Speak, Memory: Houston and The Flood.

posted in: Day In The Life 10

The George Brown Convention Center, downtown Houston. Image: Wikipedia.


My aunt Lynette lives in Houston. She is very beautiful and very smart and she’s lived there many decades. Four? Maybe more decades than that. Not knowing about the severity of the storm that was coming, she and my uncle left to visit friends and family some days ago. That was lucky, though they couldn’t know they wouldn’t be able to return as scheduled; they don’t know exactly when they will return — or what they’ll come home to.

My grandparents, who have both passed away, now, lived in Houston most of their lives and raised my father and three aunts there. Grandma and Gramps lived on Cindywood Drive and I visited a number of times as a child. I remember the dolls my grandmother had and how you could not sit in the cream-colored living room. You sat in the other living room. And you couldn’t go into Gramps’s study, either, but Gramma usually had fudge-sicles in the freezer, so things balanced out, especially if you were six years old and did not care about cream-colored living rooms or offices, only about what was cold and sweet and came on a popsicle stick.

When my grandfather passed away, I went down to Houston and into the house on Cindywood. I still remembered how to go in through the back door. There were no fudge-sicles. I sat in the cream-colored living room. The house has since been sold.

I don’t know if it’s underwater, now; I forgot to ask my aunt about that.

Mom grew up in Houston, too. On Robin Hood Street. She met my dad in Houston and they fell in love there. I asked Mom recently to remind me how they met. The important part of the story is that she and a girlfriend and John (that’s my dad) all went to go swimming at a pool and Mom thought her friend was the cute one, but when Dad said, “Let’s all jump in!” the other girl balked. She never jumped. But Mom didn’t flinch; she flew right in. Dad said that was all it took.

Anyway, all that happened in Houston. The fudge-sicles, the love-falling, the jump. And my aunt Lynette and uncle Barney, they are still happening in Houston, you could say.

Also what is still happening in Houston is the locus of the quilt industry. Quilts, Inc., the company I have proudly worked with for over two years — all my Quilt Scout columns can be found here — is based in Houston. This is helpful when it’s time for International Fall Quilt Market & Festival, which happens in Houston every year at the end of October/beginning of November. Market and Festival are held at the vast George Brown Convention Center, remember? I’m assuming the show will go on; there are two full months till Market. But Houston is in trouble right now, so I’m not really thinking about two months from now. I’ve contacted my friends; everyone is okay at the moment, so there is mercy.

There are lots of reasons to have a moment and think very hard, or pray, or breathe, or do whatever you do for all the things that are floating right now in Texas.

Sometimes, memories float away because things like cabinets and photographs and houses float away, and once they do, there’s no evidence of anything to remind you of what you used to remember or the people who lived around or in those objects. Memories float the way of things, sometimes. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it’s memories, not cabinets or homes, that have the potential to stick around longer than any of that stuff. But you have to tell your memory to speak. Talk about your life. Or write it down. Or tell someone who can write it down to write it down with you; or tell them to carve it in stone. Or tell them to carve it in stone and put it in a bottle and blast it up to the moon. Keep it safe, I guess, is what I’m saying.

Writing this blog is my way to beat back the floods, I guess. It’s my carving in stone that is put into a bottle that is blasted to the moon. Otherwise, the water will carry it all away.

Houston, you got this.