Saturday, April 12, 2008

Where Memories Are Kept

I have known for a while that the time was coming, that soon a piece of my life would be no more or at least not in the same form. Even though the cover had been loose for a time, it was hard to see the cover completely torn away from this much used book.

With most things in the kitchen, I make do. I cobble things together, sometimes shooting an email to a friend to find out what is really meant by "browning" or "saute" or any other cooking type word. However, I do really well with baking. My specialty is chocolate chip cookies. Though I've given the recipe with explicit instructions to numerous people, aside from my sisters no one has ever managed to duplicate them. Someone with whom I reguarly share my cookies, recently bemoaned the fact that I had brought them. She is on a "plan" and cookies aren't part of them.

The book in question is my mother's old cookie cookbook. It has her name and the year, 1979, signed on the opening page. While there are hundreds of recipes in the book, it naturally falls open to the stained and dog eared page that announces "Best cookie of 1945" and my blue sticky note doubling the recipe.

I am not a great collector of things. But when my mother died many years ago, I snagged her cookie book for my own. There is always a bit of nostalgia in using it.

The thing that makes it precious are the memories it evokes. My mother was hard to please and I often wondered if I was ever good enough. She rarely said, "I love you." But the one way I knew her care was in the baking. When we were young she would tease that the cookie or brownie fairy had come while we were playing outside or at school. We would eat them warm, oozing with chocolate.

My sisters and I are far flung. They have married and have children of their own. There are in laws to see on holidays and no one wants to travel at Christmas -- prefering that their children wake up to see Santa's presents under their own tree.

I am graciously and warmly included at a friend's. But at times the talk will turn to "remember when . . . ." At times like these it seems to me that when one goes home it is to where the memories are kept. Home is where the shared memories, the shared past, binds hearts together.

While I cherish the newer memories I make with friends and their families, my heart still yearns for the emotional place, home, where memories are kept.

This was written for this contest.


Lelia Chealey said...

Very sweet Amy. You have my vote for the contest! :)

Scribbit said...

What a lovely memento to have--recipes really have so many memories in them don't they?

Daisy said...

Cookbooks are so special; I have a hard time giving mine away, even if I only use one or two recipes in them. Maybe I'm thinking of leaving these for my children in the far future.