manamowomanam evolove womanamow

Thoughts are everywhere.
Thoughts are everything.
What does it matter?
What does matter?

Ancient wisdom keepers know
and show us what has always been.
There is always one infinite ocean
frothing, foaming, filling the
vast infinity of mostly empty space
with the chaos of change,
with the chronos of time,
with the aether of union
And then, one aha moment, LET THERE BE LIGHT,
the great mother and father striving to create
a life of matter worthy of immortality.

filled only with light dancing slowly
speaking quickly
living at the speed of thought

Getting Gifting

Birthdays and holidays come around every year, But, do you ever feel a little awkward when it comes to getting gifts?

Yesterday, a girlfriend called to invite me and my husband to celebrate her birthday with a few friends, drinks, dancing. For a last minute gift,  I look in the closet,  hoping to grab the perfect gift from a shelf where I collect things for just this sort of occasion.

I originally started this collection when I was Chrismas shopping in July at a music festival. Cool stuff and good deals, thought I would  pick up a few gifts for uncertain recipients, maybe keep one for myself, maybe  take some pressure off when dealing with the inevitable upcoming holiday or birthday. All that  I am finding here are things that other people got for me. Uh Oh, No hidden treasures…  The only gifts here are the ones that everybody gets when somebody does not know what to give them.

There are a few scented soaps to choose from, one of them custom engraved with the names of the couple who got married. I missed the wedding, but they gave me these soaps for Christmas. I guess they had extras. (smell it.) Um, maybe not. Why do people always give me soap? No, I am not going to take it personally. Some people just LOVE scented soaps. I can give all of these to my girlfriend who always gives everybody soap. She LOVES this stuff.

There’s also these scented candles – I don’t use candles much, but I did like the one Day of The Dead Altar candle with a picture of Jesus with the Dinosaurs. I already gave that one away, though. What about this bag of philanthropic flat bread flour – a charity door prize from an Indigenous People’s fund raiser attended by my sister. I hope you are not listening, honey, but I am gluten free, and I have no idea what to do with this gift.

They always say that you can give a gift to someone if you would like to get it yourself. I am not sure that formula is working for me. Or rather, I question whether these gifts that were given to me were ever gifts that the giver would have gotten for themselves. More likely, they, like me, got these gifts from someone with no idea what might be appreciated, so they passed it on to me straight from their own gift giveaway bag.

This gift thing is complicated. I remember I was so traumatized as a teenager when I asked my parents for a Futon, and got a folding foam chair instead. I’m thinking of this incredible Japanese quilted bed I had seen, and instead I got this huge wrapped present of the wrong thing. When I opened it, I just didn’t know how to fake my emotions. I  felt terrible because I was SO disappointed, and even more terrible  because my Dad had really tried hard to honor my wish!

Do not expect other people to see things through your eyes! I mean really, WHY did I expect my Dad to know? This guy gets me a pet rock, and a book of Big Mac coupons from MacDonalds for Christmas. Dad, rest in peace, but you sure helped me  lower my expectations.

I guess that futon thing  started a familiar pattern where I feel guilty when I get a gift I don’t really like. I just don’t know what to say. Hate hurting people’s feelings. It’s really hard around my birthday. I just feel like hiding. I tell people “your presence is my present! and I mean it! I love it if someone sings me a song, but if they put a poem in a birthday card, half the time I can’t read the handwriting, and the rest of the time I can’t find my reading glasses. I have to admit, I think I am really bad at the art of receiving.

You know, I have heard that in China, people do not open presents in the presence of the person who gave it to them. I should really start doing that.I am so glad my step mom did not see me open her last present to me.  It was right around Chinese New Year that a gift arrives in the mail. I look at the address. She got the zip code wrong, so even though she sent it in December, it arrives in February. I open the box, and inside is this rainbow jacket – this coat of every color you might find in a crayon box. Really? Do I dress like this? I mean, do you THINK I dress like this?

I resist the instinct to put the new coat back and rewrap the box. But first, I put this coat next to a pair of batik pants and a fringed shirt that some other friends got for me on some other occasion. Its sweet that they think of me when they are out shopping for festival clothes.  Interesting how well this coat gift matches this other rainbow outfit. I see a pattern here.  I guess people really see me this way… sort of young at heart. Bright colors and the fashion sense of a flower child.

I decide to try on all these clothes, and wallah!. It looks like my friends and my stepmom went shopping together! I look for  my reading glasses and  when I find them, I look at my 57 year old self in the mirror. These  clothes of a teenager feel to me like they are  calling attention to my grey hairs, wrinkles, and the extra twenty pounds I have gained since I was in my twenties. There was a time when I might have been proud to go out in public dressed like this. Right now, it is definitely  a test for my comfort zone. I hope you’re not listening right now, my dears, but if you are, I want you to know I DID get a lot of personal growth out of the present you sent me. I just so happens that I was attending a self improvement workshop the day the gift arrived.

On day One, the group leader said, “To get the value out of this weekend, you need to take responsibility for your own. transformation. If I feel uncomfortable, I need to Own it, and Out It.” Then everyone in the group will “Support” me by focusing all their attention on me and my comfort zone. I am noticing a feeling that I need to avoid eye contact so he doesn’t call on me. This kind of support sounds positively cringeworthy to me, I’m receiving about all the support I can handle from the comfort of my invisibility in the third row.  Day Two, I decide to ENGAGE. Long story short, I wear this outfit out in public. It’s an exercise in self awareness. These clothes represent the way that other people – people who actually love me,  see me, even if it seems a bit weird or surprising or even embarrassing for me. So today I am  watching to see other people – in this case, new acquaintances and strangers, react to me… I mean, these clothes.

Hmm. Yes, I learned a lot..  I find out that dressing this wild attracts certain people, especially the other folks who are themselves dressed in TyeDye and festival ware. Their smiles are extra warm for me today, while yesterday they didn’t even notice me. And shocker, people, who are dressed in the overwhelmingly common black or some shade of corporate grey don’t want to notice me, or am I just projecting? An Australian girl holds the door for me at the restroom long enough to enthusiastically tell me that my fancy coat just made her day!

So thank you, all you lovely friends who are seeing me today in all my rainbow colors. I find myself feeling the full range of proud to paranoid, but I am honoring the love which was behind these gifts.

Hmmm. Things I don’t want, don’t need, don’t know what to do with them. My little bag of early shopping bonus bargains has become a pile of guilty gift rejections. I should pass it all on to the good folks at good will. I’m just going to buy my friend a drink and give her a nice toast for her birthday. We are really getting too old for gifts, anyway. Except Flowers. Am I the only one, or does every woman still always appreciate it when someone gives her flowers. Yep, flowers. Cool.

Moral Ambiguity

One wonders if God is watching, and then decides who God is. Words can be spoken, but understanding is chosen. Let me quickly take notes on a man who recently got my attention when innocently expressing a simple thought that I have decided is the fundamental problem with the way men see the world.

He says “Destruction takes less time than creation.”

My mind immediately flashes to a scene where a woman giving birth watches helplessly as a man pushes a button to launch a rocket to wipe out the Taj Mahal. Many would agree that pushing the evil button takes much less time than creating one of the world’s most beautiful treasures. But the woman giving birth sees the man as another son of another mother, and knows it was an act of creation that made this man and the moment she is watching.

It seems obvious that the power to destroy is a faster, perhaps more important, power than the accretive process that is the power of creation. Yet I say it this commonly held belief is false logic. In truth, creation and destruction are always in balance. It takes just as long to create the button that destroys a world as it took to create that world to destroy. The consciousness that builds the world embodies the consciousness that destroys the world. Destruction does not occur alone by itself in the moment of pressing the button. That moment is merely the fruit of a long and complex process, fulfilling the intention of the creator. As in every act of creation and destruction, intention inseminates an energy that enters the world, and the world becomes that creation.

Comparing Apples to Apples instead of Apples to Seeds is the goal of a philosopher, a lover of truth and knowledge. Leave it to the warriors to stack the truth deck in their favor, and exploit the advantages of false logic. Let the cheats fool some of the people some of the time, for there is a profit to be made. The next question then… what is moral? The impartial hand of god may not reveal the consequences of one small action until the weight of many small actions are combined upon a scale. That is why I conclude the less obvious truth. Destruction does not take less time than creation. It is made in a creative process that lives, and has purpose and intent.

A person may wonder if God is watching, or assume that God expressed his will by giving a person their reason for being. A person may say that someone who calls the world God is a child who believes fictions from their parents over facts from nature. On the scale of creation and destruction, all these thoughts are true enough for a time. Who can say what is true beyond their own knowledge, and what is created beyond our beliefs?

 

A Rainbow Lovers Life

Have you ever heard of a “rainbow sheep?” It’s like a black sheep, only more colorful. I’m pretty sure that’s how my family sees me. I’m non-traditional.  Let me paint the picture for you. In my family, kids are expected to grow up and become parents or priests or nuns. And people whisper about those (wink) uncles or aunts who don’t have a family. 

I never became a parent. 

I’m not in the mom club, I think my sisters secretly assume that I never grew up, like Peter Pan. Actually, sometimes I feel like I married Peter Pan, but thats another story. 

At this point in our lives, my sister’s kids are almost grown, and my sweetie and I are Just getting, how should I say it, MATURE. Its just us, the original empty nesters. No kids, no accidents, just freedom of choice. I love Sex, but  we never had kids and I’m not sad. I’ve been lucky enough to feel real love in my life, and I like the life we have. 

When I was growing up, I hardly thought of being a mom. I’m a Tomboy. You know that school exercise where girls take care of an egg for a week to see what it feels like to be a parent… I boil it and dye it like an easter egg and hide it somewhere. (Try to remember where)

As a 10 year old kid, I am not even sure I like little kids. My neighbor asks me to stay with her baby. This little girl never stops crying. I don’t know that little kids just want their mommies. I’m thinking What is wrong with her?  What is wrong with me? SHUT UP! Oh great. Now she’s SCARED too, and crying louder than ever! Remember, I was only ten. In my family, screaming kids get left in their crib until they fall asleep. I put her there and close the door. No more babysitting for me for a long time after that.  I was traumatized. 

I sometimes worry that I don’t have the knack for kids. But I feel like I SHOULD have kids. I mean, why else do I have a woman’s body? I have nice wide hips, probably birthing babies would be easier for me than other women. All my ancestors come from big families… Twelve kids in my great grandmother’s family, and eleven kids on my grandfather’s side… So, I know we secretly like sex a lot in my gene pool, but nobody really ever talks about it like that. But I do. I’m in the church of the big O. I think orgasms could save the world. Sex is so much more than procreation. 

As a younger woman, I could describe myself as orgasm on autopilot. While looking for love that could last a lifetime, I am vaguely expecting to settle down one day and become a mom. I feel a swirl of spirits who follow me around, hoping that I will provide a body for their souls. These cupids highlight an ideal father for me by casting a glamour of light around someone new. I fall in love with an Irish musician, or an egghead inventor, or an ephemeral photographer. Every time my heart gets broken, I learn some sad truths about myself, and men, and the world. Before I met my husband, a day comes when I kindly inform the spirit children, my maybe babies, “I’m sorry my dears. I won’t be your mother this time, I’m too sad about this world that I see. I can’t promise you what you need in this world. I’ll save you the pain before you arrive.”  They left me alone after that. 

I’ve been with the love of my life for more than half my life and I assure you, we DID NOT FORGET to have children. As the Tomboy/Rainbow/Feminist/Black sheep of the family, my choices feel SO important to me, so defining of my efforts to be a responsible woman. To OWN my OWN womb, and to CHOOSE or NOT CHOOSE to become a parent. To love sex for its own sake, and to consciously partner and parent, or not, with freedom equal to men. I am passionate about this. This is what I stand for. I am glad I have a colorful life.  This path has its own rewards. I think everyone my age should be so lucky! 

Like May West once said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”  

Suddenly Over

My mother suddenly passed away when I was twenty five. I notice the digital clock in my car as I rush to the hospital. It reads 3:34. I am already too late. The next time I see my mother, there is no life in her flesh. The funeral casket is open on a pink puffy body that is not my mother.

They say she died of natural causes, but I don’t believe it. Her doctors discovered liver cancer two days before she died. My poor mother did not survive the biopsy. It’s supposed to be a minor operation. She’s only 50 years old. They say Liver Cancer is from anger. I think she died of a broken heart. When she was 40, my father and mother divorced. I think she never got over it. She always blamed the other woman, & never stopped loving my father.

Mom and I discuss the upcoming divorce on a road trip to the Continental Divide. I am sixteen. I just got my driver’s license. Mom wants me to practice driving on this mile high freeway. My palms are slippery on the scary cliffs as I give my mother advice. “I don’t understand your loyalty to Dad. He doesn’t want to be with you any more. Why hold onto a promise you both made so long ago. You both were so young. People change. Can’t you get over it? Find someone new? Someone who loves you?” I know nothing of my mother’s pain, her broken dreams, her Italian heritage, her loyalty to her family. 

Unlike my sisters, I never become a mother. First of all, the divorce separates me from my 16 year old FirstLove. Maybe that would have ended anyway. We were so young. I become a feminist. (Headband on.) I am proud to be liberated young woman, someone who can have it all. I am ProChoice and ProOrgasm, but I don’t believe in marriage. 

The year of my mother’s death, I am living a radical life in a Haight Ashbury commune in San Francisco. My mother’s family believes I am living in a sex cult. I never had a moment of guilt or a drop of shame for my lifestyle choices. My family did all that for me.

My mother’s sister probably still spews venom whenever she hears my name… which is sucks for her because I was named after her. We never made up after my mothers funeral. She was married at 18 and had 5 kids before she was 25. It must have been stressful. She was always yelling at somebody about something!  she was the 1st person in our family to get a divorce. Talk about anger issues! My mom’s funeral reception was at her house. From a distant room, I overhear her tell everyone within earshot that I killed my mother. When I hear it, I am in shock. I can’t breathe. I have to escape. I flee the family gathering.

A few days later, I am curled up in fetal position on my mother’s couch. Her spirit comes to me. A sparkling multicolored light surrounds me. I dissolve into an inter dimensional hug. I am washed in the greatest love that I have ever known. My face is wet. My tears are fresh and flowing down, to soothe my wounded heart. She wishes me farewell and her spirit ebbs away, returning to the mystery from whence she arrived. There, in the still ocean of my soul, I discover a place where all my mothers exist in an eternal garden of memory. I soar above an endless horizon of ladies, each one a daughter contemplating her mother, who is also a daughter contemplating HER mother, back and back disappearing out of sight. My mother appears many times, during many lives in this infinite space of ancestors. She takes her place again. Then there is only light.

Its been a long time since I’ve seen my mother in my dreams. I hope she has been reborn. There is a nephew of mine who I secretly believe is a candidate for her incarnation. I never mention my suspicions to him, but he has the look. A gesture here and there. He has her kindness, her intelligence. But when we see each other at holiday dinners at my sister’s house, I keep it to myself. I also suspect, but never mention, that the reincarnation of my father is probably their dog.

Family Treasure

The difference between wealth and treasure is that you can’t take wealth with you when your days are up, but treasure lasts forever. Wealth over time might grow or shrink depending on who is managing it. Treasures over time are kept safe because they are worth remembering and preserving. Wealth is gained by knowing that money does not grow on trees, but treasure is gained by remembering that a family does grow on family trees.

There is a tradition in our family that started when I was a kid. My Noni, not sure what to gift individually to each of her 14 grandchildren, placed money in an envelope for Christmas. This gift was then perfect for each of us to buy our heart’s desire… new clothes, a bicycle, a backpack, or just savings for a rainy day. It simplified the burden of shopping, or offering something as a gift that was not really appreciated by the receiver. For Noni, it was a way of turning wealth into treasure for her family. For us kids, it was great, but I can’t say I really remember what I spent the money for. For me, the memories blur and the gifts are forgotten except for the honorable tradition. It was a fun way for us to celebrate the holiday with our Noni and each other.

The history of money and the future of money are very interesting stories, and have shaped many a lifetime on planet earth. For the last few Christmas holidays, feeling kinship with my grandmother, and not knowing what gifts would be truly appreciated by my family, I have been bundling money with stories. One year, I shared the stories of Benjamin Franklin’s face on the bill, pleasing I hope to our very own namesake of this founding father, Ben. Next I looked into the seeming magic of $2 dollar bills, and found that, historically, there was none. This year, I am once again sharing the wealth and the treasure, but in a new way.

One thing about money – over time it becomes less valuable unless you find a way to spend it on things that increase in value. That is a flaw of wealth in the current economy. Prices go up as more and more wealth is added to the economy to keep pace with growth and spending over time. Value is subjective, and people always have an incentive for prices to go up, and never down. That creates endless inflation, which is hard to predict and often causes problems in the form of boom and bust. What I mean by this is illustrated by a couple of facts of modern history.

For instance, when the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican American War, the forced Mexican Cession of the territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México to the United States cost our government $15 million. In addition, the United States assumed $3.25 million of debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Look how much wealth has grown since 1848, when 18.25 million dollars in cash and debt was enough to buy the rights to govern and sell all the land in the states of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada plus parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. Today, there are mansions on just a few acres that cost as much.

The value of a dollar inherently goes down over time, and keeping pace with inflation is something that makes planning wealth for old age very challenging. Senior discounts were invented to have compassion for people on a fixed income. The common belief in the last 100 years was that a senior could plan to have enough income for their needs  if they owned their home by the time they retired, and saved enough wealth to have a monthly income equal to their salary at retirement. But as pointed out by economist Jeremy Sachs in his book “”The End of Poverty,” the per capital income required for a basic standard of living increased by a factor of 8 between 1960 and 2000. That means a person who retired in the 60s with an annual planned income of 10,000, which was lavish at the time, would need $80,000 annually in 2000 to live at the same level. Instead, social security levels only increased to $12,000-$20,000, or twice what they were. So a few decades of retirement can cause someone on a fixed income to lose three fourths of the value of their saved money. Thus, our treasured elders may find themselves in need of wealth, or face the tragedy of poverty. Same as it ever was.

Income is different than savings. Income is the receiving end of consumption. Every time a dollar is spent, somewhere, a dollar is earned… well, less taxes, discounts, rebates, and giveaways. But, in theory, the best antidote to poverty is income, rather than savings. Thus, as the economy grows, and the value of a dollar inherently goes down over time, there is a constant source of new revenue that keeps pace with real values. If inflation is a disincentive for savings, it is just the opposite when it comes to debt or consumption. While inflation creates a “use it or lose it” attitude about saving money, it rewards people who are looking to close a deal now before the price goes up. And that is good for business.

This is probably the main lesson one learns in running a successful business. If there is more coming in than going out, you can stay in business. If you spend more than you make, at some point, the business dies because it has to consume more resources than it makes. Businesses that know how to price things high enough to cover cost and sell with a profit. The flexible and subjective price must be low enough to get rid of inventory before the bills are due, spending money to make more… well now we are getting boring.

Wealth can be boring, but wisdom says that if you take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. Pennies do not go very far in today’s world. The other great wisdom for business owners is called economy of scale. Some people create a tiny amount of value for a huge number of people, while others create a huge amount of value for a single patron. The bottom line means that when you add up all the time and effort, you have reaped a profit from the seeds you sow with the irreplaceable treasure of your time.

If you eat a lot, and never use the energy to exercise, you get fat. If you count your calories, you can see the relationship between the energy units you ingest, and the energy units you expend. My dad used to say that he stayed skinny even though he ate a lot because of a blessing of his anatomy. He ate like a horse, but he shit like an elephant. That is equivalent to binging and barfing. For him, it was built in. Sorry, I could not resist saying that.

I am offering you all a story for this holiday, and for the next one, Christmas, I am offering you a new idea for creation of personal wealth and family treasure. For me, treasure is made of memories, and memories are made of stories. I am inviting each of you to receive wealth in exchange for a story. I would like to meet our family ancestors, especially ones who have passed, like our grandparents. If you send me a story of your ancestors before Christmas, I will send you an envelope with money.

Write the full name of your ancestor(s) on the title of an email, or a letter. Place the story inside and send it to raindropsunchic@gmail.com or Sun Marian McNamee Lundell, Box 1176 Boulder Creek, CA 95006.

And check out this link. Happy Thanksgiving. Love, Auntie (SUN) Marian

TEDx Black Rock City, Woergle Experiment

Where are We, and Why?

Where do memories live? Are my ancestors alive because I dream at night of their spirits, and I want to know their stories? Can I consult my DNA in deep introspection to find continuity in the stories of their many lives? The dream memories  I find are not crisp and clear, nor easy, nor alive. They are secret and forgotten. They are scary and sad and confusing. I don’t know if these lucid others are imprints of past lives or fears from my nightmares. Humbly, in good faith, I ask my parents, angels, and other personal guardians for a guiding light through the silence of the many lost years. I research, imagine, and write for the sake of clarity and art.

Although there is much more to say about our Grandparents themselves, I do not know them well enough to share their stories. I leave their living memories in the care of our living relatives who know their stories by heart.

The sites I visit on this journey into our family tree explore locations where familiar strangers lived and died. My tour of the past discovers addresses where they lived and worked alongside countrymen and cousins. I scour passenger logs from ships where they travelled to and from distant ports in Italy. I find people without names captured forever in undated photos of our family. Are they relatives? With luck and detective work, a tomb stone displays a name and the date they died. Perhaps the stone is near a matching stone belonging to their spouse or their parents. In  just 100 years, lives are reduced to scattered inconclusive clues found in places where they signed their names, or places where tragedies they lived through are published in old newspapers.

Our journey back in time to the era before our grandparents takes us to the city of Chicago. Historically, this time of great progress, with associated upheavals and societal change, occurred during the decades after the Civil War, after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and before the beginning of World War I.

I take us now to 1850, apparently the birth of our Noni’s grandfather. His grave can be found in Chicago near the tower tombstones marked “Familia Matalone.” Our mother’s family began to dwell in America when her great grandfather, Giuseppe Matalone, arrived in America. On his 1896 naturalization papers, signed by his friend Vincent Mangano, he claims that he arrived in the USA in 1880, and his lived continuously in Chicago since then, intending to become a citizen.

In the future, some say we can upload our brains and clone our cells, so immortality will be more feasible in a single body than ever before in history.  Is a person made of space and time, cells and molecules, breath and heart beats? When these are past, what makes a person who they are in the afterlife? Are memories living things? Where do they live and who feeds them?

I began to record and edit stories from “the real time movie” with my husband, Allan Lundell. AKA DrFuture, he prides himself on being a geek who loves all things future, such as audio and video recording tools, AI (artificial intelligence) AR (augmented reality) robotics, cloning, nano medical strategies, and anything weird that might fit under the category of future evolution. We manage a business which turns our stories into movies, radio shows, and  treasured memories which we are leaving in the form of digital records for the future.

Is a person contained in their body, a particular face with a heart and a brain, a unique torso that’s walking around after the accident of life? I wonder what makes a person who they are. Nature & Nurture? Experience and beliefs? Myth & Magic, or Science and Ceremony? Philosophers advise us to “Know Thyself.”  It is not clear if this divine self exists as a part of my immortal soul or as the temporary guardian of my mortal body.  I find the story of MEE to be an emerging identity that rests on a lifetime of beliefs which have been added daily to a collection of subconscious memories and imagined dreams.

As an early digital ancestor with no living biobabies, I may not survive long in the memory of my “7 generations” genetic lineage. Instead, I offer those who love and remember me this emerging story of MEE. I offer as much authenticity as the moment will allow to deliver this state of the art, mythic family history. The story arc is from the center out, woven in traditional print and short form videos from my personal myths, memories and family stories. That is my gift to future Kin.

Not to be forgotten, Son of a Crystal

Perhaps dreams allow us to time travel and visit the worlds of our ancestors. Last night my father called me on the phone and told me to come because he was having some trouble with my Grandmother, his Mother, Francis Isabell MacCrystal. Does her name ring a bell? (haha) With a name like that, I am guessing she did not want to be forgotten.

In the dream, I was feeling a bit of her old-timer’s disease myself. I felt my dream father was calling me to help her remember. He told me telepathically to watch an old home movie of her. The movie that played showed my dad as a boy wearing cowboy boots and his hat. The silent picture sounded like an old chattering projector as it played a black and white short reel that was filmed in super 8 in the days before talkies. There was no picture of my grandmother, just her son as a young kid. I headed over to help him find her memories, but I got distracted along the way. Instead I woke up to remember the dream, and reflect on my father, his mother, and memory.

My Grandmother Fran was not the same as his Grandmother, “Ma MacCrystal.” Our Las Vegas cousins perhaps remember stories of these women, but I do not. Apparently she was born in Utah, and by the time we were born she was very, very old. Our dad was the youngest of 7 kids. He was born 20 years after his oldest sister, Fran, and 10 years after his youngest sister Ann, the one who he says raised him. Grandmother Fran was the first person I knew who died. Her husband died before I was born, so I did not know him. I guess that is how I will always remember her.

When the Scots and the Irish add a Mac or a Mc to the name, it means “son of” the name. MacCrystal was the son of a Crystal way back when, no doubt a sparkle in his mother’s eye before the day he was born. I have always felt proud to call myself Irish, as a lover of words, stories, and bardic traditions. Now the DNA tests available dispel my dear myth by telling me the Irish is only 8%. Ah, leave it to the Irish to exaggerate the facts for a good story.

The Irish part of my father’s family had the name McNamee, or son of MEE.  They came from county Monahan, leaving behind the lacemaking village of Carrickmacross in 1847. For these and other stories of our personal luck of the Irish, my father and I conspired to make a video of our family history, We showed this gem of genealogy at our centennial family re-union in 1999. In a half hour romp through the facts of our family history, we entertained the relatives with the tiny bits of family memory we could trace from five generations of grandfathers. That film is available for interested fans who ask me for “The Story of MEE.”

I have been noticing that the deeper I delve into the stories of my ancestors, the fewer the clues and the more there is uncertainty about the facts. As I imagine their stories to embellish thin memories, I am cultivating an insight about life. Over the course of a lifetime, a baby grows from one who has no language or memories, to one who learns stories from their parents and then from their own life. At some point, the personal story ends, except for those few stories that live in the memories of others.

As I age, I can feel an increasing number of gaps in time, as I live ever more in the constant NOW of new memories. My ability to play back my memories is expressed in a quote from a friend’s 99 year old mother, who recently passed away. She was asked by her doctor “How is your Memory?” She answered, “Great, as long as I don’t use it.”

As I swim through the universe of time, feeling the waves of form that constantly flow into new forms, I pause in wonder. Memory is that which is paused long enough to share, repeat, replay, and remember. Like hair, it gets longer as the memories pile up.