Tuesday, July 20, 2010

memories of you

Memories of You -- Ol Blue Eyes

This post has been rolling around in my head for weeks. I decided it finally needed to see the light of day, even if I can't clearly articulate what it is I'm trying to say.

Facebook has been a tremendous tool for getting back in touch with childhood pals, I'll give it that. What I haven't been prepared for is the way people remember me.

I get friend requests every now and then, and I always accept them and say what is the truth, that I never send them (well, almost never, unless it was someone I knew extremely well) because I never know if people remember me. I'm not trying to be modest, I'm being honest -- I really don't know, nearly 30 years later, what the people I knew in high school (or younger) remember of me.

To the gentleman who told me he wished he'd been kinder to me (you know who you are), you had and have nothing to worry about. I do have to say that one knocked me off my feet, though. As far as acts of kindness go, it wipes away whatever slights you perceive having made toward me. (I don't remember any, really. But that was a beautiful thing to say.)

But it's all the people who say things like "Of course I remember you! You were always so nice!" or "your smile is still as contagious as ever!" or whatnot who get me thinking. And mostly what I think is: Does life eff with people's basic personalities? Because of what I remember of myself in high school, cheerful doesn't really come to mind. ;-) And I certainly don't remember being overly kind or whatever. I remember being depressed as hell, largely, and having just a few close friends.

Was I really nice and generous and all that then? Am I now? Have the nastier parts of my post-high school life intervened to screw it up? I don't know. I know it's been forever, IF ever, since I've been able to see myself the way others see me. (Two therapists -- one current, one former -- and a friend both brought that up in the past week.) I don't think I am a particularly spectacular person. I just try to do the best I can with what I have and hope it's right.

Someone who lived just that way and who I loved a bunch died last week, and that's got me thinking too, and remembering. I don't know if he knew how much he meant to me and what an impact he had on me growing up. I have no idea if I succeeded in communicating that when I saw him last. But that I remember him unfailingly treating me as well as his own kids says something both about his character and about the way life ought to be lived.

I love you, Mr. P. And as for my childhood pals -- I don't know if I am, or ever was, the person you're remembering me as. But thanks for remembering good things.

Waking skies
At sunrise,
every sunset, too,
Seems to be
bringing me
memories of you.

Here and there,
scenes that we once knew.
And they all
just recall
Memories of you.

How I wish I could forget
those happy yesteryears
That have left a rosary of tears.

Your face beams
in my dreams
spite of all I do.
Everything seems to bring
memories of you.
Those memories of you.