that moment, it will be an awe inspiring few moments in time. Even here in Winston-Salem, NC, it’s a big deal.
Time passes so incredibly fast. It seems as each year comes and goes my babies aren’t babies anymore. James is a young man, who voice is changing into one I am just getting to know…I am having troubles with letting go of the shy, curly headed sweet baby James who used to comfort himself by playing with my “rah-rah” (twirling my hair in his fingers as we snuggled.) I can hardly get a drive by kiss on the cheek from him now, and soon, I am sure those too will become less and less.
My darling precocious baby girl Ansley, no longer a baby with those piercing blue eyes and curious nature is now a willow tree waif like chatter box with legs a mile long. Thank God she still likes to cuddle with me and rub our feet together as comfort…but one day in the blink of an eye, she too will be off on her own journey. Giggling with her girl friends, whispering about boys, driving her brother nuts. She has a good grasp of that already though.
I know somewhere down the road…it will just be me in the room with all of their childlike milestone memories. I will however be in the very best of company. Teddy, Puppy and Baby will be there to comfort me when I am lonely instead of the children. It may seem silly to say, but if stuffed lovies could talk, those three have had a wonderful life. But enough of being sappy, we have some years left in us before they leave. Plenty of time to make memories, create history, share moments that are precious, unique and detailed. I plan on taking advantage of every single grain of sand I have till they all slip through.
I don’t ever want to open any doors in my mind ever again with regret, but more importantly, I don’t ever want them to do that either. I never want there to be a time that they look back and wish they had had more of me, not time with me…but more of ME. Especially when I had all the time in the world to give them. Loving them, teaching them, making a place for them to go and sit one day when I’m gone, and remember the day we spent watching the stars come out in the afternoon, holding hands in silence, together.
That my friends is truly a really big deal…Maybe that should be my public service announcement instead. 🙂 ~ Kimberly
Never look directly at the sun without eye protection, it can cause serious eye damage or blindness. Check into the ways to view the eclipse safely using “solar-viewing glasses” or filters. Space.com has some amazing articles and information sheets on how to best view the eclipse!