Monday, May 25, 2009

Daydream Believer

One of my favorite family memories is of all eight of us in the car: John, the baby (J)  and I in the front seat, K, D and B in the back seat and B and D(son) in the "way back" seat (yes, it was a station wagon!).  We had just packed up the house and watched the movers load our "stuff" onto the moving van.  We were leaving St. Michaels to move across the Chesapeake Bay to Columbia.  John was going to work at the corporate office and in two days I was starting law school.  The year was 1987.  The previous year, the Monkees (save one) had made something of a comeback, playing to the imaginations of all the preteen girls in our area, K and D among them, so they knew the song as it came on the radio.  I knew it from about 19-20 years earlier when the Monkees were big and I was about 13. So when the song "Daydream Believer" came on the radio, we all sang it together - even the little ones pretended to join in:

Oh, I could hide neath the wings 
Of the bluebird as she sings. 
The six oclock alarm would never ring. 
Whoops its ringing and I rise, 
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes. 
My shavin razors cold and it stings. 

Cheer up, sleepy jean. 
Oh, what can it mean. 
To a daydream believer 
And a homecoming queen.
You once thought of me
As a white knight on a steed. 
Now you know how happy I can be. 

Oh, and our good times starts and end 
Without dollar one to spend. 
But how much, baby, do we really need?

Cheer up, sleepy jean. 
Oh, what can it mean. 
To a daydream believer 
And a homecoming queen.
Cheer up, sleepy jean. 
Oh, what can it mean. 
To a daydream believer 
And a homecoming queen.
John Stewart, ca. 1966 

Well, the bit about not having dollar one to spend was certainly true! It was one of those moments, frozen in time, where you know life is about to change in ways you cannot even anticipate.  It was scary and fun and I was excited and apprehensive at the same time.  But one this was sure: I wasn't alone:)!  
Sometimes I wonder why John and I had so many kids.  Often I've thought it was to create our own crowd so that we would never feel alone. (OK, maybe that's a little way out, but whatever..) It's these crazy memories that keep us together, remembering moments, snapshots in time.  Times when you knew you were part of something bigger than all of you put together.  That's what family feels like to me.

This weekend was such a mixed bag - we had a great time at the wedding.  The trip entailed a little bit o' traffic, but really not that bad considering.  We ate and drank too much, but all in all behaved ourselves.  It's always great to see family - and the bride and groom are lovely people who will do well.  At the rehearsal dinner at the Union League (talk about intimidatingly ritzy:)!), John and I sat next to an Aunt and Uncle of the bride - Brad and Linda - both liberals:)- it never fails! We had a great evening of conversation and laughter. The wedding was beautiful, in historic Old St. Mary's Church in Philadelphia - even Washington went there once or twice.  For our respective clans it was a relatively small wedding, and it was truly a nice one.  The best men each gave funny and loving tributes to their brother.  The bride and groom had a first dance and that was that.  John and I sat and talked with family at our table and when it was over, we went back to the hotel room.  John went to his sister and brother-in-law's hotel to visit with them while I crashed at our room. Next day, we took a bus tour of Philly and began to appreciate it a lot more than we had before. After the tour was over, we gassed up and left for New York City.  We got into the hotel their and then arranged to meet my folks for dinner.  This time it was their treat - at their place!
My dad has suffered a number of terrible physical losses in the past four years, beginning with three nasty falls and ending with spinal surgery.  He has been in a great deal of pain.  Yet he was charming and funny and enjoyed the Grey Goose John brought - a treat he doesn't often indulge in these days. He tired out early and went to bed before we left.  
Whatever losses he has had over the years, I think the best gain he has received has been Maureen, my stepmom.  Maureen truly loves him and cares for him as best she can. It hurts to see two people who love each other as much as they do go through so much suffering. I keep thinking there's got to be something we can do to help - when you live so far away you feel so helpless.  John and I are talking about some practical things, but it's basically one day at a time. While we were there, we looked at some pictures Dad and Maureen had gotten from my Uncle John's place after he died - pictures from my father's childhood, pictures and memories of times passed.  There was a picture of my Dad in Hofstra college with a drama group when he was 19.  He looked so much like our son it took one's breath away.  The picture of him with his older brother - when he had curly long locks and short pants and a devilish grin on his face - seemed locked in time.  It was hard to believe that picture
 was over 70 years old. They gave me some things of my grandmother's and a photo ca. 1927 of a little baby - my grandparents' first child whose name I have.  That little one sadly died of diptheria - one of the last babies to do so before the vaccine came out.  My parents - kids themselves - gave me her name as a middle name and called me by it. Our youngest daughter, J, came with her three best friends and had a drink with us after they had gone to see a Broadway musical, ironically, Nearly Normal, about a dysfunctional family (the normal ones are just no fun, folks!)  It was great to see them - they stayed in NY after we left and will be going - with one other sibling in tow - to Niagra Falls in a couple of days.
So many people today talk about "family values."  To me, that's just a euphemism which means, "conservative agenda without regard to reality."  You may disagree with that, but it's been my experience.  There was a time when my father's marriage to Maureen would not have been recognized, yet I cannot think of any more married than they.  It seems to me that the only glue that holds anything together is love. The rest is just icing ... or drivel:).
Needless to say, as hard as it was to see how much pain he is in, I was glad we went to see my folks.  After all, they're family!
Speaking of which, after left NY, and headed back toward Merlin, we called our kids and invited all of them to some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill (despite the rain).  Many were able to come and although, dear readers, we were both pretty wiped out, we were happy to see them! And by the way, we heard the song Daydream Believer at the beginning and end of our ride home!
And finally, knitting: I did bring some with me and worked on the blue baby blankie for "Gunther," but did not get much done.  I did do another pattern repeat on the February Lady Sweater today. Well tomorrow it's back to work! Take care and God be with you 'til we meet again:) Or, as my Dad would say, "Thank the Myth!"
+


Post a Comment