I’m no stranger to death, I think that’s why my life’s calm is right there in the middle of being at the ocean and hanging out in the graveyard amongst all the spirits. It kind of gets lonely and becomes an “emotional distraught” world when you’re a growing kid/teen and you lose all of the family ma/pa-triarchs at that age. You’re too young to remember, but old enough to recognize that there’s a large empty space in your life.
This is coming from this week’s visit back to Kentucky where we went to our farm yesterday. My Great Aunt Ada was the keeper of the home, and she just recently passed away in April. This is the first time I have been back to the farm since she passed away.
I walked into the main living room where everyone usually sits and talks and I saw her in the chair where I last said goodbye that previous November. I sat across her in this proper chair working on cutting out one of her chandeliers (that I took a photo of several years ago) for my “illusions” book cover. (I have a feeling it was because of her spirit that it turned out exactly how I imagined it in my head.)
The bottom line of this whole entry: I’m having a really hard time dealing with her death. For months, I had been meaning to let her read a poem that I wrote about the solitude of being at her place. For many months, I was wanting to write to her and tell her how much she means to me and what spending time at her house meant (deeper than just a place to go, it brought the words out in me and made me a deeper writer than I’ve ever imagined).
The poem I wrote about her place ended up in Gulfport’s first collaboration book for those who wanted to be the first GP Poet Laureate. Not more than a few hours later of the same day I found out about her death at work, I got an email from the guy who was chosen for the poet laureate and that poem was his favorite. Coincidental?
I don’t think I ever told her how much I appreciated her and the moments spent at her beautiful house, I might have when I was younger, but I should have said it every time… My family says she knew, but it’s not the same validation as to hearing a response or a reaction. Since I lost all of my grandparents and other older members of my family, she was the one I grew up the most knowing. But yet, I now feel that didn’t really know her, and I wish I knew more. I always thought of Ada as like the fairy god mother who would live longer than the rest of us. But alas.
“There’s a truth to the sadness
in the air I breathe today, when I found out the news.”
Other than my parents, the rest of my family on that side has no idea how much I love her property and would do anything to save it if it were ever any talk of it not being ours any more. It’s something I have to write, instead of talking about, because with [this whole thing] being still fresh on my mind and upsetting, I can’t say anything without being in the moment of a pile of emotion.
When we were talking yesterday, it sounded like they bought the property in 1977. That year is my favorite year for many reasons. I think it’s a sign. I would like to believe it was a sign.
Something within me told me to walk upstairs to Aunt Ada’s room. I’m so glad I did because I found something so amazing when I was looking around…….
When I saw those, my soul smiled. I have a feeling that we both have a liking for 1920-ish ballroom dancing sort of proper things, and now, I wish I had talked to her about it. But then again, I wonder if I was just supposed to find those to interpret on my own for illusions, right where it’d fit in.
Her house is a story that still needs to be written by me and maybe, just maybe, if I write it–it’ll come true. My favorite place in her house is the proper living room to the left of the front door and my favorite bedroom is the one directly above it upstairs. If you’ve known me a while, you’ve heard me speak of this place being historical (the Ben Johnson house). There’s so much history, there’s so much spirit, there’s so much everything tied into this one place in the middle of no where. I imagine tea parties, people dressed in ballroom gowns dancing into the night, bed and breakfast sort of thing, a place for weddings, a place where author’s getaway and write amazing stories, a retreat for drama, jazz playing from a record player, families gathered around the proper room listening to one of the first radios when their favorite show would come on. Even a few scenes from A Christmas Story would do. I would call it the Ben Johnson Henderson Playhouse, and it would serve so many purposes, even if it was just a home to our family.
Yesterday was apparently National Book Day in the world, so it’s only appropriate to announce that I got a chance to take some of Aunt Ada’s books home with me. She has great taste! 🙂
I really do miss her so much and I hope she really knew how much I loved her…
The Solitude, The Place That Began It All
I hold in my heart, this place.
This place of which I casually dreamt, as I wrote and walked
among all of the trees
and many, many rooms of this house.
Poetry came so easily in the silence of being at this place.
Writing stories there was just as easy.
As I grew up coming up to this historical home,
My vintage Pirate Soul erupted in great divine!
I walked down the pathway to this great plantation house
a many a time.
I sometimes closed my eyes
to imagine all of the furniture swept away to the side to support
the many people in ballroom gowns during the day
and bedclothes’ parties at night.
I imagined everyone writing with feather pens.
I imagined people writing—penmanship,
something that is greatly lost between the keyboards today….
I imagined people on both porches talking about
whatever people talked about back then.
I imagined a place without a television
and people would carry on great casual conversations
I imagined something that I will never get to experience,
but I bet for those who did…
it was great. For the time that it was.
When I later left the state of my birth and youth,
this will be the only place that I will miss…
– © Karen Maeby