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May's Memories

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Photo by Christine Lawson Photo by Christine Lawson

The Hawk's Nest

It is the first of May. I can’t help but think of spring with plans for outdoor projects, outings and events. Spring is dominating my thoughts. 

Last week it snowed every day, and it might later this week too. 

I couldn’t help but laugh. Friends say they are tired of winter and are getting mad at the way it is lingering on. I can’t get mad enough to change anything—so I laugh. Laughing is more fun. 

May offers many opportunities to laugh or at least enjoy fond memories and remembrances. Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are integral holidays filled with these opportunities. 

Over the last several months, I have witnessed wonderful mother’s love. Linda, my wife, is a new grandmother but I also watched her be a mom. Last December, two weeks before our granddaughter was due, Linda traveled to Hawaii to be with her daughter Ana. The time was warm and wonderful for them both. Ana’s husband, Noah, was underway on the submarine USS Hawaii and didn’t get home until February. So in the last days of Ana’s first pregnancy her mom was there sharing the experience, both physical and emotional. 

There were times, in the middle of a sleepless night, when Ana went in and sat on the edge of her mom’s bed. There in the dark they talked—a mom and her daughter—about being a mom and a daughter. During the days together, they put the last touches on the nursery and the rest of the home. 

Finally it was a tired, excited, loving mom who drove Ana to the hospital and then supported her own little girl as she gave birth to another little girl. Linda knew she could never replace Noah’s presence as supporting husband and father; she only intended to be a mom.

Linda stayed with Ana and Alice for the first couple of weeks after the birth, being present as Ana adjusted to her new life. Once again, in the middle of the night, Ana and Mom would connect.  Linda would sometimes sleep in the baby’s room, change Alice when she woke up and take her to Ana to nurse and snuggle on her bed while they renewed and created lifetime bonds, future memories.

Mother’s day has a whole different meaning for me after watching one young lady become a loving mother for the first time while another joyously accepts the role of mother and grandmother. 

Warmhearted memories are an important part of May. Another day that generates memories is Memorial Day. Granted, we tend to think of it as a solemn day, yet many memorials are celebrations with joy-filled stories. 

Recently I learned of the death of a mentor of mine. He was a college instructor I only worked closely with for two years; still, I think of him often. A theatre instructor who taught me so much more, from him I learned how to think. Not what to think, but how. 

Bob Clapp was a true intellectual but not a braggart. I felt he was constantly trying to satiate an insatiable curiosity. It was a pursuit driven by a desire to learn simply for the satisfaction and excitement of learning. For me he was able to share and nurture that love to explore all of my curiosities no matter where they took me. I thought of him often as I pursued the art of performance. Finally, it was my curiosity, which he had so carefully cultivated, that took me away from the theatre into different studies and disciplines. What I learned from him is with me as I attempt to satiate my own insatiable curiosity. 

Recently the theatre Bob worked in and ran for several years was named The Bob Clapp Theatre. I attended the dedication, which was somewhat of a memorial. 

As often happens when actors get together the talk, and usually laughter, is about what went wrong. So there again was laughter—mixed with some tears. There was deep appreciation for Bob Clapp and all he gave to so many people, a friend who, through memories, is still giving to people. 

May is filled with opportunities for celebrating memory-making events, present and past that keep relationships and love flowing. It is a reminder of the cycles of life with beginnings, endings and everything in between, It is the flow of life and love which is unbroken.

This year May seems to be having some difficulty wrestling spring out of winter, to make that ending for a new being. Yet we know, soon, it will also be another memory. 

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

Tagged as:

death, Memorial Day, Linda, grandmothers, mothers, childbirth, mentors, Bob Clapp, Ana, The Hawk's Nest, Mother's Day

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