Yesterday came with a blast of cold sunshine and lots of memories. My dad’s birthday was celebrated by his kids in different places this year but on our Oakwood Roots group on What’s App, we shared photos throughout the day and this first picture from 2017 was delivered to me by my Apple Photos… thanks Apple, I’m sharing it.
And there’s my old friend Steven next to me, remembering my dad with love. The boy who lived his childhood on Helen St. in the house just across from ours on Catherine, who spoke lovingly about my parents yesterday as we munched on medium-rare burgers in Temptations and strolled along Broadway and Main St in Nyack, New York. As Steven slowed down to marvel at the beautiful old houses and quaint stores, I didn’t push him along. He was getting to know my town and knew why I landed here.
I was quiet to start, taking in the man who I knew so well for most of our childhood and some of our early adulthood, when we both returned to our hometown. I was just beginning my teaching career and in those early years, it was Steven who gently pushed me to direct my first high school play. He brought to the table his passion and expertise for directing and I after that first dive into chilly theater waters the high school stage was always my second classroom and it began in 1979 with Steven.
After lunch it was his visit to my home that relaxed both of us. As he moved slowly from room to room he stopped in front of my newest piece of framed art work, an old pastel of my mom’s parents reframed to fit my more modern taste and living now in my study. Recently, as we were closing up our home after my dad died in October there this painting was left without a home and I couldn’t abandon it.
Steven remembered its history and understood why I needed it adopt it. For a birthday gift to my mom, I had the artist at the hotel where I worked in the summers draw it from old black and white photos. Honestly I wasn’t sure how old I was when this happened, but Steven did. He remembered that I was probably 12 or 13, too young to afford it and that my dad happily shared it with me.
We settled down and started breathing together, enjoying that we were back in touch as we both head to 70 this year.
I spent a good hour, maybe more, searching my photos for a childhood picture of us. An old, blurry picture. I’m sure I will find it. I’m sure there’s more pictures of us as kids, at our various celebrations but as kids growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, we didn’t walk around taking selfies, but there will lots of selfies to come, I’m sure of it.