First Quarter/Nineteen Years pg39

a colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Two Trees c1961

[Joan & Roy are my parents]

“I can leave now.” That is my earliest memory of conscious recall. It was 1959 and I was four. As the story goes, a few minute earlier I had been holding Joan’s hand when Roy got out of his car across the street. I was overjoyed to see him, let go of Mommy’s hand and ran full speed towards Daddy for a hug. There was no chance for some guy just driving the speed limit down a regular street to even slow down when a little girl ran out between cars. Now Mommy is cradling me. I sense the dark interior of the fast moving car and her strong, gentle arms. I hear her whisper her love over and over. She begs me to stay as Daddy speeds towards the hospital. And then… nothing. — Beginning of Chapter 2

It took two years for my sister and I to clean out and fix up our parent’s (then our) house after Roy, then Joan died of old age. Joan left in 2013, and didn’t take the mountain of stuff with her that she had amassed in 89 years. That mountain came with the house. The packed rafters in the garage revealed geological strata of everything from family letters to toys and artwork from early childhood. A thick roll of forty butcher paper sheets had Mernie 1963 printed on it. After months of sorting our mother’s mountain I was numb to sentiment, photographed each one and heaved the stack of brittle paper in the recycle bin. I must have been around six when I painted these trees.

A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available via