An envisioning. . . 1939 and the villa near Pearl Harbor.

Oh to be here.

Hawaii and the sun just beginning to set. World plunged into darkness soon but not yet. No dusk or blue light, but friendly people and the scent of frangipani glorious.

Mornings to watch the waves while the children are in school. Afternoons spent playing bridge at the club with a big gin and tonic.

Home by five and sitting in the breakfast nook watching the children eat their supper. Big dinner in the dining room and then up to bed.

Husband with a big job in the navy and a chestful of ribbons. So many places lived in that who can remember. Hopping around the world like a kangaroo but never sticking long enough to make memories. Christmas parties with Santa and toys for the children draped in palm fronds one year and icicles the next.

Language after language but none of it sinking in very deep. Venice with its canals and Okinawa with its beach.

Home as a series of boxes and furniture that always sits in the same place no matter where you are. Same napkin rings on the same table with a background that’s always in flux.

But home and that all that counts, even if no one would have thought that back in Wales. No one ever leaving or having pets gone and buried in backyards spanning all the oceans of the world like a necklace of memories that purr.

But the old cigarette cards in the bottom of the trunk in the closet and a private memory that goes on forever . . .afternoons up under the eaves in the little room at the end of the attic and another world . . . ships with swimming pools of their own and ending up with one’s own pool even if it doesn’t have torch-like things and columns like the picture in the book of Homer at the school . . . a blessing.

"Swimming bath, Franconia." Churchman's Cigarettes cigarette card. Vintage.
“Swimming bath, Cunard liner Franconia.” Churchman’s Cigarettes cigarette card. Vintage. Image © The New York Public Library. Fair use license. via

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