Tag Archives: memories

Salt And Sand In Her Heart (a short story)

 

 

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Closing her eyes, she stood gazing out over the waves, breathing in the tangy salty air.
Standing at the top of the sandy path, she could see a shimmer of heat rippling over the sand and knew that the walk down to the water’s edge was going to burn her soft bare feet. A flash of colour to her left caught her eye. It was a dragonfly, a sparkling teal green dragonfly. Smiling, she watched as it rested on one of the fence posts momentarily before darting off on its travels.
As quickly as she could, she crossed the soft Sahara hot sand, breathing a sigh of relief when her toes touched the harder packed damp sand closer to the water’s edge. Pausing for a moment, she recalled her first visit to Rehoboth Beach and smiled.
It had been the blistering hot summer of 1980 amid an at the time record breaking heatwave. A clear memory of arriving at their rental house for the week was of a nearby sign declaring that it was 98F and six thirty at night. Hot……damn hot. When her uncle had opened the side door of his VW bus, the heat had hit them all like a blast from an oven.
Their rental had been a stunning wooden house on the outskirts of town somewhere between Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. Its exact location long since lost to the memories of days gone by. Nights in that house had been hot as hell – no AC and beds as hard as boards. There hadn’t been much sleep on that trip for anyone.
Days, however, had been idyllic and were the days that had started her life long love affair with Rehoboth Beach. At only ten years old, she had loved the freedom of the beach and the ocean. Hours and days passed by building sandcastles, digging holes in the sand, gathering seashells and playing in the waves. Her pale white Scottish skin had swiftly taken on a healthy golden glow. The family’s picnic lunches had been supplemented by Thrasher’s French fries, carried so carefully back from the boardwalk.
Afternoons slipped by as she explored the beach, taking care not to stray too far from the family’s beach towel and umbrella oasis. Even back then she had enjoyed people watching as she wove her way between the other families, noting the different scents of their sun tan lotion and the different sand toys their kids played with. She had looked on enviously at the older kids playing in the waves on their boogie boards. Inwardly, she was desperate to join them but she couldn’t swim. Instead she had to settle for an ice cream from Kohr’s before they headed home for dinner and a much-needed shower.
Evenings meant a return trip into town to stroll along the boardwalk. After the daily scramble among them to round up enough quarters to feed the parking meter, she would finally be allowed to explore the shops on Rehoboth Avenue and along the boardwalk. Her favourites had always been the T-shirt stores where they printed whatever you wanted onto a shirt. They were shops that were a magical Aladdin’s cave to her ten-year-old self. The coloured hermit crabs in cages had fascinated her. Her meagre allowance was spent on pens and a snow globe with a dolphin inside.
One store, a shop on Rehoboth Avenue, caught her eye every night. It was a small jewellery store. Her attention had been captured by a tray of silver rings. There was one in particular that she had her eye on. It was smaller than the rest and was a delicate heart shape- half onyx; half mother-of-pearl. Nightly, she had begged her mother to buy the ring, pleading and promising that if she could borrow the money to pay for it, she would pay every cent back when they got home. On their final night in town, after a farewell pizza dinner at Grotto’s, her mother caved in and took her back to the jewellery store. The window had been rearranged and she recalled panicking when she couldn’t initially spot the ring. However, her mother spied it on display on the opposite side of the window before suggesting they enter the shop to try it on. The ring was a perfect fit for her middle finger. The perfect memento of the town that had captured her child’s heart.
Time and circumstance meant that thirty-four years passed before she was able to return to Rehoboth Beach. Over the years she had written essay after essay in school based of a now seemingly mythical beach. She’d drawn numerous pictures of beaches with dolphins playing in the waves. She’d almost driven her mother insane asking when they would go back to America. As she’d grown from child to teenager to woman to a wife and mother, she’d still dreamed of returning to the beach someday.
When that day finally came in 2004, the weather was a far cry from the blistering heatwave she remembered. A thunderstorm had blown in and the rain was lashing down as they’d run from her cousin’s beat up truck into Hooters for lunch. He had declared it was most definitely not a day for the beach! Not one to be thwarted, she’d stated plainly that she’d waited twenty-four years to walk on that sandy beach and a little rain wasn’t going to stop her. She’d also reminded him of the Scottish blood that flowed in her veins and of the fact that a little rain never deterred a Scot. He’d surrendered, knowing it was pointless to argue with her.
In the end, accompanied by her own two small children, she hadn’t stayed long on the beach – just long enough to run on the sand and paddle in the ocean. As the storm closed in again, she’d been granted a few brief moments to walk the boardwalk and relive her treasured childhood memories. To escape the mid-afternoon deluge, they’d sought sanctuary in Funland and whiled away the storm watching her young son and daughter play. As ever though, the quarters ran out and the meter ticked down until her precious “Rehoboth” time ran out.
Over the next few years, she’d returned annually with her children, savouring the moments on the sand and in the ocean. Making memories with her children was beyond precious. Every memory was filed away, stored carefully in her “memory bank” to be drawn out on cold miserable Scottish winter’s days. Her heart had swelled as her own children developed the same bonds that she felt with this tiny town some three thousand miles from home.
Now though, as she stood on the cool wet sand watching the waves, things were different. Her children were grown up and living their own lives. She’d finally seen her own literary dreams come true. Writing all those stories of the beach had finally paid off. Reaching into her pocket, she wrapped her fingers round the bunch of keys that she’d just collected from the realtor and smiled. She brought them out and stood looking at them lying in the palm of her hand. The keys to her new beach front apartment; the keys to her new dream home.
With a smile, she gazed at the ring on her pinkie, its band worn thin with time. She still wore the small onyx and mother-of-pearl heart shaped ring from all those years before.
Finally, in her heart, she knew she was home.

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My Autobiography vol 1 circa 1982….

Asking a twelve year old to write their autobiography in hindsight seems a slightly bizarre project for an English class.

Stumbling across said autobiography some thirty-seven years later was equally bizarre!

Boy Child was tidying up the large walk-in cupboard in his room recently and found some of my old schoolwork. No idea how it got in there but can only presume my mother has evicted it from her house at some point and sent it home with me.

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As I re-read those handwritten pages (my handwriting was SO much neater in 1982!) I do actually recall writing some of it.

My English teacher during my first year in high school was a gentleman named Richard Coton. He was in fact the teacher who gave me the best piece of creative writing advice I’ve ever had and it’s stuck with me for all these years. He advised me to write about places I loved and knew well and topics that I was passionate about.

His words came back to me when I started writing the story that evolved into the Silver Lake series of books.

So, how much have I changed since my twelve year old self wrote the first volume of my autobiography?

(Don’t panic – I’ll spare you all of the details!)

There were ten parts to this autobiographical assignment.

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Let’s explore a few……

Babyhood – ok, please don’t laugh too much at the photo – and having read that section, one thing hasn’t improved over the years. I still don’t sleep great at night!

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Playing Cafes – I still clearly remember the game that inspired that section. In reality there were more “meals” served to my long-suffering cousin that night. To this day I’ve no idea how we avoided actually poisoning the poor boy! Happy memories of the summer of 1977…EEK!

The Kind Of Person I Am – well, I’ve grown a whole three inches since I wrote that! Ha Ha. I’m still an avid reader. The model horse collection still lives in the same old shoe box as it did in 1982 only now it resides on a shelf in my parents’ attic. One quote from this “chapter” stuck out.

So far you might have got the impression I’m out spoken. Well, in a way I am but at the same time I am a very nervous person. My mum says I worry about trivial things.”

Absolutely nothing has changed about that facet of my character. I over think my over thinking! (Blame the INFJ personality type)

The professional ambitions changed slightly. I remember wanting to say that the dream was to become an author but, as a class, we were advised to keep the piece factual/real. The two options I listed were lawyer or physiotherapist. Six years after I wrote that chapter, I went to college to start my physiotherapy degree but it wasn’t to be. Anatomy and Physiology and I have a very poor working relationship and I failed my first year. Maybe I should have written about chasing the dream – I have managed to achieve that!

There’s a map in the autobiography of where I lived at the time. That “slightly” inaccurate road map made me smile.

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In Years To Come – the final part of the assignment was to forecast the future. So how accurate were my predictions? In fact there are a few profound observations in there. One of them being

“One thing I’m certain of is that I will not be very far away from home.”

Currently, I live about 100m away from where home was in that map from 1982. In fact, the land my current home is built on was the field I played in as a little girl. Roughly on the red dot

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I ended the last section by saying

“Well, I plan on a busy life. On the whole, I don’t think I will change too much over the next five or six years.”

Life is busy and I don’t think I’ve really changed that much over the past thirty-seven years.

So, how did I do on this homework assignment?

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Maybe some day I’ll write a second volume ………

 

 

Photographic Memories

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Who remembers the big leather bound family photograph album?

It might have been your grandmother or an elderly aunt who was the custodian of the big bound photo album. Or perhaps it was your own parents.

I’ll bet as you were growing up there was someone who had it.

I’ll also bet there was someone who had or still has countless old photos in envelopes in a drawer that they’ve inherited and haven’t a clue who the faces of the past in the images are.  We’ve a few of those somewhere.

Confession – I love photos.

Photos capture that one precious moment in time. That one memory then lives forever.

I’ll confess to having thousands upon thousands of photos.

When the kids were little, before digital cameras were affordable and before phones had decent cameras inbuilt, I shot at least one roll of film a month, maybe more. These photos were developed and lovingly added to my collection of photo albums. (Don’t panic, I’ll spare you the baby photos.)

 

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Even after I bought my first digital camera, I still selected hundreds of images from our summer holidays to the USA and compiled photo albums of each trip. To these I’ve also added maps and tickets from the various excursions we enjoyed. More precious memories captured forever.

 

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It’s been a few years since I last printed off images to add to an album but my phone and my laptop have become my substitute photo albums.

On my laptop everything is neatly catalogued in year and month order. The photos that I take at the rock shows I attend are duly added into the appropriate time slot and they too are catalogued by who, where and when. (OK, I’m a bit OCD about all of this.)

 

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My phone’s photos are split into albums over and above the basic camera roll folder- some of the sub-folders contain book baby related images that can be used for social media promotion at the touch of the screen, others are quotes and memes that are humorous or motivational or just simply cute. There are old favourites, family photos, photos of my cats, photos from special rock shows and another large folder of stored images for updating the real-life rock star’s FB fan page that I admin daily. (Honest, I’m not a crazy stalker!)

Until recently there was also one folder that I turned to regularly for comfort. It contained a couple of hundred images – a mix of screenshots, photos from friends, photos from the kids, photos of daft moments that never failed to make me smile. There were two hundred and eighty precious memories in that folder and I made a huge error of judgement with it.

I never backed these pictures up. That one folder held the only copies.

To be honest, I don’t know exactly what happened but, about three weeks ago, I was transferring the photos I’d taken with my phone at the Slash show in Glasgow onto my laptop. I followed the same routine as usual. I never saw any error messages. When I disconnected my phone from the laptop, the precious “gallery” folder had vanished, along with another one of downloaded images. I’ve scoured the phone and the pc but those images are gone forever. I can only assume something became corrupt within the SD card. Who knows! One of life’s great mysteries that has swallowed these photos forever.

Upset doesn’t begin to cover it and I was so angry with myself for being so careless with these. It really isn’t like me.

All was not lost with the second folder that vanished. I found an old version of it on my laptop so could restore at least the majority of those.

The first thing I did was invest in a new SD card and the second thing was to back up the lot. It took hours but I wasn’t risking losing anything else!

With the new SD card securely added to my phone, I created a new sub-folder. I was able to retrieve a handful of the original memories from FB messenger, What’s App and FB itself. In the end, I  was able to recover less than a dozen of them but it was a start.

As the days have passed, I’ve come to realise something.

The photos from the original file of two hundred and eighty that were of the most importance to me aren’t totally lost. They are safely stored in the “original” photo album.

They’re in my own memories and safe in my heart forever.

 

 

World Book Day 2019 ….it’s never too late to pick up a book

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In the UK, today it’s World Book Day.

Other countries will celebrate in a few weeks’ time on 23rd April when they mark World Book and Copyright Day.

World Book Day is the world’s largest campaign to provide every child and young adult in the country with a book of their own.

It’s a celebration of books and reading.

Reading can open up whole new worlds to children and adults alike. It’s never too late to pick up a book and discover this for yourself.

I grew up in a house where there were always books available. I was lucky. As a small child, my mum would read to me, would read me a bedtime story every night, introducing me to many magical adventures. In time, I learned to read for myself and devoured books. (I still do!) By the time I was about seven or eight years old I was quite content to spend an afternoon curled up with a good book, invariably Enid Blyton. I loved her adventure and mystery books. I’d talk to my beloved Wee Gran about the stories I was reading.

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She was a fabulous old lady. At that time, she was in her late seventies and had never been a reader. When she was growing up in Tarbert, Harris, there was little money or time for books other than the bible.  As an adult ,she never had time or money either but she introduced my mum and her sister to books. She would bring home books from the “big houses” where she worked as a housekeeper that the household’s children had out grown. The lady of the house happy to gift them to her for her girls. I still have several of these now very old books and have precious memories of my gran  reading to me from them and of me reading them to her.

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Watching me reading these simple Enid Blyton mysteries piqued her curiosity and soon she was reading them once I had finished with them. After a while my mum suggested that she move onto something more suitable for her and proposed that my gran join the local library. (My mum also bought her a few second-hand books. She always liked David Niven the actor but after reading his autobiography The Moon’s A Balloon, I don’t think she ever felt the same about the man. I think it was an “educational” read for this innocent soul.)

Her little green cardboard library ticket opened up a whole new world for this wonderful little lady. She developed into a voracious reader through her eighties and early nineties, liking nothing better than a “nice” doctor and nurse romance with a happy ending. As her eyesight failed a bit, my mum would bring her large print editions of Mills and Boon romances. (Some of these proved educational too!)

 

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A late bloomer but proof that it’s never too late to pick up a book for the first time.

Sadly, she’s long since passed but I often wonder what she would have made of a Kindle……..

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some photos sourced from Google- credits to the owners

2018……time to reflect

With only two weeks of the year left, I found myself reflecting back over the past twelve months while I was out for my lunchtime meander earlier. There have been some incredibly highs, some real low points but there have been a lot of precious memories along the way. Guess that’s the rhythm of 21st Century life.

So, in pictures, here’s my reflections of life in 2018

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Then there were the musical highlights of the year…..

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And there were some extra special music related moments too….

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And, of course, I added to my Book Baby family too….

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So, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas and welcome in a New Year, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing love and support.

love n hugs

Coral

xx

 

 

I’ll Take That As A Parenting Success….

I ventured into Boy Child’s bedroom earlier to collect his laundry basket. The sun was shining in and the wall above his desk caught my eye.

Now, I’ve been in the room countless times but I hadn’t really given this spot on the wall much thought before today. I paused to look and to read.

It made me smile.

This is what I was looking at.

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Every ticket, except his Alter Bridge ticket from SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 1 Dec 2016 as the venue staff insisted on collecting them in, for every show he’s been to. There are three up there that I wasn’t with him for – I’ll not point them out.

As I read though them I could remember highlights from each of them.

From nudging him and telling him it was ok to laugh out loud at comedian Daniel Sloss’ risqué jokes to the first rock show we attended on 23 May 2009. The very first band to take to the stage that night in the SECC were Black Stone Cherry and so began his love (and mine) of those boys from Kentucky.

There’s the ticket from the first rock show he stood at – Iron Maiden on 20 July 2011. I remember vividly keeping a close eye on him in the densely packed crowd. (He was only 13 at the time) There’s the tiny ticket stub from 16 May 2017 when we saw Iron Maiden again. I remember all too clearly Boy Child keeping an eye on me in one of the roughest crowds I’ve been in. We’d come full circle.

There’s the MTV EMA World Stage show with Slash and Biffy Clyro from 7 Nov 2014. Still can’t believe we got those tickets. It was a fan only event. Best value for £10 ever!

Then, less than a month later, we saw Slash live again and, thanks to Miss Janette, got after show passes to meet The Conspirators and were lucky enough to meet Myles Kennedy for the first time. The kind of night that dreams are made of.

A ticket from the Black Stone Cherry Nordoff Robbins charity show in The Cathouse (tiny venue) on 18 Nov 2016 also holds precious memories. That was an incredible show!

There are wrist bands from Tremonti shows where we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a quick meet and greet after the set. They really are lovely guys.

A few picks don the wall too including a Myles Kennedy pick.

There are even some Ghost dollars.

Parenting is never an easy task. Kids don’t come with a rule book or a user guide. I wish they had!

What struck me in the sunlit room was that this wall represented parenting successes…lots of them! The simple fact that each of these tickets has earned a place on the wall is evidence of that.

I left the room with the laundry basket, a smile on my face and a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

 

A short while later there was a cry of “Mum, where’s the Blu Tack?”

As I handed over a small blue/gray cube of sticky stuff, I asked what he needed it for.

“To stick my Brian Fallon ticket up.”

Another moment of parenting success.

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2017…. a time to reflect

Well, it’s reaching that time of year when everyone seems to be taking stock and reflecting back on the year.

Guess I better join in….

Here’s my year in photos

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And in musical terms…. here’s my take on 2017

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Picking just 24 photos out of the hundreds…. ok thousands.. I’ve shot this year was nigh on impossible LOL.

These really are just a flavour of the year gone by.

And not to forget my biggest achievement of 2017 …. book baby 3 🙂

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Huge thanks for all your love and support and encouragement this year.

I wish each and every one of you all the very best for 2018.