Trip to Memory
few days ago I went to Clinton, South Carolina, which is the place
where I was born and grew up. I don't go back there very often
since my father and mother are both dead. I still have a few relatives
there, but no one I am especially close to. The purpose of my
visit was to get some furniture out of the house my father and
stepmother shared. My stepmother is in a nursing home now and
will not ever return to her home.
furniture I was picking up belonged to my mother. It was Kershaw
furniture and I wanted it to be in my home and eventually passed
on to my children. I also wanted some family pictures that would
mean something to me and no one else.
father and stepmother's home is right next to the house where
my mother and father lived along with my brother and me. I had
keys to both homes, so I was able to walk through them. Going
into the house of my childhood was the event that evoked the most
memories. It had been twenty or thirty years since I had been
in it and the memories did come back with a rush.
was the kitchen that made me the most nostalgic. I looked at it
and suddenly I could remember cold winter days when we would rush
from our bedroom to the kitchen to stand in front of the oven
on the stove. Mother would make us cheese toast and we would have
coffee milk to drink.
was in the kitchen where our dogs always had their puppies. Mother
would bring our dog in when her due date was near, and she would
keep her inside until the puppies were born. We were kept out
of the kitchen during the birthing process, so when we got to
see our dog she would be lying there with a large number of puppies
kitchen had a back door that led into a fenced in back yard. I
remember being a child and thinking the steps that led down into
the back yard were so high. They don't look high any more. Also
the back yard was huge in my childhood memories, and now it is
postage stamp size. How in the world did we ever ride our bikes
back there? There is hardly enough room to turn around.
I peered into the bedroom I shared with my brother I could see
all the furniture that used to be there. Our beds were lined up
in an "L" shape against the corner where the windows
were. We slept with the windows open and there was always a breeze
blowing into the room. No wonder I slept so good growing up.
in that house I could close my eyes and hear the squeaky voices
my brother and I used to have. I could hear the low murmur of
a tune my mother used to hum. I could smell the bitter sweet sweat
of my father when he came home after a long day's work. It was
all there waiting to be remembered.
house I grew up in is the house I lived in when my mother got
sick and died. Even with that traumatic event occurring there,
it is still a house with good memories. Unlike the house next
door where I have mostly bad ones.
don't know when or if I will ever go back to Clinton. The past
is gone and the memories that were good I carry with me. Still
I am glad I made that last trip "home." It was good
to visit the past one last time.
K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia.
He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as
the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews
run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short
stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.
He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for
has lived an exceptionally interesting life and portions of it
are contained in his first book Journey of a Gentle Southern
Man. The journey continued in Chances and Choices.
first two books, Journey of a Gentle Southern Man and Chances
and Choices, were reprinted and published by Mercer University
Press in July 2004. His third book Halfway Home was published
by Mercer University Press in October 2004.
fourth book, released in 2006, is The Bookbinder.
his website, or email
Jackie K. Cooper