Focus, Focus, Focus

card_catalog“Yes dear, may I help you?” said the woman with the pin-curled bluish hair sitting behind the library desk.

“I’m looking for a memory to write about for a class I’m taking,” I answered.

“Have you looked in the card catalog, dear?” she said, removing her glasses and dropping them to the ends of a golden chain that rested on her white cable knit sweater.

I gave her a blank stare.

“Follow me.” She stood up, walking slowly and confidently to a long chest of little square drawers where she stopped and pointed her index finger to one of them.

“This is the memory drawer. You will find all manner of topics in here. Let me know if I can help you in any way,” she stated as she turned on her brown leather pumps and walked away.

card file

The drawer was small, only about the width of a man’s hand, but it was deep. With a gentle tug on the metal tab it glided open, exposing hundreds of cards – all attached to the drawer by two metal bars running through two holes at the bottom of each card.

My fingers flipping through the box, I noticed that the memories were filed by topic tabs labeled with words like: events, objects, impressions, lessons, people, rooms, places…and on and on.

“Oh my,” I whispered to myself in a volume suitable for a library. I was thinking that these were all such important keywords, each one linked to another. This was exciting, but also a little overwhelming.

I returned to the lady at the desk. She was writing something with a yellow pencil on a small pad of paper, tilted slightly on her desk. I cleared my throat and she lifted her eyebrows, looking up at me over the top of her tortoise shell glasses.

“There are so many cards in that file that I want to explore,” I said, plopping down on the oak chair in front of her desk. “I don’t know where to begin.”

The woman’s lips widened into a big knowing smile. “I thought as much,” she said, and laying her pencil on the desk, she tore the top sheet from her pad and handed it to me. “Look in this drawer dear.” Her tone was motherly.

“And do it quickly. The library closes in ten minutes.”

With feminine and tidy penmanship, she’d written one word, three times. Focus, Focus, Focus.

Returning to the oak chest, I located this second drawer and found the perfect card. Hurriedly, I copied the evocative word into my spiral notebook, left with my treasure, and went HOME.

Home_ memory card

Memoir Notes: I took this course because I want to write my mother’s memoir. I didn’t think I had much to write about.  Now working on lesson 3 ,with pages and pages of memory cues, I find that the ones focused on my home in the formative years are the richest in detail.

 

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12 Responses to Focus, Focus, Focus

  1. poc55 says:

    haha I really like the way you have shared with us your journey on conquering this course, well done, a great thought

  2. Jude says:

    This was very clever. Your descriptions are wonderful to read. I have a similar goal to write my mother’s memoirs. She is 98 and still able to talk about photos. The course is giving me lots of options to think about. Thanks for sharing how you are approaching it.

  3. Wendy says:

    What a great way to get started, I needed the encouragement, feeling a little overwhelmed, focus, focus, focus!!

  4. moonwriter says:

    I loved this! Felt like a page out of a book. Very descriptive, thank you for sharing! I need to do just that (“focus!”)

  5. freckles says:

    Love it 🙂 Your eye for detail is spot on and the little drawings only added to the wonderful play on words. By chance, did you draw them?

  6. milestones says:

    Thanks for reminding me to FOCUS. It is so easy to get distracted by so may alternatives. Actually I should be concentrating on my missionary mother’s story – how she managed to bring up five children under constantly changing conditions.

  7. smyrnami says:

    Great imagery, I have wonderful memories of the library card catalog. Our library doesn’t have one anymore, they use computers. My kids won’t know what a card catalog is. So important for us to write about these things so our kids can look back. Good job!

    • becky_n says:

      So many objects that were familiar to us as children have disappeared. That is one reason I want to collect my mom’s stories; her generation is almost gone.

  8. Hana says:

    What a great approach. You had me smiling throughout. I think you have a terrifically unique way of writing that is charming, creative and clever. I look forward to reading your posts.

  9. becky_n says:

    You Memoir”ists” (new word) are awesome! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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