Last Night I Dreamed that Dream Again

Last night I dreamed I went to Bowcraft again. Bowcraft is just one of those many New Jersey things. Bowcraft is an amusement park in Scotch Plains, NJ.

The sweetest dream.

Before that, though, Cassidy was doing my homework for me, again. (in real life) The wonderful thing is that although I still leave things until the night before, I now get paid for my efforts. Also, sometimes I do things the morning they’re due, just like in college, but those papers usually led to high grades. Like my paper about September 11th after interviewing a man (a friend) who saw, heard and forever internalized the impact of bodies hitting pavement. And don’t get me started talking about my 12 page paper about Walt Disney’s life and legacy. I wrote it an hour before it was due and got an A+. These days, my writing is often a lot less intense and sometimes less inspired, although sometimes much more of everything. I don’t get grades anymore but I get paychecks. Sometimes they seem too high for what I do, and sometimes they seem too low.

That’s my thing to work out, though.

Anyway, Cassidy was helping me with my assignment, only he was in pain and he was grumpy. Eventually I took over for my own project and finished it wonderfully, but not before putting both kids to bed. It used to be easier, but now there are monkey shenanigans, stories, and the right order of blankets to be placed. My stories are often ridiculous – like passing gas stories or pranks I pulled – and sometimes they’re about 4th grade teachers and what my father was like when I knew him.

I have this thing, though, about the way I remember people and how they made me feel. Safe. Or not.

Sometimes the stories are unsaid – like when I sank down last night into one of her giant, pillow animal things and she said, “You can stay as long as you need..” And then she put her “Grandma Bella” blanket on me. Grandma Bella was my father’s mother and she passed away when I was in college. She had knit a blanket for the first grandchild, or at least the first grandchild within my own family. Grandma Bella never got to meet Scarlet Bella, but I think they’d get on just right – everything clicked into place – not unlike the robot Cassidy was making for me, until I took over and made it my own.

When Scarlet put that blanket on me, I sank down into a wave of grief – for all that has been and all that won’t be – but gosh, what WILL be. I sank down and I had the dream again – like a million different versions of a story in my mind.

I dreamed I went to Bowcraft again.

Bowcraft is just one of those Jersey things. Maybe even more isolated than that. Maybe just one of those central Jersey things. Bowcraft is an amusement park in Scotch Plains, NJ. It’s not huge like Great Adventure. It’s not really tiny either. Actually, it’s sort of just right. It’s where I got over my ferris wheel fear so well that it turned into a ferris wheel obsession. I started low – stuck at the top with a view of a Chinese restaurant and an ugly highway. Since then I’ve learned to love ferris wheels that give you a stuck-at-the-top view of the ocean. Or mountains. I’ll never forget my first, though.

My paternal grandparents took us to Bowcraft a lot when we were kids. We lost them within a year of each other over 15 years ago. Sometimes, often, I’ll find myself dreaming and thinking about them. I’ll send my sister a text about a dream or memory I had of them and she’ll reply with something like, “Yes. I had an intense dream about Grandma last night too.”

You know how it is when you go places as a kid before you have a concept of geography, space and time. My other grandparents lived in the Fort Lauderdale area for six months of the year. One day we went to Orlando instead and I called it “the other Florida.” You don’t think about the factors that got you to where you are. You got there. You’re there. Places are feelings and atmospheres and memories. Sometimes it’s like the man behind the curtain to find out where and what they actually are. Sometimes I’d prefer to think of them as floating memories with snippets that catch my breath in dreams.

I always remember my grandparents in terms of the senses that still greet me in dreams:

Sight – The blurry sky above me as seen from the underwater depths of my grandparents’ community pool.

Sound – The alarm clock she had that used to play, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.”

Smell – A musty den on a rainy day. Shalimar perfume. Blue bayberry-scented candles.

Taste – Rainbow sprinkles. Pepperoni-topped chef salads.

Touch – Cool sheets thrown laughingly over my head as I lay in a guest bed on a summer’s night.

Feel (which is maybe also touch) – My head thrown back with the wind in my hair on that very first ferris wheel.

These bedtime stories lead to the sweet dreams – sometimes hers, sometimes mine – and always in between. This is what sticks. What you tell them, where you take them, how you greet them, how you treat them, how you treat their father too.

And how you tuck them safely into bed. Every night. Sleep tight. Sweet dreams.

Do you have places like that – to show up in your dreams?

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


Last Night I Dreamed that Dream Again — 9 Comments

  1. Aw, what a wonderful dream indeed and love that you had it! On a side note, I also can’t help but love that Cassidy helps you with your workload. Seriously that is awesome and sounds like it is a true family affair 🙂 <3

  2. I was just thinking yesterday about how we all dreamed about Grandma Bella and she wore a beige suit. You give me faith that my grandchildren will carry the memory of me long after I leave this physical plane.
    Your words are glued to my heartstrings.

  3. That’s wild that you and your sister both dreamed about your grandparents on the same night! Most of my dreams are in the house I grew up in. I think this is pretty common, as I’ve heard other people tell me the same thing.

  4. It is funny how things are so different in our memories then they are when we revisit them now. I think the holidays really remind us of people we have lost. I have to say that a Pepperoni topped chef salad sounds absolutely wonderful!

  5. So many lovely photos as always Tamara like the ones of you and Cassidy with your kids, you with your Dad and with Lindsay, and Des with Mr.& Mrs. Santa Claus. After 72 years Bowcraft’s existence may have come to an end. No website or social media pages to be found. I really enjoyed that little amusement park. My high school and some classmates that I knew well occasionally come back to my dreams just as l knew them back in the day.

  6. This is so beautiful, Tamara. I can feel the coziness of Grandma Bella’s blanket and how sweet of Scarlet to take care of her mamma. You are passing on the gentle traditions of your Grandparents before you. Bedtime is such a wonderful ritual (mostly). It can be harrowing at times but the stories and when they’re finally tucked in and quiet—nothing sweeter.

    Recurring dreams can also be wonderful if they have the right atmosphere. It sounds like yours is definitely connecting you to your past memories with your grandparents. Or they’re connecting with you while you sleep and are open to visits?

  7. Oh so beautiful, Tamara. I love how you detail your memories with so much feeling- all your senses come alive and it astounds me how much you can recall. I just love the way you live, the way you remember, the way you embrace each tiny delectable detail of your life story with truth and depth like no one else I know…

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