Tag Archives: rambling

My Reasons for Writing

One of my cousins from across the miles posed a couple of great questions, giving me food for thought. He asked:

Why do you write? And why do you write about the family?

My answer to him:

First of all, I write because I know I have a story to tell. As a kid, eventually I discovered we were dirt poor. In my teens looking back, I realized that I was neglected and forced to grow up too fast. I was ashamed of my childhood and bitter for being my mama’s mother. As I “matured,” settled down, married and had children of my own, along the way I found I was a stronger person because of some of the things that I endured as a child.

Once I embraced the God of my grandparents, I became a much better person, too. NOT that I had it all together; I still had a few things to learn. But I learned that it was much better to let go of the bitterness and to forgive, than to hold onto the junk.

I also learned that I didn’t have to be a product of my environment! I could rise above the ashes like a phoenix and become so much better. That was my freedom — still is — and God has called us to liberty, not to be in prison. Sure I made some mistakes along the way, but I learned from them as well. It starts with a made-up mind! While I’ve managed to confront my past, I believe my past hasn’t spoiled me, but has prepared me for the future. I may not be perfect but whenever I stumble, I can wipe the crud off and walk on. I share my story that I might help one person – and if I have done that then I have done a good thing and God gets the glory. Photo Credit: LifeOverCancerBlog.typepad.com

I mention family because the little girl growing up — although she may have felt like she was all alone most times — was not an orphan and did not live on an island unto herself. There were others around who helped to nurture her in one fashion or another, even, the antagonists in her story. And yes, some were heroes. She cannot tell her story without mentioning those she looked up to. For it to be truthful, she had to address some real and raw emotions and mentioned the flaws — the good, the bad and the ugly.

The story is not fiction. It is written how she remembers the events that took shape in her life as a child, a teenager and into her adulthood. All the memories do not take her to a happy place. She has had to dig deep to find them. To some, those “happy” places may be simple and insignificant, but to her they were her life-line.

His response:  

I am keeping this to remind me what it takes to be selfless.

 Thanks 

CD

I did not expect THAT answer 

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Memoir, writing

Looking Back – My Reasons for Writing

pic

One of my cousins from across the miles posed a couple of great questions, giving me food for thought. He asked:

Why do you write? And why do you write about the family?

My answer to him:

First of all, I write because I know I have a story to tell. As a kid, eventually I discovered we were dirt poor. In my teens looking back, I realized that I was neglected and forced to grow up too fast. I was ashamed of my childhood and bitter for being my mama’s mother. As I “matured,” settled down, married and had children of my own, along the way I found I was a stronger person because of some of the things that I endured as a child. Once I embraced the God of my grandparents, I became a much better person, too. NOT that I had it all together; I still had a few things to learn. But I learned that it was much better to let go of the bitterness and to forgive, than to hold onto the junk. I also learned that I didn’t have to be a product of my environment! I could rise above the ashes like a phoenix and become so much better. That was my freedom — still is — and God has called us to liberty, not to be in prison. Sure I made some mistakes along the way, but I learned from them as well. It starts with a made-up mind! While I’ve managed to confront my past, I believe my past hasn’t spoiled me, but has prepared me for the future. I may not be perfect but whenever I stumble, I can wipe the crud off and walk on. I share my story that I might help one person – and if I have done that then I have done a good thing and God gets the glory.

I mention family because the little girl growing up — although she may have felt like she was all alone most times — was not an orphan and did not live on an island unto herself. There were others around who helped to nurture her in one fashion or another, even, the antagonists in her story. And yes, some were heroes. She cannot tell her story without mentioning those she looked up to. For it to be truthful, she had to address some real and raw emotions and mentioned the flaws — the good, the bad and the ugly.

The story is not fiction. It is written how she remembers the events that took shape in her life as a child, a teenager and into her adulthood. All the memories do not take her to a happy place. She has had to dig deep to find them. To some, those “happy” places may be simple and insignificant, but to her they were her life-line.

His response:  

I am keeping this to remind me what it takes to be selfless.

 Thanks 

CD

I did not expect THAT answer 🙂

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

Leave a comment

January 22, 2014 · 4:56 PM

She Was Me

Picture1Alone in my own world, I sometimes pretended to be Shirley Temple. Her dimpled smile and blonde curly-locks got her noticed. I imagined if I pouted like her and smiled like her that I’d be pretty like her. But in the bathroom mirror, a brown-eyed, freckled-face girl peered back. She had straight dark-hair and dingy clothes that hung loosely over scrawny legs. She looked plain, clumsy and insignificant. She was me.

I didn’t know we lived below the poverty line. I knew the hunger pangs that clawed at my belly. I remember eating cold pork and beans right from the can; it tasted really good with bread. I remember surviving for a timed on government surplus with tins of soft butter, brick cheese, powdered milk and creamy peanut butter. When we had it, smearing slabs of mayo over bread was a slice of heaven.

Food was scarce. Even after Daddy started sending money to Mama, I saw little food on the table. Liquor bottles and empty beer cans reeked and saturated the air. Constant bickering between Mama and my step-dad punctuated the tensions in our rodent-infested, cockroach matchbox. I’d see those creepy-crawlers on the walls, tables and dirty dishes on the counter. I’d hear them scratching behind the walls, or running across the linoleum floor. I could even smell them. Those pests were our relentless unwelcome guests.

(Excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

Note: “What happened to your bangs?” I am asked this question countless of times. You will have to discover the answer to that question … but not until my book is published. 😉

15 Comments

December 4, 2013 · 11:52 PM

He Was a Great Man

JFK

Provided by Linda Flowers – Nov. 25, 1963

The week before Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house, I enjoyed the peaceful ambiance where I always felt loved and cared for. My grandparents showered me with attention. I looked forward to the upcoming holiday, especially Grandma’s stuffed pavo with tons of mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce.  

On that particular day, I lay on their living room floor, watching the crowds on TV who stood in respectful silence observing a funeral procession. The clopping sounds of horses’ hooves echoed as they pulled a carriage carrying a coffin draped with the Stars and Stripes. I knew the world lost an important man. As I studied the sorrowful faces of my grandparents and peered into their misty eyes, my heart broke, too.

Days later, I shall never forget a serious Grandpa gazing out the window deep in thought. With a sad but loud voice, he bellowed, “He was a greaaaat man! He was a greaaaat man!” I would come to realize that Grandpa referred to none other than President John F. Kennedy.

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

3 Comments

Filed under JFK, Memoir

She’s Not Tough, She’s Tenacious

At my grandparents’ home, weekends were our shopping days at Pantry Pride. Grandma pulled her two-wheel cart behind her, and Grandpa and I carried the rest of the groceries, chitchatting along the way.

“You know, young lady,” Grandpa said, “You’re going to have long legs when you grow up.”

“Are they going to be long as yours, Grandpa?” I asked, trying to keep in stride.

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Will they be long as Grandma’s?”

“Well, I’ll say there’s a good chance.”

“What about Mama’s?”

“Yep. I think they’re going to be longer than your mother’s are.”

“Then I’ll be taller than her.” I skipped along thinking about it.

“Yes, yes, I think you’re right,” Grandpa chuckled.

We couldn’t walk at a fast pace on account of Grandma’s bad feet.

But one morning we left for church later than usual. Grandma insisted that Grandpa and I run on ahead to stop the bus when we saw one. We took a shortcut along the sides of the railroad tracks. Trotting over the loose gravel became tricky, but we hurried on determined to catch that bus.

“Papa,” cried a small voice. We didn’t hear that first call. The cry came again, followed by a moan. When we turned, we never imagined seeing Grandma laying facedown over pebbles and rocks. Grandpa moved with surprising agility and helped her sit up.

Grandma’s forehead bled from the fall. I cowered at the sight of so much blood. I felt sorry for her and helpless. Why couldn’t I have stayed close and given her my arm to hold onto?

Together, we walked back to the house. When we got there, Grandma limped into the bathroom and Grandpa helped her clean her face with a washcloth. To our surprise, she then insisted that we go back out.

“We are goin’ to church even if we are late,” she said.

“Aren’t you going to at least change your blouse?” Grandpa asked.

“¡No señor!” Grandma said with finality. “I’m goin’ just as I am.”

(Excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace )

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

2 Comments

Filed under family, Tenacious

This Lesson About Life

The lesson about life with its many twists and turns has been an amazing journey. I often think: What legacy will I leave behind when I’m finished with this race? What I do today, will it count for something tomorrow? When I’m long gone, will I merely be a faded memory, or burn in someone’s heart? Will my deeds be forgotten? Lost? Or buried?

I’ve read about some incredible women. These women did not allow age, status, limitations, or even imprisonment to keep them from their destiny. As fleeting as it is, they knew their self-worth and value in this life. Women like Mother Teresa who gave 50 years of service to the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the dying in Calcutta India. Women like Corrie ten Boom who spent 10 months in a concentration camp, who at the age of 53 began a worldwide ministry that took her into more than 60 countries in the next 33 years of her life. I didn’t know them personally, but they were admirable, inspirational women.

They made a difference.

Many endearing women have come into my life, not only as friends, but as mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. While each embodies unique gifting, each holds a special place in my heart.

One such individual is Elizabeth. She loves people. She is full of life, charm and wit. She believes in having a 90% attitude and 10% circumstance. She loves to laugh, crack a joke, watch the Kentucky Derby, share about her travels around the world, read anything that takes her miles away, watch The Lawrence Welk Show, and go right on dancing if only she could.

I’ve known her for over thirty years, but within the past couple of years, she is unable to use her walker. She doesn’t walk anymore. Yet her mind is still intact; her wits still sharp, as well as her tongue. My husband, daughter and I take care of her. While we attend to her daily needs, she is teaching us about life. Oh, and did I mention a horse and buggy rushed her to the hospital and that she was one-years-old during the Titanic?

That’s right, Elizabeth was born in 1911. You do the math.

To know Elizabeth is to have your life enriched.

As I age, may I emulate her love and passion for living.

  555311_10201955181788991_748998477_n

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

20 Comments

October 24, 2013 · 10:26 PM

She’s My Mama

Mama lives alone. She enjoys a contented life. She loves playing Bingo and the group outings on the Metro-Lift with Charles, her traveling companion. They attend church together. Mama has a provider who cleans, cooks, and provides assistance. I have come to the place where I am able to let go and let her live her own life. While Mama has learned not to rely upon me as heavily as before, she knows I will be there whenever needed.

This past week, we celebrated Mama’s 79th birthday at an Italian restaurant. She doesn’t like her pictures taken and has always been shy in front of the camera. Rest assure, she enjoyed her day, having no problem in dining out and in opening gifts.

mom

Initially, when I shared with Mama that I was writing my memoirs she laughed and squealed, “Mary, what kind of book is that going to be?”

I chuckled, answering, “Stranger than fiction, of course.”

Later, with a more serious tone, Mama asked, “So, you’re going to blame me for everything that has happened?”

While our relationship and communication continue to require work, I assured her that I don’t blame her for all the bad.

Let me be clear: I do not hate Mama. I NEVER hated Mama. I hated her behavior. I resented everything and everyone that took her away from me as a child! Though my mind may still remember the neglect, I realize that nothing I did or did not do could have changed her then. Or now. I can only change myself and aim for better.

Several years ago, someone recommended Irregular People, by Joyce Landorf that helped me tremendously. Nearly everyone has a difficult or “irregular” person in his or her life. They can be emotionally tone deaf and not really hear you. They may be emotionally blind and not see you. They may even have a speech impediment and not say the right thing to you. You cannot please that person; you cannot change them no matter how much you wish to.

I can be at peace and know that the way Mama—or anyone else—chooses to live their lives, isn’t a reflection of me.

Yes, writing is therapeutic, but if I can show just one person that they are not alone in their struggles, then I have done something good. Through it all, one can have purpose and meaning and overcome.

In the dynamic of things, I felt Mama did her best.

As we all try to do.

closeup

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

10 Comments

Filed under Mama, parenting