Broadcasting

Fish Tank by Lorraine Matamoris

“How are you today?” I am in the American National Bank in Boulder drawing out money. There is music in the background and someone talking on the radio; something familiar about the voice, something familiar about the story:

“…making art, the memories bubble up. She took two cone shaped shells and she traced around them down in the lower right hand corner of the page and she turned the paper round and she looked at it and she goes: “Oh my gosh, those are the ham hocks that are hanging in the basement of my parents house. I was a little girl. My parents would send me to the basement….”

“What’s the radio station playing?” I ask the cashier. “I know the woman talking. She works for an amazing programme in Denver called Making Memories Matter.   They support people who have Alzheimer’s to create art. It’s  fantastic work. ”   It feels like I am in the movie: these chance moments; this cross-layering of experience. “The work is inspirational”.  I say. The cashier gives me a strange look. I collect my cash and walk out into the sun on Walnut Street.

The radio follows me, a different story:

Her picture was selected for an exhibition, a picture of an owl. We sent a copy to her daughter and the family called and this is what she said:

‘When I look into the eyes of the owl it is like I am I am looking to my mum’s eyes. And she is painting outward from her soul. This has been a ray of sunshine for our family.’

A lot of families get calls from care communities saying :”Oh your mums wandering, she’s acting out, we’re not sure we can handle her any more. So how wonderful that people get a different kind of call. “Your mum’s work has been selected for an art show”.

And then the realisation, it isn’t a radio playing. The sound is coming from my backpack. I have knocked the ‘play’ button on my Dictaphone. Back to my virtual travelling companions in one of my first blogs. Harold Widger. Standing in a south Devon field Harold taught me how to broadcast seed from a seedlip as his forbears had done for thousands of years; one of the last of a generation to hold the physical memory in their bodies. Harold I have been broadcasting!

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