Tag Archives: Memory Connections

Looking Back…

24 Jan

Inspiration originates for any writer in myriad ways, from objects to artwork, as well as prose and poetry that provide motivational examples. Writing also comes with a number of challenges, and one of the greatest, I think, is surpassing the dreaded “writer’s block.” These writers were not defined by this nor their own particular challenges—those of memory loss. Instead, they rose above them.

From personal histories to imagined vistas, these writers from the Memory Connections group at Baylor, Scott & White in Georgetown allowed me to guide them through a series of exercises in six classes that resulted in a small body of work, the best of which appears below. Their pieces leave room to pause, ponder, and appreciate before moving on to the next word or image. They’ll stay with you, so be prepared!

Tracey Lander-Garrett
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Wheelbarrow

wheelbarrow

– inspired by William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”

Where have you
gone

I miss your
utility

for feeding
the hogs that

fed me
all year

Randy Russell

This Moment

shadows

I see a mother
with a little boy playing
in the blue and white pool.
There was a sound,
a yell of delight.
Later, they watched the sun
go down in darkness.

Mary Russell

Blue Skies

umbrellas

Just imagine
Blue and white clouds
Water splashing in the background
Clouds floating overhead
Umbrellas open and waving in the breeze
Salt in the air and sticky
Everything is beautiful!

Judy Rogers

Genealogy

crystalball

My expertise is genealogy

At this time
I am going through my family
from as long ago as the 1600s

I am writing—storytelling—
of these people

How to make a story
of a person?

Tell when
and where
she was born?

Describe where
she lived
how many
siblings she had
and who died

Show what
she did
and how she lived,
what she loved,
and who she loved

How she lived her life,
and how
and when
she died

Lynne Devin-Smith

Locket

locket.jpg

I have a little locket. It was worn by my grandmother and my mother. It has a dent in it, which was allegedly caused by my mother biting it. It was passed down to me by my mother. I never wore it much, as I was afraid I would lose it. It is now in my safe deposit box at our present bank location.

It’s just a simple little locket with very little monetary value. But it could never be replaced. It is a keepsake, a reminder of what and who was important to me in life… people and love.

It will be passed onto my daughter and then my only granddaughter. Perhaps it will be treasured by them… and passed onto many generations!

Beth Vogt

My Name

heather

My name is Heather. Heather is the small flowers you see on the hills of Scotland. They are usually purple. Isn’t that pretty?

My older brothers called me H-Bomb. I guess I was rather hyperactive. This name was mine until I was all grown up.

I think that they could have called me anything else and it would have been much better. Don’t you think?

My brothers had names like Charles and Fraser. How about that?

Heather de Loyo

What’s Possible

tennis

A sunny day calls for two or three
sets of tennis.

Without tennis balls, no sets
are possible.

The balls should be new to have
good bounces.

A tennis court and racket are necessary to hit
the ball and play the game.

Without a dry day, a good racket, and three balls,
no game is possible.

Jerry Miller

A Time Long Ago

Dance

I treasure the moments
of an evening long since gone

cherished because
of the memories it contains

laughter, merriment, sipping champagne,
dancing foxtrot, swing, waltz…

all the music of Glenn Miller,
Tommy Dorsey—Big Band sound—

embraced in the arms
of the young man I loved

these memories are sweet,
innocent, of a time long ago

that remains in my heart
for a lifetime.

Helen Haynes

Evolution

shell

As shells have evolved through time
immemorial, the complexity and
advancement of life can be seen
and appreciated.

Evolution of life is such an amazing
advancement in evidence and support
of complexity and beauty
of progression of life.

To think that life on our planet
is an example and proof that evolution
of life is very probable in other
planets, other solar systems, other galaxies.

Evolution of life is evidence that
life has existed before
and will exist
in the very far future.

Manny Chavez

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

Advertisements

Where Life Shimmers

24 Jan

The Hope Lutheran writers embrace each other and each other’s work. As their collective poem states, there is true warmth in this group. They encouraged fellow storytellers to share their poetry and prose aloud, and were constantly praising one another’s work. The poem “This Moment” by Eavan Boland moved writers to pen musical prose about their own evening routines. Reflecting on their names revealed childhood rivalries and nods to royalty. Close inspection of small objects inspired new characters and vivid settings. The Hope Lutheran writers are naturals when it comes to sensory description. Their writing transported me. I felt the warmth of their stories, and their support of one another, and it made me feel part of something bigger than myself.

Claire Campbell
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Spring

wildflowers

The small corner out back near the house  is covered with beautiful, small flowers (whose name I cannot find)so beautiful, so tiny, and yet glorious in their homes.

The three of us take turns putting sweet things around to keep the beauty there. We don’t tell Mother because she might make us clean it all up!

We seek out every chance we get and take turns watering them—I often wonder if the water wasn’t necessary outside.

Jeanne Roden

Night

angel

Relaxing and sleeping with random dreams and thoughts.
The stillness in this moment with shafts of light coming in the windows through the shades.
The stillness—the time for relaxation and movement with random thoughts.
Sometimes with deep sleep and other times with awareness of the stillness and the sense of security and peace.
Dreams come and go—some disappear in a single moment or they reemerge as a reflection.
Music is present.
Moments like this are brief and fragile, and can give consolation.
Music in my ears can float in the movement, and the images reflect the peace and surrounding tranquility with the joys of deep sleep.

Larry Graham

Wild Basin Preserve/There is a Place 

Waterfall.jpg

There is a place I love to go
It’s here in Austin just down the road
I see beautiful trees, and flowers that grow
I want to stay there forever you see
I watch the waterfall there flow
I walk around alone, not feeling pain
I listen to the birds there sing
The only safe place I really feel sane
But I know this place is there for me.

Joyce B.

My Name

blackboard.jpg

I would like to keep my name and how I feel about it.
I will stay with my name.
“Magda…!”
This is my name…
Magda Salazar.

Magda Salazar

My Name

Ron

I like and am comfortable with my name, “Ron.” “Ronald,” to me, sounds pretentious, and I always use “Ron.” I am named after an old actor, Ronald Coleman. My mother did not want me to be associated with an Irish Catholic culture, so she picked a very English-British name: Ronald.

For years, I was into sailing, and four of us were named Ron. But people refused to call us by our last names, only by our first names, which caused all kinds of problems.

Ron

Summer

icecream

The long days and nights
Coolness of the morning, but the sunshine
Afternoon wonderful for swimming
And getting a tan for some period of time
Sitting in the shade of trees
Looking at a beautiful garden of flowers
Perhaps sipping on some orange juice
Or having an ice cream.
I always liked to sit in the sun for a while
Something that was harder to do as a child living in Ireland
Oh yes, we learned to suntan in moderation
In between splashing in the pool
Fills the heart and soul
With joy!

Audrey Krier

The Fall 

autumnleaf.jpg

I love the fall.
When the leaves turn different colors—
Red, brown, black, white, orange, cream, beige, purple, or gold.
Some stay on the tree,
Some twist off the tree
As they dry up and
Fall to the ground.
The leaves gather around
The bottom of the tree.

Pat Keen

Us: Our Present Journey 

childhoodhappiness

In the winter of our lives
We feel warmth in this group
We have something in common:
Laughter
Humor
Experience
Pain.
For a short while our fear is gone
Understanding we’re not alone
Because we are together
Sharing, in sync, giving
Each of us has a history
We all have our own stories
As we wade to shore.

The Hope Lutheran Writers

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

The Moments That Last

24 Jan

It’s their honesty and humor that are most memorable. With each visit to the YMCA North, these adult writers—who face the unfathomable challenge of memory loss—showed me how to approach each day with grace. Their shared experiences pulled them closer together, as they laughed and kidded each other, discussed their lives, and, then wrote from the heart. They remembered precious childhood moments with their parents and grandparents. They held onto the images of valuable things, like mental snapshots of a daughter lost, soaring through the clouds as a pilot, or a father’s priceless handmade ship. I imagine today—each day—is the most precious for them. Living “this moment,” a poem which inspired beautiful works, gives them a chance to pass on their amazing stories and know they are not alone in this journey.

Terri Schexnayder
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Peace

wooddrake.jpg

Berry’s wood drake calls me to the memory of a time when I took my grandson down the hill to look at the wood ducks. I’d never seen their beauty before. San Marcos was not wood duck territory. But children and mothers fed bread to the ducks, and the birds decided it was a good place to live. Have you ever seen a wood drake? Beautiful! I did, as a grandmother sharing time with her small grandchild.

It also reminds me of a time when I was a child at my grandmother’s house. There were hollyhocks, which made flowers turn into dancing children. Rose petals decorating a mud pie. And my grandmother hugging me.

Ruth Crowson

This Moment

stars.jpg

– inspired by Eavan Boland’s “This Moment”

Sounds surround me
Sounds of friends
Some of many months
Some new today

Things from above
Children laughing
Trees outside the windows
Barely moving
A few moments ago, the trees were shaded
Now they’re in the sun

When that sun goes down
My favorite time arrives
And stars will surround us
All the way to the edge of the sky

Ruth Crowson

Peaceful Place

mushrooms.jpg

A peaceful place for me
will always be in the woods.
Besides being quiet and peaceful,
there is always the expectation
that you will see something new.

Billy Garry

Little Box

box.jpg

Little box so neat and square,
What is it you have hiding there?
I won’t know unless I look
And see it like an open book.

Billy Garry

Memories of Virginia

I like symmetry. The near mirroring in the calendar photo reminds me of the still days on the creek where I grew up—less than a mile by water from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. We didn’t have the mountains, but there were a succession of points and caves, usually poles that marked the edges of oyster beds, all mirrored in the still water.

There is a large tree near the mouth of the creek where white egrets roost at night—it is impressive to see them arrive, twos or threes together. On a still evening, the tree blossoms as if dotted with white blobs on the actual tree.

Jim Hadden

Knuckleball

baseball.jpg

A clean baseball is a reminder of what once was. A skiffle ball can be exploited by some pitchers, but is anathema to a knuckleball pitcher. I have a friend and teammate from the Austin Men’s Baseball League. When he played first base, I would always make my first knuckleball throw to him in our routine between innings.

Once when I was purchasing a new car, I went through the test drive and got to the paperwork. He saw my signature and commented, “I know you—you’re the knuckleballer!” A good knuckleball brings the small and slow pitcher (me!) up to the level of bigger players.

Jim Hadden

This Moment

thread.jpg

– inspired by Eavan Boland’s “This Moment”

We are all sitting here with many different thoughts. Some may be thinking of things they will be doing soon after they get home. I plan to get some fabric out, put it on the ironing board in preparation, and sew it with another piece of fabric of a different color.

First, it must be pressed so there are no wrinkles. Then, they will be measured and placed together so the two pieces will be made into a baby blanket. One piece needs to be slightly longer than the other so that the hem goes beyond the cotton batting. Next, the two pieces of fabric will be sewn together on three sides. The batting will be cut to fit in between the sewn pieces after they are turned inside out. I will fit the batting snugly and evenly, while extending to all four sides of the fabric. The final side is now tucked in on the fourth side and stitched.

It is now time to smile and admire the finished baby blanket. The baby will be pleased to feel so good within the new blanket.

Eleanor Hall

Where Potatoes Grow

potatoes.jpg

When I was growing up in Montana, I had no idea how important the rain was for our family to survive. Once, I learned that we did not have enough rain for the crops or even the grass to grow for our cattle. However, my parents did not talk about this in front of me—they probably decided I didn’t need to be concerned about something I could do nothing about. However, God did have a plan for us. He did care for us.

We had a coulee, land that is lower than its surrounding land, a short distance from our house. There was tall grass growing there, and when my father investigated it, he found that it was being subirrigated. The grass became moist from the soil below. He took a shovel and dug just to be sure. Then, he brought the horse and plow to make the area good for raising potatoes. We cut the potatoes so that every piece had at least one eye from which other potatoes would grow. We girls dropped them into the rows dug in the rich soil. My father plowed and covered the potatoes in each row, and then made a trench in which to plant the next row. He did this with a single horse and plow.

After about ten days, the potato plants started coming up, and then, after another couple of weeks, it was time to hoe the plants to rid them of weeds. My sisters and I got a nickel for every two rows we weeded. Almost all the potatoes grew large because of the moisture they received from the ground below. At harvest time, my father cleaned the dirt from the new crop with his plow and horse, and the girls pulled up the potatoes. We had a good crop and a large cave in which to store them. My father made this by building a cement walkway down the center of the cave and wooden board areas to hold the potatoes off the ground. The crop was so good the first year that we had enough to sell to the stores. When both of my sisters had appendicitis, my parents could pay the full hospital bill with potatoes.

I recently learned that potatoes are a very good food—they furnish carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins B and C.

Eleanor Hall

A Bird

bluebird

It’s colorful, cheerful, and cute.
And he’s certainly not mute!
So, stand away, friend, and listen,
And show him how you glisten.

It’s a song he sings,
And it seems to ring
Just for you and me.
Just for you and me!

Betty Hamilton

Valuable Objects

piano

My grandmother’s stack of classical piano music and cabinet (a somewhat midsized one in which they are kept) are valuable to me. None of my own piano music was ever that voluminous as her complete stack. She told me I could have all her books—heavy ones, rectangular ones, etc. I would take a few home with me when she offered them, and although I wanted them all, it was difficult to take them all home with me at the same time. For, I was in college, but without a car to carry them home easily.

After looking through all her heavy books of classical piano music, I decided it would be too difficult to learn to play too many of them. I could never read them easily, so I left those with her. What a great classical pianist she was! She had taken lessons since she was sixteen years old and had played in double piano concerts with eight other symphony pianists onstage in Montgomery, Alabama. She was so advanced in her piano playing that I avoided the instrument and eventually discovered the organ. It was a simpler instrument. Even though the pedal board added a challenge, it was much more fun for me to learn the organ.

Betty Hamilton

My Place to Go

gardentools

My peaceful place to go is outside. Everything about me is outside. There, I am free. I enjoy weeding because it frees the ground of nuisance. I enjoy planting because the view changes—once empty, it turns beautiful. In the morning, I walk with my neighbor. We each own a Fitbit and try to beat the record we set the day before. It is nice being with someone you like, who can talk about the ins and outs of our past and present days.

Another peaceful is the home of my elderly friend Nelda—mostly, because she is ninety-two years old. I want to make sure she is safe. Of course, I don’t say that to her! She would resent someone wanting to take care of her, as she is very independent.

Donna Hebner

This Day

trafficlights.jpg

On the way here, I arrived via Uber. This is always fun because the driver and I talk about the music on the radio and what has happened, like the murders last night or whatever comes up. Sometimes, I feel like we are rehashing what we have heard on the news or experienced during the night or day before.

It is a good feeling to have someone to exchange ideas with in the morning, because it brings us into a new day, each of us having thoughts about what is next.

Donna Hebner

Colors of the Ocean

rope.jpg

Saltwater and fishing for lobster
Colorful coral swaying in the ocean currents
Spearing sea foods and more.

Larry Runyon

Important Object

modelship

When my dad was young, he had a hobby of making model ships that he built from scratch. He is gone now, but I have three of his sailing ships. I value them greatly and display them in my office. I hope to pass them on to my younger brother or my two sons when I die.

It’s important to me to keep them in the family as a memory of Dad’s skill, and so they can be passed down to my brother’s sons as a reminder to them. A reminder of their grandfather, with whom, unlike my brother and I, they didn’t get to spend as much time. I hope they will eventually pass along the ship models to their own children.

Alan Sagen

Walking Along Brushy Creek

turtles.jpg

My wife and I make it a practice to walk together most days along Brushy Creek for exercise. We enjoy walking through the park that begins after we cross the low waters. In the park, people picnic and kids play. After going through the park, we cross over the creek’s bridge to get us back to the other side. From there, we head further upstream. Eventually, we come to a road we must cross to continue upstream. There is a part of the creek, called Turtle Creek, where we usually see the creatures. Sometimes there are a lot of turtles, sometimes not.

After we have counted the number of turtles, we take the way back home. We cross the creek again, use the low water crossing again, and walk uphill to our home at the top of the hill.

Alan Sagen

Peaceful Time

mountain.jpg

A peaceful time for me was spent in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. We once went there for a vacation. My son was an Eagle Scout, and he worked at the annual gathering of the Boy Scouts. We had never seen the camp before. The sky was clear—there were only white puffy clouds up there. You could sit on the mountain and see forever.

The camp was filled with young Boy Scouts—approximately 5,000 of them. Sitting on the top of the mountain, with the Scouts camping below, was an amazing sight.

Ed Stephens

What Happens Next?

rose.jpg

This is my neighborhood
At the beginning of spring.
The roses are blooming.
I see the sun’s impression on the window.
The skies are blue with white clouds forming.
Wait a little while—
What will happen next?

Looking west, I see dark clouds.
Will it rain today?
I see people rolling up the car windows.
The wind is from the west.
The storm is passing over.
The sun sets.

Tomorrow is a new day.
I wonder what will happen next.

Ed Stephens

Fireflies on a Summer Night

fireflies.jpg

I am sitting here in a class and writing about this particular moment. The room is filled with friends, and it’s pretty good. I appreciate that many of them are going through the same things I am. I am not a poet, but I understand what the poets look at—the importance of smaller things. Good for them!

They have time to spend at that level, and understanding that point of observation is appreciated. But, this poem, “This Moment” by Eavan Boland, brings back a memory of my childhood with my brother and sisters one night when we were catching fireflies in jars. Sorry, fireflies!

Chris Turk

Valuable Item

pistol.jpg

Of all the objects I own, the most valuable is a Colt pistol dated around the 1850s. I don’t know anything about who owned it in my family or what they did with it. It’s a pistol and it’s old. No finish, and with a broken firing mechanism.

But, it’s from my family, and I have it in my safe. Not sure who I will give it to when I die—maybe my grandson.

Chris Turk

In the Moment

trees

In this moment, I am surrounded by people I have just met. They are having the same problem as me and dealing with it in their own way. We don’t know where life is going to lead us. Will our memories get worse? Will I end up like Dad? Only time will tell.

How did I end up like this? What cruel twist of fate put us here? Will science ever have an answer to memory loss?

Sandra M. Zandrusky

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

Life’s Little Beauties

23 Jan

During each of my visits to Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, I was met with a depth of intelligence, curiosity, humor, and vivaciousness that renewed my own energy and penchant for living fully in the moment. These writers, who come from all walks of life, allowed themselves to be vulnerable, to open up to an unfamiliar experience with admirable aplomb, recounting family histories and unearthing joyful memories of the past—stories that may have otherwise gone untold if not for the safe space created by this writing group. Bonds formed between writers from completely different worlds, whether in the room or on the page. The Westlake writers were able to find comfort and solace in each others’ words, knowing they were all undergoing the same experience. They discovered the power of language to move one to tears or laughter and found that creative writing can actually be fun! The following pieces exemplify the wit, vigor, and positivity I encountered weekly in this talented group of writers, a delight that can be felt again and again whenever I read their words.

Julie Howd
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

I Am…

photoalbum

I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
I like family, friends, laughing, good food,
privacy, my computer, and freedom to think.
I have a wonderful and supporting wife, loving
extended family members, and financial security.
I think—how lucky I am!
I think more of philosophical and theological issues
as I get older and progress with Alzheimer’s.
I feel so very, very fortunate—for my parents,
education, and living in the USA.
I love having the time to work on my photo albums,
being alone, and being with family.
I wonder about the universe and my place in it.

Boyd S.

Sailboat

dock

My sailboat slips through the water like memories,
as the smooth hull slips through water and time.
The lonely sound of the paddle dipping into water
gives way as the sails are raised and the lake air
fills the sails with a snap, and then more silence
as we move through the water and we lose ourselves
in our thoughts and dreams.

Carol Y.

How to Fall in Love with the Night Sky

telescope.jpg

To begin, first sit in a comfortable lawn chair and wait for a clear, dark night. Add a decent pair of binoculars and just scan the sky for bright stars, planets, and other intriguing objects. Don’t rush. It takes time and patience to really see the beauty and wonders of the dark sky. Mix this with a goodly amount of time getting to know your instrument, be it binoculars or a telescope. For a beginner, it’s best to thoroughly understand the instrument you use, i.e. binoculars are okay to begin, but work toward larger instruments to find the wonder of planets, nebulas, stars, and other objects. Take your time to discover the dimmer objects that pass by others observers who lack the patience. Try it. You may find a wonderful hobby.

Dan

Grandmother’s Table

house.jpg

I remember my grandmother’s house in Dallas
And the furniture it contained.
Also the uncles it contained.
I have a table from her house and still get
Memories from it.
Memories still remind me of spending the day with her
And catching the streetcar to the Dallas YMCA
And swimming all day.
Later she moved into a small house my father built.

Jerry H.

Read

books.jpg

Choose the book.
Join a book club.
Read a synopsis or book cover.
Immerse yourself in the story.
Savor the ending.
Recommend to others.

Betty O.

My Red Kayak

kayak.jpg

I bought my red kayak and was very proud of it.
What fun I had on the red kayak in the water:
the way the glistening kayak lifted high
over the waves of the river. The sound of the waves
was music to my ears and solace to my soul.
There were exciting times as well as relaxing times
in the beautiful and glistening red kayak.
It floated without effort.
My kayak allowed me to be one with the river
and I felt a part of nature. I could be totally relaxed
and continue floating for hours, just enjoying
the intense green plants on the river bank.
There were many water birds—egrets, swans—
gracefully swimming along. The beautifully
puffy white clouds added to the enjoyment.
This is my idea of bliss.

Susan W.

Bird Watching

acorn

Always I have been an observer and lover of nature. I collect acorns every fall in our yard. I save special oak leaves and wildflowers in the spring.

My greatest joy is observing birds at our bird feeders. We have two large feeders, which the birds visit every day. My binoculars are “on the ready” to sight more birds. I keep a bird identification book handy.

Birds are awesome—some of God’s most beautiful work. Thank you, God, for sending these beautiful birds to us. Birds add color to our yard and are such a pleasure to observe.

Susan W.

By the Ocean

sea

I loved the ocean and was only ten minutes away from it in Hampton, New Hampshire, where I lived and grew up from age four. Now I’m eighty-three years old. I loved to swim in the ocean, although mainly it was from March through maybe October that I could swim. I loved living with my parents there. Both of my parents were memorialized when they passed away—Dad at age seventy-eight and Mom at age eighty-six—and that is in North Hampton, right on the ocean!

Glenice

Bama Company

Day 113/365- Late Night Snack

A jar of peanut butter and jelly or jam always reminds me about my father’s business. He started the Bama Company in Alabama and then brought it to Houston, Texas. The Bama Company was bought by Welch’s but still exists in grocery stores under the name Bama, and nowadays sits on the bottom shelf! My dad went on many trips to Mexico and other states to buy the fruit to make his products. My brother got to go on those trips, but not me, since I was very young. I did go to the building where all the jam was made and often would take all of my friends—a fun excursion. Of course, I also took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school each day.

Marianne M.

Christmas Morning at the Kilbanes’

christmas

The Christmas tree is lit in the living room. The mantles on the fireplaces are twinkling with their lights and stockings filled by Santa. Both fireplaces are lit. The coffee is brewing and the milk warming for hot chocolate. I take the Irish bread out of the oven to cool, then slice. The bacon and sausage crackle and Mike takes the eggs out. He takes the sleigh bells off the hook and shakes them, and the house begins to wake up. The three sleeping children come down to open their gifts in the living room. They are excited to see their gifts and anxious to tear open the boxes they have received. The boys with their trucks, Karen with her dolls, and, as they grew older, their many tapes and CDs, and new clothes that were worn over their PJs.

Patsy K.

Our Home

house2.jpg

The home was beautiful, a mix of antique and modern. The dining room table was beautiful, oval in shape with weaving movements around the edge.

In the winter, we had a fireplace. Memories of the fireplace: shadows that leapt and roared, a collection of fireplace tools, and a beautiful glow in the room. This was our home in the cold winter, waiting for warmth in the coming sun. The fireplace was a place where warmth would come, and music in the background that flowed beautifully all around. Chess was the game we played.

I still remember the comfort of the home, the mix of modern and antique. There was a view of the bay, and we could hear the lapping of the waves breaking. Palm trees were in abundance.

Jackson G.

Christmas

dog

I see: beauty, cooking, happy faces, a beautiful table.
I hear: good, cheerful conversation, the wind, children, kitchen sounds,
laughter and music, a roaring fire, a dinner prayer.
I taste: a well-cooked meal, apple pie and wine, a delicious dessert.
I touch: my wife’s hand, the oven, my shaved beard.
I smell: fireplace scents, roasting a favorite meal, my wife’s perfume, the smell of rain.

Jackson G.

Familial Love

family

What can I rely upon?
Familial love.
There are reasons to get down,
especially in this day and age.
But when I need to be lifted,
all I need to do is think
of all the blessings that I have
to be thankful for, and
familial love is the most important.
I have the most wonderful family around,
scattered as they are around the country and the world.
By the way, the family even includes an ex-wife,
who remains very much a loving part of the family.
Friends are fine and dandy, but without family
I would be nothing but candy and not as sweet.

Logan M.

Settling In

hotchocolate

On a special evening at 18 Chandon Lane, Beverly and I nestle down to enjoy listening to an album. The dim light outside still illuminates the backyard to such an extent that all the gray rocks are wonderfully highlighted against the newly laid sod that sparkles with all the rain that has recently fallen. The weather has cooperated and gotten cooler just when we needed it to. How could this be so perfect? Hot chocolate, flowers, incense.

We have just moved in, gotten organized, and hopefully halfway rested. The house feels perfect, at least for now.

Logan M.

The Game of Chess

chess

I remember an onyx chess set I purchased in Florence, Italy, forty-six years ago. The hand-carved set is not only a game of intellectual skills, but a piece of beautiful art, a treasure that I lugged around Europe, from Italy to Spain to France to Belgium to Holland, ending with a transatlantic flight to the US.

Over the many years, this work of art provided many days of challenging, intellectual brinkmanship between friends. In more recent years, it has provided opportunities to bond more closely with one of my daughters and, within the last month, the opportunity to teach my seven-year-old grandson to learn a life skill and game—a game that I hope will enrich his future and give him a loving memory of his Popi.

Gary C.

How to Make a Beautiful Landscape

garden

Develop a plan with all necessary materials.
Cultivate your soil, enriching it with compost.
Select the best ground cover, including grass and alternatives.
Research flowers to paint a colorful environment.
Study and acquire the right trees, for now and the future.
Plant your trees with adequate drainage and fertilizer.
Place and plant your flowers and shrubs to provide a picture.
Install an efficient automatic sprinkler system.
Have your sod and ground cover delivered.
Lay your ground cover, your sod.
Water your landscape and enjoy a new environment.

Gary C.

Setting a Vision

arrow.jpg

Have a plan to accomplish a vision or objective. Explain the plan to the audience or employee with the goal set to attain completion of the plan. This requires confidence in the leadership, with the goal to accomplish the objective by communicating the vision. This requires communicating the objective’s intent and following through to explain the objective to those who will need to complete the task to achieve the required result. Inquire of those who will follow through to implement the plan to achieve required results.

Fred D.

The Best Pug

pug

I am the friend of a Punkin. We met a few years ago. He was about the size of a tennis ball hiding behind a hedge. I like the way he showed himself, with innocence and trust as he stole my heart. I picked him up and rubbed his fur against my cheek, thinking about how I was going to keep him.

My neighbor said she couldn’t take him because she had three pugs already. So it was my choice keep him, which I did, and he fit into my family with another pup that taught him all she knew. Through her, he learned how to remove insulation with his teeth and wiring removal on tractors and autos.

Joe P.

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

Our Place in the World

23 Jan

As their collective poem states, the Memory Connections writers at Bethany Lutheran have a lot of fun with words. There was so much laughter in our shared writing experience—humorous characters included a chicken hunted down by a murderous alligator (inspired by William Carlos Williams’s “A Red Wheelbarrow”). Rich details of family history emerged during a discussion of writers’ names. Images of childhood homes bloomed on the page to the tune of a nocturne. And autumn landscapes came through sharp and clear after a chat about the seasons. These writers inspired me to take myself less seriously, and to weigh the details of home and history ever so carefully. It’s humor and history that inspire great stories, and these writers have both in spades.

Claire Campbell
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Description in Nature

leaves

The roadway around the
Closed corner of our house,
Flowers red and yellow, blue,
On green stems coming
Out of the sandy rocks on
The sides of the road. The road
From nowhere to our land,
Which is somewhere.
Nowhere with
The dried and dirt-colored
Plants. Fall until
Summer.

Jennifer Martinec

The Night

panorama

I was afraid of the dark as a child
But I would have loved to be there.
The dark with all these beautiful scenes would be so gorgeous
And I would not want them to go away
What a moment for me to be
Caught up in this.

Sheila McIntire

My Name 

cemetery

The middle name of Lee was given by my Aunt Lee.
She lived near my family.
She was my mother’s sister.
I would not change her name.
When she died, I was in the hospital.

Preusser was my maiden name on my father’s side—
Richard Frederick Wilhelm Preusser.
Greenwald is my married name.
I would not change these.

I grew up in St. Louis. There is a cemetery
With many well-known people buried there.
I was so surprised when my dad told me
About all of these distant relatives.

Linda Greenwald

Life

clouds

Fun with words
Variety, history,
Descriptive experiences.

Enjoying being with nature and people,
Good imagination,
Being empathetic with people and stories.

Language:
Our history and ability to reflect on the past.
We come from different places.

The Bethany Lutheran Writers

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.