There’s a need to find memories lost,
swept away by the winds of long ago.
They’ve tortured me for years, a need for a real homecoming.
I’m looking to find recollections of my past, visit the old home-place,
and find familiar trees climbed, schools attended, grocery stores,
coal mines, movie theaters, swimming holes, streets and dirt roads.
Walk up the path where I use to meet Dad at the slate dump,
sit there; watch to see if he’ll walk toward me with a grin on his face.
Stand at the school bus stop hoping for it to stop, pick me up,
take me to high school for the first time, it’s been many years.
It’s as vivid as the day it first happened, sweaty hands,
fast beating heart…never been on a school bus before.
Walk through the halls of Woodrow Wilson High,
find my locker, look for my lost friends, and love notes,
visit the cafeteria eyeing all the delicious foods.
See all my friends walking in the halls and speaking to me,
a favorite date blowing me a kiss and sneaking me a note.
Running from locker to locker talking to friends,
and finding where to meet for sodas after school.
Stop-by the swimming hole, once treasured by many teenagers,
watch electric mine cars push loads of slack to the slate dump.
Dip in the cool spring water, play tag with my friends,
watch-out for water moccasins, and keep my loose bathing-suit up.
Drop by the grocery store that’s been there for years,
enjoy a dip of vanilla ice cream, and wipe off the drips before they fall.
Visit the Company Store, Dad gave his paycheck to every two-week,
stop-by the post office, look for box 659, and see if I got any love letters.
A walk through the home place, vision Mother’s auburn hair shining,
mixing buttermilk biscuits with her hands, cutting them in round circles,
smell the slab bacon frying on the wood stove and coffee perking,
setting the table for all of us children to have morning breakfast.
Mother directing me; go fetch enough wood to last through the day;
fill the coal bucket to the brim to keep the house cozy and warm.
Chat with brothers and sisters about classes and events at school,
bidding goodbye to them as one goes one way and the other another way.
Life, innocent and free, minds conjuring up “ways” to reach their pinnacle,
desiring things that were impossible, wanting to try new inventive things.
Daring to try to climb the trees I use to crawl to the very top,
wishing I could take a large leap and soar like a mighty hawk.
Ah, these reminiscences feed my soul and fill up my heart
as tears flow to beat my chest…these days were the greatest gifts.
How did I survive life my tiring daily life without them?
One thing for sure, I “still” have the memories warming my heart.