Tuesday, October 21, 2008

THE CHICKEN COOP AND THE MATTRESS FACTORY

This came to me today in an email from Tut:

"Most don't stop to think, Lynne, but both having money and not having money make fantastic adventures possible that would not otherwise be possible.
Same for having, and not having, anything else.
Everyone's a winner in time and space - The Universe"


I was driving home from my critique group the other day and took a little side road, getting lost in the process, but look what I found!





A chicken coop almost exactly like the one that used to be on the back property where I grew up, except ours was longer. In one side of our chicken coop my birth dad built what has been called for sixty-five years, a mattress factory. In the mattress factory he built...well, mattresses. That is, until he crashed in a private airplane in a snow storm and died. Then the mattress factory ceased to function.

This is what I wrote this week in my manuscript about the mattress factory. You realize, of course, that I don't have "rotten sisters." This manuscript is a work of fiction, worked from scenes plucked from my real life. I have always felt cheated that my dad died before I was old enough to know him and this chapter is heavy with that regret. Here's a bit of it:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I whirled around and left her standing in the strawberry patch. I went where I always go, to the mattress factory. I was supposed to set the table for dinner but they could eat right out of their hands for all I cared.


"I sat on the sofa that my dad built and laid my head down on the arm. It smelled like dust. Pat and Julie probably watched him make the sofa when the frame smelled like new wood and the fabric was bright. They knew what the mattress factory looked like when it wasn’t laced with spider webs, so thick with dust that they looked like twine. They had watched Dad feed mattress ticking into the sewing machine when it wasn’t pocked with rust spots and the belts weren’t cracked. They probably sat on the big table and swung their legs and watched him use the huge scissors that are so rusted they won’t even open. They have clean, sharp memories. All I have are imaginary ghosts.


"I pulled the notebook out from under the middle cushion and wrote about my rotten sisters. I wrote that Mom said I was compassionate which was as bad as saying you have nice feet when everyone else is being praised for looking like Miss America.


"I stayed in the mattress factory until I was sure dinner was over and the dishes were done. When I heard the screech of the mattress factory door I shoved the notebook under the cushion and looked up to see Mom picking her way around a pile of bed springs, carrying a tray with a dishtowel over it."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, you can see why I loved the chicken coop when I saw it. It almost made me cry, it was so beautiful. And it's certainly not something people "with money" would have in their back yard. But, it brought me a whole soul full of joy and I'd give almost anything to have it in my back yard.

And then further down the road, where I was lost, I saw this marvelous tree and it gave me happiness again with it's ungainly beauty.

So, I think I was not lost at all. I think the angels sent me on a detour. I thank them.

5 comments:

tearese said...

Your lifes images are so rich, thank you for sharing them.

Cindy said...

Yes, thanks for sharing. I can just picture you there, in the mattress factory.

whirligigdaisy said...

Wow. This is super. Just what your piece needed. There must be a reason we're doing group in Mapleton.

Bonnie Sorenson said...

This made me cry the writing is so good.
I realize this is an excerpt, but i want to read the whole thing or as much of it as you have done.

JJ said...

great shots of the chicken coop, it reminds me of the one in our backyard when I was young.
You have an amazing way with words and writing keep it up :)