“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.
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.
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.