When my older sister and I were quite small — this was before our younger sister was born — our mother used to tell us stories sometimes before bed. I remember one summer, on some hot summer nights, lying in bed in my tiny bedroom, I suppose we were in there because I was younger. My mother sat on the edge of the bed and told us a long, involved story of the Blue City. I wish now I could remember the story, although maybe it’s best I don’t; it may not have been nearly as mysterious and evocative as I remember it to be. My bedroom faced east, and the last light of the sun reflected off the old white Hodgman house across the street and filled the room with gold-tinged light. In those days, whippoorwills still called in the summer evenings; but whippoorwills have long been extirpated as breeding birds in that part of Massachusetts, and the hay fields and apple orchards behind where we lived have been covered by sprawl in the form of low-density starter mansions, and indeed that modest house we lived in was recently torn down and replaced by a three-thousand square foot house. It’s still there in memory: the fading light, the hope that I’d hear a whippoorwill, the Blue City.

2 thoughts on “Memory

  1. JH

    Oh my. That was so long ago. And strange to think that Mom is gone, that room is gone,
    the Hodgman’s house is gone. What’s left are your memories, and mine, and the
    fragments of the stories. I wrote a rather stilted piece of fiction inspired by this
    for my MFA thesis. Only half as good as Mom’s stories were. Wow. Those stories were so
    incredible, detailed, beautiful, and they went on and on and on that entire summer, one
    night’s episode leading to the next, night after night. Such a gift from Mom to us.
    Remember how hot it was? I remember the streetlight coming through your window.
    And I remember Mom sitting in a chair, silhouetted against the window. She probably sat
    on the bed too. I think I got the floor, usually, but that was okay.
    It was cooler down there.

  2. Administrator

    Yeah, now I remember you sitting on the floor. I must have been all of four or five, so my memories aren’t as clear as yours….

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