There is something about those old photos we have keep packed away in boxes and placed somewhere in the back of a closet or down in a basement somewhere. There is something about the old photos taken at family gatherings, long ago, and from the days that seemed to happen to us in another lifetime.
I have a box of these old photos. I come across them at odd times when searching for something. I find them like a happy accident when I need it most. I have pictures of The Old Man when he was young. I have pictures of Mom when she was a redhead. I have photos of my family that were taken before I was born.
I love these photos. I love the outfits and the hairstyles. I love the old technicolor style of pictures taken in the early 70’s. They look as if color was just introduced to the world and everything beforehand was just black and white. I see my early memories this way too.
Perhaps, I’ve told you. Perhaps I’ve told you about the memory I have of The Old Man in the field behind the baseball field on Merrick Avenue. Everyone was so young then. The world was a much different place. Gas was cheap. Cigarettes were under a buck.
The world was less intense. We were all fine to live as we did. The social anxieties were much different then.
There was no such thing as the internet. People went outside. Communities interacted. I played little league baseball with the emphasis on little. We even held a parade on opening day. The whole town came outside to watch.
I can see this memory. I can see The Old Man now in my head. I watch him toss a baseball to me. I can see the blue sky overhead. I swear, our country was a much different place, which is not to say there was no such thing as unrest at the time. But still, our level of interaction was different.
I see this time and picture it perfectly. The Old Man standing with a baseball in his hand, drawing his arm back slowly to show me the proper motion of his throw. I watch him throw the ball, as if to move in slow motion, like a stop action film. Everything was green. The resurrection of springtime was underway. I see this in my thoughts like an old silent home movie.
I want to go back and interact with this time. I want to touch it the way I can touch a photograph and trace the outline of my loved ones that have gone to the other side.
I want to be there again, in that field, just one more time, exactly as I was, little, and still new to the world.
Everything was fresh like it is in spring. The air was clean and my soul was untouched by pain or disappointment.
I wish I could go back and interact with the ideas I had back then and feel that sense of wonder. I want to feel like I did the first time I flew a kite in the air. I want to watch it sail in the wind and dive. I want to disregard the commonplace things that we find ourselves entangled with because nothing was common back then. Everything was new and everything was fresh to the touch.
I wish I could see Mom and The Old Man when they were younger. I wish I could see them from before I was born. I would like to see them as they danced. I picture their smiles. I think about their ideas which would seem primitive and simple now.
I want to go back to the time before me. I want to go back to the time before when black and white lives lived in black and white places.
I have a box in one of my closets. This is filled with photographs of my family. I see this as my box of treasure because it is valuable to me.
I see them all now in my head. I see my family. I see the ones that have passed. I see them and I want them to know where I am and how we’ve been since they’ve left.
I wonder what they would think when they saw today’s technology. I mean, think about it.
Hell, The Old Man had a hard time figuring out the old VCR in the den. Could you imagine what he would be like if I put an I-Phone in his hand?
I think we were a little better off back then. We were less stolen by gadgets and more interactive and face to face.
God, I wish I could be more face to face with him . . .
with you . . .
I want to tell The Old Man something. I want him to know that he will lose patience with me. I want him to know there will be times when I cannot focus. I want him to know there will be things I did not understand and that frustration with me does not help create understanding.
I want to explain to him that I understand why he told me I would understand when I was older because now that I am older, I do understand.
I get it, Pop.
I really do.
I used to have a white t-shirt in my white t-shirt drawer. I would find this like a happy accident. This was no regular shirt.
This was my first father’s day gift ever. This was a traced outline drawn of my daughter’s hand, which was so little at the time.
I wish I could interact with this more. I wish I could go back and say to me, “Remember when you were her, young, and only looking for attention.”
I wish I could remind me of how I was when trying to get The Old Man to just play catch. But The Old Man had work to do.
I want to remind the world that life is not this guaranteed thing. Tomorrow might not come, which is not said to be morbid.
Instead, I write this to you to be promising. I go back to these times and wish I lived every second to its best possible ability. I want to be there. I want to feel this. I want the world to recognize that moments like this are so terribly fleeting.
Anxiety is real and so is life; therefore, I challenge us all to live as best as we can because we are only young for so long. If we blink, we just might miss the world as it passes us by
Blessed are the young at heart for they truly know how to live. They understand the secret of longevity. They know how to endure, to live, to love, and to do things, like say, throw a ball in the yard.
I want to go back to times when I was too mixed up, too busy, and too frustrated, and tell me to, “Wake up! You’re wasting precious daylight.”
I want to remind me and you and everyone else that I get it. Life gets busy. But we can’t forget to live. Otherwise, we’ll be old one day
I don’t ever want to be old—