Memory Making for Mermaids

I was out for lunch today when I pulled up next to an old Ford Pinto. Wow, what memories. I couldn’t help but smile. And I also couldn’t believe that there was still a Ford Pinto on the road! When I was growing up, my mom had a red Ford Pinto just like this one.

Two particular memories jumped out at me. When I was 12, my sister two, my parents divorced, and Mom, Kim and I moved to Orange Park to be near my Nana and Granddaddy. We were driving down Blanding Blvd (which was three-lane at the time…one northbound, one southbound and one turn lane…today it’s seven lanes), and Mom hit a dog that was following a little boy riding his bike. I remember her being devastated, far more devastated than the little boy. She stopped and picked up the dog, put it in the trunk of that Pinto and followed the little boy home on his bike. Kim and I stayed in the car when we got to the little boy’s house, so I don’t remember what happened from there, just that Mom cried for quite some time that day. She would have been 32. Years later, I learned how she felt. A few years after DH and I got married, I hit a kitten coming home from class one night, and I cried for days. I was right about 32.

The second memory was far more fun. I think I was about 13, so Kim would have been three. Mom was trying to take me to school and Kim to Nana’s for the day so she could go to work, but the Pinto wouldn’t start. She got out of the car, beyond frustrated, and Kim and I followed. She kicked the car and said, and I remember this soooo clearly, “This f*#%ing car isn’t worth a s*^t!” Kim looked at Mom and then kicked the car and repeated word for word what she said. That was the first and last time I ever heard my mother cuss.

Isn’t it interesting what memories stick with us? I honestly don’t have a lot of early childhood memories; I wish I did. Most of the memories I do have revolve around my Nana since I spent so much time with her, like the time we visited Aunt Livy and Uncle Wilbur in Key West when I was seven or eight and Nana discovered that I was a sleepwalker. I went to the mall that night, sitting on the end of the bed pretending to drive and then walking down the hallway to Sears, Nana told me. (I still sleepwalk and now tend to move furniture and groceries in my sleep, go figure.) I also learned how to play penny ante poker that week. My Nana and Aunt Livy were card sharks, and I still love to play poker today. DH is a very sore loser and says Aunt Livy and I cheat. And at 88, she just grins at him and hands me a card under the table…naw….just kidding…sort of. ;-)

Before my parents divorced, Mom worked all day as a nurse, and Dad often worked two jobs, one of which was at Sears selling appliances. I know they did their best, and I’m thankful for the determination and independence they created in me. I want to create determination and independence in my girls as well, and I’m hopeful that I’m also creating lots of memories for them. I want them to remember these days. Maybe that’s one of the benefits of blogging; hopefully they’ll be able to go back and read these stories and they’ll spark memories.

Right now, the girls and I are taking an online class together called Mermaid Warriors. It’s with McCabe Russell, and we’re loving it. McCabe works with young girls, using art to help build self esteem, and she’s taking us through her class with wonderful videos and a discussion blog. One of the things I want to do with the Purple Cottage is mother/daughter art retreats combined with lessons in self knowledge, self esteem and good citizenship, and when I stumbled across McCabe’s blog and class that teaches you how to do just that, I knew the Universe was speaking to me! (I’m slowly learning to listen to her.)

This weekend, the girls had a friend sleep over and we created our first Mermaid Warrior project together, these fun little journals out of scrapbook paper and ribbon. We had so much fun! DH even pitched in where we’d let him. It was a girls’ only event after all. ;-) I took some video of the girls creating their books and talking about what they wrote in them. If I can ever figure out how to create a movie, I’ll share it with you (anyone point me to a good tutorial?). They’ve since continued to write in them and add stickers and drawings. They even created journals for their primary teacher and their art teacher and are so proud of their work. I know we’re on to something here. :-) More Mermaid Warrior projects coming. Don’t you just love that name? Perfect for us, don’t you think?


Andi (RrlScrapGal) said...

Oh I loved reading this post!!!!
The Mermaid Warrior name is so darn cool:) Lovely for you girls by the waterfront...

My mom, single, also had one of those piece of S*&t cars.... I think we did one of those play by play scenes, too!

Love the card sharks... mermaid card sharks... what a visual!

sweet dreams!

Kerri said...

When I was 11, I lived with my aunt for a while and I have a vivid memory or her hitting a dog. Only in our case, the dog's owner ran out the house yelling all sorts of nasty things to my aunt who was already devestated about hitting the dog who clearly ran in front of her car. It's not like she did it on purpose. Ah - yeah, those memories stick.

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

My very first car was a 1980 White Ford Pinto WAGON with red interior. I used to be SO embarrased to drive it. It got me where I wanted to go though.

Kelly Warren said...

thanks Andi! and Kerry, yeah, hard to forget something like that, huh?

Cristi, not only a Pinto, but a Pinto Wagon! Wow, you were styling, girl! My first car was a 1976 Mustang so we at least kept it in the same family. :-)

Unknown said...

Love to hear what you're doing with your girls. I can live vicariously through you.

Great memories, too. You may not realize it yet, but you have a memoir in your future. :-P

lori vliegen said...

your ford pinto memories are so much fun, kelly.....i haven't seen one of these in years!!! and these little mermaid warrior journals are absolutely precious....what a great project to work on with your sweet girls!! :))

Anonymous said...

Wow, you brought back memories with the Pinto pix! My grampa traded in his 56 Chevy with side walls for an orange Pinto, and my gramma was furious!! No one knew why he did it, but at the time Pinto's were the rage, I guess :)

And who doesn't love a cute Mermaid???

cath c said...

wonderful memories - both your own and making them with the girls!

aimee said...

totally loved this post over on studio mothers! great memory!

chrissy said...

i LOVED this post.
i have to tell you that i follow McCabe and am planning on doing some mermaid camps this summer for the young girls in my town.
it is a wonderful program.
i think it.s soooo cool that you want to incorporate mother/daughter art sessions at the purple cottage. a good friend of mine that i met at the "be present" retreat in oregon last fall...and i have been planning to do the same thing over here on the west coast.
that is the beauty of being a mother AND an artist.
keep it up girlfriend.
loves to you.