Monday, January 3, 2011

Notes from Thirty Five Years Ago

I did something this evening that I probably should not have done. It started innocently. I am working on another book on Janet. It won’t be like The Many Faces of Janet which is a chronological record of each year. This one will be more intimate. I want to get all the memories down before I forget them and I want to make some personal comments on some of my favorite photographs of Janet. It is not an easy task and I suspect it will take a few months before I am satisfied with it.

I have been looking for early photographs of Janet and there are very few. For a person that has thousands of photographs of her family it is unfortunate that she had so few of herself. Janet yearned for her family. She tried not to let it show but you can see from the photographs and from the mementos she held on to as though they were precious that she did hold them dear in her life. I do not know why her family was not closer but they weren’t. Marrying a recluse like me didn’t help the situation a whole lot.

Janet kept every greeting card that they sent. Those that included photographs or notes, the photographs or notes are still in the card. She also kept every greeting card that the two of us exchanged, every program from every function that we attended. A day or two before her memorial service I found an old clutch purse in the very back of one of her drawers that contained the receipt from the Flagship Hotel where we spent our first night as man and wife. We went out to dinner that night at the Balinese Room, a dinner theatre, and I figured that was the last time that she probably carried that purse. This evening I found the program from the play we saw that night and a book of gofer matches from the hotel.

But the thing that I did that I probably should not have done was to read every birthday card, anniversary card and Christmas card that we exchanged. The whole thirty five years came flooding back. I have never forgotten how blessed I was to be Janet’s husband, but if I did all it would take to remind me is going through this container of greeting cards.

I had found the first anniversary card a few days ago and scanned the note that was inside to include in the new book. Tonight I scanned the note in the card from the second anniversary. All the notes that we wrote in all the cards have confirmed something that I have felt for a very long time—sometimes things are just supposed to be. It’s not serendipity, it’s not chance, dumb luck, the draw of the card or a blind pig finding an acorn—some things are just ordained, just meant to be. And that is unbelievably wonderful when it happens to you.

Note included in the first anniversary card, 1976

Note inside of second anniversary card, 1977
I know the events referenced may pique a curiosity but will not mean much to anyone but me. Each and everyone is significant events that have very special meaning to me. I am pleased to be reminded once again that they were also significant events for Janet.

I have many stories that I tell about Janet. Most of my friend’s eyes glaze over when I start one because they have heard them so often. Old people do that you know. I do live in the present but it is very important not to forget the past. I remember the events mentioned by Janet almost as though they happened yesterday. However, there are stories that these two notes remind me of that I do not tell frequently. They are stories that need to be in the new book. So once again, my lady, comes to my rescue as she has done so many hundreds of times before. I miss her physical presence so very much but I am beginning to understand that she will be with me always--it's just the way it was supposed to be--the moving finger writes and having writ moves on, not all your piety nor wit can lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it.

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