There are places that hold special, precious memories of childhood moments that are endearingly sketched in indelible ink in the deepest chambers of our hearts, minds, and inner beings. For me, such a special place lies in the memory of the little living room of my early, early childhood on Hazel Street in Clifton.
Mom, Dad, and I lived on Hazel Street from the time I was about six months old till I was a little over three years old. I know that the psychologists and psychiatrists say that we should not be able to remember things from early, early childhood. But, still, I do remember our home in Hazel Street, all so well.
The living room was a bit small. I remember all so well that the room had a fireplace in it. In Autumn and Winter, Dad would light the logs in the fireplace. I do remember, as a very young child, looking into the burning logs and letting my imagination go free and wild. I would imagine seeing a horse, or a dog, or a house in the shape that the flames momentarily took as they burnt along the maple and oak logs stacked in the fireplace.
It was a point in time, in the early 1950’s, that Dad and his brother Edward owned and managed their own trucking company. Their terminal was located in Paterson. I remember that it was a happy time for Dad. From time to time, Dad would have his army pal, Tommy Andrews and his wife, Sandy, over for supper. They would talk about their time of service at Hickam Air Field during World War II. After supper, everyone would gather in the little living room of our old Hazel Street home.
But above all, and most dear to my heart, is the memory of playing horsie with my Dad. My father would crouch down, bending his knees and bowing his back, and I would jump onto Dad’s back and Dad would give me a horsie ride. It was a most carefree time of innocence.
Sadly, shortly after we moved to Lincoln Park, Dad lost touch with his old army pal, Tommy. They never had a disagreement or argument, they just drifted apart. Although, Dad always spoke highly and respectfully of Tommy. In the last month of my father’s life, Dad reminisced about his time at Hickam Air Field and told me that he wondered what had ever become of his old army pal, Tommy.
In the last week of Dad’s life, as he lied in his hospital bed in his bedroom, I sat by my beloved father. Dad asked me if I remembered how he and I used to play horsie, when I was just a very little boy. I told my father that I remembered it all so very well. Then, my dear father said to me, in a very soft voice, “never forget, Richie, never forget.”
I looked my father in the eye and held his outreached hand. “I never will forget, Dad. I never will forget,” I promised my father.
O’ sacred fiber and weave of precious memories, hold dear to heart and mind, of bygone time. Simply hold to heart, the golden tenet to love one another, to forgive one another. Give love to those dear to heart. Help feed the poor. Offer words of encouragement to a friend, down on his or her luck. For love has the sacred power to melt anger, hatred, and resentments. Love knows no limitations. Love is the precious cornerstone to the building blocks of all human relationships.
Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com. Please put on the subject line: My Life Publications.