I remember Sahara Moon, and how she’d shrug and say “My parents were hippies” when she told you her name. She grew up in California, on an avocado orchard, and her comfort food wasn’t pizza or mac and cheese. It was brown rice with avocado smashed into it and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. I remember she had to leave the lab that summer to teach at a camp, and when we talked about summer research projects, she spooned avocados and reminded us she wouldn’t be there. When I finally asked what kind of camp it was, her eyes sparkled as if I’d touched on a little secret and she said “Circus camp.” She grinned, “I teach the trapeze.”
I remember our garden, with the white picket fence, and how the landlord drew us a map of the flowers. He spent thirty minutes showing us the beds he’d dug and where his wife had planted bulbs, pointing and gesturing, absently weeding morning glory vines from the fence as we moved around the perimeter of the yard. He barely went inside with us to show us the house.
I remember I planted basil and arugula. The basil grew dense like thigh-high rain forests, and we made pesto every week. The basil never turned yellow or leggy like it has in other places I’ve tried to grow it (Florida, Minnesota). With the arugula we made a pasta dish with cream and bacon. I can still taste the peppery green, sharp against the savory warmth of the sauce and the succulence of bacon.
I remember Coppi’s, how the walls were covered with old black and white photos of bicycle races in Europe. I remember the clink of cutlery, and the pints of cold beer, and laughing with our friends who brought us there. They introduced us to pear salad with Parmesan and a balsamic reduction, Pizza Bianca, and the Nutella calzone. It seems like a different lifetime, those dinners before children.
I remember the first time I heard David Sedaris. It was summer, 1999, and my husband and I were stuffed in the back of our friends’ car in Washington, DC on our way to see The Blair Witch Project. We listened to Ira Glass announce the next segment on This American Life as Tom hunched over the steering wheel, hunting for a parking spot. He and Laney turned it up when Glass introduced David Sedaris, and we had an NPR driveway moment as Tom parallel parked and we stayed in the car to listen. “You guys have got to hear this,” Tom laughed, and next thing we know, a gay man with a nasally voice is singing the Oscar Mayer bologna song in the voice of Billie Holiday. It seems strange that I would remember, as I do with the Twin Towers and the Challenger explosion, exactly where I was and what I was doing for the seemingly small event of being introduced to an author.
I remember the day we decided to leave Maryland. It was Mother’s Day, 2001. My husband and I were stuck in traffic on the beltway. I think we were trying to get out of town to get to Shenendoah, like everyone else in the DC metro area, and as we sat in the car at a standstill on 495, we decided to call our moms to wish them a happy day. My mom was out on the boat, not sitting in traffic, and my husband’s mom was at the beach. My husband and I looked at each other as we inhaled exhaust, dreaming of boats and beaches, and said, “Let’s get out of here.” We decided then and there to evacuate, without jobs or plans, and when he graduated with his Masters at the end of the year, we broke camp in Maryland and moved our lives to Naples, Florida. We never made it to Shenendoah that day.
This is my entry for The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: I Remember.