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I Wax the Morning Nostalgic

Whose Story Is It?

The Story of Life in the 1950s

It's the story of your life. From beginning to end, it's about struggle, despair, depression, select moments of joy, and the usual experiences of one person, one life, going through trials and tribulations as their life unfolds before them.

I have a vivid memory of long summer days as a child - full of crayons, and paints, and childish toys; of long days spent out doors.

Barefoot and full of energy, those hot sunny days were full of neighborhood kids building forts, feet slapping broken sidewalks as we chased each other up one street and down another, falling into the grass at someone's house, keenly aware of the open screened door, where someone's Mom would be standing, admonishing us for leaving the littlest one behind.

The life of a child is woefully different today. We know this. Many baby boomers lament the change, posting images on Facebook showing the risks we took (no seatbelts in cars, drinking unfiltered water from outside spigots, no sun-screen slathered on our skinny arms or legs, days spent away from our home...with no thought of telling mom where we were), and how none of those risks kept us from growing up. We, in our braggart, know-it-all way, walk with a swagger, brushing danger away, embellishing memory, adding crazy things we want to think we did, but did not (jumped a train and travelled hundreds of miles away, for instance; really who actually did that? no one I know).

The story, we tell whomever deigns to listen, is true to our best recollection.

Sister Sue and Myself circa -1963

The story, we laugh, may be stretched, like taffy, not like bubble-gum, but not that much because we have sharp memories of the dog days of summer, during those 1950s, and early 1960s, when life was simple, without smart phones, or apples you couldn't eat. We love the memories with a passion. Because we lived the moments of major changes in history - the introduction of power steering on cars (that looms large in my memory because my first car did NOT have power steering and I cannot tell you how difficult it is to steer a gigantic machine - cars were huge back in those early days of my having a license - without power steering); the moon walk (yes, it happened folks, it was not a hoax) and, the death of a beloved president.

I have presented these memories not in chronological order, but in order of memory. The experiences I remember follow no set timeline. They just are.

Perhaps one of my favorite authors put it best in a popular novel he wrote,

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we have everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities"

I return to my opening question - whose story is it? Is it our story? Is it the truth of how we remember, or the truth of what really happened, or the mixture of memory and fact?

Does it matter if we, in our innocence, use what fiction writer's like to call poetic license? Are we allowed to weave a story of yesteryear, that did not exist, or rather, exists only in memory (memory being a faulty tool, at best)?

I submit that the story is yours. The story belongs to the reader, or the listener. As the author creates the story, he or she must never forget that her reader is the owner of the tale. The reader, dear reader, decides if the story is believable. And therein lies the answer to our question - if the writer is able to "suspend disbelief" - the writer/author has allowed the story to flow properly, as she gives the reader the reigns to the tale.

The story is not mine to tell, no matter that it's about an experience I was intimately part of, in a time that stretches my memory to retell. The story must, by nature of the tale being told, become a street in a city, in a town, in a country, that the reader is strolling down. If the reader cannot place herself there, the story ceases to exist.

My story belongs to you. Yours to me.

The reality is this - we tell our tales to others, because in the telling, we hope to make them real.

 ~ Yvonne DiVita, Lipsticking.com




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