Little Scribbles A Woman’s Notes Running Press Philadelphia, London
While in the process of setting up a brand, new office space in my Vineyard condo,
various surprises surfaced - missing bills materialized, a favorite pen –one I believed lost in my numerous shufflings this past year suddenly manifested. The best among the treasures was a 2” by 3” notebook that my daughter, Kay, gave me in 1999. When I unwrapped it on Christmas morning, she instructed me to keep it in my purse so that I could write down ideas for my book. Kay, never a shrinking violet, included a picture of herself on the cover as a source of inspiration. She assured me that, if I were to have a “stuck” moment, I could dig into my purse and jot down a few words generated by her smile alone! It was a thoughtful gift. It fit readily in all of my purses. Happily for me, years later, Kay’s present keeps on giving; it serves as an inadvertent, but excellent, time machine.
At the time I received the Little Scribbles notebook, my family lived in a newly renovated house in Sunderland, MA. The children were all at the Bement School in neighboring Deerfield, MA – Hannah was nine, Kay was eight, and Charles was five. We had celebrated the completion of a house that we had designed and built with close friends on Martha’s Vineyard . Life had a shimmery quality of happiness, fullness and joy. I was writing for the Hampshire Gazette regularly. It was against this backdrop that I regularly jotted down thoughts, partial sentences and nearly indecipherable phrases. I managed to string these thoughts together like imperfect seed pearls. I devoted myself to polishing them, and then selling my observations to various magazines that featured essays about family life and spirituality. Sometimes, I would pull out my little notebook, dig up a pen from the bottom of my pocketbook, and had them over to my restless children in restaurants and in church. It is only now that I discovered occasionally, my children made a few entries of their own.
Dated 12.24.99 Dawn wrote a phrase: “a benefactor assigned duly and without duress”
Ensuing pages : phone numbers and Scrabble scores
Dawn wrote: In Vino Veritas
Dawn wrote: Snow and sorrow defined my life.
April 30, 2000
Dawn wrote: Innocence lost, knowledge gained
Ours was no Eden, but just the same…
Dawn wrote: God gave us the ribbon, but didn’t tie the bow.
Dawn wrote: Music by Anne Cochran
Dawn wrote: Snackwell’s Coconut Cremes
Dawn wrote: 3 Chimneys Inn in Durham, N.H. Dale?
Charles drew a dog bone.
Hannah wrote: Hi Mom, Bye Mom, Hannah ps Hi Mom
pps. An Actual Artpiece (Triple A)
Charles drew a compass rose.
Dawn wrote: “ So many stories begin with a crossing. Crossing a city,
a bridge, or an ocean. For me, it began as simply as crossing a room.”
Charles wondered the difference between the Civil War and the Silver War.
Dawn notes: Satin Basecoat with semigloss topcoat with appleseed sponge.
Book: Soul’s Code by James Hillman
Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss James Van Praagh
Sigiornella Wine ‘87
Dawn wrote: Isolated, the most common views become spectacular – this one tree,
separated from its brethren, shows its outstretched branches and
its shining glory.
Carly Simon: Death is just the limit of our sight line adapted from,
“Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” Rossiter Worthington Raymond
Dates, dollar amounts, To Do lists, scribbles and doodles. A crypt of sorts; warehousing the Dawn I was then, a paler reflection of whom I am bowMy little scribbles added up to something, someone. I have used my writing to lend transparency to who I am. The opposite might be said of my mother. She was a woman of notes. Layered below the instructional notes she left on most all appliances and on doors, drawers and tools
were notes she wrote for her eyes only.
Among my mother’s effects when I was emptying her office, I found several stenographer’s pads filled with her sketches and poems and unfinished essays.
She has been gone nearly four years, but there are times that her loss cuts as keenly as the day she died. On those occasions, I glance at the pads she left behind. I have taken a shiny ribbon (some may suggest it was provided by God, and he left me to tie the bow) to bind her notes. I am waiting for the time that I am brave enough, open enough, loving enough, forgiving enough to see an entirely new dimension of my mother; one she kept scrupulously hidden from my father, my sister and me. As I wend my way through uncharted territory of my own life, my curiosity about her path has grown. I wouldn’t be surprised if, one day in the very near future, I pull the ribbon, allowing it to flutter to the floor. I can imagine flipping the first page of the first steno pad and finding myself introduced to a woman I never really knew at all.