Mon, September 7, 1998

Labor Day.

A photographic memory isn't one of my gifts. In fact, it's one of the things that's making this whole thing tougher. If I could reach back into my huge bag of memories of Amy and her 8 years, I would have something to look forward to. Spending time with my memories, letting the feeling of her presence sit with me and keep me company from time to time.

The reality is that I feel like I'm scraping for the memories I can find. Here's a picture of her sitting in my lap in Char's class at Bach school, listening to her teacher read a story. What's the story? I don't remember. Who was sitting next to us? I don't remember.

I remember pretty vividly some bits and pieces of life in California. I would get out of class, get on the BART train, and get off at the Bayfair station. Then, I'd get on the local bus (one of the lines they wanted to discontinue because there were so few of us riders - I remember only four or five during 'rush hour') and ride down to Diane's house.

If the weather was right and the other kid weren't keeping her too busy, Diane would be out at the bus stop (which was right in front of her house) with Amy in one arm and her diaper bag in the other. The driver would stop, give us all a smile, and wait while Diane and I swapped stories about the day and exchanged baby and supplies.

Now, I'm trying to remember which BART station was which. Either the bus looped from Bayfair to Bayfair, or I got on and off at different stations. I could probably recreate it by checking a map, but the stop in front of Diane's house was the part that mattered anyway.

How many times did I drag her to used book and record stores down on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley? We'd pick up something for her to snack on, then she'd camp out in the backpack/child carrier while I looked through stacks and bought more books that would sit on my bookshelf and never get read.

Amy developed exactly the opposite habit. She didn't have to go looking for books, friends would give her stacks of books when mom told them how much she loved reading. And she didn't let them stack up, she'd attack them and devour them, reading 120 page books in a day, day after day. There were probably lots of things she didn't 'get', I remember asking her if she understood everything in the books. She said 'no', completely unflustered and unapologetic.

She was reading and enjoying it and that was enough. Dad wanted to give her comprehension quizzes, explain the niceties she was missing, talk to her about 'I wonder what that girl was feeling when she crossed the bridge?' (occasionally I'd read one of her books and then try to engage her in conversation about it). She'd answer a question or two, then give me one of those "come on dad, I'm trying to read here..." looks and that would be the end of that conversation...