Keeping a journal serves as a catharsis for me, a way to contemplate life’s events and make sense of life’s experiences, deal with angst. But that’s not why I write. Within each of us exists a legacy of memories, recipes, tips and stories crying out for expression. A sad generation glued to cell phones and Google tidbits for news will one day wish they’d plumbed the well of life experience you carry…and if you write it down, they’ll be able to do just that! To encourage you, let me share one of my children’s memories.
Fall brings to a close one of my favorite things, so I’ll share a memory fitting the season:
Blue Blood and True Blue
dedicated to Levi
Only Levi shares my passion for royalty. Far from our humble home and beneath a clear sky, the pageantry begins: emblazoned symbols, a regal crown and a banner unfurled in the breeze herald the festivities. The music starts and we involuntarily rise. Yes, I’d say we’re impressed by royalty.
The lives of the royal family fascinate us. We cheer their successes and anguish over their defeats, loyal to the end. We scour the paper for news, and if the press maligns them, we scream, “Foul play!” Royal names and titles slide easily into our daily conversations.
“Chico’s got a hot bat today, doesn’t he?”
“The Hammer hit another two run homer! His fourteenth!”
“Monty’s arm sure looks better, and his speed’s up, too!”
Yes, we love those Royals, win or lose, strike or no strike. It just comes naturally. My mom never missed a game. Crippled, she rallied behind the Royals (and the Athletics before them) by radio and television. Many of my fondest memories include these vicarious friends. Our favorite Sunday afternoons found us ruminating on the Sunday puzzle, sharing a ball game, a quiet peace between us. As she lay dying in the ICU, my brother and I stood by her bed, willing her to survive.
“You’ll get better, I”ll get you a Frank White baseball,” my brother promised her.
She laughed. “What are you going to do? Walk up to his front door and ask him to sign it?”
“If that’s what it takes,” he shot right back.
Well, we started laughing. We laughed so hard the monitor went berserk and nurses poured into the room to examine her, staring reprovingly at us for administering the best curative of all, love and laughter. That Frank White baseball lived with my brother until his death, a reminder of the that love we shared. Fast forward seven years. Lounging in her favorite rocker, my youngest son now shares the legacy, laughing with each hit or stunning double play.
Home schooling is so much more than books and lesson plans. Tucked away in the heart of home education is the matrix of shared fun. The sterile schoolroom, inhabited through business hours Monday through Friday, feels poor and bereft when its lifeblood leaves for home each day, just as learning feels strained in its strange environment. At home, where we live our learning and our joy, lessons come much more freely, built on a foundation of baseball, firelit nights and the many other pleasures we share together. Those golden moments set the stage for the lesson plans and written assignments our public counterparts formalize as education. Without them, learning loses its sparkle. So, bring on the good times!
Here, we savor the sweeps and hope for at least a wild card slot in the pennant race, and study baseball whenever possible. I’ll always miss my mom, but I’m so thankful Levi and I slug away our days like royalty, watching the Royals.
Yes, baseball is drawing to a close for yet another season, but the joy of sharing the Royals is being passed onto another Rhoads generation, and I love it! Most of all I love saving memories of my children, which their children now enjoy. Perpetuate the cycle of life by taking pen in hand and writing it down. Capture your memories and pin them to a page. Your family will be glad you did.