Original cover artwork by Mary Connolly
Mary opens her PLD with the following original explanation of intent:
I have tried to mix the bitter with the sweet.
In an attempt to do so I have created what I call:
DOORS OF MY LIFE
Know that there will be more doors to open.
Excerpts from Remnants: the Personal Legacy Document of Michele Decker; 80 pages; printed and duplicated by Staples Office Supplies; Presented to her family, Summer, 2013
The Peaceful Gourmet
Cutting board on the counter
Tools collected –mis en place.
Let the cooking begin.
Caught up in its tempo, the rhythmic dance begins.
Salad course: Interlude
Pasta dish: Theme and variations
I have entered a settled peace – a place where some deep part of me is
It isn’t the eating that fills me up.
It is the cooking.
That April, after I had finished my cancer treatments, the Syracuse snows melted and the showers wore down the glacier that had formed on our back steps, I waited for a break in the weather and went out to assess the winter damage to my garden. I hadn’t done much yard work for the last year or so. I expected the worst.
I began to clear away the pine needles and leaves that had fallen and covered the entire lawn with a thick, wet mat.
What I found made my heart do a little hiccup in my chest.
Everywhere, bulbs broke the surface of the warming soil. Narcissus, crocus, daffodils, and tulips poked their tremulous and intrepid heads up through the ground.
I went inside to warm up and I asked my family “Where on earth did all those spring bulbs come from? I never saw them before!”
Ali spoke up.
“We planted them for you momma – Daddy and Lizabee and me. We planted them so that you would have flowers on your birthday.”
It was precious to me that they had planted flowers for my birthday.
It was precious that they believed I would live to see them.
The following are excerpts from the Personal Legacy Document of Barbara Maxine DiFiore; given to family members Christmas, 2013; 42 pages, 7.5” x 9” printed by Createspace
This has to be truly unique to the DiFiore family. Once a year we gathered for “Polenta Night” though we pronounced the word as if it had a “d” instead of a “t”. It was always on a cold winter evening. I know it took place on a weekday night because I remember doing my homework at Grandma’s before dinner.
The meal had its own set of rituals. Obviously, the meal centered around polenta. The water was boiled in a really large pot, like the one used for a clambake. Once the water boiled, the men took turns stirring the cornmeal. They used a tall wooden pole, similar in size to a baseball bat. It took quite a while for the large batch of cornmeal to cook. Once ready, the hot polenta was spread out on a table-sized wooden board, still using the wooden stirring pole. About an inch from the edge of the polenta, someone would use a spoon to create a ridge. Next, pasta sauce that had ground hamburger in it was ladled onto the polenta. The ridge along the edge prevented the sauce from spilling directly onto the board. Grated cheese was sprinkled over the sauce.
How did we eat this concoction? Each person sat with fork in hand and carved out his/her little section of the polenta. We ate right off the board! Sounds uncouth and unhealthy by today’s standards, but that was our tradition. Once we had eaten a good serving of polenta, meatballs and other meat from the sauce were served, once again on the board. After that food was cleared away, we had dessert and coffee served in a more conventional style. As I said, this has to be one of our more unusual (strange?) traditional practices.
Guidelines for Living
I am an intelligent woman; I’ll figure it out.
I got myself into this mess; I’ll get myself out of it.
Don’t let the turkeys get you down.
Life is serious, but don’t take it too seriously.
Take what you like and leave the rest.
Avoid negative people and negative situations.
Engage only in activities that you really want to do.
Life is a journey; enjoy the ride.
Choose to be happy.
Excerpts from Snapshots of My Life: the Personal Legacy Document of Sue Barocas; 28 pages; Printed and duplicated by Staples Office Supplies
Dear Victor and Zachary,
At 67, I knew I didn’t have enough to do when I started thinking about getting a tattoo.
I’m not old enough to just sit and wait, I said to a friend.
You’re never old enough for that, she replied.
I decided to reactivate my long- standing interest in creative writing, with the idea
of compiling a document I could leave you boys. Well, here it is.
This scrapbook of writings reflects my thoughts and feelings about what life has meant to me.
It was a rewarding and enlightening project.
At my age, every day is a gift – but the greatest gift of all, is you.
2006: Minneapolis/St. Paul
The boys pick me up at the airport and drive to a diner for breakfast. Just the three of us, just the three of us. Hasn’t happened in years.
They talk nonstop – almost oblivious to my presence – as if this reunion were the most natural thing in the world. They exude energy and intensity. The air vibrates around them. They are the most interesting people I know.
I am escorted into the restaurant – Zach with his signature watch cap, Vic rolling in at well over 200 pounds. I look like I’m being kidnapped. I feel safe.
They order enormous amounts of food. The waitress looks at me and smiles.
I’m out of control. “THESE ARE MY SONS!” I shout. Zach flashes that irresistible grin. “It’s okay, Mom,” he laughs. I tap the table with my fist and lower my voice — “These are my sons.”
I order the Mediterranean omelet.