A Memoir by Doreen Frick
I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love.
His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows,
the water passed through his shoes, — and the stars through his soul.
January 13, 2021
It feels like an April afternoon, spring breathing into the skies, minus the cloudy rains. It feels like a day for a calm sweet walk, a call to my brother to ask the questions it never dawned on me to ask.
What sparked your interest in cars?
It was sweet to hear him try and think of why, to let him reminisce about his teenagerhood, buying car magazines, trading cars with this friend down the street, and that man in Rockledge. Changing out an engine, getting stuck midway, choosing an engine for his Science Fair project, all, he admits, with very little skills in the mechanics of it, but hey, why not try something with cars since college was never something he wanted.
Asked to drive the Opel Kadet (a piece of junk that never started when it rained, the car my mom had to push with Dad’s T-bird to get it going), on a New Year’s trip to Florida when he was a senior.
Dropping off the Opel to Dad’s parting business partner in Sarasota, the car went with the business, Dennis was more than happy to take it down there. A stop-off at the Orange Bowl, a winter road trip to the sunny state, a “boy” on his own, that open road kind of thing Dennis gravitated toward.
Buying an old tow truck for $200 with a hand crank for chaining up and pulling wayward cars left behind in apartment complexes. The early business of his early married life. The beginnings of turning what he likes into what he can make a life from, like glass bottles tossed from ships, churned in seas and worn smooth, broken and glistening waiting for children to find on sandy beaches.
Finding new homes, repurposed into jewelry.
We are always finding things that sparkle and shine. Oh, our vehicles are wearing their road dirt, their leftover snowstorm coverings, the grit of sanded roads wanders into our rugs from shoes forgotten from being removed, quick trips for ice-melt and antifreeze remind us winter is not over, it’s just in reprieve.
We put the coffee in the cabinet, stocking up for a windy tomorrow, put off washing the car for another day. We’re busy in the business of living, thanking the birds for stopping by, remembering the day when we were little, sitting around the kitchen table, wondering how it is your big brother Dennis talks so much.
Keeping track of how many words he actually uses during a meal, he starts to think something’s weird over there, yelling over the table at you to ask what it is you’re doing on that little notepad in your lap. You, smug and really into this now, telling him nothing, smiling, waiting until the meal is done, while you insist your brother stay just another minute and your brother keeps bugging you as you’re counting up all your marking lines (one line per word, a slash across four lines to denote five) and then announcing with your own sense of importance,
OK NOW. . . . I’ll tell YOU just how much you talk.
I think he didn’t like that little game, I wish I’d kept my notes. I bet it was over a thousand words….without saying it, or maybe by proving it, maybe I just wanted to get a word in edgewise.
And now you want him to talk.
You call to hear him talk.
Doreen Frick lives in Nebraska and loves to write one story a day. She grew up writing letters and one day she was all grown up, living in a little cabin in the middle of the woods in Washington State without a phone or running water. That was when the stories began to grow, and thankfully, they’ve never stopped. She kept track of every sniffle, every recipe she tried, every new step her little children were making, writing them in a diary she kept. Many years later, Doreen handed that diary to her grown daughter just before her daughter’s wedding day. But before she did, Doreen penned a memoir so she would know from whence she’d come…