There Are Places I’ll Remember…

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Earlier this week, a treasured friend sent me this flag. She had I have shared decades of holiday travels and experiences, and even more decades of being kindred spirits. We are truly sisters from different parents.

I was touched by her gesture, moved to tears remembering us as young, not-quite free spirits, willing to undertake any situation because it was an adventure. I think we are still pretty adventurous; I’m not so sure about the young part.

I can’t get these Beatles lyrics out of my head. Each time my mind plays that simple melody, those simple, but haunting, lyrics, I cry. It was written in 1965, and I’ve been thinking a lot about that time. Our hearts had been pierced by John Kennedy’s assassination – the astonishment that such a thing could happen in our country, and few of us could fathom where our involvement in Vietnam would lead. It was the mid-60s;  we still had dreams. A simpler time, when the excitement of a US visit from the Beatles made us shriek with joy. Remember joy? Or maybe we were just young.

I’m missing those days, those feelings. So perhaps it’s not just places we remember.

Here are those lovely lyrics – I wish you a day of fond remembrance.

In My Life
There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life– I love you more
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
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On Mitzvahs

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On Mitzvahs —

A mitzvah is a blessing, freely given, and I was the recipient of many this past Sunday. I was surrounded by some of my tiny family, and by those craziest of my cat-loving friends. For we celebrated the Cat Mitzvah for our two thirteen-year-old cats, Buster and Butterscotch. One friend advised that it should have been Katz Mitzvah, but, alas, her suggestion did not reach me until invitations had been sent.

And, as so many parties that are really for the grown-ups rather than the children (or cats, in this case), it was I who was truly blessed. To share good times, good conversations, to be happy to squeeze around a table meant for a much smaller assemblage and enjoy bumping elbows and spilling barbeque sauce. To laugh when we ran out of white wine sangria and find that somehow instant lemonade appeared in the refrigerator, to be  poured by a guest so comfortable that he felt it was his own home. Well, isn’t this the best of times.

In this turbulent time in the world, in our country, in our personal lives, how wonderful to stop, to savor, to appreciate that we are surrounded by mitzvahs, if only we look.

Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

 

On Friends from High School

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On Friends from High School

 

I’ve been thinking about friendship.

And it occurred to me that rather than friends coming into and leaving our lives, what really happens is that they rise or descend to different rungs of the friendship ladder. At times it’s a conscious decision – something happens, a word is said that brings us closer, or closes a door, or triggers a chasm. Other times, we assure ourselves that life, or the exigencies of time, is responsible, although we know, deep down, that it is always our choice.

Sometimes it is we who are relegated or raised, and if we slip down the ladder of someone who is special to us, it hurts, even if we understand. Other times it is we who decide, all the while convincing ourselves that we can resurrect that longstanding relationship when we have the time, or when we feel nostalgic.

I’ve experienced this from both sides, with a quantity of hurt, a fair amount of guilt, and, occasionally, relief.

But what is it about high school friends that makes them special, no matter what rung of the ladder they occupy?

I think that it is that they knew us when. When we were on the way to becoming ourselves, trying on the different hats of self, walking like Jackie Kennedy, wearing our hair like Audrey Hepburn, hanging out at the Hopkins campus, smoking cigarettes, sure that those handsome fraternity boys would think us collegians.

They knew us when. We knew each other’s parents, who are now memories in the minds of such a few. We sat at our kitchen tables drinking cokes and sneaking sips of bourbon from the liquor cabinet. We knew each other’s mothers, and wished ours were more like them. Those with glamourous mothers wished they were home bodies. Those whose mothers cooked and cleaned and sewed longed for mothers who wore silk lounging pajamas and smoked and drank martinis. Always wishing that our lives were just a bit different, it would take us years and heartaches before we learned to appreciate gifts given by our own mothers, and forgive them for being who they were. We can only wish for the same from our daughters.

I went to a small school, all girls, all of us scattered now, though there is a cadre who meet regularly for lunch, to keep up with one another, to support and cheer one another on. I see them on my rare returns to Baltimore.

And when I do, I am proud to be among their number. My high school friends…

cynthiaschaub.com, author of Another Sunday