remembering

people who knew you in high school generally are not the people you want to know when you’re a grownup. they knew a younger, sillier, more idealistic, and probably more obnoxious version of the person you’ve (hopefully) become. i speak to very few people i knew back then. however, i’ve just gotten news that the father of one of the few people i do still know and see has just succumbed to a long and arduous battle with cancer. because of my knee being what it is, i don’t think i will get up to NJ for the funeral, which troubles me a great deal. i know that this person would be there for me in a tough situation. i feel like i am letting her down in a tremendous way.

what i can do, of course, is share a moment i remember about her dad, a tough but very warm man. i didn’t get to know him much until i was in college and my folks had moved a lot closer to where her folks lived, in scenic edison, nj [motto: edison is the bagel; metuchen is the hole.] he rode on the first aid squad, which, in time, my friend did, too.

at christmastime, 1986, i was a senior in college, slaving away on my honors thesis. it was just around breaktime when my friend told me that her dad had tickets to the radio city music hall christmas show — would i like to go? even though i had spent a zillion years living near NYC and visiting my beloved aunt in the east village, i had never, ever been to radio city. lots of broadway shows, to be sure — my folks adore broadway (so yes, despite the fact that i like some really hardcore music, i also can sing showtunes with the best of ’em) — but for some reason, my folks never wanted to go to radio city.

so off we went, we three jews, to the christmas show. much of that year is blurry to me, for reasons i won’t get into. but that trip. i remember the rockettes and thinking, wow, they do the same damn thing, over and over, to different songs. but they never fail. it was a well-done performance. afterwards, though, i have a very strong remembrance of the chestnuts that were being roasted by street vendors — their sweet, smoky scent still permeates my head on some winter days. and for some reason, i remember hearing diamonds on the soles of her shoes on a permanent loop in my brain. we walked through manhattan, and i remember thinking that i’d remember that day forever.

and i have.

thank you for your generosity and for an unforgettable day. even bit players in your life like me will think of you fondly always.

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One Response to “remembering”

  1. Well… it’s been a little over a month and I am finally getting the chance to actually reread what was written. I remember that day as well, it was a lot of fun. Didn’t we eat chinese food too?? I’m happy me and my dad are part of your fun memories. Trust me, nothing made dad happier than having someone join us in one our NYC outings, and Radio City and chinese food on Christmas Day is just about the best it can be for a couple of Jews! Love Ya

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