Friday, October 4, 2013

What I Have Lost: a collective list

the pen my father used to write my mother love letters in case their love got lost somewhere along the miles that separated them

a model sailboat I loved as a child

my mother's recipe for Nanaimo bars

a large goldfish who would jump out and land on the floor no matter what I did to screen or cover the bowl 

my sense of privacy

many hours of bright sunshine, lost when I was working indoors

my social security card, lost for years, then I found it in the very last carton I unpacked after moving to my new home

a pearl ring — but then I found it in the pocket of my summer pajamas, six months later

the words to some of my favorite songs

the chance to begin the life I wish I'd had

my sense of sadness, hopelessness, invisibility

my idealism

a pair of mittens that my daughter gave me, the kind that folds back to expose your fingers when you need them to do that

the surface of my kitchen/mailbox table

a pair of silver candlesticks 

a load of laundry that included my beloved Dan Fogelberg concert T-shirt

lipstick, pillows, keys, important documents

my childhood, lost much too soon

a lovely stuffed bear my daughter received from my sister on the day she was born — lost when she was 18 and we went to Boston to visit colleges; my daughter might have gotten over it by now but I never will

my confidence

my comfortable shoes

some weight

the love of my life, but then he returned and I was mistaken about "love of my life"

my original copy of Catcher in the Rye — twice

ten rings, one from each finger, in a single afternoon at a science museum in Berkeley — how does this happen?

photos from my trip to China, the photos and negatives foolishly stored in the same tote bag

a turquoise ring from long ago, which I recently found in an old jewelry box but then I lost it again when it flew off my finger (which is thinner than it was before)

a tricycle

my ability to eat corn on the cob

my innocence

my wallet, dozens of times, which might say something about my relationship to money

the notion that anything that happened in the past could be totally "re-done"

my Hello Kitty wallet, pink and plastic, last seen in the Pyramid Mall, 1993

my birth certificate, buried in a filing cabinet somewhere

my toothbrush, lost on an airplane

my journal

a bracelet that I used to wear all the time because it went with everything else I wore

many many cat toys

books that I lent to people but never got back

my car (but only for a short while)

my favorite peacock blue earring, but I saved the remaining one in case I ever lose an ear

money, in the stock market, years ago

my ambition

the illusion that I am capable of changing

the cap to my favorite water bottle

the belief that if I am a good person good things will always happen to me

my religion

the tape of love songs my husband compiled for me during our first time apart

my inability to be alone

my attachment to what I believed made me feel successful in life


muscle tone

eye glasses, sunglasses, umbrellas, LP records

the ability to play the piano decently, to sleep through the night, to wear high heels or even medium heels

my high school ring

connections with friends from school

my desire to filter 

a pewter goddess necklace, lost at the Amtrak platform in Chicago

my stamina

my childhood home, lost to fire

power, respect, perspective

my way

my passport

my long beautiful Rapunzel hair

my all-time favorite denim cowboy shirt with pearly snap buttons, stolen from Rulloff's basement while I was cooking there

my figure (as the saying goes)

my moral compass, my gumption, my inhibitions

my balance, while in tree pose

one glove, over and over again

three favorite socks, each belonging to a different pair

the Scottish Black Watch Tam that I bought in Edinburgh in August, 1969

six blue quilted place mats that match the 10 blue napkins and 4 place mats I still have and use

my old address book, lost on my birthday; I crawled all around my studio apartment in NYC looking for it

the key to my office, never to be found again, I had to change the locks

the chance to be a ballerina, a rock star, or a tour operator

the grave sites of our family pets — Amaryllis, Fred, Penny, Penfold — because we had the back of the yard graded and tidied up

my peace of mind, my equilibrium, my breath, my footing, my train of thought

my self-consciousness

my memory, on more occasions than I wish

keys, hats, boots, pens, a Carhartt vest, clipboards, calves

my temper

a little green tractor

the trail

a pair of Telemark ski boots — I not only miss them but I miss the woman I used to be who could ski with them

my grief

trinkets that were give to me by childhood friends

my appetite for lobster

a locket that belonged to my mother and a tiny gold pinky ring (for a tiny pinky) that belonged to my sister

something that's been eluding me for weeks, I keep thinking I should be searching for it — but I can't remember what it is

anger, frustration, dissatisfaction, fear, negativity

the book that opened the world of poetry to me when I was 15

the ability to ride my bicycle

one and a half inches in height

my need to rearrange my rooms every six months

the zealous desire to correct everyone's grammar

my ability to get up early and bound out of bed

a leather jacket

a piece to a puzzle

the fourth page of sheet music for The Maple Leaf Rag composed by Scott Joplin 

twenty dollars for winning eleventh place dairy showman at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

my ability to listen to the soundtrack of Les Choristes without tearing up

the ability to run fast

my desire to paint or draw

my good eyesight

the anxieties of youth

my desire to fight anything or anyone

my memories of some of the traumatic events of my childhood

my zeal for being a fan of competitive athletics

duct tape, so then everything fell apart

to-do lists and grocery lists

my voice

my sense of security

my favorite motorcycle because I made a bad decision

my fear and loathing of morning

the screw to my glasses, when my van rolled twice after my left tire blew at 70 mph

a prehistoric hatchet head I had found on the beach at Black Lake, stolen from my jacket pocket at a Rochester restaurant on Alexander Street

the rest of my eighth grade class, at Expo 1970

my marbles

my fearful way of thinking

my forty-eighth year

electric power — oh so many many times

the desire to eat 16 ounces of Bridge Mix  before bedtime

my desire to write children's books and to learn to quilt  

my pearly whites, replaced by permanent implants

a single nickel when I was 5 years old

pebbles from Provincetown

a song from San Francisco

the ability to go up and down stairs without using a handrail

the battle with dust

the urge to be in crowds

old lingerie including my grandmother's white satin nightgown

the opportunity to ride horses and to be in their presence daily

my favorite tweezers

my mother's earring that I wasn't supposed to have worn

a woolly caterpillar my daughter had been "protecting"

my sensitivity to spicy food

the sense of certainty that if I fall down, I will be okay

the total adoration of a little boy who has outgrown that sort of thing

certain battles with gravity

my cell phone (while I was talking on it)

most of what I thought I knew, especially what I thought was true about myself

a snippet of my late mother's hair, my wedding pearls, a silver bangle from my first love, and a crystal first communion rosary — lost when thieves broke into my home

my wedding ring, found a year later while turning over the vegetable garden

a book on cooking with sea vegetables, the only book I regret selling, out of about 7,000

any chance of becoming rich

my fear of eating chocolate

my habitual "nice guy" pose

my fear of being myself

my ability to tell how old people are just by looking at them

hundreds of games of spider solitaire

every stand of asparagus I have tired to establish in my backyard

my ability to do cartwheels

my agility and flexibility


my poker face

my mom's Swiss army knife

my interest in calligraphy

cooking skills

Penguigui, a very dear stuffed animal

my appendix

naturally blonde hair

very old coins and bills, passed down from my grandparents

my sense of direction

the perverted pleasure I used to get in sinking deeper and deeper into my depressions, instead of acknowledging them and letting them pass

the desire to start my life over again

a box of letters from my grandmother, stored in a box with my name on it, and the word "treasures"

a cheap red "Made in USA" bandana kerchief, lost in the lobby of a fancy hotel in Europe — one minute I had it and the next minute it was gone

the strength in my hands that I need in order to open jars

words, when speaking or telling a story

my job and my paycheck

my sweet little rabbit toy, in a dairy case at a local grocery store, age three

my nerve to drive fast in heavy traffic, especially in New Jersey

contact lenses, lost in swimming pools, showers, bathroom across the United States and even one in England

my fear of birds

a beautiful black cape, lost somewhere in a bar in New Orleans as I fled an overzealous flirter

my favorite watch, in an airport or on a plane, somewhere between the Pacific and Eastern time zones

my ability to endure Alex Trebeck just so I can watch Jeopardy, one of my favorite TV shows for many decades

my need to read every word of a book, even one I'm not especially enjoying

my attachment to those things I have lost

the need to have the last word

Thank you to all these contributors:

Alexandria Crump
Amy Wilson
Antonia Matthew
Barbara Cartwright
Barbara Kane Lewis
Barbara West
Blue Waters
Carla DeMello
Carol Bossard
Carol Clarke
Chris Devenpeck
Christine Carstensen
David Schurman
Diana Kreutzer
Diane Sullivan
Dudley Paul
Eleni Rigas
Elizabeth Wilkinson
Gabrielle Vehar
Gary Rith
Gary Russo
Hannah Utter
Janet Klock
Joe Zhang 
Judy Cogan
Kathleen Halton
Kathleen Morrow
Kathy Hopkins
Laura LaRosa
Lauren Schenkman
Laurie Petersen
Linda Keeler
Lois Dugo
Loretta Louviere
Lynne Taetzsch
M Richard Leopold
Margaret Dennis
Mary Allen Miller
Mary Susan Reid
Mary Roberts
Maude Rith
Maureen Owens
Melissa Hamilton
Melissa Zarem
Michael Schaff
Mihal Ronen
Nancy Gabriel
Nancy Barno Reynolds 
Natalie Detert
Nicole Ja
Nina Miller
Pat Ladley
Patty Little
Paula Peters Mara
Peggy Stevens
Peter Ladley
Pilar Greenwood
Ray Edwin
Rebecca Weger
Rob Sullivan
Sara Robbins
Sharon Yntema
Shirley Elliott
Siouxsie Easter
Stacey Murphy
Sue Crowley
Sue Norvell
Susan Lesser
Sylvia J. Bailey
Sylvia Miller
Tina Wright
Victoria Armstrong
Will Fudeman
Xi Lin
Yvonne Fisher
Zee Zahava