I took a break Sunday to visit my son in N.H. and catch up on his rapidly changing life as he prepares to head off to film school in August. It’s exciting to see him blossom and feel his independence. That’s our goal as parents, right? “If you love someone, set them free,” Sting sings.
My own freedom has come via the road, leaving behind the safety of the women’s memorial. This was another leap but as I wrote in the last blog, the reaction from the library staff has been wonderful. Today officially I’ve signed on to stay in Amherst for the entire summer. And with the rare offer of monetary compensation. My landlady told me this morning she knew of the extension before I did. Life in a small town.
It happens to be the town I grew up in. It’s also a town I recognize like I now recognize faces of some of the classmates I knew forty years ago: different, but familiar. I hear through these people of changes to themselves and others, names jarred from my memory, some with sad endings. One person can’t invite me to his house because his wife is a hoarder. I asked of the senior in high school who gave me guitar lessons as a seventh grader, a guy who exemplified cool. I was told he became a successful lawyer (for just causes) but now lives in the clutches of MS. When I think of how smoothly he played that Gibson guitar, making it ring with perfection, I’m saddened by the thought that he’s only got the memories of his talent. I want to see Alan.
I’m old enough that our class yearbooks were printed in black and white. I see photographs in friends’ houses of their parents and early childhood, all in black and white. I find myself staring at these images imagining them in color. I want to paint them all though it’s not possible. But I’m feeling the connection as I have for the WW II photographs. A gift was handed to me today: the time to reconnect with Amherst.