Last week, while at lunch with two friends, the subject of mothers came up. It seems none of our mothers left much behind (in the way of writing) for us to remember them by. No cute little anecdotes or places visited or stories–well unless you want to include a telephone book.
Carolyn’s mother actually left behind a long, slim book containing her friends’ phone numbers. What makes the book unique, in addition to its shape, is the short scribblings she wrote next to each person’s name. Sometimes personality traits, sometimes a particular food that person loved–things like that. So when Carolyn is thinking about her mother and she’d like to feel close to her, she reaches for that book in the drawer of her night table and she reads the pages for the hundredth time. That’s all there is.
My own mother didn’t do much better. The only thing I have are a few recipes that my mom wrote out that I luckily stuck into a three-ring binder along with other recipes. Just seeing her handwriting is soothing to me. It makes her real, but those recipes are all I’ve got.
I ask, no sometimes I actually beg, people to write stuff in a notebook. The answer I almost always receive in reply is, “I’m not a writer.” Geez! Give me a break! Can you talk? Then you can write, for pity’s sake.
Do you really want to die and leave no trace?