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  • Jayne Lisbeth

Cobwebs from My Past


I had been discouraged and derailed by my lack of creative output in words. I sit and stare at a blank yellow legal pad, thin green lines mocking me. Empty, a void, shared by so many writers before me. I will never write again, I tell myself in desolation and resignation. Then, a story is sparked from the cobwebs of my heart, gossamer trails leading to past lives, loves, towards future hopes. Stories connected in words and worlds.

Our trip to Vermont pulled me from my lethargic doldrums into my past, present family connections, old loves, ruins and joys. I looked forward to meeting our newest family member and reuniting with my oldest family member and my sister, brother-in-law, my son and his family.

This vacation to Vermont was different from previous trips


of a short year ago, to the day. I did not want to confront my past. I did not want to visit old haunts. I shied away from old places and memories as a timid horse would back off from a porcupine.

Tim asked me repeatedly, “Don’t you want to visit your Reading House, or Church Hill? Or South Pomfret?”

I looked out at the racing colors outside my window, speeding from one moment to the next. “No.” My reply surprised me. Why didn’t I want to visit these haunts of my heart? I didn’t understand why I demurred from the ghosts of my past.

We visited Amherst where I had brought my daughter home, ten weeks after her preemie birth. No. I didn’t want to visit my Amherst home either. I had done so a few years before. That sufficed.

“How about your old apartment in Holyoke? Want to drive by there?” Tim asked, looking at me questionably. ‘Who is this woman sitting beside me? Where has Jayne gone?’ I could almost hear him thinking.

“No. That was never my favorite home. But I did love the cemetery next door. Probably all gone now,”

We arrived at Sherrie and Bill’s nest, my beloved second home. Deep in the night the owls called to one another against a background of a coyote chorus. Eerie voices arose to our bedroom window from the mist of the fogged in pond. This is where I needed, and wanted, to be.



I had feared my return to my dear friend Ray’s home where his widow, Jayne welcomed me. We cried in one another’s arms over our shared grief. It was a homecoming and a new steppingstone into the future. It was also a perfect farewell to the past.


Tim and I visited the Yankee Bookstore in Woodstock where I had shopped, mostly browsed, in the ‘70s. Today the shop was thriving and I was thrilled to see that Writing in Wet Cement had been sold from their shelves. I thought that an interesting fact, my memoir was making way for my future fiction. Another new avenue beckoned and welcomed me. Definitely, I’ll approach them when Raising the Dead is released next year.

I finally realized I had already said goodbye to my past. I did not want to revisit the sad and lonely places of my heart. Reunions with my memories were not my current goal. Reconnecting in joy with my Vermont family in West Windsor and my family in Newfane, was.


As we drove through old country roads bright with blazing scarlets, emerald greens, golds and oranges, I understood that It was time to return, not to my past, but to my future. A page turned, a life loved, a part of me forever, but over. Now, there is the future to unfold, brewed from these grounds of the past to make a potent, welcoming cuppa for the start of each day.

It was time to turn the page.




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