Less than a month between posts, that is.
The looking back part is because I just saw a photo blog focused on the seventies. I had two reactions as I looked at. The first was that people who are young now will have far more images with which to look back.
The second was a kind of deep nostalgic regret. As Dylan puts it, “All the people I used to know, they’re an illusion to me now.”
When I think of my friends–people like M, J, R, L…I think of them as they were. But a quick peek into Facebook will dispel that illusion quickly. There was a girl I was infatuated with when we were both working on a JCSS production in the summer of 1975. She had stunning red hair and a great smile. Today she’s a little white-haired grandma.
Of course, I’m an increasingly gray-haired grandfather. And, hey! I live with a (getting) old (getting) white-haired grandmother, myself.
The difference is that I see myself, and her, every day. We have aged together. The song has it “I’ve grown accustomed to her face,” but that’s not it. I’ve grown accustomed to her, and she to me, and we don’t notice the change from day to day, month to month, year to year,
But when you encounter someone you’ve not seen in 30 or 40 years, the shock is deep and hard.
I was born in 1958 and graduated from high school in 1976. That’s 43 fucking years ago! My high school no longer exists, and many of my classmates don’t exist either. There’s an all-class reunion this coming summer, but I won’t be going.
It’s fun to look back and laugh at how silly we were. To look at the cars (Pinto! $1,999! Burn to death!), the old phones (property of the Bell System, dials instead of buttons, not even modular), computers (yellow tape or punch cards) and clothes. We thought we were so modern, but we were just the latest thing. Now we’re increasingly the late things.
It’s a joy to listen to music from that period because it often moves us there entirely. We go back in our minds to the time when Bruce Springsteen was young, before the Eagles were a thing. If you were an innocent, the days of Bread.
But it’s another thing to see one’s former peers, aged, broken, suddenly changed. It’s far better to grow old together than it is to grow old apart.
In a couple of months, I’ll be 61 years old. My reunion is right there at home at 5:30 every night.