Does a certain fragrance remind you of a place from your past? What about a black-and-white photograph hanging on a wall? This summer, my husband, son and I stayed at a bed-and-breakfast in Clayton. The memories began as soon as I walked into this three-bedroom home.
On the walls were many photographs. One caught my eye. It was dated 1949 and was of a woman in her later years. Her small, wire-rimmed glasses sat on her small nose. Her gray hair was tightly curled and away from her forehead. She wasn't smiling, but she had a gentle look about her.
Looking at this photo brought me back to my own childhood. My Nana shared the same hairstyle as the woman in the picture. I remember eagerly waiting for nightfall, when I could lay my head on Nana's flabby upper arm. I felt safe and cared for. She'd gather a blanket around the rest of my body to further that comfortable feeling. I enjoyed that security until the age of 10, when Nana left this world. I'm glad the strong feelings have remained.
Leading up to the bedroom of this bed-and-breakfast were photographs of the same two girls at different stages of their lives. This caused me to reflect upon my son's 14 years. I remember calling Jason's kindergarten teacher when he fell off his two-wheeler. His face was bruised and swollen, and I wanted to explain the reason for his appearance before I was asked about it. When Jason received an award for a photograph he had taken of our dog dressed up in a suit and tie, I was proud of his effort.
Fast forward to the age of 14. I'm hoping to make it through the teen-age years with a positive attitude. He doesn't understand why I prefer shopping at a discount store since his taste is for the brand-name shops. If my hair is out of place, he's the first to notify me. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard, "Mom, quit embarrassing me."
Vacationing is a time of relaxation and reflection. As I sit on the porch of this bed-and-breakfast, I watch a young girl across the road playing with sand. As it slips through her fingers, I realize how quickly time slips away. Her pink bicycle is unchained and sitting comfortably on the side of the house, where it remains until morning when she takes it out for a ride around the block.
Part of our vacation routine is abandoning the car and pedaling our bikes to a nearby restaurant for breakfast. During our rides, I noticed a man watering his dry grass, heard a baby crying through the screened window and smelled food that was frying. I would have missed all of this had I been in an air-conditioned car. Our evenings were spent watching boats make their way on the St. Lawrence Seaway. With ice cream dripping down my fingers, the only concern I had was how to inconspicuously lick the drips away.
The photograph of the elderly woman on the wall stirred many memories, and I'm glad it did.
JOANNA MONTAGNA TORREANO is a full-time teacher with the NiagaraWheatfield School system and also teaches part time for Niagara University. She is eagerly awaiting the publication of her first book.
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