Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Magic that Was

In the gray, smokey days of the 1970's I was little. Not just young. I had a small frame too. Small for my age, anyway, and wispy like an unsure idea.

My mother drove a red Volkswagen Beetle that putted along with a static AM radio and seats that smelled of summer sunshine even when it was winter.

With no money and a world of worry my mom took us places that became unlikely wonderlands. Like the fabric store downtown where they sold indian bedspreads for 10$ and reams and reams of white, filmy organza for draping across breeze filled windows.

The bedspreads held onto the perfume of turmeric and marigold. No matter how many times they were washed, they never lost their scent. They transported me to magical places with their deep purples and oranges and reds. And my mother always knew the balance. How to place and use those bright fabrics in tandem with the white organza. Creating a magic place where we lived. A cocoon of color and solace.

Because no matter where that car took us, no matter where we ran out of gas or who we ran away from, the Beetle always brought us home.

And there was magic there.

Inside the back door and past the potted red geranium... every witch knows to keep a red geranium on their back doorstep. It's how we recognize each other. And then into the hall and up the stairs. The bells on the door tell the ghosts to sink back into the walls. The kitchen whispers at us, telling us what to make for dinner. My mother eases around the corner into the fancy dining room that we don't use and puts the needle on the record player. The magic music comes out and never fails to work, not like the TV that only snows. And Dori Previn sings out of the player, harmonizing about all sorts of poetic sad nonsense. As we wrap ourselves in Indian Bedspreads while we make dinner.

Because we are magic girls who live in a magic place called home.

I want to go back home. And no matter how many geraniums I plant here, I can't seem to find the hallway back to that other place. The place where we were safe and no one could find us.

How do I get back there? I'm close, late at night when I leave the window open and the ghosts of who we were dance across my face.

If I could float, I know I'd be able to at least visit with that magic that was... but I haven't yet learned to hover.


  1. Such wonderful description here...and how well you capture the desire to return to what was. You made me want to put a geranium on my back step...which sadly, only gets part-sun.

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  2. I love this--so beautiful.

    And I'm going to buy a geranium today. For sure.

  3. Beautiful post. I wish geraniums grew bettter here. They always freeze. So sad.

  4. Beautifully written. You've really captured the longing for a time and place long gone in the physical sense. Now that I'm looking for my new (and hopefully) last home, I realize that the things I imagine for my new space, the view, the gardens and so forth are very much like the home I had growing up. I guess life it like that.
    It was a pleasure reading your pos. Thanks

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  6. Ah, I remember the scent of those Indian bedspreads. Mine was in shades of orange and red. Bewitching, to be sure!

  7. Love this post. Beautiful, whimsical, magical. It transported me to a special lost place; my childhood home. I love the way you write. ;-)

  8. Commenting from Safari! (and Firefox is still not cooperating.) Thanks! You solved the mystery. Woohoo!

  9. Beautiful post, Suzy! Is the picture of your real childhood house?

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