All in a day

It’s amazing how a lifetime can come down to a single day. I am in the process of packing up my mother’s house to move her to Louisiana and am amazed by the memories contained in her home.

Photos on the wall from Dukes, Grand Hotel, Collier and company…
Children who were not yet adults by creeks that looked like raging rivers to them at the time…
Young eyes full of hope, dreams and promise…
Long forgotten songs with the #1 beside them in a magazine called Billboard…

Life encapsulated. Lives… encapsulated. Fascinating.

Hard to know with every coffee cup, photograph, stuffed animal and thing “As Seen On TV” which ones need to make the journey. Surely they don’t all need to survive the move.

But who am I to decide? I’m in the pictures, on the cups and maybe even provided a stuffed animal or two but what do I know?

It’s not possible to know what someone else holds in an object. The simplest of things can contain memories so emotional and vast that someone may be willing to give their lives for its protection.

Dramatic..? Consider the source.

I’ve been going through interviews for “Smothered” lately and noticed what  strong emotions come from a shared experience. The cast appears to all remember the experience fondly. I’l bet they all have something in their homes to commemorate the experience. Something that won’t mean anything at all to one of their children or grandchildren sometime in the future who may be moving them somewhere else to live out their lives.

I wrote a screenplay about finding something in my mother’s house a few years ago. Something dark. I default to dark when I write. More on that later. The point is that the object I found held memories for me. They were sitting there in that box waiting patiently for someone like me to visit. To give them life. Wings. One glance into this box and I was 8 again. 10. 13.

Memories are amazing things. Perhaps they are what novelists are speaking of when they write of time travel. A memory is very nearly like being there. Songs and smells do that for me too.

How about you? What triggers memories for you? Good ones… not so good… great?

By the way… I’m going to go get a bigger truck so I can pack it all. Who am I to decide which of my mother’s memories make it to Louisiana?

On the road again!

49 thoughts on “All in a day”

  1. Your “Smothered Experience” video says a lot. Very enjoyable to watch. Love the ‘panda eyes’…funny!

    I think we unconsciously assign memories to certain objects, scents, etc. We can’t be aware of all our memories at the same time. This way, when we see a certain object, it brings it’s long buried memories to the forefront for a bit while others recede. Good for avoiding bad memories as well.

  2. John, I am glad to hear your mom will be with you, i think you will be able to spend quality time with her again. I know she will be excited for that, all moms are lol.. You know i have many dukes items, and some of your personal items which are mostly signed by you lol, and i know how much items mean to people. I think if i lost all my memorabilia a part of me would be missing. Looking at these items and pictures may bring you back to happier or more precious times. You are a great guy, and i am soooo happy to hear your mom is doing well!!! I’m happy you are taking her belongings with, it will help her feel right at home! Take care good buddy!!

  3. I just really wanted to thank you for taking time out of packing your mothers things to let me get a picture with you. I watched you as Bo Duke and my son and I watched you on Smallville. You really made a bad day so much better. 🙂

  4. Angela,
    Forgot the most important part: blessings on your surgery! Will be praying for you. May your family have you to treasure in person for many, many years. God bless you & yours. 🙂

  5. I think memories are great and I also think you taking the time to help your mom move really shows what a great and loyal person you are. In this world today you don’t see that much anymore.

  6. Take it all. Pack all like items together, and let her decide when she/you unpack. Anything unwanted, have a yard sale or auction to pay medical bills or CMN. My mom & I have been through similar situation twice. It’s going to take more than one day! Have a packing party!

    If you unpack together, it will be a good bonding time you two haven’t had in a long time. She needs that with you at this time in her life. I agree to preserve the memories associated with the items. The video tape is a great idea. Also, maybe a journal with photos. Have your mom & you do a memoir to publish or just hand down to your kids and their kids, and so on.

    Don’t let this wet Tennessee Spring weather dampen your mood. Open the windows and let the fresh rain scented air come into her home. My mom & I are available Saturday, May 17, to help if you need it. My #615-582-1903. Text or call.

  7. Hi John,

    I give to objects, especially when they are given away, a sentimental value; I remain very badly when the items are broken, get ruined, lost, orstolen. I also have items that are related to the memories too beautiful notlike the keyboard.

    I think that in Louisiana you have to bring items that speak to you inthe sense that the people who come here know who is the one who made it possible to build a studio film production, while that which has great sentimental value, because full of memories to let your mother.

    All memories that you have found in your mother’s house, are the expression of your mother to say how proud of you, his children.

    I love it when you talk about your memories and how you place in frontof the memories of your mother related to your career, his children, I alwaysmove deeply. I love it when it comes out your entire humanity, sensitivity,delicacy.

    See and read the two emails made me very happy, I was heartened, theymade me feel less alone. I have more desire to see your film, the promos, the demo and the trailer I calm the fear or anxiety for any reason I come.

    Bye, Tiffany

  8. Blessings are sometimes and usually when we least expect them. To be open to their unexpected joy is the best gift of all I have found,

  9. John I Mailed Something Out That Is Very Special Just For You And Your Mother They Are Homemade Crosses That I Did For You And Family And One For Your Mother Can You Tell Me If Your Mother Got The Package In The Mail That I Send Out . You Can Text Me On My Cell Phone Ok 1-814-389-5424 I’d Like To Hear From You Thank You Very Much . Thank You
    Lisa Day
    P,s, Your Loving Fan

  10. I have a box of ‘junk’ that I keep to remind me of how my, now 18-year-old, daughter once was. Not that I don’t enjoy watching her grow into a young woman. But gone are the days when I she can’t fall asleep without a kiss and a hug from Mommie.

    The bad times in our lives leave behind scars and hopefully lessons learned. Their memories fading so that we aren’t hindered from living our lives to the fullest.

    The good times, sadly, also fade. But we can keep little reminders of those times to bring back the sights and sounds of these little emotional jewels from our past.

    My box of treasures has locks of curls from her first hair cut, all the teeth I have bought through the years as the tooth fairy, and every Mother’s Day card she has ever written for me- the humor changing in their words from sweet to sassy. There are report cards, home chore charts from the summer we had to bribe her to take baths, and favorite toys long forgotten. But mostly, this box holds warm memories of the hardest job I will never finish – being a mom.

    Let your mom have her truck of stuff. I am sure every piece is a treasure.

  11. wishing you all the best in the care of your mom. it’s hard but rewarding. I always said mom took care of me when I was growing up now it was my turn to take care of her when she needed me. it is funny how the roles reverse in life. Bless you for caring. A… B….

  12. Okay John really delve into the memories I have are beautiful as souvenirs transaparencias projector and super 8 movies and I appear there as a child and this is very wonderful old photos it gives me a lot of emotion

  13. Thanks for sharing your heart with us on this blog. You truly have a beautiful one.
    You are a great son to your mother and I’m sure she couldn’t be prouder!
    Memories? Sometimes we run from them…sometimes especially the great ones. People, opportunities, we’ve thrown away.
    But lately I’ve been in the process of examining and embracing all of mine. Even the negative ones. Going through all of my old photos and scrapbooks and making digital copies to share with my son. (Got BRO?) Sparking sooo many things I’d forgotten.
    Music for me is also very powerful. Smells, sounds, of course locations. I traveled across country last March to see my son graduate from BCT @ Fort Benning, GA. Couldn’t believe how many things came back as I drove through places I’d only been once before.
    Very sweet of you to honor your Mom’s memories. Little things do matter so much to us moms! 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing your heart with us on this blog. You truly have a beautiful one.
    You are a great son to your mother and I’m sure she couldn’t be prouder!
    Memories? Sometimes we run from them…sometimes especially the great ones. People, opportunities, we’ve thrown away.
    But lately been in the process of examining and embracing. Even the negative ones. Going through all of my old photos and scrapbooks and making digital copies to share with my son. (Got BRO?) Sparking sooo many things I’d forgotten.
    Music for me is also very powerful. Smells, sounds, of course locations. across country last March to see my son graduate from BCT @ Fort Benning, GA. Couldn’t believe how many things came back as I drove through places I’d only been once before.
    Very sweet of you to honor your Mom’s memories. Little things do matter so much to us moms! 🙂

  15. I’m glad you decided to pack all of your Mom’s things, John. I bet she’ll really appreciate it and when she feels up to it, she’ll go through everything. I believe that memories travel with their objects as well. When my Mom passed, I kept alot of her things that I knew had sentimental value for her and consequently for me. Good luck with the move! I’m glad your Mom’s dogs are being well cared for too!

  16. I enjoy all your post but this one was close to my heart. I have always had the passion for shooting video of my family and friends. Over time, I have accumulated a very large video library. That is the one thing that I hope gets treasured by my family years after I am gone. I have been able to capture so many wonderful moments with my video camera. One example is video, after video of beautiful memories I have of my dad who has now passed away. Losing him was the hardest loss I have ever experienced.
    Looking at me you would think I was a very healthy woman. I workout everyday and I feel great! You would never know that I am going to have to have heart surgery in the very near future. This will be my 2nd heart surgery. The first surgery was when I was a baby so I don’t remember it. Now being an adult and faced with this upcoming surgery it’s a whole different story. It’s so true about what you said how a lifetime can come down to a single day. That single day is coming to my reality sooner than I really want it to. On that day, I will go into the operating room knowing what they are about to do to me and that is so scary to me. It’s the fear of the unknown.
    I am glad you are getting a BIG truck to load up all your mothers things. I am sure she appreciates that very much! May I suggest while you are unpacking and if she is well enough. Try to video tape her telling you about some of her memories of those special things she has saved throughout the years. Your friend, Angela

    1. Angela, (also my real name, incidentally), what a great idea to film her memories! How valuable that would be to posterity who may not have a chance to know this woman. Her thoughts & feelings would be a precious family treasure.

  17. John, you are an amazing man, writer, director … a kind hearted man with a deep soul , even when you go to the Dark place lol…Your ideas that come from there, your scripts, your ideas…simply amazing… I too, am glad your mum is doing better, and will be with you !! As for the memories, we all have them , but how nice , it was for you to open a box of memories, and see pics, and items you see all the time, but for your mum to of kept them seems to mean more ! how cool was that to be brought back to your youth!!

  18. Memories and objects can keep your soul alive in the craziest and darkest hours. It can be as simple as a note, a pic, a stuffed animal. A physical object that provides a feeling of being safe and loved. From a person who has spent WAYYYY too many hours immobile and on bed rest it is not the magnanimous things that FILL OUR HEARTS it is the tiny things that HEAL OUR SOULS! Prayers and Love being sent for your MOM. Home is where LOVE IS! 🙂

  19. John, I am so glad to hear you are getting a bigger truck so you can take everything. I have sat and listened to your mom talking about some of the photos and other items in that house. Yes, so many of them hold memories for your mom. She needs those memories to go with her to Louisiana.

  20. So thankful to hear your mom is better. You know we have all been keeping her in our prayers, we all owe her so much. All of your fans are her fans, too. And speaking as a mom myself, as long as you’re happy, she will be too. All best wishes, and she will continue to be in my prayers as she recovers completely.

  21. If you need anything, Matt & I are available tomorrow. My mom and I are available this coming Saturday. Check your FB messages. If you call from your mom’s number, I’ll know who it is to answer since I know her number. Don’t forget to check the attic.

  22. Or if you need any help packing, Matt & I are available tomorrow. And my mom & I are available on Saturday. Check your FB messages. I also have your mom’s number on my phone, so if you call from there, I know who it is. I can get boxes. Don’t forget to check the attic.

  23. I hope the dogs are moving with you. I’m really familiar with that memories room. Let me know if I can help. I’m sooooooo glad you are doing this. She shouldn’t have been living on her own.

    1. I’ve been saying that for years, Dianna! That house sits on such a steep hill. I know her neighbors to the right of her, they help, but it’s better she’s with a family member. I think we ought to have a packing party this coming Saturday, May 17. I can get some banana boxes where I work. They make great moving boxes, as they are big, and have a place to put your hands when carrying it.

  24. Wow, big changes for you and your mom, I hope you have all the support you need!

      1. I hope So to John,It is very Hard for one Person to do every thing.All I have Is Home Health when They come check Her Health Issues.Every thing else Falls to Me,It’s Both emotionally and Physically Hard on One Person,So Please take care of UR Self and get the rest U need,I know it can at times be very hard..Yet I know UR like Me Push UR self to the Limit at Times.But,I’m so Glad UR Moving UR Mom close to U so U can be there,for her.And I do Understand How Proud Of U she is and all those Wonderful Photo’s and things she has kept Over the Years,I’m Glad U choose to take them with her.Memories no Matter what are great to have,I’m Glad I have some of my Memories..No Matter what I can think Back and remember and Smile..Have a Safe Trip take Good care ..
        All ways and Forever..

  25. Director John, I am always impressed with your sensitivity at life’s little events. You have the depth of understanding and the height of wisdom to choose the words that fit the mood. Yes, you reveal much about yourself in pondering the precious memories in your mother’s house, and each one of us possesses a shared experience that you define so well. Good luck withe the impending move to Louisiana where she can be closer and happier living near you. Best of everything for SMOTHERED, as I know it will be a big hit!

  26. It´s been a long time that you have not written, and now, you come back with a beautiful blog! I have a box full of video tapes. Old Video tapes full of memories, but ….what will happen with them in the future when I am not here anymore….Maybe they will be sold in an antiques shop. 🙂

      1. it is good to hear you are bringing your mom to Louisiana with you. Nobody can take better care of her than her son and it is great you will be able to have her near you and create new awesome memories together to add up to the ones you already have. Enjoy having your mom with you, get advantage now that you still have her. I wish I still had mine.

  27. Hi John – It is going to take you some time to move your mother’s things from the rehab center to Louisiana but I think that is a very smart move on your part. She will be where you can keep an eye on her, etc. You are not only a terrific actor but a wonderful son! There are very few people in this world who would take on the responsibility of taking care of their parents, but then you are a unique and very caring man.

  28. It is funny how we hold such sentimental value in photographs or stuff toys, but we all do it. I certainly know I do. Things I hold most dear are photos of people who are no long with me or paintings my son did when he was younger. I think it’s mainly because they bring back memories for me. Good Luck with the move. I hope your mum is happy in her new home in Louisiana. Glad to hear she is doing much better now 🙂

  29. You are a wonderful son to help your mom like that.I have a stick that has moved with me eveywhere I have ever lived! To other people it would seem silly but to me ,it was my first fishing pole!My dad taught me to fish at very young age.it is something I enjoy to this day .It always makes me feel closer to him.At the time we didnt have money for a fishing pole.That “insignificant” stick meant the world to a 3year old girl.Still means alot to a 46 year old woman! Have a great day John.Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.Linda Adams

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