The Things We Remember

It's interesting how certain small things burn into our memory when we are kids, only to come back to the front when we are adults. Even more interesting to people who aren't writers is how often these things make it into our books.

As an example, one of my fondest memories of summers as a child was going to Louisiana and staying with my grandparents at their home a few miles outside of  Natchitoches, La. Many of the settings for my stories and books are based on that area. I may say it is Texas or somewhere else, but when I am writing it and picturing it in my mind, it is always there that i picture.

I have always been a voracious reader and visited the library at least once or twice a week there during the summer, joining the reading contest and always leaving with an armload of books after every visit. I can still remember sitting in the air conditioned library in a soft leather chair with the smell of old books surrounding me and looking out the back wall, which was made of glass, and out over Cane River which stood at the bottom of the hill behind the library. Often I would leave the library and wander a few blocks down Front Street, struggling with the stack of books, until I got to St. Denis Street, turning there and going to the P & C Rexall Drugstore. 

The P & C was one of those great stores that not only carried comic books, make up, assorted medical supplies and prescriptions, but also had a counter where they served sodas, sandwiches, and ice cream. To any of those reading this who visited the P & C they will remember that the ice cream scooper was square, and I can still taste the delicious chocolate ice cream cone I would eat while sitting there on a revolving bar stool at the counter, struggling to read a book without dripping the melting ice cream and waiting for my grandparents to pick me up after they had finished their shopping elsewhere in town.

The P & C isn't there anymore, stores like Wal Mart and K & B Drugs having put it out of business, and the library has moved somewhere less scenic and that I'm sure doesn't smell as musty but they will both live in my memory just as the settings still live in my book, Junebug and The Body.