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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 2, June 2016

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Ray Rasmussen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


In the Attic

It was twelve years ago that my sister and I climbed a rickety ladder into the musty attic, lit by a single light bulb. It was just as I remembered when, as a child, I'd go up to explore.

During the Great Depression and World War II, Mom and Dad had learned to buy cheap and save everything. So it was no surprise to find it filled to the brim with broken furniture, appliances with frayed cords and boxes of worn-out clothing. Along with my high school letterman’s sweater (which no longer fits), I found three cardboard boxes of mementos I had left behind: yearbooks, diplomas, report cards, news clippings–the bits and pieces of a boy’s life.

nestled among
spider webs—
years of memories

I was surprised to find too-many-to-count bamboo fishing rods, most in pieces. “Why did you buy them?” I asked my father after he was a few years settled into a senior’s residence. “Bargains . . . only 25 cents . . . good for parts . . . what did you do with them?”

While loading the trailer with the remnants of our parents’ lives, we came across a 10-inch Motorola TV set. On the day it arrived, Dad flopped into his easy chair and began a lifelong romance with Sunday afternoon baseball. He’d mostly talk baseball: the teams, coaches, players and statistics. I remember how he raced from the dinner table when we heard the announcer scream: There's a long drive waaay back in center field . . . waaay baaack, baaack, it is . . . caaaaaught by Willie Mays! So I have no idea how those hard years were for him and Mom, what his thoughts were about politics, how he felt about his work, what he liked to read.

My sister asked what I planned to do with my boxes. “Take them with me, I guess. Do you think my daughters would like to see all this someday?”

Today, it’s time to start clearing out my own remnants and I come across those same three boxes. I haul them off with everything else. Everything but my collection of hiking sticks and the letters from my high school girlfriend.

searching for sustenance—
seagulls pick through
our memories

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