Memoir:What My Heart Remembers

girl playing baseball
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Excerpt from the rough draft of my memoir. Please read and drop me a note to let me know what you think. Thanks:

Words matter. Teachers matter. The words that teachers say matter. Her nine words managed to quietly sustain me during the later, darker years after I left the comfort of her third grade classroom. 

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do,” Mrs. Nancy Bazemore clutched my trembling eight-year old shoulders, leaned down beside me and into my ears she whispered those amazing words. I had told her that I had asthma and my parents had said that I couldn’t run.

My class was playing a game of baseball and it was my turn to bat and I was afraid to run around the field.

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Now run!” She had told me.

I can still feel the sticky sting of tears course down my cheeks; I can still feel the exhilaration of running around that ball field in spite of parents’ warnings. I can still see Mrs. Nancy Bazemore, her brown 1960’s era flip curls, her pretty hands shoving me forward. Into that Georgia afternoon, on that playground, I had defied those words of caution that had debilitated me.

I am sure my parents only had my best interest in mind, but the truth was that it was my sister who had had the asthma and I was therefore assumed to have it, too.

That day, I somehow managed to survive my run around the bases. I didn’t die of an asthma attack as I had feared. In fact, all through my childhood I had been warned by my parents that I couldn’t participate in physical education class because I might have an asthma attack.

Might.

Well, Mrs. Nancy Bazemore took a chance and I did, too.

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do.” She spoke those few words, seemingly insignificant to her probably, but to a little eight year old girl for whom encouragement was something rarely received, her words made an enormous impact.

Decades later, my heart remembers.

Thank you, Mrs. Bazemore. I am eternally grateful.

 

Copyright 2020, Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

 

Aunt Mary: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Spaces Between Words: A Memoir

Oatmeal raisin cookies, sweet aromatic scent, warm clear steam floating in front of me like a pastry vision. Aunt Mary, brown like her cookies, lifts the plate and moves it away from me, and tells me to eat my dinner, to wait for dessert. Impatiently, I tell her that I had to have a cookie right then. (At four years old I couldn’t wait).

Behind her, I see a train track suspended in the air just beyond her kitchen window. It is in the near distance and I  wonder why the train track is so high up and how in the world anybody or even how the train gets to that lofty spot in the lower half of the sky.

My mind drifts back to the sweet aroma of freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies, Aunt Mary moving them further away from me, and my yearning to touch the bumpy texture with my fingertips, and then to finally lift the sweetness to my tongue. Wild-eyed, I  stare at the retreating plate. “Aunt Mary,”  I gasp. “I have to have one, now!”

It was at that moment she paused. Tall, square shouldered, regally Cherokee, her ebony eyes softened, her words whispered low like a night wind. “Here,” stealthily, she slipped a round warm cookie into the palm of my pale hand. She smelled sweet like her cookies. Like a sacrament, I quietly accepted the special exemption I had been granted.

My cousins passed around me unaware of a wish that had been granted and unaware of a bond that had been forged. My Cherokee Aunt Mary smiles at me in amber hues somewhere down the darkened cavernous road where kinship and bloodlines blur, and I know that she is just as much a part of me as I was of her.

 

2019 Copyright, Jenny W. Andrews

All rights reserved.

Thank you for reading. Please let me know what you think.This excerpt is from a rough draft of my memoir. I have been writing on it and reworking it for a couple of years now. Maybe one day I will try to find a literary agent to help me publish it. If anyone knows a reputable literary agent please let me know. Thanks.

-Jenny