I've been thinking about the pink brush

Three days of remembering. The image of a pink brush from my childhood has recurred every morning upon waking and while exercising and while preparing dinner and while unstitching a number of wrongly-stitched pieces and while gardening and now. The persistence of memory intrigues me.

This is not our pink brush.

This is not our pink brush.

When I was about 13 our family had a favorite pink brush. We brought it with us on camping trips, it was stowed in my mom's purse on shopping trips, we argued over it in the morning. It had bristles that were soft but strong, a handle that fit perfectly in everyone's hand and a full-throated tickling when you passed it through your hair. It generated static electricity that delighted my brothers.

And then we lost it. It might be at the bottom of a cold lake in the upper reaches of Ontario, or, buried in a sand dune on Lake Michigan. It might have been left at a road stop in Minnesota, a neighbors house in Illinois or a picnic table in Wisconsin. It's gone. That I know. To this day I miss that pink brush. I have looked for one like it for years.

Why does such an insignificant object hold so much real estate in my mind? It represents my mother who died 5 years ago this month. My father, who died 13 years ago. It brings up thoughts of family vacations that smelled like fish and cold water. I can remember the feeling of it through my hair and the sound of it when mom stashed it into her purse. And the way the purse clicked when she shut the little metal clasp.

Memory box, Paula Kovarik

When I stitch I try to channel these unsolicited memories into something that makes sense to me. I can't remember people's names but I do remember their faces and the way they make me feel. I don't remember algebraic formulas but I do remember the street maps of places in which I have lived. I don't remember movie plots but I do remember the tastes of my grandmother's strudel.

Pink brushes, cold water, mom and dad, strudel...these are a few of my favorite things.