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Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Mother monument--Ashland PA



Elizabeth said...

only they are preferably made of stone, and look like this.

Chuck Olroski said...

Elizabeth: I see some anguish in your comment, and decided to make comment.

After supervising the cleanup of a diesel fuel spill on Rte 61, our crew and I went into nearby Ashland, and for first time ever, saw this unusual monument, back in 2003.

As my mother Mary passed away in December 1992, at 69-years old, I decided to climb the hill's steep stairway and get close to the Mother statue, just like Linh did. There I contemplated my mother and how estranged we became during the final ten years or so of her life. I recited a "Hail Mary" and returned to the street below. (Note: Bible-Thumpers like me tend to be mindful of the Catholic prayer which asks God, to "remember me in your kingdom.")

Suddenly, an elderly & lame lady came toward me, and out-of-blue, she pointed at the monument, said, "I wish they called called it Our Lady of Memory... people nowadays don't know how to treasure their memories." A bit wordless (for a change), I remained silent, and then she said, "Can't you see how people forget how to treasure their history and where they came from..., both good and bad?"

Again my final years of my mother's life were stormy. Deeply troubled by her lot, and having taken her alocoholic brother in her home, Mary became ill, developed a nervous condition, and began to pull her hair out so much that she had to wear a wig. At public events, such as Wakes, I was ashamed to be with my mother for fear of outlandish and hurtful things she might say to people.

Going back to your deep comment, "only (mothers) are preferably made of stone," I came to realize how easy (particularly during bad times) it was to forget the sacrificing "mother" that Mary Orloski was to me. Elizabeth, I was an only child..., spoiled, my father had good paying truck driver job, I had things most young people were denied. However as an old coot now, I came to understand and treasure my history, and such sequence sort of fits-in with what the elderly Ashland lady said about the monument, "The Mother of Memory."

Thanks a lot, Mother Elizabeth, this was quite a heavy talk for 8:00 A.M., and for me, the Ashland monument is always heavy too. Wish you well!

Elizabeth said...

Anguished, yes, but delighted also. You are one of those blessed ones who could tell a new story every minute, every hour, so thank you! Here, I just found this bit of dulcimer:

The demise and finally death of my mother is a very painful thing. I had an awful spat with my daughter last week and I fear that I will never ask her to forgive me.

Chuck Olroski said...

Elizabeth: I'm likely older than you, and (to some degree) I have come to terms with being able to forgive those who wronged me. From March 2002-March 2014, I had two particularly intelligent bosses who became the #1 and #2 Top Tyrants of my entire life. #3 is a co-worker who was my company owner's top henchman, and who once called my sons "retards" in front of me and fellow employees. I so desired to punch this guy in the face, but just a couple years ago, he died. Today, I'm working on forgiving all three, but given my intact memory, it's hard to forget what they were.

In fact, Elizabeth, the hardest thing for me now is to forgive MYSELF and how I wronged a number of people.

Later I will view the video you recommended, above. As you consider asking your daughter for forgiveness, it may never come, b, unwillingness to forgive, ask for forgiveness. The classic & very moving music can be found on You Tube, titled, "Adagio in G Minor." A corresponding picture of a large & complex city is provided, and sunshine is depicted as having broken through.

Old saying, "sunshine is the best disinfectant," and I thank Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Adagio for helping me see how much every person on Earth needs disinfection. Wish you well, will be busy for remainder of today, and that's that for my sermon-of-the-day, thank you!

Chuck Olroski said...

Elizabeth: Am in such a stupid fervor of rushing around, and consequently screwed-up my comment, above, deleted a section. I ask that you listen to Adagio in G Minor (on You Tube)like I have done in the past, and return to it on special occasions of grief, having been disappointed, let down. The music might be the saddest piece I ever heard, but there's a redemption in the strings. All my life, since Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan Show, music, even the angry heavy metal stuff has had influence upon me. Wish you well!

Elizabeth said...

Try listening to this one, Chuck, and get back to me. I miss you always:


About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.