Monday, 23 September 2013 02:32

OK - One More Photo Memory

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family storytelling bike parade tradition small town memoryMy journey back in time through the frame of a single photograph won't let me walk away just yet.  My memory of always being dressed in red by my mother led me to this photo and a cascade of unexpected memories.



I know exactly where this photo was taken.  It's Pinawa Days in Pinawa, Manitoba.  Never heard of it?  Most of the world hasn't either, but I thought it was heaven.  It was a small town consisting of maybe 200 families in the woods.  Everyone in town worked at the nuclear facility nearby.  We were pretty isolated from the rest of Manitoba.  The winters were deep and cold and magical, and the summer was short.  The highlight of the summer was Pinawa Days.  We'd all get together for contests in the lake, hold sand castle competitions, have barbecues and put on a bike parade.  Us kids would decorate our bikes, then ride through the streets of town showing off our creativity.

Mom's idea of decorating my bike involved red.  Big red bow, red dress on my doll, matching dress on me, a few white streamers to compliment the look.  A princess could ask for nothing more.  But look close at the tricycle and you'll discover there's a tail pipe on that bike lashed on with thick silver wire.  That's where my brother, Dave, comes in.  We never actually talked about it, but I think he just knew intuitively that I bristled under my princess status.  He got me.  He knew I'd rather be climbing a tree or peeling apart the eye-balls of a recently caught fish so I could see how they worked.  He knew I preferred the woods over dolls, and playing war over playing house.  Of course, my brother's were my constant companions, so how could I help but like those things?  Anyway, he knew a cool bike could never just have a bow and a doll on it.  He knew I wanted to stud up my ride.  So he designed the tail-pipe just for me.  We attached it just before the parade.  I remember careening down the road making Harley motorcycle sounds while my girlfriends rang their bells.  I was in heaven.  I don't remember how my mother felt about my tail-pipe.  It doesn't matter, really.

family storytelling bike parade small town traditionThe fact is, I haven't thought of that day, or Dave's role in it, for decades.  Isn't it crazy how a little piece of paper and some ink can trigger such a memory?  Today, I feel closer to my brother than I did yesterday because of this moment of reflection.  Stories of experiences shared have a way of binding family hearts that is quite remarkable.

What stories are your pictures begging you to remember?  What memories linger like pictures in your mind?  Can you think of a time an older sibling did something cool for you?

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 11:36
Teresa Clark

A national award-winning storyteller, historian and author, she is best known for her original works and recollections of life's experiences blended with history. Teresa has presented and performed throughout the United States. Of her, it has been said, "Charming, witty, soulful, and wise, her performances are filled with a compelling sense of wonder and an irresistable zest for life." Her story work involves performance, education, production, and advocacy. From the main stage to individual consultations in living rooms across America, she delights in the excavation and sharing of family story. Most importantly, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother to her favorite playmates and best friends.

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