The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Scribe Notes:

My father was hard as an old railroad spike, you couldn’t bend him, change him, do nothin’ with him, he was what God made him.  He had it in his head that I wasn’t to date…ever, I mean, he was gonna keep me locked up an old maid in that farmhouse.  All the boys knew it, too, and they were scared of my father, all except one, and that’s just ‘cuz he was dumb.

But he was handsome.  Or at least I thought so.  He was always trying to hide those bucked teeth.  We used to flirt some; lightly shove one another and all that.

One day he slipped me a note.  It said: “Meet me in the blackberry field at midnight.”  I thought that was a little forward but I couldn’t be cooped up no longer.  I remember how hard my heart was pounding as I slid out the window and dropped down.  The grass was long and wet; I held my dress up above my knees as I ran.  I trotted up the dirt road to the field and there he was in the moonlight, holding two buckets.  Don’t you know he was a perfect gentleman…he brought a bucket for me.

I slipped back in the house and into bed without waking my father.  I thought I’d got away with it, too.  But the next morning he grabbed ‘hold of my hands and turned them over…and don’t you know they was all smudged with blackberries!


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Scribe Notes: "I met Muriel during an early-morning stop at a retirement home in Knox County, KY on 10/18/12. She sat in a wheelchair and wore a colorful, beaded bracelet she said she’d won at Bingo. We talked for about thirty minutes, and she told me she’d been married three times – “twice to the same idiot!” – but wanted to archive the memory of her very first date, which she hadn’t thought of in a long time."- M.R. Smith

Original artwork by Zoe Fitzsimmonds

Memory Artist Notes: "The medium I used were gouache, acrylic paint, and blackberries. I tried to portray the three most descriptive points from Muriel's memory of her first date: holding her skirt as she ran through the grass, how she thought it gentlemanly of him to bring her a bucket, and the blackberry stains on her hands. I used actual blackberries in the buckets and "painted" with one, concentrating on their hands at the bottom."

Tags: first date
Decade: 1930s
Rating: 0
Recorded by Matthew Ross Smith on December 3, 2013
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