LOOKING BACKWARD is LOOKING FORWARD
Saturday, February 26, 2022
A few days of bitter cold this week, not too cold for too long, but for this week, at least it added to my nostalgia — the weather so closely resembling this same week 50 years ago. You might wonder how I can remember the temperatures from a particular week or a specific day so long ago, but I do. Not a week 55 years ago, or 49 years ago, but 50 years, and particularly this date 50 years ago, which was a clear and frigid Saturday.
That morning with my buddies, fiddling with bare hands, Scotch tape and paper flowers, decorating my dad’s freshly washed dark green Chrysler Newport — the traditional thing, telling rubberneckers and Saturday shoppers in traffic, people in that car were members of a wedding party.
This week, 50 years ago, I was plunking away at my new job — learning the ropes and preparing for a vacation week/honeymoon.
Everything happening then is a deeply etched memory as if it was today — very clear; I was getting ready to marry.
Full of beans. I believed I had the world in the palm of my hand, which was ridiculous for anyone — more so for someone of 20.
Undeterred, convinced it was the right thing to do, plans were all set, I was going to have the time of my life — and the logic of it all seemed so right at the time. How could it be wrong to marry someone you’d only known four months?
Of course, as relatives journeyed long distances in the dead of winter, they expected we had to get married? Such was not the case. It was a few years until we started our family.
We had plans that extended a few months out but nothing much beyond that, which seems completely realistic when you’ve only known someone for four months. Looking back, it seems foolish, but youth and logic don’t always travel together.
No other event in my life* up to then, or since, has so dramatically impacted the course of my life — the obvious and most precious being the birth of two children. Their lives, and two grandchildren, would never have come to pass were it not for that February 26th. Countless other happenings in life, work, friends, extended families, spectacular fun and tragic losses too — none would have unfolded the same way were it not for that choice, that fork in that road for two young people. Too young to know very much, too strong-willed to let anyone get in their way — because that’s what you do when you are young. It has not been a success or failure by anyone else’s standard or measuring stick. It has, like most lives, been a series of curves, bumps, junctions, forks and cliffs. We’ve missed some stop signs, some caution warnings and stopped short of going off any cliffs.
Two people came together 50 years ago today. They later came apart, went separate ways, and began a legacy of new choices, adventures, and opportunities to heed or ignore anyone’s advice. Some advice was, “never look back.”
It’s not about looking back and forth. It’s about looking back and forward.
*I’ve only written my story, my viewpoint here — Susan’s story is not mine to tell; I can add that we raised two fantastic daughters. We didn’t do that with the level of cooperation many ex-couples do, but there is no denying we got along well enough to not get in the way of our daughters flourishing, and we share great pride in them and how they’ve chosen their paths to walk …