Sitting, listening, tears streaming.
I received a lovely box in the mail yesterday from my Brooklyn boys. Among the gift items was a CD/DVD of Simon & Garfunkel (one of my very favorites!). I decided to let it keep Milton and me company this morning.
It takes me back to Easter Sunday, March 29, 1970. I'm three months pregnant and staying with my parents on the farm. My husband of 10 months is in basic training outside of Chicago. I work at the hospital in a small city, about 10 miles away. There are no cell phones and we only get three TV stations - a few radio stations. I'm off work and enjoying my holiday with family. A call goes out in the night for all hospital staff to come help. I'm unaware and can't respond. The next morning, we learn that there was a terrible fire in town and five volunteer firemen are dead, 27 people injured with 12 admitted to the small hospital. Even in New York, Chicago, L.A., Paris, or any huge city you can think of, this would be front page news. Imagine a population of 8,000. Everyone in the town and surrounding area is either friend or relative, relative of a friend, friend of a relative, works with, goes to church with, or had their life/home saved by one of these killed.
Within the next few days, the fallen were to be eulogized, farewells given and put to rest. Several of the injured remained in the hospital. It was planned to have the audio broadcast on the public address system at the hospital. My mom was working that day and I came in for the 3-11 shift. I was able to ignore the service in the guise of busyness (Didn't want to cry at work!) Until the song. S & G in their pure, melodic harmonies singing, "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
I expounded a bit about the power of music to vividly refresh a moment in time in my post 'The Song Remembering When'. Thus the tears streaming at 7 A.M. I'm back there, back then, trying not to cry, not succeeding, feeling the anguish, feeling the sorrow of the above mentioned people, feeling my own sadness at the loss of so many, so young, so dedicated, from all walks of life, brought together in death by their mutual commitment to life.
I'll never forget. No one should.
*David Lee Rotten Note: Check out the amazing Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water performance that I was lucky to see LIVE at the 25th ANNIVERSARY ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME CONCERT- Madison Square Garden, NYC - October 29&30, 2009
I love to see the jet streams high over my home. Sometimes I can count 6 or 7 at once. I don't think about the people inside or where they're going or why. I just enjoy the beauty of the white streams against the sky blue and the glinting silver of the plane in the sunshine.
When I was thirteen, our family reunion was held near an airstrip and dad's cousin had a small plane. I flew for the first time. So exciting; I loved it, though slightly motion sick. (my lifelong problem)
1970 was my first commercial flight; Pittsburgh to Key West. I've taken many flights since. Pennsylvania to California, California to Pennsylvania, Ohio to New Mexico; Alaska; Florida many times; Hawaii; Aruba; Tennessee; New York City. I so enjoy the destinations, but not the flight. Always vaguely sick, slightly nervous, cramped, uncomfortable and happy to land! It's the means to an end, necessary evil, time saver.
So, I fly when I need to see beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, desert landscapes, tropical islands, snowscapes, 'other worlds'.
Guess I'll keep looking up, admiring the sight, and be grateful for the ride.
My paternal grandfather died in his early 50's when I was three month old. We never talked about death, but somehow I always knew my dad thought he would die young as well. When I was a kid, 50 seemed very old, so it never worried me.
When I married and had children, I vaguely thought I might die young; leave my kids without a mom. I tried not to think about it-made me sad for them. The children grew up, I didn't die and leave them without a mom, and my dad lived to be 91.
I've made the statement that I always thought I'd die young, but it's too late for that now. However, as I get older, I realize young isn't so cut and dried. Doesn't have to be 20's, 30's or 40's.
I recently found out that a childhood friend and classmate has terminal cancer. She was always so fun and full of life, friendly and kind. She's too young. She should have more time.
I've only seen her a few times over the years, but I like knowing she's in the world. I won't be happy when she's not.
I saw a snippet from Dr. Oz this afternoon. I thought I heard him ask, "If you could go back in time, what would you change about yourself?"
I immediately knew the answer.
Shyness has affected every area of my life. I remember when I was very young, my aunt and uncle and cousins would come to visit from D.C. I worried for days about their arrival. Would Aunt Bonnie want to hug me; kiss me on the cheek? What if I moved wrong, bumped noses, what would I talk about? Sometimes I just stayed in my room or outside during the initial hellos, prolonging the greeting anxiety.
In high school (7-12 grades) I was so self-conscious and shy that I couldn't greet people in the halls-I was afraid they wouldn't respond and I would be so mortified. Some thought I was "stuck up". So far from the truth!
My shyness hampered me in so many ways. It prevented me from joining clubs and speaking up in class; reaching out to others and just being friendly. I always had friends, but shyness narrowed my social circle.
When I was 14 or 15, my mom wanted me to go into a small office in our small town to pay the phone bill. Just hand them the bill with the check. I was almost paralyzed with fear. What if I went in and didn't know which desk to approach? What if they asked me a question and I didn't know the answer? I almost refused to go, but I knew that wouldn't work with my mom. When she told her kids to do something, they did it! (at least this kid) I don't even remember what happened when I finally went into the office, but I'll never forget the anticipatory angst I experienced.
I enjoyed shorthand, typing, secretarial-type classes in high school and assumed I would become a secretary after graduation. During senior year, I realized I couldn't go through the process of applying for jobs. So, though I had never considered nursing, I applied and was accepted to practical nursing school. Can you imagine shyness playing that big a role in important life decisions?
Hence the obvious answer to Dr. Oz' question.
As I watched, one woman said, "My skin-it's so dry." Another said, "My hair-it's falling out!"
Apparently I misheard the question. I like my question better!
So what would YOU change about yourself???
I like lists.
Not all the time. Not compulsively, (you know who you are Jody, LOL) but a must-have when preparing for a trip. Thus my fairly comprehensive list prior to my month-long visit to New York last summer. An exciting event to anticipate and coming at a fortuitous time for me after my recent life-changing breakup.
C-pap (gotta breathe)
Then David called; DLR "Hey, you'll be here for the Naked Highway video shoot of Cannibal in Philly! Maybe you can be in it. Could you get together sort of a french maid's outfit?"
Added to the list! Happily/weirdly, I had everything needed except the apron. Bought material to take with and included 'sewing machine' on my list. So glad I did-used on several projects while there.
On the appointed day, we piled into my little convertible with all our supplies. A beautiful, sunny drive from Brooklyn to Philadelphia. Only been there once, being from the opposite corner of the state.
The building was beautiful-seemed historic-a lovely apartment and a suitably large and believably eerie basement. The director/cameraman and all the participants present and donning their costumes. The lovely body-parts David had fashioned on their platters and ready for serving. (the song is Cannibal after all) The beautifully appointed banquet table. The tasty pre-shoot wine provided.
The process like layers; Sy alone; David alone; Sy and David together; just the table. So much filming before the feast. I was watching and enjoying and sipping in my maid's costume. Suddenly, I received my first direction."Why don't you go over behind David and start dancing?"
What?! Yay for wine!
The whole experience just SO COOL and I love the finished product. The lighting, the subtle acting of the guests, the fun campiness, the venue, the props, the catchy song itself; all came together in the best way!
I hate to admit, but it is a little difficult to see myself on the screen. The years. The pounds. Do we ever grow up, accept ourselves, love ourselves as we are, enough to just enjoy and not obsess?
David excitedly told me today that some of his friends think that I stole the show.
Ignoring a lifetime of self-doubt, I will make the choice to be happy with me!
Thanks guys, for including me. I'll never forget it!
Kathy Brooks aka