Monday, October 13, 2008

Memoir Monday

I have recently been enjoying a blog by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz called Two Writing Teachers, who have designed a section within their blog called Memoir Monday. Their challenge is to "bloggers from all backgrounds (not just teachers!) a chance to reflect on something from the past. Each writer creates a memoir-like post by writing with precision about an event or a person and how it changed them as a person."

Here is my attempt at Memoir Monday with a piece titled, Family Matters.

Thinking back through the years the only hardships I experienced was that I lived the typical routine life; a middle class boy in a middle class town in a middle class home with middle class values. My parents both developed these traditions by working themselves out of severe childhood poverty and wanted so much to give my sister and I the life they never had.

These values were first challenged the night we lost our home and all of our belongings to a tragic fire. There is something very surreal at the tender age of 12 to suddenly loose everything, to be standing at the location where your home once was, to be standing among the black ashes and rubble that use to be your bedroom.

That starless night, we came home to an endless sea of emergency lights and my first thought was that something happened to our elderly neighbor. It was only after getting closer to the scene that I suddenly realized the horrible truth. I stood at the edge of the smoldering ashes of what used to be our home, heaving tears from my eyes and wondering, “What are we going to do now?”

It was at this moment that my father, who was crying as well, held our family together in his arms and found the strength to comfort us all. “It’s OK, everything that is important is right here, right now, in my arms,” he said. Hearing those words gave different reason for my tears to fall.

Over time, we rebuilt our home and all the material things were replaced and life fell back into the typical middle class routine, but something was different. Not only did I loose my home that night but my childhood as well. I felt older and somehow more confident and comfortable knowing that no matter what happens I will always have the unconditional love of my family. To me there is nothing more important than this.


  1. Anonymous9:55 PM

    Glad to have you part of Memoir Mondays!

  2. Welcome John,
    Your story takes me to a deep fear of losing "everything" in a fire. I appreciate your life-affirming message that things can and did get replaced and there's much to more to grateful for.
    Welcome, welcome