Thursday, August 25, 2011

17 Years

I've never been a big anniversary person. I remember (with the help of facebook) birthdays and wedding anniversaries, but that's about it. Also because of facebook, I've seen many of my friends remember their parents, siblings or other loved ones on days that they died, or were born. Honestly, I've never really understood why you'd dig up old pain.

This year on Marvin's birthday, I thought about him and where he'd be today. I thought it would be a good thing, to reflect about him on the day he was born rather than the day he died. But for some reason, it was way sadder than I anticipated. It was too "what if"-ish I guess. I felt frustration rather than acceptance or peace.

August 25 is the day Marvin died, and for the past few days I've been thinking about that and how maybe I should start remembering this day every year. I have never done anything or thought any differently on the anniversary of his death prior years. Perhaps it's the never-stopping movement of time that steers one to use a particular day as a day of remembrance. It seems that setting aside a day is a way to keep the memories strong and consistent rather than succumbing to memory-eroding time.

August 25, 1994. It's been 17 years! That's a long time. I am so different now than we were then. But everything about how Marvin impacted my life remains the same, a constant and forever. It seems extremely silly, on one hand, to remember such a sad and tragic day. But I also think it makes sense to reflect on the day that his life ended, and mine went on. So, conflicting though it may be to me, I remember the 25th, as the day Marvin died, which also was the beginning of future years remembering how wonderful life was with him.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Yesterday I was digging in a flower bed, moving the very clay-filled soil to the back of the yard where a tree fell over leaving a big hole. The soil was wet and heavy from all of the recent rain, and, of course, filled with worms. I was reminded of digging around in flower beds or on the edge of the field, finding worms with Marvin. He called them "juicies". It was never our sole purpose, but when we found them, we spent a little bit of time with them and moved them to a different area, out of our way. Worms, after all, are good for the soil.

I never was afraid of worms or thought they were gross. They were pretty fascinating to me. I think because of the way we would discover them...digging, revealing a new layer of dirt, and then suddenly there would be a worm, thrashing around, appearing grumpy and disturbed. We would pick them up to move them. If the worm was in tact, it would wriggle like crazy in our palms. If we had cut it in half, we'd toss it aside, believing that it would turn into the soil in which it lived. I think we also had debate as to what they ate...soil or bugs.

I can only assume Marvin called them juicies because they look juicy. Yesterday I noticed that the ones I picked up and held left a sticky, shiny slime in my palm. I picked one up in particular because it was super long and then shrunk to about half its length once it realized it was exposed. It was so small in my hand. I put a lump of dirt in my palm with it, wondering if that would comfort it and make it feel like expanding again. It didn't. I looked at it a while, thinking about how something like a worm was so entertaining and fascinating to us. We were so intrigued by the creatures, we felt the need to define their lives: what they ate, how they made their homes underground, who they hung out with, etc. Soon I put the shrunken worm back in a different bed. I was now attached to this worm (as much as one can be attached to a worm) and didn't want to chop it in half.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Whiffle Ball

Recently the weather has shot up to surprisingly warm temps. It's going back down again, but it has been enough to put thoughts of spring in everyone's heads. With spring comes baseball, and I've heard a lot of people mentioning it recently as we approach March and the weather teases us. I never played baseball or softball, but Marvin did. He played T-ball and even had a trader card with his player photo on the front and "stats" on the back. However, in the back yard, we played a lot of whiffle ball.

I'm pitching and Marvin is at bat, important to point out in this pic with the short hair.

It was easy to play whiffle ball with two people thanks to the ingenious invention of ghost men. We used various Frisbees, trees (second base shown above), ball gloves, jart hoops and whatever else from the garage that would work as bases. The game was usually set up just behind the separate garage, hitting towards the back field. You didn't need much space for whiffle ball. There were a few different bats. I had a long skinny yellowish colored one. Marvin had a gigantic fat red one. There may have been at least one more.

Every time there was a hit, we'd run to the base(s). Once safely there, "Ghost man on first!" or whatever base we made it to was shouted. Then we could proceed back to the home plate. It was imperative you made this clear. Otherwise, the pitcher could bombard you and get you out. If you didn't say ghost man on whatever, then clearly you were just off the base and free game. This probably started a few arguments.

It was so hard to throw that light, holey ball with any kind of meaning. And even though you felt like you put enough force behind the ball to get it to the moon, it just never went far. There were balls zinged to the face, bats to the head (when we had Shannon or Heather to play catcher), and I'm sure a fair amount of slides ending in scraped knees and grass stains.

I wish I could play it again, just one more game, today. See who would win.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Sample of Togetherness

Today as I was driving to work, I noticed two kids walking to school: a boy and a girl. They were both smiling ear to ear and talking as they walk-skipped along the snowy sidewalk. Dressed in winter attire, it was hard for me to see their features, but they didn't look like brother and sister necessarily. They were the same height and were clearly having an enjoyable conversation.

I remember a couple select memories of going places with Marvin in tow. There were a few times when my parents would have to do errands and Marvin would just come along. I'm not sure if this was because his parents weren't home at the time and my parents were essentially watching us while we played all day, or if it was just convenient to throw us in the car and go. One time we drove to Englewood to pick up Cassano's pizza...which was over by K-mart and some kind of auto supply store that smelled horrifically of new tires. I remember going to both of these stores, but can't remember if the trips were combined or separate.

It was a special treat for me when Marvin came along on errands. It was a new moment. It was like I was experiencing everything from an entirely fresh perspective. Suddenly, it wasn't just an interruptive trip I had to go on with my parents, but an extended time of play in a new environment. I had someone to ride in the back seat with, and someone to goof off with. In the stores, I remember watching him, observing a lot about him while in the store: who looked at him, what he looked at, where he'd wander. I would usually pretend that we were siblings...if not outwardly, definitely inside my own mind. I wanted us to be siblings. And I wanted so badly for someone to suddenly notice my brand new sibling, as if all it took was a wave of the magic wand and poof! we were bonded forever as family. I felt so cool, so important. Here's my brother...yeah, we're family forever.

I was simply mesmerized by the addition of another person along side me and how much it changed the moment outwardly. It was wonderful to revel in each moment I had with the person I loved to be with so much.