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Posts Tagged ‘reminiscing’

So tonight I was looking over some of the things that Liz is having to go through to prepare for college now at my Alma Mater, UNCG.

Of course my brain started wandering down through the halls of time dragging up memories. And I really tried, but I don’t have any really good memories. One or two half decent ones but it’s mostly just a blur. I have a few good Memories of Little League Baseball. But even they are overshadowed by the bad ones and my failures both on and off the field. Sports in general were not good to me. I did have a perfect record going in wrestling in highschool but then I won one.  (Actually it was a forfeit) Eventually I did legitimately win a match.  It was a bitter victory because it hit me that there was a bigger loser than me out there.  I kept thinking, “how bad do you have to be in order to be beaten by me??”

For the life of me I can’t dredge up more than a handful of good memories. Fishing and hunting with Bill Harris are a few. Camping out in the woods, eating Beanie Weenies and farting all night with the four guys I grew up with, (two sets of brothers and me an only child… Keith and Greg, Bill and Craig) too bad we drifted apart. Rather I drifted away. 

I was always so busy trying to get to the next stage in life… I never really lived life to the fullest where I was at.  Now, as the song says:

“The friends I made all seemed somehow to drift away

And only I am left on stage to end the play”

My children are all adults now. Yes, 18 is young but she’s still an adult and I’ll treat her as such. I have found people tend to rise (or fall) to the expectations you set for them. Treat them as adults they will be adults. Treat them as weak victims…they will become weak victims. 

Reminds me of another song:

“Where do we go from here now that all of the children have grown up

And how do we spend our time knowin’ nobody gives us a damn”

Socrates at his trial said, 

“The unexamined life is not worth living”

I would also include the life that has been examined and found wanting is also not worth living. It’s merely an existence to be endured. 

So, as I look back, all I can see are the pot holes, the overgrowth, the failures, and nothing of worth. I never knew how to live so I’m saddled with a current mediocre existence bent on the necessary before the good, and the immediate rather than the best. 

And before I get sermonized, I get it. See, this is my lot in life. This is where I am, where I’m supposed to be. And I am trying to come to terms with my place in life. 

Yes, I know who I am “in Christ Jesus,” that does not change who I am, and where I’m at in life. One is spiritual, the other is in the flesh or physical. My salvation does not change my past, put rose colored glasses on my past or improve my past. The facts of my past, and my rembrance of my past remain unchanged.

So tonight I waded through the wastelands of my memories hoping to find a few good memories to salvage and all I can come up with are counting the weenies in the beanies and all night farting contests. That’s about par for my life. 

C’est la vie, c’est la guerre

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As a young child growing up in the 60s there were things that excited me.
The drive-in theaters, car hops, Christmas (yes Ebeneezer Grinch was excited by Christmas as a child), Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving (in fact all the holidays), my birthdays, School, summer vacation , Vacation Bible School, Ice Cream trucks, Baseball games at Ernie Shore Field, The Dixie Classic Fair, and just riding in the car with my family, while perched on the “hump,” elbows on the back of the front seat, and watching the world go by through the front windshield.  (back before the government found the revenue stream in  mandatory seat-belt laws)  Times were simpler and there was still a little wonder and awe left in the world.

This was back in the day before the lawyers and licensing fees killed using nationally recognized characters in local advertising runs.  You can see a nod to that in the movie, “A Christmas Story” where the “Wonderful World of OZ” characters get in a tiff with Mickey Mouse and Disney Characters in the Parade.   In the 60s you could see plenty of it in local advertising. It was a tit-for-tat where the local guy got some recognition from using a nationally known character and the parent company got free publicity for their characters which they re-released every eight or nine years.   Which brings us to the item at hand.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was re-released in 1967.  I was 4 years old at the time and I don’t remember if I saw it at the Drive-in or the indoor theater.  But it was about that time that the houses, and plywood cut-outs of Snow White and the Dwarfs showed up in a clearing at the corner of Silas Creek Pkwy and Reynolda Rd. I remember I would get so excited to see them when we drove out that way.  Eventually  it became a yearly Christmas tradition for our family to go drive by and see the little houses decked out for Christmas.  There was a Blue house, a Yellow house, I believe a Red on and a Green one?? or maybe one of them was white?  Any-who, it was a landmark in Winston-Salem in the late 60s – early 70s.

This past fall I caught a glimpse of  them one day when driving down Reynolda Road and told myself I needed to stop in and document what I could before they were torn down or completely rotted away. Today I made it a point to stop and go take some pics.  I parked over in Reynolda Village and crossed Reynolda Road at one of the busiest times of the day but it didn’t matter,  I was on a mission to visit a piece of my childhood 46 years after the fact.

 

It was surreal as I stood there looking at the little houses that had so fascinated me as a little boy.  As I took photos the memories of those drive by encounters with the houses and  characters I had seen as a child kept flooding my memories. Now, here I was visiting them for the first time almost a half century later.  I was a bit shocked, and excited to see one lone character still keeping guard over the little buildings, a Christmas choir boy.  It was as if live wire was laid across my memories recharging them and given them new life.  There he was, just as I remembered the Christmas scene from so long ago.  I did not disturb him.  I merely captured him for posterity.

 

These days, I find myself reminiscing more and more.  I have more days behind me than I do ahead and my mind seeks refuge from the  storms of modernity.  I know I can’t go back but I find comfort in the past… my past.  Times were just a bad, but our response to them was different.  I wasn’t old enough at the time to  understand Viet Nam, the Civil Rights movement, and the sexual revolution.  I only knew my family and the good times we shared in taking a simple drive every so often to view and to share in the  art of someone’s handiwork, who had created a visual fantasy that a small boy found joy in seeing… and an old man enjoyed finally meeting face to face.

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It was like going back in time, that’s only the 2nd time I’ve been back there in 38 years.  The memories were so thick I couldn’t process it all, I was overwhelmed. Standing there on the soil that had shaped so much of my childhood.   I could hear the sounds of days gone by, smell the hot dogs cooking at the snack bar, hear the banter on the fields, feel my cleats digging in at the plate, the pitch, the swing, the ring of my favorite old red, aluminum bat as it made contact,  the feel of it, knowing I got all of that one as I head down the line towards first.  So many Saturdays were spent on those fields. I got choked up seeing they honored my old coach, Bob Dalton, by naming the complex after him.

So many memories both good and bad flood my head.  The feelings that accompany those memories are coming at me to fast to process.   I stand there under the now giant oak trees and remember they were only saplings back then.   My dad stood along the fence over there and…  I have to leave before I start crying.  Everyone knows there’s no crying in baseball.  phillips-bridgeIt’s all I can do to choke back the memories, and the emotions that accompany them.

To my son, I apologize for being so damned selfish, and disguising it as righteous holier-than-thou religious bullshit in not allowing you to have the memories I have from playing baseball. I hope you can forgive such a selfish old man.

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