Searchlights & Signal Flares


Tiny Lights' On-line Writer's Exchange

Is being reminded the same as being remembered? (09/15/10)



Featured writer: Becky Povich



Contributors this month:
Becky Povich
Claudia Larson
Don Edgers
Elaine Webster
Sandra Lynn Mallo Adcock
Sara Baker
Susan Bono


Trick Question

by Becky Povich

Ah, a tricky question once again. To say I both love and hate these Searchlights & Signal Flares is perhaps a bit overstated, but each time, it's a new challenge. Every month, I sit with fingers placed on my keyboard, waiting for The Answer to present itself. Until it does, until my mind wanders through mazes of muddle… here I sit and wait, and wait, and wait.

After reading and rereading this question countless times, my answer remains the same: Of course not! How can being reminded be the same as being remembered? Even when I use reminded in different aspects, the two words are not the same.


Examples: Being reminded - "My son reminded me to pick him up after school today."

"I'm reminded of the time when I was a young girl, my family and I went to Colorado for a vacation."

Being remembered - "I hope they remembered what Mark looks like."

"I want to be remembered as a humorous, caring writer."


Although I believe I have answered this riddle correctly, part of me is still panicky. I feel the same as I did in 4th grade when attempting to comprehend and answer the dreaded word math problems. The math genes only followed the males in my family.

Becky Povich lives and writes near St. Louis, Missouri. Although writing is her main passion, she also loves to read, make homemade greeting cards, watch TV and old movies, collect odds & ends, dabble in thrifty décor, be with family and friends, and blog. You can learn what's new by visiting her blog at: www.beckypovich.blogspot.com

Trick Question

  by Becky Povich

Ah, a tricky question once again. To say I both love and hate these Searchlights & Signal Flares is perhaps a bit overstated, but each time, it's a new challenge. Every month, I sit with fingers placed on my keyboard, waiting for The Answer to present itself. Until it does, until my mind wanders through mazes of muddle… here I sit and wait, and wait, and wait.

After reading and rereading this question countless times, my answer remains the same: Of course not! How can being reminded be the same as being remembered? Even when I use reminded in different aspects, the two words are not the same.


Examples: Being reminded - "My son reminded me to pick him up after school today."

"I'm reminded of the time when I was a young girl, my family and I went to Colorado for a vacation."

Being remembered - "I hope they remembered what Mark looks like."

"I want to be remembered as a humorous, caring writer."


Although I believe I have answered this riddle correctly, part of me is still panicky. I feel the same as I did in 4th grade when attempting to comprehend and answer the dreaded word math problems. The math genes only followed the males in my family.

Becky Povich lives and writes near St. Louis, Missouri. Although writing is her main passion, she also loves to read, make homemade greeting cards, watch TV and old movies, collect odds & ends, dabble in thrifty décor, be with family and friends, and blog. You can learn what's new by visiting her blog at: www.beckypovich.blogspot.com

Dirt and Bread

  by Claudia Larson

When I see tractors they remind me of Dad and I remember the times he'd walk into our farmhouse, his arms and face dirt-covered after a day of summer fallowing the fields on the Case tractor.

When I bake bread, it reminds me of Mom and I remember her bent over the oven as she took out loaves of bread, baking sheets of buns and pans of caramel rolls, setting them on the counter to cool.

Grocery lists and iPhone beeps are reminders, but they usually lack emotional content and connection. Scents and sights are reminders that trigger emotional memories of people I remember, usually those who've had a soft impact on my life.

Claudia Larson lives in Sebastopol, CA, busy making fond memories with her family.


Remember me?

  by Don Edgers

In l958 I got set up with an enigmatic blind date. She was beautiful to the eye, but painful to the ear because of her ‘whiney' voice. As you will learn, her thinking process was a bit puzzling, also.

I had to park a distance from where she lived, so we had to walk to my car, a l947 Buick Roadmaster four-door, with a three-speed transmission. She asked me what kind of car I had. I gave her the description above, and added that it was two-tone green with an electric gas cap.

She replied, "No it's not!" I was rather taken aback, but continued walking and kept my composure because this girl was the best-looking blind date I'd ever had. I thought that maybe I had won some sort of contest and this lovely young lady was going to lead me to a brand new Desoto with a push button transmission, or some other awesome vehicle with lots of chrome and gigantic fins that I'd somehow won in a contest I'd accidentally entered.

She whined on: "You have a l950 Merc that's chopped and channeled, with a custom interior with leather tuck and roll seats." Even though I didn't know what she was talking about, I formed a fuzzy picture in my mind as we walked, then asked, "What color is it?"

"Dark plum with 20 coats of lacquer." She also told me what kind of engine it had, went into details about the transmission, and added a customized muffler system, and finished off with moon hubcaps. The glazed look on her face and the tone of her voice told me that my car was her secret erotic fantasy.

As we walked, I secretly hoped to find my '50 customized Merc. As we neared my vehicle, my beautiful date asked, "Where did you park?" As we stopped at the two-tone green 1947 Buick, I said, "Where did I park my car? Right here!" With a disgusted look on her face she replied, "Get serious!"

Gambling on being rejected because of a shattered fantasy, I responded, "Unless you've got a plum-colored '50 Merc and don't want to walk, this green-colored Buick's our transportation."

Fortunately, reality trumped fantasy, and we went on our date in the car at hand - plus several more until the end of the school year. But, the unforgettable beautiful whiner didn't return to school the next year.

Three years later when I received a call from a whining female, saying, "Remember me?' I responded: "I don't have a plum-colored Merc or a two-toned green Buick. I now have a '56 light green Plymouth that is a three-speed column shift with overdrive. I'd ask you out, but I'm going into the army for three years starting tomorrow. I'll give you a call when I get back."

I didn't remember to ask for her phone number, and I've always wondered why she was reminded of me. And now, fifty two years later, I'll never know.

Don Edgers is reminded of times and people in the past and remembers them in Port Orchard, WA.
www.anislandintime.com


Is Being Reminded The Same As Being Remembered?

  by Elaine Webster

Christy woke early on her sixtieth birthday. She reminded herself to not expect any fanfare or hoopla. She remembered her only birthday party—her seventh. She remembered the cone-shaped paper birthday hat, elastic band under her chin, and brightly wrapped presents all around. A flat paper donkey hung on the wall. Ribbons with straight pins and a blindfold sat in a basket nearby. Her mother looked on from the corner, cigarette in hand.

"Christy open mine, open mine," Jackie squealed in delight. "I got you something special, something that reminded me of you."

Christy fingered the orange bow, wanting to remember this moment as special. She gingerly opened the paper, gently pulling at the scotch tape. As she pulled back the tissue, a tiny key glistened in the light. The key unlocked a pink diary with pristine pages, ready for writing.

"Oh, it's beautiful . . . just what I wanted." Christy jumped to her friend's side and hugged her close.

* * * *

Each time Christy started a new novel, she remembered her friend. She reminded herself of the possibilities of the written word-—how to craft it, how to use it to paint pictures and create characters. It became her signature style for each title page to be pink in color with a dedication to Jackie.

She had put her latest bestseller behind her last night. The mystery would most certainly hit the world with an intensity that only Jackie would understand—-a murder mystery—-a whodunit.

She remembered the night that Jackie disappeared and retrieved the pink diary from its cherished place on the mantel in the living room. A picture of Jackie and her laughing, posing on the helm of a tourist catamaran on Honolulu Bay. They had booked a trip to Hawaii for her fiftieth birthday. Christy reminded herself that she had promised herself that there would be no tears this year. She didn't need anyone. She was fine alone.

As a child, Christy hadn't filled all the pages of the pink diary. When she left for college, she had packed it away with other memorabilia until the day of Jackie's memorial service. Exhausted from crying, she searched the attic for her friend's present. Just as she was ready to give up, something glistened in the moonlight from the attic window ledge. A tiny key, attached to a faded pink book. Christy filled the remaining pages that night as she reminded herself to never forget about love and friendship. She would forget the graphic pictures in the newspaper of the murder victim—-strangled to death by a maniac stalker as she jogged her favorite running trail. Instead she'd remember her only birthday party and her friend's gift, the end now filled with only happy memories. And she would start every first chapter of every new book with a single pink page as a reminder of how lucky she was to have had one best friend.

Elaine Webster, is a staff writer for the on-line publication, Greener Living Today .
Her book, Jesse’s Tale: Overcoming Fear Aggression and Separation Anxiety in an Adopted Greyhound, is available for purchase on Amazon.com. She lives in Windsor, CA and her e-mail address is Elaine@mediadesign-mds.com

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Learning the Memories

  by Sandra Lynn Mallo Adcock

Is being reminded the same as being remembered? That would be so much more kind if that was the case. Yet, truthfully how many reminders does it take to make a memory? Did you always do chores on time, home work, or other things that took reminders? Memories are usually made in an instance or out of loved routines. I remember "Sandy dishes," out of a hatred of chores and trying to escape it. Still, it took twice as long to learn the time to do dishes as the recipe for French toast!

I devoured Space facts but often must check my grammar and spelling three times. Being reminded, means you really would rather forget because it's a bother to commit to storing it to memory. A memory is usually, if one does not need a reminder, formed from a strong association. My father could be a strong disciplinarian and set strong boundaries for us. However, we played hard and all together. I have two brothers and a sister. Even when we did chores, thanks to Mom, we had fun between the four of us. She put out a set amount of money around the house where we were supposed to do our chores. She knew how well we had cleaned by the money found.


Now if are talking about objects we buy or keep as reminders being the same as memories, that is a different question. In that case reminders are not the same as being remembered. The objects jog our memories of a sweeter time when life was uncomplicated by time that marches on or the heaviness of adulthood.

Being remembered is that the same thing as a reminder? I suppose an object or the something it does can jog someone's memory of me. I have been told this before. Often children remind their
parents of themselves because of their looks and mannerisms.

I will be remembered as a reminder this way only if my son has kids. If this happens, there will be generations of people remembered, maybe not in name but in cumulative stories of reminders of traits passed down through families. Thus, I would say in the final analysis over all, reminders are the same as being remembered if you have a family.

The last case where a reminder can be the same as being remembered, is if a person gets in the history books for some reason, writes, or becomes famous for something. Here is where an object becomes a reminder and this reminds the person holding it about the person that is famous for it. Is this one reason we all want to write? Do we seek to be immortalized in writing? Do we wish to remind the world we want to be remembered? These are the answers you hold within yourself.

Sandra Lynn Mallo Adcock is a pharmacist. Up until March 9, 2008 when a wreck left her disabled, temporarily she hopes, she had little interest in writing. She started writing out of frustration, as therapy.It kept her sane. She is married, with a 14-year-old son and two dogs, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her email: ollamok@aol.com

How to be Remembered

  by Sara Baker

When I first read the question, I immediately remembered my father-—the man who constantly reminded me: "Leave the world a better place than you found it. Be a giver, not a taker." Since I remembered my father but never had to be reminded that he was my father, I wondered, "What are the differences and similarities in being remembered and being reminded?"

So, I remembered my Webster's Dictionary-—my etymological companion whom I always sought for clarity. Alas, even poor Webster had the same trouble as I; for when I consulted him, one of his definitions for "remind" was "remember" and vice versa.

To summarize Webster, being reminded means brought to mind, recollected, jogged one's memory, remembered, revived. Being remembered means retained in the memory, kept in mind, reminded, brought to mind, memorialized.

Frustrated, I remembered that my mother always reminded me to have an Oxford English Dictionary close at hand. Oh! Where are my mother, her love for words, and her Oxford English Dictionary when I need them?

Then much to my chagrin, my husband stopped at my desk and said, "Remind me tomorrow to put out the trash." There's that word again: remind. So as is customary at our house, I grabbed a yellow sticky note and stuck it to the refrigerator door reminding him: "Remember Tuesday is trash day." There's that other word: remember. Thank God I remembered to buy sticky notes at the store!

A few hours later I discarded the old sticky note reminders I had carefully placed on my computer and realized that being reminded is short-term, like my sticky notes or the photographs in my scrapbooks—-temporary, brief mementos of what we might forget.

Being remembered, on the other hand, is more long-term in nature. Being remembered is receiving a short note from a distant friend; being recognized over the phone; being greeted by name; being remembered by your waiter; being included in a photo album; or being given a surprise party.

Unexpectedly, I was reminded of the question my uncle asked me on my 16th birthday: "When you die, how do you want to be remembered?" At that moment I could fathom neither my own immortality nor my own legacy. Throughout my life, however, I both remembered and pondered his question.
How important is being remembered? Is being remembered just part of the shallow ego of youth? Or are we all remembered? Hitler, Timothy McVeigh, and Osama Bin Laden are undoubtedly remembered-—they remind us of the dark side of human nature. I have concluded that my uncle's emphasis on how to be remembered is more important than just being remembered. Although I never answered his question when he was alive, today I'd tell him: "Instead of just existing, I want to be remembered for how alive I really was-—for embracing the juice of life, for avoiding mediocrity, and for reminding others to live, to learn, to laugh, and to love."


Sara Baker is a freelance writer, technical writer, editor, and retired teacher who currently lives in Allen, Texas and who has been happily married to her soul mate for 27 years. She can be contacted at sab_1529@yahoo.com


Taking It In

  by Susan Bono

It's coming on to the first anniversary of my mothers' death, and it seems as if the world is holding up reminders of her. I take a bite of a fresh garden salad and recall how she always enjoyed the crunch of crisp vegetables cut into small, colorful bits. I'll hear a bird calling—one I can't identify—and I'll think of the whippoorwill that kept our family awake all night at the Mammoth Caves campground with its hysterical cry, and how Mom made us all laugh for the rest of the summer whenever she imitated it. I find myself following a motorhome with a Montana license plate—her home state. But none of these reminders are the same as remembering her.

These reminders are fleeting catch-as-catch-can flirtations, an incomplete patchwork of sensations and reminiscences. They are merely a knock at the door. Remembering my mother in her completeness is a deliberate act, and requires another step. I must answer the door and allow the love, intelligence, joy and flaws that were uniquely hers to enter me. I must take into my self the pulse at her wrist, the texture of her hair, the sound of her voice as it thinned over the years, the contents of her closets, the scents of gingerbread, polished wood, and Aqua Net. Every time I open the door, additional memories arrive to suffuse me with gratitude and grief. Each time she returns to me, I have to remember she's gone.


Susan Bono is being reminded in Petaluma, CA. Some memories of her mothering days have recently been published in
Milk and Ink.



Searchlights Editor:

Susan Bono

Columnists:

C. Larson, B. Povich, M. Petty, C. Crawford, T. Sanders

Columnists Emeriti: Christine Falcone, David S. Johnson, Betty Rodgers, Jordan E. Rosenfeld, Betty Winslow


Susan Bono is a writing coach, editor and freelance writer living in Petaluma, CA. She has published Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Narrative since 1995, along with its online counterpart here at tiny-lights.com. She conducts creative writing classes in Petaluma and Santa Rosa and co-hosts the quarterly Speakeasy Literary Saloon at the Aqus Café in Petaluma. She's on the boards of Petaluma Readers Theatre and the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. She is still writing a postcard a day. Her most recent publishing credits include Petaluma Readers Theatre, KRCB’s Mouthful, Milk and Ink, and Passager Magazine.

Marilyn Petty is a dyed-in-the wool Midwesterner, a long-ago émigré to California and a fortunate resident of Sonoma County, CA. She taught weaving through the SRJC for 8 years and was the reporter, essayist, editor and publisher of the Redwood Empire Handweavers and Spinners Guild for 10 years. When not tangling with yarns, she is unknotting words, writing poetry and personal essays. She putters in the garden when words fail her.

Catherine Crawford is a former technical writer, editor, and course materials developer for high tech industries. She has taught college English at the four-year degree level, published two award winning chapbooks of poetry, and written articles for 52perfectdays.com, a Portland, Oregon online travel magazine. She works as an editor in Vancouver, Washington. Her email: greenwriter1960@gmail.com

Claudia Larson, in her childhood, wrote long letters to her best-friend cousin and enthralled herself by writing a heart-rending story of two orphans. She writes fewer letters nowadays and prefers writing poetry and memoirs of her North Dakotan farm girl days. She is not yet an orphan, has six siblings and lives in Sebastopol, CA.

Becky Povich lives near St. Louis, Missouri. Although not young in "people years," she's only been writing for ten of those. Getting her first book completed, a memoir, is her current short-term goal. She can be reached at Writergal53@aol.com, or visit her blog at www.beckypovich.blogspot.com.

Theresa Sanders lives in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, where she is completing a novel. A former award-winning technical writer and consultant, she managed a Documentation and Training department before turning to her first love, creative writing. Her stories appear regularly in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Theresa welcomes email and would love to hear from you. Contact her at: TheresaLSanders@charter.net

Thanks to all who participated this month. It's good to know you're out there! We're looking forward to hearing from you and those you inspired sometime soon! Check this column each month to see what's new. Return to Searchlights & Signal Flares menu for future topics and guidelines.

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