It is hard to pick just one memory out of my thirty plus years of living, so I am going to tell you about quite a few of them. The first memory that comes to mind is that of my maternal grandparents’ home, which they called Phalen’s Phunny Pharm. There were all sorts of animals there – goats, turkeys, donkeys, even a llama, endless cats and dogs, and a parrot. We grandchildren were always delighted by the parrot’s squawkings, because we never knew what would come out of his…well, beak next. I loved it when my mom put me on the horse named Dusty and I rode him for a while, with my mom leading us with a rope. There was this one summer night drive with my grandmother and siblings – I remember someone pointing out the full moon and my Mersie starting to sing “I see the moon, the moon sees me.” And oh, how I loved it when the whole extended family was together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and we’d sit down for a meal together. Laughter ran rampant on Phalen’s Phunny Pharm.
And then there’s my dad’s family, the Cloakey clan. There’s not as many of them, but that doesn’t matter. I remember Gran and Gramps’ old house in Snoqualmie, and the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen as Gran cooked. I absolutely loved the time I spent there with my cousin Carol, and we’d watch movies or write stories together or play together. And of course, there are Thanksgiving and Christmas memories. I remember this one Christmas, the one after I got my back brace, Gramps gave me a dollhouse that he had built himself. It looked kinda like their house (they still lived in Snoqualmie), and I knew right away that is why my mom had given me a little family of dolls in the hospital (I’d had to spend a week there to try to get used to the brace). And the family reunion at Disneyland in 1997, which was, like, a total dream come true (except for Splash Mountain… me no likey). I remember our last full day there, Gran and Gramps took me, my brother Ryan, and Carol over to the theme park earlier than everybody else, and we saw Mickey Mouse. He pulled a shirt pin with a picture of him on it out of my ear and I remember glancing at Ryan and Carol and they were giggling. Mickey wanted a kiss for the pin, so I gave him a quick peck on the cheek. And then there was the family trip to Montana to see where Gramps grew up…
And there were times in high school I’ll never forget, finally having people I could talk to and trust, laughing, always, with Lynett, having sleepovers with Tammy, watching movies and beading, having way too much fun with Val in College Prep English. And of quiet moments alone, writing, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and reading the novels because I couldn’t get enough of the show (we didn’t have the channel for a while). Getting my dog as a puppy, holding my niece when she was a baby and last Christmas Eve when Patrick proposed to Angelica top off the list. And knowing, finally,without a doubt that I am meant be here, living my life, helping others to the best of my ability, and just loving. Always, loving.