We went to the old Bonnie and Clyde apartment this evening over by Oak Ridge Street. My parents have owned it for the past several years. They have recently sold it, and my mom wanted to share a last dinner there with us before its out of their possession. She made Clyde’s favorite meal which was fried chicken, french fries and creamed peas. She threw in an apple pie for good measure. As we sat around with our paper plates filled with the killer’s favorite foods (I am now realizing how weird this sounds), I thought about the apartment and the history and the days that were spent there. I love going to places and thinking about their stories and what happened in the very place that I stand.
My mom (the preacher’s wife) has read several books on the feared gang. She is such a good story teller. We sat in the family room that contains the original hardwoods and closet that housed Clyde’s and Buck’s guns. We looked out of the same windows where Bonnie and Blanche paced in front of waiting for their men to come back.
The Barrows were only there for a brief time. On their last day in the apartment, the police had stopped by because a complaint had been called in. The Barrow brothers assumed they had been discovered and began trying to shoot their way out. Blanche, Buck’s wife, had been boiling an egg for Bonnie. Bonnie had been completing a poem. As soon as the shots were fired, the women began gathering their items as quickly as possible and ran down the stairs to the garage. The brothers had shot and killed two Joplin police. It is a horrific and sad story. But, still, people are intrigued by the two young lovers. And my mom was determined to share a little history of Joplin with the kids even though it is violent (lots of history is that way).
The previous Sunday evening, I had just sat down with my Southern Living magazine, and the kids and I were watching a movie. I thought we were all comfortable and well. But, there was a knock at the door, and there my mom stood in olympic colors. It was, after all, the closing ceremonies that evening. She came in and wanted a video made for Crystal, my sister, because Crystal had been sending videos of herself doing amazing olympic stunts, like the uneven bars at a playground.
We were not ecstatic about helping her out with this endeavor. I have to tell you, I have two teenagers. Can you only imagine the response? After she kept insisting, we found American bandanas and the kids actually went and changed their clothes to red, white and blue. At this point, the kids were starting to get into it. They ended up doing a relay, a trampoline event (with all my heart, I wish I could share the video of my mom’s performance) and a basketball game all while I recored and my dad just kinda shook his head.
This was two times in one week for this woman to make memories. She gets it. She knows the importance of memories and what they mean to a family. After it is all said and done, that is what we have left.
The two memories cost absolutely nothing. She is creative, intentional and thoughtful in the way she lives. She plays four square and soccer with the kids, has taught them countless card games, is teaching Lucy how to sew, and she is always up for ice-cream with them.
Yes, I just wanted to sit and look at my magazine last Sunday evening, but I can’t imagine missing out on that evening of entertainment, connection and laughing so hard my sides hurt. Go make some memories!