Ah, Sweet Memories - Part TwoWritten by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Thank you for staying with me. Last week I shared some colorful autumn stories of my childhood that were truly enchanted moments. This week I hope you will enjoy part two as Emily shares her beautiful story about color and enchantment with us. Enjoy!
Featuring story Prism by guest writer, Emily Doherty
"Right brain ... left brain ..." droned speaker. I doodled idly in my already embellished notebook margins and mumbled "No brain!" under my breath. Surely a crayon or two might still lurk in a forgotten corner of this escapee mother's pocketbook. I nudged my friend for assistance, but all she could find was an old lipstick stub, too neutral for my purposes. Not even a smudgy red pen or a faded highlighter. I grinned conspiratorially in her direction as we recalled yesterday's 'there-goes-another-flower-child" glances of other tourists when they spied bunches of scarlet poppies waving comfortably from a free corner of my backpack.
"Right brain...left brain..." One for words, one for images, and I, ever easily aroused and enraptured by both. Which brain was mine, I mused? Yet another hole too round for my perennially square peg. Images. Color. Why choose?
I cannot remember a time when I was not seduced by color. Was it petunias, perhaps, firm grip of my father's aging hand as we climbed short hill beside our house to browse briefly in palette of fuschias and magentas, violets and lavenders blue? Was it haphazard piles of velvet upholstery samples tossed invitingly on play yard floor of my grandmother's linen closet, beckoning me to cavort with kings and queens? Or bright balls of wool stored in shiny brass potato chip can awaiting her dedicated fingers to transform them into rainbow squares for afghans? Perhaps it was color words themselves, tantalizing tongue twirls of fairy tales and Crayola wrappers: heliotrope, delphinium, vermilion, celadon, burnt sienna, Endless as imagination, they lured me to delight.
I am drawn to mesmer of color as musician is to melody. Song colors my ears; image colors my soul. I cannot choose a favorite, like chocolate or vanilla ice cream; life remains incomplete without all 64 in one box. From earliest remembrances of childhood, my favorite few possessions were books with "colored plates", a rare find among my mother's vintage novels, and crayons. I amassed color everywhere: postage stamps, ribbons, fabric switches, buttons, flower petals, butterflies, marbles, in endless and varied collections. While my mother shopped, I crawled invisibly under tables in millinery department, risking spots on my shopping-white gloves and hoping that an elegant bloom or two, a feather or a bright sequin, had somehow hidden in pale, plush carpeting. I traced paisleys in oriental rugs, and retraced them as I rubbed my eyes and journeyed through my very own Arabian Nights to sleep.
Designing A Life - We Each Get The ChanceWritten by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
The Enchanted Self is all about living and then telling and retelling stories of our lives to get most positive juice from them. This often means taking pain and misfortune and turning it into meaning and even eventually a metamorphosis of pleasure. One example of designing a fulfilling life comes to mind. This is story of a part of our French cousin's life. A retired doctor living outside of Paris, Jean Manuel, has often told us story of his years living hidden in a farmhouse in a French Province. When he was five, his parents were warned that they had to leave Paris. He vividly remembers how terribly upset his parents were. Somehow they found a farmer and his wife who agreed to take in as many of family members as could get there. His family and some cousins lived several years on this farm. Others chose not to leave Paris and were never heard of again.
Jean Manuel told us about how his family went back after war to look for their missing relatives, only to find possessions and an uneaten birthday cake celebrating nephew's first birthday still on table, at one of their cousin's homes. The family, however, was gone forever. He remembers his parent's despair, yet also how life resumed for all of them. He also shared with us how his father was once picked up by French Police and loaded onto a train. Fortunately train was moving slowly enough that his father could jump and escape, living for a while in woods until he could return to his little family. One might at first wonder -- how could someone come to terms with so much loss and seeing his family go through so much pain? I don't know Jean Manuel terribly well but I have clearly seen a friendly, joyful person every time we've been together. I have a hunch of several ways he has processed this story of his life and life of his family. I believe that one of major ways that he has processed his own life and turned it into a meaningful, joyful experience is by giving back. The farmer and his wife who took them in didn't have any children of their own. Jean Manuel and everyone else that had been hidden by family never forgot them.