Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane...

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever before." Elizabeth Lawrence

I recently took a trip back in time...a journey into the childhood I left behind some 40 years ago! My goal was to do some geneological research on my ancestors whose roots were deeply embedded in this Minnesota town. I needed to understand more about their lives and the places we all lived, before I could write my family history and memoirs.

As I approached my hometown, reminiscing about childhood days spent roaming freely around the neighborhood, exploring and building forts in the wild ravine below our home, swimming at the little lake on the outskirts of town...I was rudely awakened from my day dreams. Lanes of traffic streamed past me on a maze of interstates. The countryside and woods that previously surrounded my hometown were gone. My town seemed to have sprawled out and been swallowed whole by surrounding cities.

Still, I found remnants of the past, including the 100-year old church my family had attended. While the homes of some of my relatives were now buried beneath large hotels and condos, I did find my childhood home intact. Sitting outside, lost in memories, I realized that it had perhaps shrunk over the years! The ravine was now developed...but my memories there will always remain. Flashbacks drifted in and out of my mind...reading books beneath the old weeping willow tree, swinging as high as I could- trying to touch the sky, the fragrance of my mother's rose garden, writing in my locked diaries, and playing with neighborhood children.

There's nothing like a trip down memory lane to reconnect with your inner child. As a writer, I believe we all need to make that connection now and then. While I found a wealth of historical information, I also got in touch with feelings and memories that will someday surface in my novels.

I leave you with the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "The leaves of memory seemed to make a mournful rustling in the dark."

Stay tuned -and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay