“Hey, I thought about you yesterday. You like recipes don’t you?”
“Well, I’ve got one for you. Noni Puffs. (Like Sfinge.) Here, write it down. You got a pencil?”
I feel myself grinning as I listen to this voice from my past. Aunt Dee. My mother’s brother’s wife, one of the many women who mothered me as a child.
I’ve been thinking a lot about mothers recently. This is a layered and complex topic for me, one I don’t share very often because it’s much easier to tickle your taste buds with myriad ways to mash a potato than it is to talk about my mother.
My mother turned ninety in March. I decided my Luscious Legacy Project was the perfect container in which to craft a book of stories and photographs to present to her as a birthday gift. I completed one for my dad when he turned ninety and even though he wasn’t in the cognitive space to appreciate it, his caretakers enjoyed seeing a younger, livelier version of Sam. Creating that book was like balm to a withering soul. The memories it evoked brought so much laughter to a time in my life that was steeped in grief. Stories do that.
Creating a book for my mother was more challenging. I had fewer stories and memories to draw from. So, I enlisted the help of friends and neighbors and family members who I hadn’t seen or spoken with in years. (More like decades.) That’s how I reconnected with Aunt Dee. I have to tell you, at first I was hesitant to make those calls even though it’s one of the invitations in this Luscious Legacy Project endeavor: Make That Call.
I had this idea in my head that people would wonder, why now? Why after all these years? Each time I picked up the phone I called forth a measure of courage I didn’t know I had. I couldn’t have been more mistaken in my reticence. Every person I connected with had a story to share. Some, several stories. One incidence in particular just made me grin. Unbeknownst to me I had been calling and leaving messages at an incorrect number. I believe I left about two, maybe three messages at this number. One afternoon I received the sweetest phone call from a gentleman who said, “Your project sounds really special and I know your mother is going to love her book, but I think you have the wrong number.” (Only in Buffalo would someone be kind enough call you and let you know you had dialed the wrong number.)
Back to Aunt Dee. Our conversations continue. It was almost as though once we opened the memory portal, we didn’t want to stop reminiscing. Mostly we share the very same stories. I never tire of hearing them.
Do you have some stories you’d like to assemble in a tangible form? The Luscious Legacy Project may be just the nudge you need. And so much more. Registration is open. You can learn more about this project right here.