Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I remember that night in a red convertible
bills exchanged in the night
a place that had colored lights
in a warm Florida vacation night

I remember the night air rushing, speeding
with the top down, towering palm trees on
both sides of the road whizzing past
My father singing “Sentimental Journey” 
Though, I may have imagined that
More likely he had a cigarette
debonairly clamped between his lips 
his wavy black hair long and slicked back
my mother beside him in the front seat
holding her hand up to hold her hair

But, I don’t really remember this
What I do remember
is simply the night we got to Florida
colored lights strung around
a car rental sign

I remember that night or the next night
standing up in a motel room
that I remember as a trailer although it wasn’t

I remember the smell of the bleach on the sheets
The feel of my hair a little damp and the smell of shampoo 
The sweet smell of flowers
the heavy wet flower scented air coming through the window
and outside – more colored lights and
music – 
dance music playing 

I remember there in the middle of older grown-ups
I could see them – not too far away
Could see them through the window next to the bed
where I stood on three-year-old tip toes
and watched
My mother in a skirt that swirled around her shins
My father in a shirt so white it gleamed
swaying so close together they shared a
single haze of cigarette smoke rising above their heads
dancing in the light 

I remember feeling that love ripple
toward me as hot and humid and sweet
as that Florida night
with a shiny red convertible 
waiting for our certain happy tomorrow


  1. Wow, this is beautiful, Pearl. I can see them, swaying there, their youth a beauty, their passion - and I can see five year old you on tiptoe peeking at them. I remember being about four, alone in the house, looking out the window at my parents digging in the snow outside.....and being drawn to the amber liquid in the decanter, wondering why it had such a fascination for them, putting my finger in, putting it to my lips and absolutely abhorring the bitter taste. Likely why I never became an alcoholic!

  2. Thank you Sherry - yours was simply stunning - I had to make a factual correction - I was three at the time of this memory not five :)

  3. To be perfectly accurate I suppose 3 and 7 1/2 months which would make me just about the same age as your memory of your parents :)

  4. What a beautiful memory! Your last stanza, a perfect close to this nostalgic piece.

  5. This is a wonderful write, Pearl. I was struck by the things remembered and the things one perhaps really did not remember....sometimes childhood memories are like that. But the scenes sounds very memorable and warm; and I could picture your mother and father AND the love very clearly.

  6. Wonderful Doc! i loved how you deliberated upon the substance of your happiness and treasured it too!

  7. Such a sweet, tender moment shared in your poem!