The Memoir is a weekly exercise that builds upon itself. I will divide your life in sections. By answering a "jot list" of questions each week I will trigger vivid memories, discover lost dreams, and find unexpected healing and clarity.
From It's Never Too Late To Begin Again by Julia Cameron
The Entryway- Chapter 1
To enter my childhood house you came through a big door with beveled glass. This gave access to the entryway. To the right, stairs climbed up to the apartment where Mr. Ito lived. To the left was a door which led to another apartment. My brother lived there some of the years with his wife and kids. Straight ahead was a glass door into my home.
This first house, which my father bought in America, came with a tenant. Mr. Ito was Japanese and lived alone upstairs. I believe he lived there for a decade or more before we arrived. Particular smells wafted down from above which were foreign and somewhat repugnant to my young nose. I was fascinated by the sight of him. He descended very rarely so I took up a vigil on the entryway stairs. His pajama-like clothing seemed so strange.
I played on the stairs most days. This gave me access to all the movements of the inhabitants. I knew when my niece and nephews were going out to play, when my other brothers came home from college, and when my father arrived from work. Paper dolls covered the stairs. Each stair was a place where my dolls lived.
I put them into their stands and changed their clothing over and over again, dependent on the weather. My mother gave me shoe boxes in which I sorted the families of dolls. Cutting carefully was paramount to having good dolls. Many times I mistakenly cut the white tabs off the jacket or pants. Bother! Not good!
There on the stairs I played for hours, imagining a life far different from mine. Really, my life was extraordinary. I was an immigrant, fluent in German and learning English. The only girl in a family of much older, brilliant brothers, I found my way among adults. Adults who had escaped a world war, survived as refugees, and started over in a new land. And, the smells wafting from my house must have been just as strange as Mr. Ito's.
Join me on Wednesdays for more whimsical writing from my life.