Monday, January 21, 2008

What if it all was just a dream?

I woke up confused this morning.

That's not an entirely new occurrence for me, but it happens rarely enough that it still manages to throw me. For a couple of seconds, I couldn't remember where I was or even what year it was.

One thing that compounded the problem briefly was that the clock radio was set to an oldies station and "My Heart's Symphony," by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, was playing. That's a song you rarely hear, and it was popular during the summer between our junior and senior years.

I smiled to hear it, remembering at the same time that it was 7 a.m. on a Monday in January 2008 and I had to hustle to get ready for work. But the song stayed with me and I was humming it during my 43-mile commute.

I don't dream about high school. I don't know why that is, but I do know that I have been thinking about those days a lot more since I went to the reunion in October and then started this blog.

When Dale posted the 1967 yearbook the other day, I spent a few hours going through it page by page and bringing back memories. I saw people who had been my friends but had completely vanished from my memory. I remembered playing bridge at lunch in high school, but I sure didn't remember that there had been a bridge club and that I had been the treasurer.

I read a story once in which the writer compared the passage of time to a river. When you're young, the river is a lazy, meandering stream; by the time you get old it's a raging river.

My river has been raging for some time now. I don't know if I have 10 years left, or 20, or 30 or more. But I know I've changed. I'm not that kid who listened to Gary Lewis sing in the summer of 1966, for better or for worse.

I think of the kid who was terrified to ask girls out and I smile.

I think of the kid who walked the halls with his head down and I sigh.

But I think of the young soul who really believed in the goodness of others and the beauty of the world and I can't believe I was ever that innocent.

Was it real ... or was it all a dream?

Maybe a little of both.


Dale Morgan said...

Mike, that was beautifully stated. You summarized what I have been going through the last couple of years, although I could never have put it into words as you did.

Between my 35th college reunion last year (and the planning meetings during the prior year) and this high school reunion, I have had so many reflections. I have not just reflected on high school and college memories, but my entire earlier life which really is a mystery since we flitted about in the military until I was 15.

I am hearing of so many illnesses in so many of my friends and family and I am not sure whether that is what is making me so reflective lately or whether we have come to that age when it is what one does. Many of my friends are either retiring right now or plan to retire sometime in the next few years and they are trying to focus on what they have always wanted to do. And, surprisingly, that is not an easy question as most of us have worked all these years just to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. I chuckle to myself when I hear those words put to 7 year olds..."What do you want to be when you grow up?" I haven't figured that out myself yet!!!!

I think my flitting in and out of those old memories to the present help me remember where I was heading once upon a time, before reality hit and I had to just get a job. I'm still working on it, but the bottom line is that the dress rehearsal happened a long time ago. We are all in the moment right now.

Anonymous said...

well written, dale & mike !

nan...a fellow dreamer.

Sean Kennedy said...

I agree with Nan... well stated you two.

Of all the blogs I read, I enjoy reading this one more than any other. And the reason is not because the posts are from old (and new) high school friends. Honestly, it's because of all the innocence that is revealed on these pages.

Exposing your thoughts and feelings for others to read takes courage, trust, and an innocent belief that others will read it, not ridicule you but honestly reflect and respond to it, and in the process reveal something of themselves. That innocence demands trust.

Revealing something about yourself can be comforting, but it can be a dangerous pursuit, too.

After reading about the great job Dale did for all of us by providing online access to the senior yearbook I came to the thought that this blog continues the dialogue we ended in 1967 when we wrote in each other's yearbook.

Remember how we wished each other well, we hoped that the life we were about to pursue would be filled with adventure and happiness. We wrote that we wished we had time to have known each other better. This blog helps to continue those notes and to help answer some of those hopes and wishes we had for each other.

The insights that I've received when reading these posts deepens those connections. They provide more context. More importantly, they spark a genuine admiration.

Based on my life experiences I have realized that the character of the people that I have known NEVER changes. Yes, their interests, talents, worries and concerns, all of those evolved. But the character hasn't changed. Whatever character was revealed back then is still on display today.

Sure we may be more outspoken, we may care more about certain issues, but who we ARE never really changed. It's just that this character becomes revealed, either to others or to ourselves.

The more I read these posts, particularly of those who I do know, that belief is true. There remains a great deal of innocence among this group.

I wish I had known some of you better at WTW. The talent, the kindness, the caring...they tell me so much about you. I wish it had not taken 40 years to learn it.

Mike, it was not a dream. Maybe we lose our innocence when we stop dreaming. I believe the innocence is still there.

Dena said...

Well said, the three of you. You wax eloquent while stating truth.

Certainly, our life experiences in all these years have offered many opportunities for gaining wisdom. Our teen selves are peering out through the eyes of late fifties, perhaps with a combination of awe, sadness, delight, and any number of other reactions. Compassion for self is a valued acquisition, one we can mirror to one another for the precious gift it is, for the precious gift that is each of us.

With gratitude,
~ Dena