Mountains of Memories

 

Shoes to WhitneyThere’s Mt. Whitney dirt buried beneath the layer of dust on these boots. Nearly twenty years after the journey they remain under the nightstand, waiting for the next trek. I had planned to hike the trail again but the reality of that is improbable. Now I see the boots and bandana as trophies of past adventures – checks Mt Whitney ledgeoff the bucket list of goals.

I reflect on that elation I once felt at the top of this world. The photo proof of accomplishment feeds my mind with encouragement, staving off the inner critic as I work on my current goal to finish the memoir, one switchback at a time.

The process of writing the memoir is like climbing that mountain. We begin at the bottom, working on the arc of the story – the path to the top and then down again. I set the milestones.

  • Permits – getting permission
  • Training – learning the best way
  • Advice – finding a coach who has been there
  • Mirror Lake – reflecting on the memories
  • Trailside Meadows – feeling the effects but pushing on
  • Trail Camp – regenerating
  • 97 Switchbacks – penning the points in the arc
  • Trail Crest – seeing the other side
  • Summit – the first draft
  • 97 Switchbacks – editing, cutting back
  • Return to the Portal – exhausted but exhilarated
  • Buying the “I Climbed Mt Whitney T-Shirt” – the reward

I am at Trailside Meadows. Where are you in your journey?

 

 

Barbie Day

Dolls
Dolls

There is a small disagreement between my sister and me as to who officially owns these dolls.  I think the one on the left may be an original Barbie. The doll on the right is of unknown ancestry. Since I happen to have these dolls in my possession, for now we’ll just say one is mine and one is hers. Read the rest of the story and then you decide whose is whose.

During our Michigan years, Grandma Bull traveled by train across country from California to visit several times. She would plump down into the most comfortable chair in the living room and spend her days creating a generous wardrobe for me, my sister and our dolls. We’d fall asleep at night to the click of knitting needles and wake in the morning to the whir of the sewing machine. The clothes that best fit the doll on the left happen to match clothes I wore in photos from that era. Neighborhood girls envied my doll’s fashionable clothes which I stored neatly folded in a round pink zippered suitcase.

Backing up in time before the Barbie doll age, I’m going share a small secret. When my sister was about 3 years old there was a big box from Grandma under the Christmas tree with her name on it. With toddler exuberance she ripped open the package to discover a chubby cheeked baby doll nestled in a crocheted blanket. A complete layette of pink baby clothes filled the bottom half of the box. My sister wailed “NO NO NO,” tossed the doll across the room, and moved on to the next gift, something better suited to her already developing tomboy characteristics. We never told Grandma.

Which doll do you think might belong to me?