The Legend of Cloud and Her Mama, Part 4
My Mama, Caron McCloud, recently participated in one of our online classes, Leading A legendary Life. During the course there is a fair amount of writing that needs to happen — and she wrote this incredible story. The next five mondays you will get one chapter of Cloud and Her Mama delivered to your inbox. Are you ready for the insight into my creative beginnings – well here is more than you ever wanted to know! My mom, is my best friend, and I am humbled and tickled by these sharings…thanks Mom. I am super blessed and I know it.
The Legend of Cloud and Her Mama
By Caron McCloud
Cloud wondered if this moving on just ran in the family. After she discovered Rumi, she was comforted and inspired by his poem that begins, “Come, come, whoever you are! Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving….”
One time when she went to visit Grandma Cloud she found her putting things in boxes. When she asked her if she was moving, the little old lady just smiled her famous Mona Lisa smile and said, “You never know. After all, I’ve already been here six months.” And when Cloud’s mama decided it was time to move on she usually moved her mom right along with them. She’d ask, “How would you feel about moving, Mama?” and the grandmother would just get up and start packing without even asking where.
Cloud never had to help with the packing and moving. Her mother said that their moving wasn’t her fault and wasn’t her job. She would take Cloud up to the mountain to stay with her other mother, Bayou Butch and the goats, her Sifu Aunti and her wild red-headed cousin Bridget who she wanted to marry when they grew up.
When her mama came and got her it helped Cloud some that she always told her they were off on their “Next Great Adventure”. There were things in the car to eat and music streaming from the tapes made up of songs her mom had put together and called their “Movin’ On Sound Track”. They made a brave start with Willie Nelson singing “I just can’t wait to get on the road again.” When the Grateful Dead came on sweet and mournful with “If I knew the way, I would take you home…” they grieved the going some, and wondered if there would ever really be a way home for them, and figured probably not until Jesus comes. But when Janis Joplin started singing “Bye bye Baby, good-bye,” with Big Brother and the Holding Company, followed by Barbara Streisand’s “Anyplace I hang my hat is home” they felt like they were tough enough. By the time Gerry Rafferty’s “City to City” was harmonizing with the sound of the road, the going was easy and they settled in to play their car games: “Shiloh says, seven sparrows sang soulful….” And sometimes they would play “Talk Show” and her mother would interview her about her brilliant achievements regarding her career in art and poetry. The car game her mother liked best, however, was when Cloud would spontaneously make up stories with involved plots and a full cast of characters with dialogue of depths that utterly amazed Mama.
When they got to their destination they would drive all around the new town, eat at some really neat little cafe, usually go to some beach not far away (as though a beach made everything okay) and then go to their new house or apartment.
All of her materials and stuff would be neatly arranged on shelves her mother had made for her brand new room with a brand new flowered comforter and sheets with matching curtains her mom had also made, and the pictures of the mermaids would be on the walls. And there in the middle of her flowered bed, she’d put the big baggedy raggedy teddy bear she’d had for as long as she could remember and who went everywhere with her. The bear had more than one name, and some of them were secret.
Cloud always loved her new little rooms, but she still cried for the first few nights when she went to bed because she missed all her friends and was just getting used to her mom’s last husband or boyfriend, and it had all happened so fast, and no warning, and besides — she didn’t know how long the new room was going to last. When her mother was old and regretting her regrets she would wonder how she could ever have thought that sparing her daughter all the details leading up to their moves would be less traumatizing than keeping her informed as the details occurred.
Cloud often took her bear and got into the big bed with her mom which would be in the living room and fixed up to look like a couch with lots of paisley silk pillows and velvet patchwork quilts her mom and grandmother had made of red gold and green. And purple. She would snuggle in and pretend that they were Arabs or Gypsies, whispering to her bear, “Wow, if you could talk, the stories you could tell!” because she told the bear even more of everything than the everything she told her Mama. And some say she still does to this very day.
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Caron McCloud writes and performs poetry, and is a member of the Washington Poet’s Association where she has been a semi-finalist in the “Bart Baxter Performance Poetry” competition three out of three tmes entered, and in 2000, besides winning a “Carlin Aden Award” for her Alexandrian sonnet, Last Trump Tango, she was 1st place winner of the “Charlie Proctor Award” for her poem Holmes Ranch Hags, which she also read as the introduction for the Alice Walker/Sue Sellars event “Neighbors and Artists.” She was a participant in the “PoetSpeak Reading Series” at Frye Art Museum in Seattle, with poems published in “PoetsWest Literary Journal.” Her poem Common Ancestry was 1 of 14 of the 400 contest entries selected to be included in the poetry contest periodical, “Saltwater.” She has been a guest on several radio shows, and was a reader for the poetry collection by J. Glenn Evans CD, “Windows in the Sky,” which is periodically played in Washington on PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, Besides publications in various other venues she has over a dozen chap books to her credit, and has recently published RACHEL’S BAG In Search of the Qabalah of Our Mothers, a book about the radical actions of Old Testament women, for which her youngest daughter Shiloh did the introduction, the cover, and the illustrations. McCloud is currently working on a book on Qabalah, Living the Tree of Life, to be used in a workshop format.