Monday, May 3, 2010

Presenting Liza Turner!!

Well, there was that one time that I threw my sage green hairbrush at Leigh Ann (and I'm pretty sure that despite my best hiding attempt, Dad found and subsequently spanked me). Oh yeah, and that time we basically got into a fist fight over wrapping paper in the downstairs hallway. Her friend Kristi used to pretend beat me up. She watched and giggled.

Once upon a time, an eight year old wanted to sing the national anthem at her older sister's last high school home basketball game. Upon finding out (just a couple of hours before the game), older sister yells something along the lines of "I know she's eight, but I don't care, she sounds horrible." Dreams of superstardom crushed right alongside the self-esteem of a 3rd grader. Oh, but you know what they say about karma (who is "they" by the way?). Years pass and I found myself subjected to eye rolling and exasperated sighs and huffs. C'mon Adrienne, I put my make-up bag on "your" bathroom counter, I didn't ask to perform "Single Ladies" at your college graduation.
This weekend was a good time for reflection and reading. Sure, I did my fair share of piddling - watching both movies and the Marrowbone Creek rise to ridiculous levels - but I also spent some time contemplating, thinking about my hometown, my house, Caroline's explanation of community, and my family. I pulled bell hooks' Belonging: A Culture of Place from my bookshelf and reread a few passages that I had marked over a year and a half ago:

“We are born and have our being in a place of memory. We chart our lives by everything we remember from the mundane moment to the majestic. We know ourselves through the art and act of remembering. Memories offer us a world where there is no death, where we are sustained by rituals of regard and recollections."

“Living away from my native place I become more consciously Kentuckian than I was when I lived at home. This is what the experience of exile can do, change your mind, utterly transform one’s perception of the world of home. The differences geographical location imprinted on my psyche and habits of being became more evident away from home."

“I have returned to the world of my childhood, the world in which I first sowed the seeds of my being and becoming, a seeker on the path, the contemplative intellectual choosing solitude, ideas, choosing critical thinking. Here in my native place I embrace the circularity of the sacred, that where I begin is also where I will end. I belong here.”

I went through the boxes and bags I had moved off of the basement floor. In my old green high school backpack (which I rarely carried because in 1998 - my gosh, I'm old - having a backpack at Cumberland County High School wasn't cool. The fact that my senior picture outfit choices suggest a very low threshold for "hip" is beside the point), I found a collection of memories, seeds of my being and becoming, that reminded me why I belong exactly where I have ended up. The drawings, letters, and cards speak of silliness and happiness and love. In the handwriting, I see not hairbrushes or wrapping paper or the dawn's early light; I see how much love I have for my sisters. Notice how Leigh even put a "stamp" on it.
Last year's birthday present was a great success.
This must have been before I crushed her ego with the "you're a horrible singer comment." (00 was my basketball number)

I intrinsically "get" hooks' notion that exile makes one more consciously a native of that place that will forever be considered "home." I experience and appreciate Cumberland County in a way now that I could have never done had I stayed after high school or even if I had returned a few years ago. More importantly, however, I think I am more consciously a sister, daughter, and granddaughter than I have ever been in the past. Semantics are incredibly important to me; I get so frustrated when I can't think of the exact word or phrase that would accurately describe my thoughts or feelings. But, this is one of those instances. I don't want to call it "obligation," as this seems to denote a sense of burden and/or unwelcome responsibility, but I do feel some desire to establish a particular role in my family, a desire to more openly "be" in the family. And this is not to suggest that I have ever felt disconnected or disinterested. Instead, it is an acknowledgment that sometimes we don't do enough to make our appreciation, compassion, and love known. I think it would do us all some good to wear our various hats in a more purposive manner.

I am thankful for all those things I get to be, sister, daughter, aunt, and granddaughter. Drawings like this one are merely icing on the cake... Adrienne made me look pretty.


  1. Really was a heartwarming blog. Thanks.

  2. Thanks so much, Aunt Carolyn. I am so thankful for all of the Turners and Nunns and am so happy to be home.

  3. Isn't it funny how many things we tend to forget about over the years? I have had such a good time reading this blog. The pictures and notes your sisters made for you are too cute!! I bet you made your share of cards for them as well. After all I bought enough crayons, watercolors, and construction paper to keep you three busy for hours.

    I am so happy to have you back home. Having all of my girls close by means more than words can say. We are such a lucky family.

    Lots of Love (LOL)

  4. You forgot friend : ) Which I do believe would also apply to each aforementioned role.

  5. Mom, do you know when Leigh would have written this? She and I don't know and I'm assuming you had kept it and then given it to me at some point. I would love to figure out what exactly was the "special gift that made" her laugh:) LOL to you as well!

    C - I am definitely thankful to be your friend:)

  6. You should try to recreate the outfit Adrienne drew- I love the shoulder pads!!

  7. Good idea, Lindsey. I'll be practicing that facial expression in the mirror and be on the lookout for a similar basket.