Sunday, November 18, 2018

Give Memories

As we said in the first sentence of our book The Memory Keeper, “In the end, only memories remain.”
When I look back on my life, I remember few of the “things” I received over the years, but I remember many special shared moments. For this reason, we have tried to give each other special memories for holiday gifts for quite a while.

For several years, Larry’s birthday gift was a box at The Hollywood Bowl. We were lucky enough to get a four-place box in the very back row for every other Friday night. (They usually had a waiting list of several years, but we got one the first year we applied.) It was in the center, so the view was good, even though we were at the back of the section.
In addition to the box, we had valet parking and tables. He got to choose who would go with us and the meal I would fix. I had a set of menus I could pack to go. His favorite meals were quiche and salad or a fried rice ring with sweet-and-sour-chicken. All meals included salad, rolls, dessert, wine, and aperitifs.

We took unbreakable Corelle dishes and stainless flatware in special washable bags plus pewter wine, water, and aperitif glasses. We packed everything into a rolling bag, along with fabric tablecloths, matching cloth napkins, a bud vase with a rose, candles, and candle holders. Since we always sat next to the same people, we got to know them. Our neighbor called dinner “competitive dining.” We loved it. We saw some terrific performers such as Itzhak Perlman, John Galway, Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and many, many others.

The last performance of the season came near Kim’s birthday. They alternated the 1812 Overture with Handel’s Fireworks Music—complete with fireworks. Her dad let her choose who would come with her. A couple of years, she invited her grandmother. Another year, she asked her best friend. We spoke with Arlene not long ago, and she told us she remembered going there with us. She also remembered the amaretto pie I made.

For her eighth or ninth birthday, we took Kim to see Annie. Another year, her party included taking her and a couple of friends to see The Wizard of Oz at the outdoor theater in Laguna Beach. We also took her to see Andres Segovia at UCLA when she was quite young. We sat in the first row of the balcony, and she spent the evening mesmerized. We had tickets for the Ambassador Auditorium. There, she fell in love with The Kings Singers.

We’ve all received wonderful gifts through the years, but those which gave us special memories were, and continue to be, my favorites.

Toys breakwhether children’s or adults’, but memories last a lifetime.

Do you ever give memories? Which ones do you remember?


  1. I do remember a couple of special gifts--a doll house my dad made with furniture made by my aunt--and a two wheel bicycle my dad made during the war when bicycles could not be purchased. Ond year my mom gave me $1000 and I used it for the family to go on a vacation where we visited, Busch Gardens, the Japanese Village, Disneyland and some other places--and I had money left over. (Yep, it was a long time ago.) But the memories are the biggies.

    1. Thanks for sharing yours!

      For Christmas the year I was five, Santa brought me a doll. By my seventh birthday, I had loved her so hard I had worn off her hair, and her wig fell off. She had an open mouth and two tiny teeth. My brother had pushed the teeth inside her mouth so I couldn't see them. He also bit off the tips of a couple of her fingers and pushed in her weighted eyes so they were almost not visible and didn't open and close anymore. I loved her anyway.

      The morning of my seventh birthday, I woke to the sight of a new doll sitting on the foot of my bed. I took her in to my mother to tell her how much I loved her. Mom looked at me funny. "Don't you recognize her?" My dad had spent most of the night repairing her, adding a new (and completely inappropriate) wig, and dressing her in new clothes.

      Years later, I told this story to the kids in church and made a parallel to God. Dad gave me what I really wanted. He'd restored my beloved doll. God, too, gives us what we really need, even though it might not look as we expect.

      My mom was there the morning I told the story. When I finished, I looked at her. She was in tears.

      "We had no money that year." (My dad had been in the hospital for months. He worked at the big Broadway Department Store in L.A., so he had gone into the discard pile at the store and found the wig and clothes.) "I have always felt so badly that we couldn't get you a new doll."

      Sometimes God uses our lack to provide for our needs...