To all of you-who read my blog-let me say “Thank You.” I appreciate every single one of you!
With love, and many wishes for a wonderful 2011,
These are special days-filled with an unusual flurry of excitement, activity- and anticipation. These are the days before the THE DAYS.
This coming week, flour and scissors will be flying as we do our Christmas baking and Christmas present wrapping, and this old house of ours will be bursting at the seams as we welcome a visit from some of the people I hold most dear to me-my parents, my sister and her husband, and my Adorable (with a capital A) nephew Wil. Our old house will be alive with the kind of merry making that big old houses were made for.
I know that when everyone arrives and this Christmas 2010 celebration has begun, the time will fly faster than Santa’s elusive reindeer. And that when the last sugar cookie is gone, and the house is empty again, the post holiday depression will come crashing down.
So just for now, on this quiet Sunday morning, I am content to sit on the sofa, sip my coffee (and enjoy a handful of holiday M&M’s too!) while I bask in the anticipation of what is to come.
In my last post I mentioned how much I love paging through my collection of vintage yearbooks. I have several-from both college and high school. This year, one yearbook in particular is especially interesting-a copy of “The Edelian” from Edward Drummond Libbey High School in Toledo Ohio.
My own daughter just started high school, and I can’t help but ponder the differences between high school now, and then-1943-the year of the Edelian.
Bob Brown was the original owner of my yearbook. His name is printed in block letters on the front cover. That year, like the year before, and the year that was to come-the world would be at war. In addition to the usual concerns of high school students-good grades, dances, football games-students that year worried and wondered about classmates and teachers who had left school to join the armed forces. Their after school activities included not only homework, clubs, and athletic practice, but also pursuits that helped the war effort. (The girls below sew stars onto a flag-blue for those in the service, and gold for those who have given their lives to their country. This picture gets to me every time I look at it.)
I would also guess that in private thoughts the shadow of the war hung over almost every man and boy at Libbey High. When to join up--what it would be like to go off to fight. (Some of those boys look so young! Well, I guess they WERE young!)
This is where the story of Bob Brown has a twist. The previous summer he had broken his arm when he crashed on his bicycle. I wonder, did Bob Brown consider this to be a lucky break, or a heart break?
Today while I was at the post office a grizzled older Vietnam era clerk was at the desk and he spotted my jacket. “Hey” he says, “How’d you get a serial number on your field jacket?” “Oh this isn’t a real field jacket-it’s just a designer look alike.” I told him. He looked puzzled-“Well I’ll be darned. A designer field jacket. I’ve got three of the real thing hanging up at home.” I hastily tried to explain that I’d gotten this one cheap, and liked it because it looked neat, etc., etc. Made a verbal fool of myself. He was very kind and smiled nicely. I uttered a barely audible “Have a good day.” and left.
I got to thinking about my jacket, and other similar things-like the leather flying jackets you can buy so that you look like a WWII bomber pilot. And I though-what a big fat joke. The problem is-the joke is at the expense of those who wore field jackets, and bomber jackets during times of conflict. During WWII a paratrooper candidate who earned his jump wings also earned the right to blouse his pant legs into the tops of his boots. It wasn’t something a guy with any integrity would do if he didn’t deserve to. So it is with a field jacket. There is no meaning behind the one I have (and how could there be-because it’s not even real.) I imagine when the postal clerk looks at his field jackets there are many memories-authentic memories-good ones and bad ones-associated with his. He may even wear his jackets, but not to look cool I bet. So what he thinks of a “designer” jacket such as mine I can only imagine. (I’m guessing not good thoughts.) But typical with so many who served their country and came home-they keep their thoughts to themselves.
I’m not ever wearing this jacket again. It seems comical and ludicrous now. I’m not sure what I'll do with it. I don’t believe in wasting something perfectly good, but to give it away would be to perpetuate the cycle. I’ll come up with a good alternative use for it. (Now that would be cool.) And I’ll start shopping for a different jacket-one that I truly can be proud to wear.
The next day, however, the Ellensburg wind came up something fierce. By the time I made it back to the park, most of the leaves were off the trees, and to top it off there was a lively soccer game going on and the beautiful blue benches were covered with jackets and water bottles and exhausted players.
The photo op was gone, but more importantly, so too was the moment.
This is the lesson. I should have lingered that first night, and just enjoyed being there in that place and time. Sure a photo would have been nice-but as it stands I have neither a picture nor a very good memory of what I saw. Just a blur really
I think there is something to be said for “living without a camera”. Appreciating the precious moments as they are given to us and not letting them pass by because we think we’ll get another chance at some point.
Incidentally, my Mom and Dad are visiting England, Scotland and Ireland right now. This time they decided to leave their camera at home and just concentrate on seeing the sights without worrying about getting perfect pictures of everything. They plan to buy a lot of postcards. Wise decision.
Speaking of postcards, does anyone know where I can get a good one depicting some maple trees,and some blue benches perhaps…….