Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Old Friends

Julie and I went to visit my mom and dad on Sunday in their new surroundings at the retirement place. First we went to my dad's room, but he wasn't there. So we went down a floor to see my mom. As we passed by the "Day Room," Julie looked in and said they were in there.

We walked in and there they were, sitting side by side on dining-type chairs watching a Japanese language television program, keeping each other company. Old friends. They looked so much happier than just a couple of weeks ago.

I mentioned in a previous entry that while going through my old belongings at my parents house, I ran across a story I wrote thirty years ago. All handwritten; no typewriter and of course, no computer. I just finished reading it; some parts I remembered better than others but as I sat there reading, I compared the "me" when I was writing it to the present-day "me."

I looked at the handwriting. Yup, that was my handwriting. When I take the time to write neatly and my hand doesn't get all cramped up, it still looks like that. I looked at my handwriting in the story and I could feel myself in it. Does that make sense? I don't know how else to say it.

I also still seem to think the same way, or think in the same patterns of words now as back then. I'd like to think that I have evolved, but I still see a great deal of myself in my writings of thirty years ago, using a lot of the same writing style.

One thing that has changed is I refrain from profanity these days, whereas I notice the old story was peppered with plenty of it. Since it was about my buddies and I on an "adventure," I suppose that reflects the actual language we used then, although I have to say I shocked myself by reading it again. I wouldn't have expected to have used so many four-letter words.

The last I heard from my friend Misa, she was up to page 1,481 of a story she had begun writing in July of 2007. That's a boggling number of pages! And she won't tell me what it is about or let me read parts of it, nor will she let anyone else see it. That's how I feel about my thirty-year-old story. I made myself the protagonist and many of my feelings back then are still my feelings today and, well, the story just says too much so I plan to keep it to myself. I still see a lot of "me" in that story.

I wonder what it would be like to sit down on a park bench with me but thirty years junior. What would we talk about? What would my junior me ask, and what advice would I give my junior me? Would he listen? I'm thinking he wouldn't.

Or round us all up in decades. Me now, and then me in increments of ten years back, all sitting around the table discussing ourself.

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