Artifacts

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Well this takes me back.

Earlier this week, Colin & Aria showed up at the apartment after school bearing a gift. As they were cleaning the basement back at their Mom’s house, they unearthed a rare glimpse of me way back when. I mean WAY BACK!!!

It was a slight baby book – just a handful of pages with a dozen or so pics detailing my first days on this Earth. A few posed baby pics and then some casual shots with baby Eddie (*groan*) lounging on the couch with my Dad, Big Ed. I don’t know how you can tell the couch from the wall paper from the clothes on our back – it seems like brown and beige upholstery was America’s hot fashion in the early 70’s. Until I saw these pictures, I’d never been more thankful for disco – at least it injected some color. All hail ABBA!!!

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One thing these pics reminded me is sometimes dual perspectives arrive at the same destination.

I was instantly transported – not necessarily to those years which of course I cannot remember – but I have almost total recall over every major moment in my life starting around 5 – so things like this let me do the time warp again. The kids thought it was cool to see pics of their Dad – who I’m sure to them is this large, lumbering figure (don’t laugh) – suddenly brought way down to size.

All three of us arrived at the same conclusion. Time flies.

There are so few pictures of me from way back when still in existence. I don’t know where they went. I know when I was very young, living with my parents and at the time – only sister Jenna – in Malden, MA – we suffered an apartment fire and were forced to move. I assume some pics were lost in that calamity. Then – while in Everett, MA – we were struck by another inferno, and again – we may have lost some things in the flames. By the time Noelle arrived, five years after my birth, they were keeping better records hence a few pics like this one have survived.

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And then, of course, technology is to blame. These days, you could probably print out every single picture we ever took of Colin and Aria – arrange them in a flip book and watch them age minute by minute before your eyes. Flip it fast enough and you might even be transported to the future so make sure you lay down some big money on the Cubs finally winning the World Series.

But back then – well, y’all know the drill. We had to drop mad coin on flash cubes and paying for film exposure which more often than not came out over-exposed and may explain that shadowy picture of Bigfoot that supposedly exists. Yeah – nobody’s buying that. We know it was just some Dad, heading off for a shower while camping and then one trick of the light and a stoned CVS Photoshop developer later – and voila – we now have the Mythic Man Beast of the Midwest.

I don’t want to go too far down this ‘Back in my Day’ road. Look, I know what the calendar says and the fashions in these pics certainly render me a relic of bygone age – BUT – I firmly believe you are only as old as you feel and honestly, these days, I feel pretty damn good. I gots my swerve on (hold on – let me hit up Urban Dictionary and make sure I didn’t just sexually harass all of you with that comment).

Seriously though, I like to think I’m a very young 40. It’s all in the mindset. And in keeping reasonably healthy. I mean – I don’t go crazy. Bring on the pizza and beer – I just gotta’ make sure I eat my asparagus and hit the gym a few times a week, too. I’m sure I’ll tumble off my cliff at some point but these days, I’m perfectly fine with where I stand. And having turned the page on a new chapter, and staying positive and upbeat all the way through – taking that proverbial high road – I have a feeling good tidings are in store. I firmly believe good guys finish first.

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So I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the past. That’s a trap best avoided. You learn from it, sure, but as I’ve said so often – you need to live your life as free of regret as possible presuming you don’t do something that obviously devastates someone. If you are single-handedly responsible for global warming – then Yes – you should regret that. But past moves and digressions or just gazing back at the good old days – I think that’s a shame.

I crested 2013 after going through a CRAZY 2012 and resolved to make this year a good one.

When that year began, it was pregnant with possibility. I knew I was turning 40 and I was ready to embrace it. I mean, I wrote 40 articles about my life as a countdown to the big 4-0. It’s not like I was feverishly sweating over a ticking digital read-out screaming “Which wire do I cut? Is it the red one or the green?” I was ready for that thing to hit zero. No fear. But the prospect of people tossing back beer in my honor? BRING IT!!!

Also, I knew I had my play ‘The Monkeybar Mafia‘ coming down the pike and honestly – that is TO DATE, my creative highpoint. That I wrote a play and then got even one person to read it and then got it on the slate for production and saw people flock to audition, eager to grab roles I wrote and make it their own, and then saw it open before 6 full audiences and heard people come up and share personal tales of their own, of how it connected to them – anyway, run-on sentence be damned, that was an event for the ages. I couldn’t have known that’s the way it would work out when looking down the pike at the beginning of the year but I had high hopes.

Hopes that were eclipsed.

And some that were dashed.

That’s the big one. In 2012 I got divorced. I know you all know that but it really is officially in the books. The sad mission we started on early in 2012 (right around the end of Feb) and then announced to the world in late Spring felt very real when I moved out during the Summer and got imprinted in the books in October – just a few days before Monkeybar premiered. It becomes officially official in just a few short weeks as the way it all works – after 120 days from your court declaration of divorce, it’s all really real.

But as I’ve said before, it was really real for quite a time before we verbalized it to each other. No, it’s not what I set out to do way back when I said “I do” – but that’s the point – you never know where the road ambles. And the rhetoric I have repeated since announcing this last year remains the same. We are different people. We grew apart. We wish each other the absolute best. And we’re both good people. We’re both a good catch for whatever special someone comes along next. We both care deeply and treasure our friends and family above all. We harbor no ill feelings. We wish each other only the best. We’re not a freaking’ Adele song. đŸ˜‰

So, it’s not what I imagined was headed my way in 2012 but the truth is – it happened – and now, where I sit, it’s high time to turn the page. And if anything, living through everything grants you insight and perspective. I’m not 20 anymore. I know what I like and what I want and what I deserve. And I know what I can deliver. It’s not over-confidence; just a notion that I’m not going to dive in if something doesn’t feel completely right. You have one life. You owe it to yourself to make it the best one.

These pics reminded me how quickly time flies. I may not recall that exact moment sitting with my Dad on that couch in a 3-family apartment building a stone’s throw from the Mystic River but I do very distinctly remember my Dad looking like that. It doesn’t seem that long ago in my mind’s eye.

Every new day becomes a yesterday. Every memory a dream. Every picture an artifact.

These pics remind me how much living I’ve done and how much more is yet to come.

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Comments now closed (2)

  • It is so nice to see the “old” pictures. And there are many more. I just need to go through all the photos and redo some of the early albums tucked away in the hope chest. They certainly are ripe with wonderful memories of your growing years. How I miss those days. How I miss just tucking you and your sisters in at night. Oh, well…
    But as you have so wisely expressed, the journey continues. Our past is merely a stepping stone to what lies ahead. Our good memories of childhood are there to propel us forward. Love, Mom