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Tag Archives: Childhood

“Primal Postcards: ‘Madeline’ as a Secret Space of Ludwig Bemelmans’s Childhood,” by Mary Galbraith

One or more pictures stand out as the book’s primal raison d’etre; that is, there is at least one picture which activates a “flashbulb memory” from the creator’s childhood and which the story explains in an ambiguous way. The manifest storybook explanation for this primal scene is benign and reassuring while the latent and historical interpretation is traumatic and unbearable.

Sentimental Value

* Lillian Li *

After my grandmother died, my mother was given all of her possessions. There was a lifetime of sentimental trinkets, of furniture that had never gone a day without its dust-protecting plastic jacket, and of strange redundancies. My grandmother left her with four refrigerators, three televisions, and twelve swatches of fox fur. My mother complained to a friend that she had no idea what to give up, what to throw away, what to burn. There was no talk of keeping.

“Dower Chest,” by Kara Van De Graf

* poetry by Kara Van De Graf from MQR 53:3, Summer 2014 *

From the grandmother of my grandmother, it lives

at the footboard of the bed, passed down to me

by my own mother. As a child, I traced

the blonde-wood petals of flowers, the garden

etched with dark walnut vines. And below,

near a lip of scrollwork, two narrow drawers kept

in check by a key. It was only when I slid

the drawers from their runners that I noticed

Festival of Lights

Before I became a mother, I thought I’d take my child(ren) back to Malaysia for Deepavali every year. For various reasons, I haven’t made that particular trip with my daughter since she was born in 2009, although we’ve been to Malaysia three times as a family.