Across the years, through decades, scattered letters, poems, photographs, along with piles of journals, those journal writing books of different colors, textures, and sizes. There are loose leaf paper file binders in bright colors strewn about the bed, the floor of the apartment that is now the present while these artifacts are glimpses into the past of what once was to become who one is today.


Will anyone remember who I am? Do they know who I am or was? Does it even matter? It seems to matter to me today, in the past year people have transitioned from this world who meant something to me in one way or another, as inspiration, as mentors, as symbols of strength in the face of all a matter of challenges life presented to them.

I have been considering stories about my mother, I have a small note paper “diary” of her’s before she was my mother, she is a teenager writing about going to dances, describing boys she meets and her girl friends she attends the evenings with. There are other pages where Betty details the training she receives so that she can work as a phone operator for Bell Telephone in Camden.


With those memories of my mom, there flashes the thoughts of my father who I had spent much less time with because he worked shift work and was gone at 50 from heart attack, I was only 27-28. He never met grand children, or they the pleasure of his company.  There are no letters or journals from dad, oh there is one letter from when he was at basic training which we were told he never was in the army, I have not come across that letter again. I have camera’s he used, there are photographs of us as kids and people he worked with as well as his family members, mother, step-sister and her family.

So in considering all those stories, life histories, in a flash I saw myself not being seen or known, with the lives of people being shorted, two deaths in a month of fellow recovery acquaintances, two or three people from a spiritual group we all once belong too. My x-wife who has had a return of her breast cancer and the death of my last long term partner a year ago; along with the fact I celebrated 28 years of sobriety and I will be 65 this year, morality seems to be nudging at my consciousness while I seem to be diddling my days away.


With the archives of letters, journals, folders, photographs, and blog pages, along with unreliable memories scattered about, I have stories to write, stories to tell that may enlighten, inform, maybe confound my days and nights with more questions than answers. Who knows where any of it will lead yet the beginning has begun. Join me as I piece together the scattered.


16 thoughts on “scattered”

  1. Jeff, your thoughts and losses reminded me of a saying I once heard, that at this stage in our lives it’s like we’re all skating on thin ice and we never know which one of our companions, or we ourselves, will next fall through the ice and disappear.

    I think of my aunt, who lived to be 101. Her last years were marked by an endless string of losses. It wasn’t easy for her.

    But it looks like you have a wealth of material to organize and will piece together the scattered memories of your family. I look forward to reading the stories and pictures you will choose to share on your blog. Some day your parents’ descendants will be happy to learn about their ancestors’ lives, especially as they get older, and they will likely be grateful for the work you’ve done preserving their heritage for them.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Yes thank you, creating a bit of history will establish the fact that they we were here! Ha ha! It has never really been on my mind the mortality thing, I try to create the moment that I am in even if there is no one there to “see” it.
      I remember you sharing the stories of your aunt and your father, of course the research you constantly share of your ancestors is always illuminating…

  2. I have tentative plans too.

    To honor my mother’s work as a composer which never received more than a bit of public acknowledgement. The papers I hope to put together to preserve just a tiny bit of her work sit in a box for “someday”.

    I have some interesting photos from when my dad’s parents, uncle and aunt, staked a claim in Magdalena NM hoping to get rich and almost starved. A few funny stories about that time in his young life survive in me.

    Hopefully, I will manage to eventually get these “histories” preserved.

    I too feel the thin ice I am skating upon now. The scattered lives modern families live mean that much of these kinds of things are lost in history’s long march – not even surviving in the memories of descendants.

  3. Deb,
    The memories and histories are what we have and what we leave behind in a manner of speaking. So to honor those who have gone before is a tribute to them.
    Looks like you have a story or two to write as well. Thank you sharing your journey as well.

  4. Jeff, we are all the memories we leave behind to be lived within each other. We continue in the photos, the writings, the shared stories, the essence of us still permeates the lives of everyone. But it is who we become that we take with us when we die and your becoming is so unique, poetic, and heartfelt.

    1. Barbara,
      I saw a post by you a few days ago, I have yet to read it, am happy that you are writing again.
      Yes I suppose you are correct, and I saved so many journals and letters, notes from my own life, let alone the photos and history of parents and family. They where saved for a reason, first ego, I thought I was going to be famous, I still might be! Yet it is to enrich my life to experience others lives from a different perceptive than when involved within them.

  5. A melancholic venture dripping with indelible memories, sadness and the resolve to take stock of the past with the incomparable evidence of letters. All of us acknowledge the mistakes from our past, and invariably they help us forge a path to acceptance and that new beginning. Your remembrances here are so heartfelt Jeff, your writing most eloquent.

    1. Sam,
      Thank so much for your astute assessment of the purpose for the blog. I had written it sometime ago and let sit while I photographed, organized, and read pages, letters etc each one to stir the cobwebs. I have to be gentle with myself while in this process or it becomes overwhelming with emotions. The journey is begun, so we will travel upon the path laid before us.

  6. Your post touched me. Of the same age as you I too have been looking at old journals and notebooks and letters and thinking it’s time to do a paper clensing, to save my children from having to wade through all this stuff and wonder what to toss, what to bundle away in a box. I think of the tidy little bundle my mother left me, and nothing in there really says anything true about her, they are all shadows of a life. And yet it is comforting to have some physical traces here in hand. I want to leave enough so they feel they can hold me in their hand, but not so much they feel overwhelmed by the burden of holding on to what I should have let go of.

    1. I suppose there is always the future generations to consider when looking into letting old things to lighten the load, yet what do we what is the legacy we leave? I suppose it is a right of passage in a way!

      Thank you Deborah for your comments!

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