i guess now i live in nebraska?
I thought of calling this piece “In Memoriam,” because “in memoriam” has always suggested a place to me—Memoriam, Oklahoma, say, or Memoriam, Tennessee—and because, to my tinker’s brain, “in memoriam,” sounds like “in memory am.” Which I am, now more than ever. Lost, basically, wandering that ancestral home, all polished wood and anecdote, wishing that I could unload it somehow, knowing I never will. Like it or not, I have an investment in Memoriam now. My father’s casket between the potted palms is the cornerstone. Welcome home, kid.
It’s an odd, slightly ghostly predicament. Lacking brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, with my mother’s memory having long ago lost any trace of me, I find myself the sole surviving owner of ten thousand names, stories, jokes, associations—that time the raccoon reached up through the knothole in the cabin floor when I was four; those Friday nights when the three of us would watch “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”; that evening, a memorable night in 1966, when my dad, with his professorial air and his Czech accent and his horn-rims, put on my mother’s shoulder-length blond wig on a dare and went out to pick up the pizza—that mean nothing, except that they were the soil of our lives.