Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Two Lives

The cedar chest sat in the dusty back corner of the crawl space for many years. Nothing in particular brought it to my mind, but after all this time it was unburied, pulled out and set in the light of an eastern window to breathe again. I lovingly wiped off the cobwebs and dust and opened the heavy tapestry-like lid.

One by one I unwrapped the 1996 newspaper from each item. That was the year I left my first life and started my second one. Commemorative glassware from long-ago proms, a family photograph of a now partially intact family, Grandma's figurines, remnants of my multiple craft attempts - needlepoint, cross-stitch, decoupage, my painted wooden plaques. I wound up a music box and it played "My Favorite Things " as I uncovered engraved baby plates for my daughter and my son, and other small mementos I'd made and that had hung in their bedrooms for so long.

I sat in the midst of crumpled newspaper and piles of my old life and wept, overwhelmed at trying to reconcile my two lives with each other. I wept at having no one with which to share these memories. These items, that are without monetary value, I had put away literally and figuratively for far too long.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I'm glad you've dug it back out again. Our pasts are important parts of ourselves, even . . . or perhaps most especially, the painful parts.

And as writer, you need access to all the parts of yourself.

RachelW said...

This is the kind of stuff that makes it hard for me to swallow, to breathe, to taste my food. But I agree with Ruth; you do need to access all the parts of yourself, including the parts you intentionally left behind.

CJM-R said...

Good for you. I know it was difficult, but you did it.

Breathe and move forward.

Cheryl said...

I don't know about your other life, but it's good to come to terms, and you've done this by opening your box of memories.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this.


Julie said...

Your words have touched me deeply. I am crying as I read this. I know exactly what you mean about the old life versus the new. It's especially hard when you need to share those memories with another loved one, yet no one is there with you in that overwhelming moment.

Thank you for your kind words at my site. It has been a very rough time, and I appreciate the support and concern.

You also made me smile, because Jesus gettin' mad at the greedy money grubbers in the temple is one of my favorite accounts.

I hope you have a wonderful new year with many new memories to cherish. I enjoy your site very much.

Kim Carruthers said...

I really enjoy your blog, Diane. This post really struck a chord with me. Looking at the picture, I saw your cross stitch for Ryan's birth. I never knew his middle name- was it after Rev. Foster? I know how prominent he was in the lives of many at MUMC- my Mom included. I was just curious. Thank you for sharing all you do. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I packed my life away three months ago so I could take a journey to say goodbye to my mother for the last time. I don't know when I'll be able to unpack those boxes again.

Food for thought. Thanks for posting about it.

FranIAm said...

Diane - I am so moved. Leaving one life and starting another.

Nothing is easy.

My peace to you - thank you for sharing this with us.