Friday, June 7, 2013

Remnants of my past


Mother’s Day weekend, Twenty-thirteen.
Hubby and I decided to go spend the weekend in Yuma AZ. A place I spent part of my childhood, a place I loathed, a place my mother feels I ran away from. Maybe I did, I don’t really know, but what I do know is that when I was old enough, I got out of Dodge and swore never to return. At some point each of them left too, only to return a short while later and that’s where they are to this day. Rooted deeply into the brown parched ground of the old desert town.


(The old counter where I spent much of my eighth grade, collecting money from clients, and totaling out the books at the end of each day).

When we cross over the muddy green waters of the Colorado, and pull into town, we always make a right onto 1st Street, then pass the old brick house where I once lived. About a mile down the road we make a left onto Avenue B. And that’s where they always greet me…so many forgotten memories flooding back to the forefront of my mind. There, stands the old shop that was once owned by my grandparents and now its sole owner, my papa. It didn’t come to him easily, In fact there was a huge price to be paid. The cost? His own personal dreams, shattered then tucked away in a little box, as the life he planned for his family was altered, and new plans were made by another. But it is finally his and he’s putting his own personal mark on the place, plus he’s cleaning it up at the same time.
My old grand-dad would part with nothing!



There is all manner of interesting objects hanging or propped precariously against the walls and I wonder if one of those objects might contain my papa’s hidden dreams. Does he take them down and sift through them from time to time…wondering what might have been, what could have been, but never was? Does he sometimes wonder, or is he content with the way his life turned out.


In the back yard of the old shop is where the true treasures can be found…


The faint indentations of my childhood memories, reminiscent of the old vehicles deteriorating in the yard.  Riddled with rusting holes and battered by the desert sands. Some of those memories are fond while others of them are not so.
Take this old Ford Vanette for example. I still recall the morning when my papa stopped five blocks from my high school to drop me off. My choice, of course. For what young sophomore wants to be seen driving around in an old Ford Vanette with two 6 foot long  yellow #2 pencils on top? And then the humiliation to follow, that same afternoon in the cafeteria when one of the varsity football players shouted from one end of the room to the other, “Hey, Hilsinger! I saw you get out of that giant bread truck with the yellow pencils on top! Where’d your dad get such a weird truck?” Like Bilbo Baggins used to do when wandering through the woods, I wish I could have reached into my pocket to slip on my magic ring, only to vanish in thin air.


Now I look at this lovely rusted heap and wonder to myself, “how much do you think it would cost to restore the old thing? Would it be worth it? Would it finally be redeemed in the eyes of a young impressionable girl, as something worthy?” Aah, one has to wonder.


Sadly, it has seen better days and most likely will continue to sit there until all hope for it is lost. Funny, but that’s how I felt about living in that dry parched town.


The old Mustang! Now she holds better memories for me. Memories of our family driving along the coast. Singing songs and stopping to buy peanuts from the “Peanut Lady” along the Palos Verdes peninsula. I still remember the day my papa brought her home. He wanted the fast back model, but mom being a little more realistic knew that you couldn’t fit three kids in the back seat of a fast back. “Really, Cloyce Hilsinger, what ever were you thinking?” He did get to drop the car off at Earl Schieb’s and have her painted candy apple red when I was in kindergarten. Now the red has faded and the old copper color is beginning to fade too.


I think hubby was asking himself the same question that I was asking about the old Vanette…”hmm, what would it take to restore this old girl. Would it be worth it?” He once had a Camaro Rally Sport that he called his sweetheart and I for one do not know if I could handle the competition of another lady in his life. Even if she is just a rusted bucket of bolts and rubber hoses “-).


So, we spent a lovely weekend in the old desert town and when it was time to leave,
I realized that I never ran away, I just went back home.


One Shabby Old House said...

Oh my goodness what a great post. You have so many great cars to restore. I would take that old yellow bus and make it a RV and that mustang would be red again. How fun. So what are you going to do my friend?
I have missed you.


pam said...

WOW....treasures galore. I have friends who would be salivating looking at these images. Going home, leaving, returning....OY. Sometimes too much for my brain to get it all settled in my mind. Now I find great comfort in feeling "at home" when I am with a certain few people who are just plain comfortable to be with no matter where we are. Home is where the heart is....hmmmm, maybe so.

Cori Gagnier said...

Hi Becky, it's so good to hear from you and it has been a long time, hasn't it? As far as the cars go, they both belong to my dad or "papa" as he likes to call himself ;-). They'll probably just sit there in the desert and continue to rust away. He has an old Spartan trailer back there too but it belongs to his friend...what I wouldn't give for that thing!
I hope you are doing well and I'll stop by soon.

xoxo Cori

Cori Gagnier said...

Hi Pam! I know it's a lot isn't it? But I do agree with you, "Home is where the heart is and many times the heart lives in other peoples hearts as well.I hope you're taking time to smell the roses "-).

xoxo Cori

ellen b. said...

Hello dear lady. Glad you can go home again for short visits and think on all it was and what you have now...

Robin said...

Lovely, lovely post. Cori, your photography coupled with your comments are beautiful. Much love.

Cori Gagnier said...

Robinski, me thinks there were many run-on sentences and much tongue twisting "-O...hee hee!

Love Me

Deborah said...

Oh Cori, after my Mom passed, I did that, wondering if she was happy with her decision to move so far away when I had babies here, wondering this, wondering that...but I had to let it all go, because even if she was not, that was not my pain to feel. And in the end, it was a wonderful life. I do LOVE all the antiques and love even more the effect you did on your photos!!!!

**blows kisses**

Cori Gagnier said...

Darling Deb, it's an interesting place indeed, filled with all sorts of wonderful trinkets, but we keep wondering when the canal is going to break through the basement wall and send it all gushing into the street. It's a strange tale that I'll have to tell you about sometime :-).

Big hugs