Saturday, January 29, 2011


Sometimes, I write poems

Because BD and I were traveling during the holidays and because it's becoming just impossible to successfully schedule time with family, this past weekend I was finally able to give my mom her Christmas present. 2010 brought about some big changes for my family. Big as in, my mom got remarried. Big as in, that changed everything. Big as in, I'm the last and slowest to adjust. As a result, 2011 will bring about even more big changes, such as my mom selling our family home. The goal this year was to give her something relevant to the house, something timeless, something that would evoke positive memories. Plus, it seems we are approaching that time when it becomes suitable to give your parents things you want to inherit. It was an obvious choice once I discovered San Francisco artist Paul Ferney's Commission Project. The result is a small 5 x 7 inch oil painting of our backyard swing. I couldn't be more pleased with it.
The original photograph taken by BD, winter 2009.
The Swing. Constructed of 20 foot high telephone poles, the swing had a direct impact on the geography of our neighborhood. It was hard to miss. Ours became the home with the swing. And we were proud of that. Above all, the swing was my imagination station. The place where I could become anything at all. I could swing really high, stand up, close my eyes and pretend I was flying on a magic carpet. I could straddle the bench and pretend I was riding a horse so fast I might get bucked off. Sometimes I did get bucked off.
A little Gina Bina about 10 years old, swinging side saddle like a pro
I wouldn't even know how to calculate how many times I saddled up to that swing. But if it were possible, I think the number would be somewhere in the ca-billions. Or thereabouts. I would swing when I was happy and care free. I would swing when I was upset or needed time alone. I would swing my niece Marley to sleep while humming Dave's Satellite when she was just a tiny babe. That girl loved to swing.
My darling nieces Marley and Shelby share a best friend swing
Alicia and Kyle swingin' August 1993. Kyle is not too sure about this quality time with his precious sister.
On summer days Dane and I would fill the run track with hose water, hold tight to the bench, back way way up, and jump! to let the swing carry us splashing through the water feet first. We called it water skiing. My parents called it babysitting. My brother Tom and the older cousins would climb all the way to the tippy top and line up like birds on a wire. Jody and Marci would stand on each others shoulders and swing. Brook would climb up the chains and twist and flip herself between them like an Olympic gymnast on rings. On summer nights we slept outside under the shadow of the swing and in the morning would pile all the blankets and sleeping bags together and jump off into them. As a family we played bocce ball up and down the yard and in between the telephone poles, taking turns giving underdogs when it wasn't our throw.
Gladiators of the Swing: Brook, Christian Hurst (we think ?), and Tom, 1980-something.
I smile big when the grand kids come crashing through the patio door, breathless, panting "someone come push me!" It's true, there is nothing more validating than getting a big push from a bigger kid. I could certainly use more underdogs in life. Reminds me of being so young, knowing there's a view of the swing from the kitchen sink window, "Mom! Look at me!" I would holler kicking bare feet straight up, just swinging my little heart out.
My nephew Jackson swing jumping after a backyard sleep over, August 2008

It's always been there, the swing. Despite having survived 30 plus winters and three generations of Richman offspring, it is getting old. The wood has rotted in spots around the base. The nails are rusty and popping out. I know it won't stand forever. It's a little rickety, but it still swings. When the house sells, the new owners may choose to take it down to make room for a hot tub or fancy jungle gym with a rock climbing wall. Someday I know it may end up as firewood. I'm secretly hoping, secretly praying, that it will stay up long enough for me to swing holding my own little one, humming Taylor's Never Grow Up, and dreaming of everything they will be.


Diana said...

That swing is historical to the Richman fam! LOVE your post! It brought back memories when I used to come over and swing. I remember the first time I laid eyes on it, thinking..."that is the stinkin' biggest and coolest swing ever!'.

Two Wheeler said...

Great memories there!

-m- said...

what a beautiful poem and painting!

C*K*J said...

I love everysinglething about this post. xo

{lizzythebotanist} said...

absolutely perfect.

Alex said...

awesome post.

Marriott + Ali said...

loved the poem, and the trip down (your) memory lane. What a sweet gift for your mom.

Elizabeth Madsen said...

What a perfect, amazing gift. I love how sentimental you are! It's one of your best qualities. :) I'm sure your mom loved it. It will be a family treasure! And the picture of you at ten may be the cutest little girl I've ever my life.

Shauna said...

oh Gina you never cease to amaze me with your amazing perspective. I too remember some good times out on that swing. thanks for sharing.