YOU REALLY CAN GO HOME AGAIN

 

Summer in Michigan — just the thought of it brings a smile to my face. Both my husband and I hail from a small town in southeastern Michigan, and this summer we returned for a whirlwind of a trip that examined our past and our ancestry. Day after day brought new discoveries and old places into focus. By the last days of the journey, my mind swirled, and I yearned for the quiet necessary to examine and absorb all I saw and learned.

The sojourn to our home state contained many elements of serendipity when the Tecumseh District Library in Michigan contacted me about making a presentation on my great grandfather’s Civil War Journal. He enlisted in Adrian, Michigan, on April 20, 1861, just down the road from Tecumseh. I agreed and decided to approach other organizations and ask if they’d be interested in my presentation. Within weeks, I’d booked three over a ten-day period in June.

A month later, a friend of my husband’s contacted us and asked us to save the date for a weekend in June for his fiftieth high school reunion. The weekend fell right in the middle of my presentations. I then made a Facebook page for my classmates asking if anyone would like to get together during my visit home. Twenty-plus people said, “Yes.” I did the same thing with cousins and yet another reunion came together.

Class of 1973

Stockbridge High School – Class of 1973 Forty-four Years Later

My memory was very much put to the test. Many of the folks we saw remained in the area or had parents still in the area. I left Stockbridge when I was eighteen. My husband moved away about the same time. Both of our mothers moved from the area in the 1980s. Except for Facebook, I’ve had very little contact with any of these folks in four decades. I brought name tags, but even then I made mistakes with names.

The kids I’d gone to school with had all gotten older! Of course, I wasn’t looking in the mirror when I made my discovery. Once I identified my former playmates–some of whom I knew from my first memories–I could see those former faces in the eyes and gestures of their current conditions. The years floated away as stories spilled from the fountains of our memories. We still carried a bond born of drinking the same water and attending the same schools. While growing up in a village of 1,200 people always seemed boring to me as a kid, I can see now how our childhoods were really very blessed with simplicity, discipline, and love.

The stories of their lives poured forth. Some brought smiles, and yet others brought tears. The divorces, diseases, and death mark us and bring forth a solid and courageous character that few could have imagined back in Mr. Johnston’s history class the day we drove him to distraction, and he lit a cigarette right in front of us in the classroom. When he’d realized what he’d done, he tossed the offending fag out the window.  We all remembered that day, and amazingly, we all had the same exact memory of it.

One of my former classmates lost a son in the line of duty as a police officer several years ago. Just starting his career, the young man had been in a high-speed chase when he lost control of the vehicle. The pain on my friend’s face when he spoke of the horrific accident while in the line of duty moved me to tears, and we shared a moment of grief for what we both had lost.

We flipped through the pages of our senior yearbook, and I heard one of the women in our class had been murdered by her husband. Another had died from complications with diabetes. And yet another, sat alone in his apartment miles away, afraid to come out and join us because of what he deemed a life of failure.

It might have seemed that the evening was full of tears. Yet, it was not. We shared our stories, we sympathized, and then we laughed about the pranks, the teachers, the silliness, and the fashion of 1973. We parted with promises to meet again next year for our forty-fifth. It had been nineteen years since our last reunion, and I think we all felt the passage of time. When warmth remains after so many years, it’s worth embracing and repeating.

But the reunioning wasn’t yet over. We still had my husband Bob’s fiftieth to attend. And for me, this would be bittersweet. My brother Don, who committed suicide in 2008, was also a member of this class. These were the guys and gals I grew up admiring. They all remembered me as Don’s kid sister, Patti, a little tow-headed nuisance who followed them around whenever they came to our house. Here I was married to one of their own and one of Don’s best friends to boot. I was more emotional during this reunion than my own because it brought back the pain of losing my brother–long before his suicide.

Two of my cousins also graduated that year, and when I saw them standing together, I felt the first inkling of tears. Linda and Judy and Don–they were the family trio the year of their graduation. Their open house was combined and held at our house. During the banquet, roses were placed in a vase for all those who had departed. I teared up again when they read the name, “Don Camburn.” Then the final event was the singing “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” from Finian’s Rainbow, the musical the class put on their senior year. It was the first musical ever performed at our high school, and Don had a starring role. When the class members stood to sing the song, I saw Don on the stage–all six-foot-six-inch of him–singing, and my eyes began to fill once again. But the rendition was slightly off beat and key. What a relief. It’s hard to cry when you are trying not to laugh.

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Donald Camburn – Top 2nd from left

Two weeks of memories of places and people I haven’t thought about in years. Now they are bombarding my brain. And the more I remember, the more I wonder about those who weren’t there.

Visits to grave sites and former homes, chats with family members and old friends, and rides on the backroads of Michigan showed me that I had nothing to fear from the past that sometimes has appeared as a monstrous apparition over the years. Time and distance have allowed me to soften the dark memories and embellish the good into myths that warm my heart.

We ended the trip with a birthday party for Bob’s mother. She turned ninety-five on Friday, and six of her seven children gathered at her nursing home to pay her tribute. She didn’t say much, but she smiled and gobbled down her cake with gusto.

She deserves it, as we all do. May I still enjoy my cake and eat it, too, at ninety-five.

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Mindful Monday – Mindfulness, Mantras, & Haiku ❤️

Very good advice and reminder. Thanks, Colleen!

A Mindful Journey

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WelcometoMindful Monday

Each week I look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more conscious about my life journey. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to engage in the present.

Happy May Day! This week I wish for everyone to really get in touch with their own mindfulness. Choose something that you want to change or something you want to work on as it applies to your own life. Go ahead… write it down. Let your mind wander.

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Then, write your own mantra as I have done below:

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Put your mantra somewhere where you will see it every day.

http://isha.sadhguru.org explains why mantras work:

Mantras Explained: How a Mantra Can Lead to Transformation

Sadhguru speaks about the…

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A quiet path

Reconnect with nature – Lovely piece on the virtues of filling the senses with the wonders of the natural world.

Professions for Peace

“Wind in the trees, thunder, flowing water, falling leaves, rain, animal voices, birdsong – we live amid a teeming polyphony of natural sounds.

“Add to these the sounds of human activity, from soft footsteps to pneumatic drills, from muted conversation to pounding trains, from jetting fountains to jet planes.

“Then, we have the articulate, measured, imagined sounds of art – all the many kinds of music, which so specifically and directly convey the spirit of a people.

“Our world is permeated with sounds, some calming the heart and mind, some keeping us frenetic and on edge.”

Thomas Moore

The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life


Quiet is something I need like oxygen. It’s why I camp. I have to get away from the sounds of the city, of the suburbs. Out of earshot of the squealing tires and noisy buses, the wailing sirens and garbage trucks, the roaring broken mufflers and low-frequency…

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Eagles Soar in Wisconsin Thanks to Endangered Species Act

We must keep the Endangered Species Act and EPA! We also saw nesting eagles on St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida last week. Magnificent bird.

The Badger and the Whooping Crane

Here are four good examples of why people seem to love the Endangered Species Act:

the Bald eagle – an enduring symbol of the U.S. of  A.;

the Louisiana Black bear– which long ago provided the inspiration for the toy “teddy bear;”

the magnificent Humpback whale, which can still be found in all the oceans of the world;

and the West Indian manatees, and a subspecies, the Florida manatees, found along the coasts of the southeastern U. S. states, seeking particularly warm water sites in the winter months.

In spite of such conservation successes – which have occurred with the assistance of the Endangered Species Act – that law itself is now in danger. Many of the elected Republican leaders who control the U.S. Congress are eager “to modernize” the law, in ways that its supporters believe will weaken it significantly. Some in Congress propose outright…

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MARCH FORTH – A SHORT STORY

A short story for March 4. Forward march always.

P.C. Zick - Author/Editor

250390_2220456627215_2678058_n With two of my big brothers – March Forth found its seed in my relationship with brother on the left.

Today is March Fourth – a date I have always adored. But in 2008, the date became marked the date when my brother died by his own hands. This short story is based on that event. However, the beauty of being an author means I can create a better world (or worse, if I choose) than reality in hopes of presenting alternate ways of viewing the world and our place in it. This short story appears in the box set Unshod along with other short stories set in the West. The box set is perma-free.

March Forth

By P.C. Zick

Eve woke from the first sound sleep she’d had in months. Silence greeted her, along with an empty spot next to her on the king-size bed.

Throwing on the robe…

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NATURE WORKS MAGIC

dsc03807A weekend spent enjoying the wonders of where we live helped fight the anxiety of the past few months. Nature always rejuvenates me and inspires me to continue. If the bald eagle, the great blue heron, the white ibis, and the anhinga can survive the loss of habitat and invasion by humans, then I can survive the political turmoil occurring wherever I turn, except when I’m surrounded by blue skies, water, and wildlife. Enjoy my little photo journey and inhale its curative powers. (Photos by P.C. Zick from St. Marks Wildlife Refuge and Wakulla Springs State Park, both lovely spots less than thirty minutes from our home in Tallahassee.)

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Watch our words

Language is the most powerful tool we have. Use it wisely. Please.

Professions for Peace

“Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.” ~Desmond Tutu

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We toss them around like they are nothingness… invisible air out of our mouths or thoughts from fingertips. We say we’re just being funny, sarcastic or ‘venting’ but words are things that carry energy and weight. Maya Angelou said they get into the fabric of our lives, our curtains and our clothing. Into our very being. We lighten our hearts and the world around us when we share words that help and don’t harm. Let’s scatter kindness with our powerful everyday words.

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