No Christmas in Germany (9 December)

Join me this month for stories of our time here in a small German village where we’re visiting with my mom. I’m experimenting with straight journal-style blogging as a ‘post-a-day’ challenge. Thanks for reading, Bill 

Got up at 5 again and came downstairs, turned on the heater/blower, lit a candle, made coffee, sat waiting for the right time to write. Finished editing the first chapter of my memoir (Life Before Fabric Softener) which I’ve been writing for about eight years now. Posted it, looked out at the Aldi sign, decided I’d walk through the fields by the refugee houses: traces of snow, flurries (schnee). Got on the trail in the dark and the clock started tolling 7. Tried writing the second chapter in my head but got stuck. The teacher for the memoir writing class said before you write your story, try imagining how it feels. It sounds woo-woo, but she’s right. I did a version of it in June I posted on my blog, wrote “live” each day, inspired by Chris Cornell’s suicide for reasons that don’t make much sense or have anything to do with my memoir. But I needed a trigger, and it got me 50,000 words worth. This time I’m trying a different entry point (December, 1997), the trigger the look of the sky one morning I was walking to the lake back home in Sammamish, thinking about our upcoming time here in Germany. It’s not unusual this time of year that the only sun you get is in the morning, and then it’s done. The sky had the same look those final weeks before I left Starbucks in 1997. I quit my job there twice, both times in December, and there was something funny about that. It was the same time of year, both times.

Mom surfaced at 10:30 but the kids/Dawn didn’t get up until after we got back from the store, after noon. Mom and I stood in the kitchen for a time giggling we were so happy, being together. At the store we got the checker who’s lost most of her hair, who speaks good English, kind of showing off when she said to my mom one-hundred-twenty-nine-and-fifty-one.

When we came outside it was hailing and there was an altercation between my mom and another driver who was trying to exit the wrong way and then forced my mom to do the same because there wasn’t enough room and the other driver wouldn’t relent, even though she was wrong. We went to the beer store and hoped it wouldn’t be the cranky guy working and luckily, it wasn’t. Then mom and I unloaded everything and sat down, both glad we didn’t have to go out again. It started snowing and I put on John Coltrane and brewed a cup of tea.

When I got back from the fields with the refugees the clock tolled 8. With the sun up and the trees without their leaves I could see the swimming pool, and it hurt to remember our times there with the kids when they were younger. You could almost play out little vignettes looking through the fence at different scenes. And it looked a lot smaller than I remembered it.

I took the side trail by the new Lidl store (they’re renovating the old one) and the moon was still out; I passed a guy who looked Turkish or Middle-Eastern and he smiled, as did I, unlike most Germans you pass, who don’t look up.

There was the athletic track where Gilles and I used to run when we first moved here in 2009. We resolved to run every day (Gilles was running barefoot, African style) but only did it once, my feet couldn’t stand it.

Even though I probably had journals I could go back to I refused, I had a ‘don’t look back’ policy: the past is probably better (more realistic, [or less]), without looking too close.

When I got up, someone commented on my blog “no more massages please” and I marked it Spam.


Categories: Memoir, travel, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. No more Spam massages, check, the grease stains your clothing and dogs follow you around.
    Supposing you came across journals from 2009, would they be discarded? or like the British government’s fiascos & embarrassments, locked in a vault for fifty years? You really could resist, and not look at them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I can’t discard my journals, no way. Can’t read them, but can’t let go either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course they shouldn’t be discarded. When they first published “The Princess Bride” it was in two colors of ink – – the tale in blue, and the grandfather’s comments in red, or something like that. It would be interesting to do something like that with journal entries, some day in The Future — line up the recollections from the memoir, compared with the journals.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Congrats for the editing of the chapter. This gives me courage for struggling to write my novel and discarded the draft after four years and started all over again last year. Love the last line, no more spam. For sure, there are funny people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “You could almost play out little vignettes looking through the fence at different scenes.” I like this. I’ve always had this weird feeling that places hold what happens in them, somehow, and it’s all on a loop for convenient viewing. I don’t know. Probably not.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill i love your blog but the part about running barefoot -African style! we do have Reebok and Nike stores in Africa !


  5. always keep your journals, you never know what they’ll be called on to do later and i’m all for moving forward –

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh can I go travelling with your Mum please? (Mom). She sounds like just the companion, the one who finds the wonderful in the weird. Especially if she has a great chuckle, which I imagine she does. Not that her cackle would lift the heads of the passerbys in your adopted country. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Journals are catnip for the nostalgic.


  8. What a dreamy Dylanesque idea of overlapping memories*. I’ve decided to embark upon the Dezember and return to the Memoir (note upper case). So hard to get reading, maximum respect for your discipline in writing.
    * Really liked RP’s comment referencing The Princess Bride (an all time fave).

    I’ve just made tea. Perhaps I’ll remove Flash from the turntable and spin Coltrane.


    • Happy for the dreamy, Dylanesque comment and all your others, the note about discipline. Good encouragement, need all I can get – or will take all I can, thanks Bruce. Enjoy the evening! Bill

      Liked by 1 person

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