Saturday, June 18, 2011

Then - and Now

Want to feel better about yourself? Check out the photos above of Grace Slick and Clint Eastwood, in these "then" vs "now" shots. They're pretty amazing, though neither of us, of course, has suffered from the same aging process as they have. See what you think, thank Merrilee Reid for passing them along to us, and email if you want to see more.

Amazing, isn't it? You and I have suffered none of their aging. Neither of us is suffering from:

1. Changing hair color.
2. Thinning hair.
3. Missing hair.
4. Hair growing from unusual places.
5. Wrinkling skin.
6. Sagging body parts.
7. Muscle deterioration.
8. Hearing loss.
9. Vision loss.

Good to be us, right?

There's a story coming up here, about our compulsion to visit our youth, our body beautiful, the past, all well highlighted in a new book by David Brooks, The Social Animal, wherein two unusual people, Harold and Erica, wander through life, while Brooks makes commentary about the socio-cultural influences they/we face. And one of the issues he brings up is the unique view that we all have of the "hometown."

Most people are deeply moved when they return to their childhood home, to the place where their mental models were first forged. When we return to the town where we grew up, it is the details that matter most - the way the drugstore is in the same place as it was when we were young, the same fence around the park, the angle of the sun in the winter, the crosswalk we used to traverse. We don't love these things for their merits, because the crosswalk is the best of all possible crosswalks. The mind coats home with a special layer of affection because these are the patterns we know. 'The child will love a crusty old gardener who has hardly ever taken any notice of it and shrink from the visitor who is making every attempt to win its regard,' C. S. Lewis once observed. 'But it is must be an old gardener, one who has "always" been there - the short but seemingly immemorial "always" of childhood.'

And here we are doing just that, talking about the dirt at the fairgrounds track, the Mel Horgan Light, and other memorabilia. Unfortunately, so much of what we remember is just no longer there, so the memories are all that we have, and just like the above celebrity photos show, things change, and we certainly prefer to cling to the satisfying memories of beautiful youth, and perhaps when we gather we only see/want to see the beautiful people we once were.

A macabre thought, perhaps, as we celebrate what we once were, but just a reflection on the purpose of all this blogging, reunions, and the reaching out process we may be going through. It's like one of us, maybe both of us, is "the old gardener who has always been there." And we look forward to seeing the other again. As we are, not as we were. And the difference in our own connection vs the David Brooks gardener is that we will embrace each other for the memories that we have.

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