Memoirous is about memories. Memory-ish. Last week I taught a class in Winnetka, at OCWW (Off-Campus Writers Workshop. Not sure why campus, because we are definitely not on any campus.) I led a seminar on writing memoir. My abilities are of the –ous and –ish variety. A kind of instructing where I tie in life experience and what I think of as horse sense.
Reaching back in our mind for a memory, and from there building. One memory leading to another.
Preparing for the class I had a synapse flash of memory. It was triggered from reading the Collected Poems of Ron Padgett, a second-generation poet of the New York School (which was never a school—just as OCWW was never on a campus). There was a line hidden Valley Ranch and immediately I wanted to Google my memory banks. As a kid my family went two or three times to a horse farm in Kentucky—not even to the horse farm country of that state, closer I believe to the wasteland side, where nothing grows except commercial real estate. Hidden Valley was tucked in there somewhere.
Somewhere because even the vastness of the Internet cannot bring it up. There is no cyber footprint that I can find.
I still remember the sweatshirt my sister and I had from the ranch. A ranch of sorts. I seem to remember a concrete stables. I’m not sure what we did at the resort. There might have been a volleyball pitch and a playground with rusty playground equipment. The highlight was a guided horse ride. We were placed on sleepy dotering horses that probably dropped dead soon after the ride of old age. In the heat of a Kentucky afternoon we’d ride dusty trails with flies wasping around us. Later we’d take a dip in the pool.
It was a family-run operation, on a shoestring.
We probably had a kitchenette in our room in order to save money on meals. That’s how my family ran things. On a shoestring.
Later we’d trade up for vacations at Myrtle Beach S.C. and after that my parents (without kids) would travel out West, eventually doing a package trip to Europe, the kind where a group pulls in in a motor coach, snaps pictures, before re-boarding and going on to the next site. They loved it!
It’s hard to believe I can’t even re-visit the ranch on the Internet. I guess I’ll have to rely upon my memory. Images of rust and dust and horses long gone.