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  • They're all here with me -- my brother, my mother, my great-grandmother, some friends. I keep them here in the room where I write.

    If you look close, you'll see them all. The chair is my great-grandmother, the lamp is my brother, the lamp pull is my mother, and the quilt is my friends.

    Chris made the lamp for me, fixing it so I could raise or lower it as needed. He liked working with wood, and he tended to work without patterns. He died of a massive heart attack 17 years ago while driving his family to church.

    The rocker is my great-grandmother, Katie. She was very, very tiny and she was blind for the last 22 years of her life. She died when I was 3; my only memory is of her sitting in this rocker. Somewhere I have one of her nightgowns wrapped up in a blue towel to keep it white, and I have one of the quilts she made. It's falling to pieces -- iron as a mordant does that, you understand -- but I try to keep it nearby.

    The lamp pull is a birdhouse and two birds. Mom loved birds -- she once woke me out of a sound sleep to show me a cedar waxwing that had come to her feeder early in the morning. She taught me some of their songs, and many days I wake in the pre-dawn to hear the cardinal sing, "Cheer! Cheer!"

    I pieced the quilt, and after ... well, after, several of my friends finished it for me. But that's another story.

    Things are not people. But they're where people leave their memories.

    Someday, I'll write it all.
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