A Memoir

Cait’s assignment at school was to “write a memoir;” an essay on something that happened to her that fit the structure of memoir writing. At this stage, her teacher is not as concerned about punctuation as she is with getting the kids excited about writing.

This is what Cait wrote:

A Memoir

It was a warm day and I was 5, I was out in the garden picking peas with my mom and two dogs. My mother had asked me to pick the peas, probably because she didn’t want me picking anything else. My dogs decided they were going to help me. They went up to the vines and just started eating. Sometimes I would get the ones off the top of the vines and give it to them. In my mind I knew I wasn’t supposed to, but I did it every year. My mom was a great gardener, and my dogs and I thought her peas were the best. Every day she went out and cared for that garden as if it were her own child. She even talked to the plants, maybe that’s why they were so good.

I had just picked a pea pod holding it in my hand when I felt this warm, slimy-smooth goop on my hand. Magic had taken the pea right from my fingertips. I went and wiped the slobber on the grass. I saw my mom using the pitchfork to turn up the soil. I decided it looked like fun. So I walked over and asked if I could help. My mother, who was ever trying to get me to like gardening, accepted my offer.

So I grabbed the pitchfork and started turning the soil. As I was doing that I was remembering the years before when I would ask if I could use the pitchfork, but the same answer always came, “When you’re a little older.”

While I was thinking I must have stopped paying attention to what I was doing, because I felt a sharp, almost hot pain in between my big toe and my pointer toe. I had just put the pitchfork through my foot. It was one of the worst pains I have ever felt. My mom quickly carried me back to the house. She was trying to make me laugh while she carried me, but it didn’t work.

When we were in the house I sat on the counter and put my foot into a bowl of warm water. It felt good, but not enough to make me stop crying.

My mother quickly called the doctor, the only reason being that the pitchfork had cow manure on it. The doctor said I would be fine if we kept the wound clean and wrapped up.

My mom has always been a caring thoughtful person, but in all the times I’ve gotten into trouble or gotten hurt, she always seemed to be nicer than ever.

Within days my foot was better, and I was out picking peas again. But I had no desire to use the pitchfork.

First, let me say that this is a pretty accurate recounting of what happened — with the exception that she grazed, rather than impaled her foot. I’d called the doctor to check on her Tetanus shot status.

That aside, what I find interesting about this piece is what she chose to write about. Cait has an encyclopedic memory, going back to prebirth, if you’re to believe her. She has many of her own passions,adventures, and misadventures to share. And there is nothing outwardly that would indicate Cait has absorbed my love of gardening or dogs. And yet, of all the subject settings and characters she could have included to write about –.

Dare I hope…

9 thoughts on “A Memoir”

  1. jenn in holland

    I love her piece. My oldest son has that same long-long-long term memory. It goes back ages and is very detailed. Things that I have long forgotten he can call up with perfect clarity. Unbelievable.

    What a great set of shared memories for you and Cait.

  2. She’s a good writer too… now I’m wondering if there’s a genetic component to good writing.

    Thanks. Her dad’s a writer too. So I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a part of it is genetic — the raw writing ability and language facility. But what makes a writer write is the desire to tell stories; without that, all the writing talent in the world isn’t going to matter.

  3. You’d be surprised… I couldn’t keep a plant alive ten years ago, while my mom has a super green thumb. But eventually her love of gardening rubbed off on me and now it’s one of my favorite hobbies. There’s hope yet!

    P.S. Checkers is starting to herd Morena. So much fun to watch, but Morena is not amused. ;)

    I’ll take ‘hope’… :)  And I bet Morena is not amused! hehe.  Oh, the joys of living with Aussies. 

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