“There are places I remember, All my life, though some have changed” – In My Life by The Beatles
As I write this, I’m also looking at two old photographs that fell from a book I was reading. Reflecting back, I’m reminded how connected, yet fleeting, life is.
The black and white photo shows a young ‘grade-eighter’ (me) posing for a photo in my, over-sized, new graduation suit.
“A white sport coat and a pink carnation
I’m all dressed up for the dance.” – A White Sport Coat by Marty Robbins
Standing behind me is a smiling neighbour, Mrs. Harris, who treated me just like another son since I hung around her house, playing with her three boys, so much.
In my photo, there’s an old VW “Beetle” parked in the background. I remembered my wife’s parents drove them for years. It made me remember that my wife’s mother had given birth to her during the same time Mrs. Harris gave birth to her son, Ronnie. He became my best friend until I initiated a cruel falling out… never to see his family again.
Years later, I get a call from my mother-in-law saying a funeral service for Ronnie was being held that week. I knew I had to go.
As I, apprehensively, walked into the funeral home, Mrs. Harris saw me and immediately rushed over to embrace me – like the return of the ‘prodigal son’ – even as she was saying goodbye to another. So much love lost. Was it worth it? Is it ever worth it?
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The second (colour) photo, is of my wife-to-be; just 16 and looking like a model in both demeanor and attire.
Last year, seemingly unrelated, a former band mate and I decided to reunite our old ‘60’s rock group. Of our original four members, bassist Zeke, had unfortunately died, but we felt the drummer, Robert, was still around. Eventually, we found an excellent, temporary, drummer, Sandy (via a mutual friend, Bob) to do a successful “reunion” gig at Pete & Jan’s London’s Music Club.
Turns out, Sandy’s wife (Gayle) happened to know Robert’s sister (Carol) who arranged for him to rejoin us. What are the odds?
Since then, the band, including the wives, have all become close friends; prompting Robert to show us consecutive old school yearbooks… proving that, although we didn’t know each other then, we mostly attended the same secondary school.
I laughed when I saw myself posing, sax in hand, with the school’s dance band… something I hardly remember. My wife’s yearbook photos… what can I say – “crazy”, “lovely”, “crazy in love”… still!
“But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you” – In My Life by The Beatles
My father used to say that a person would be lucky to count the number of close friends on one hand. Today, in a world where online “friends” are counted in the 100’s and 1000’s, I can hold up two hands and count myself lucky… lucky in love!