In the previous post, I opened up what can only be considered my personal time capsule, a set of crates that held objects from my past. The last post ended with a reference to a list of songs scribbled on a piece of paper . . .
Some of the song names had been crossed out, so I think I must have been able to record them from the radio and onto a cassette — remember those? The photos on this post should give you an idea of what I listened to, but if you’d like more – here we go: Soft Cell, The Clash, The Ramones, Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, Romeo Void, Stray Cats, Adam & the Ants, Joan Jett, Duran Duran, Lene Lovich, Bananarama, Fun Boy 3 — and so many more. I walked a fine line between the New Wave and Punk genres, with a definite leaning toward all bands British.
Then there were the letters and cards – so many written words from a time when people actually wrote and mailed letters. I had to wonder what would possess me to hold on to all of this correspondence and as I reread them, I was struck by the energy and passion of the writers as they – we – were all on the verge of stepping into adulthood, all eager to make a difference, to have an impact on the world.
I admit that I could not remember some of the writers, and this made me quite sad. If I couldn’t remember them, could they remember me? Did they save my letters to them? I’m sure at the time there was meaning, but the years have erased that – but that in no way diminishes the brief cameo appearance they played in my life.
But the letters from people I have clear memories of – some of whom I still speak with to this day – brought smiles and laughter. Many of the letters made reference to relationship issues – theirs or mine – and what seemed so tremendous then seems so trivial now. The letters made me think of the students whom I currently counsel, many of whom face the same “huge” issues. You know, the issues that make us scratch our adult heads in wonder and say, “Really? This is what has you upset?” But you know, the issues should be huge for them. They don’t have years of life experience to teach them otherwise; it’s all part of the learning and maturing process.
At the end of the day, it was time to wrap up my walk down memory lane. Should I pack up everything again and put it all away, back into the bunker? Or was it better to do a little weeding?
As gardeners, take a guess.
I decided to donate the books – to plant seeds for someone else’s garden. Marilyn was there for me when I needed her, and I will always remember her for that. Maybe some other confused adolescent will be able to discover her through the books.
As for the music, well, I will always love ‘80s music. Many of it exists on my iPod, and each time I listen to it, I am whisked back to a local club, dancing under flashing lights. And although my knees can no longer take the pounding of ‘80s dancing, I can still bop.
I chose to burn the letters. Their sentiments reside firmly inside of me – and it’s time that that part of my life gets a chance to rest. There’s no longer a need to go back and dig up the past. It happened – and I am glad that it did so that I can be who I am today.
Many times, I forget that I’m nearing fifty. In my mind, I’m still twenty. And then I see my middle-aged reflection in a window, sunlight turning my gray hair into a halo. In the mornings, there are more aches and pains. In the evenings, if I want to go to club, I have to take a nap. If I make it to that club, I’ll complain about the electronically enhanced stuff that is said to be music and wish for the way things used to be.
What remains, though, is that passion to do something, to make a difference, to step out into the world as an adult — I’m still not there. That was one of the influences that pushed me to start this blog. And after getting to know so many of you, I have a feeling that it’s that same energy that pushes all of you to dig in the dirt and make life bloom.
Would you want to be twenty again? How about if you could go back knowing what you now know?