A few days ago, while selecting apricots from the fruit bin at the local health food store, I had a sudden flashback…nine ragamuffin kids eager for a box of bruised apricots from Uncle Oliver’s garden in Santa Clara–a place of summer sun and outdoor sprinklers. Not for us. Living in San Francisco, we had summer fog, jackets and scarves and work to be done.
At some point, childhood becomes a distant landscape. While there was a dearth of love, there were also heroes. Sometimes the mind chooses one, a bright spot on the horizon, and hinges there in private gratitude.
On a rare occasion, Uncle Oliver would appear at our front door. His entry was sunshine walking into the house as he placed a small cardboard box of apricots on the dinette table. Uncle Oliver, a round name, a round face, head thrown back and round-syllabled laughter tossed like a ball into our cluttered living room. A pleasing sound to our laughter-starved ears. Did one need permission to laugh so fully, so boldly? Laughing involved his whole face, his whole vibrating body. Musical. Tears squeezed out the corners of his laugh-slit eyes. His laughter affected us, if only for the moment. A laugh that one could trust and believe in. His voice was musical too, as if each syllable was a note played on a piano, rising and falling with a quality of comfort like soft flannel, enveloping.
Each apricot radiated a sweetness that came from some foreign land where climates were warm enough to grow apricot trees–Santa Clara? Those apricots, by the time we got to the bottom of the box, were bruised and wormy, but their sweetness and Oliver, himself, are what pervade the memory.
WRITING PROMPT: As you go about your business today, be open to a flashback moment, a positive experience that is triggered by something in the present. Describe everything you possibly can about where memory sends you. Once you’ve written this, go back and introduce some comparisons to enhance your writing.
WRITING TIP: Notice the comparisons in my piece above…”comparing childhood to a distant landscape, laughter tossed like a ball, comfort like flannel, sunshine walking in the front door”…these are some examples of how to include comparison in your writing.
Be pleased with yourself.