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Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Way We Were

October 1st. It's a rainy, slow day in beautiful West Brattleboro. A good day for old movies. Once upon a time I loved Barbra Steisand, but hadn't seen or heard anything she did for years. So I watched "The Way We Were" while going about my business this morning. Sweet, sad, romantic. Made me think of old times, of "Love's Young Dream", college days, that one love you never get over.

At one point in the movie, Hubble and his friend list their "Bests". Best drink, best party, best year, like that. Right after that scene...

Fragiles being packed in advance of whatever hired hands will pack the rest. The knickknacks off the bookshelves, then the framed art and photos. In the half-packed boxes that were never unpacked since the Irene flood I come across the family pix my Mom had on her mantel. A triptych frame, snapshot sized, golden metal frame. On the left is my late brother Tommy and his wife Ruthie, in fishing gear, holding their trouts with big smiles. In the middle is my brother Billy and his late wife Mac kissing in front of my Mom's Christmas tree. On the right is my late husband Ian and me, hugging in front of that same tree. Though we're still missing 2 siblings (I'll always count Seth as my little brother) and their partners from the full set, it's a good representation. It was 1989. We were all healthy and pretty damn happy. It was The Best Year in our family.

Before those pix we'd all gone through some real Hells. None of us had even spoken to Tommy in several years but he came back into the fold in '89, with a wife and baby to boot. Billy had been retired from the police department on disability and started college in '88. Ian had gone through rehab and was making strides in his acting career. I was getting started in the politics of NYC while working at the circus that was The Magickal Childe after so much upheaval. We're all young, cocky, strong, smiling in 1989.

It was before all the hardships that came with 1991 and for the 20 years after, at the end of which my Mom, stepfather, Ian, 3 of my brothers, and my sis-in-law Mac would be gone.

I'm really grateful for photography today. Makes it much easier to reach back and remember how happy you've been, and that life isn't always hard. In fact, given the chance, it really is the laughter you remember.


Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Yes, you're right; it IS the laughter we remember. All the more reason to find something worth laughing about every single day of our lives. Mind you, we reeeeeally have to work hard at it sometimes, but laughter really is the best medicine.

I have always loved Barbra. Her singing and her movies. :)

Elephant's Child said...

There are very few photos of my family. Which my hypercritical (I don't do photos) self regrets.
And yes, laughter is a gift. I would much, much rather remember (and be remembered) people that way. Even when there are tears in the mix.

Geo. said...

It's the laughter, yes. In family, in life, true communication is generally accompanied by laughter. We remember.

only slightly confused said...

We always remember the happy times.