This spring there were several letters from Lucy and Grace about high school. That and an upcoming visit with a good friend from high school got me thinking about my experiences. Once my mind starts off in that direction, it’s tough to rein it in.
A couple of months ago I found my scrap books from Junior High and Senior High school. There are some interesting tidbits in there, not the least of which is a letter from Sandy. She sent a birthday card to me in 1964, complete with a four page letter. She covers a lot of ground in the letter, clearly letting me know my second-fiddle status.
Sandy and I spent a lot of time together, wrote letters, and talked on the phone for hours. We enjoyed the days talking and deciding what to do with our lives. We were in confirmation class together, a class that played a prominent role in my teen-aged life. She planned to see me in class soon. We had a good class, at least twenty or so kids?
Here’s the interesting part. I don’t remember Sandy. And who is this Dave she writes so longingly about? Peggy plays a significant role in this letter, too. Who was she? Finally, Sandy mentions Linda. I really should remember her based on Sandy’s reaction to the card I sent to Linda.
A few things do push their way to the top of my memory as I ponder those teenage days. There was a large group of us that frequented an ice cream shop downtown. Do I remember that Mr Wolf ran the store? Could it have been the “Taco’s” Sandy mentions in her letter? Taco’s and ice cream seem to be a strange combination, and I definitely do not recall ever having a taco in Jamestown until Taco John’s came to town in the 1980’s.
The large group of kids met most Friday evenings at the ice cream shop, had some treats and talked the night away. Perhaps a bunch of us would strike out for the southeast part of town to see a friend, or to walk someone home at the end of the evening. We had come of age and were free to wander the town. Somehow the vision of twenty teenagers wandering the neighborhood late on a Friday evening sounds impossible today. In 1964 it wasn’t a big deal to our parents, but it was the world to us. What I’d like here is to remember a little more about those exciting times. Everything about this is foggy.
There’s an allegory by Plato that comes to mind here, the one about prisoners chained to the floor of a cave, unable to look out the door. All they can see is shadows of people and animals passing the door. Their reality is nothing but shadows. For all the things I remember about growing up in Jamestown, this part of my life is nothing but shadows. Some of the shadows surge with good feelings … Sandy talks about being “good, good friends.” Good friends are now among the most important parts of my life. Sandy also talks about not wanting to hurt my feelings. Do the shadows say that I was hurt by those words? Or is it the echo of things that happened recently that mimic the hurt of love rejected?
My memory of those times is pleasant. A lot happened during confirmation class that I do remember. We were busy and had a lot of fun. What escapes me are the individual relationships and people who made the journey with me. Maybe someone who went to confirmation with me can refresh my memory with more stories about Sandy, Linda, Dave, Mike and the others? I want more than shadows on a wall, or unremembered words on paper.
Here’s the letter from Sandy. The full scans of the letter are below.
I received your card yesterday, when I got home from Taco’s. You certainly called me a dirty name on the envelope – Sandra – how ishy can you get. Mom and Dad thought it was funny because you placed the stamp on the wrong side,
I thought your card was adorable. I’d like to see the one you almost bought me. I’ll let you use love after all you’ve got a point there. Of course, Mike only used it once. Let’s say you are as old as I now.
I’m writing this before I see you in confirmation. Did you have fun walking Peggy, Linda, and Labrensy (sp?) home?
Right now my dog is bothering me. She jumps up and puts her head under my arm and starts licking me in the face. See, how much she loves me?
If I mail this card today, you can’t get it until Monday and then this letter will be old news. Maybe I won’t send it until Monday, then I can right it longer?
Thanks for calling me again Saturday night. Peggy called me at 9:00 and we talked until 10:30. We had a good conversation. We gabbed about you, Mike, and especially Dave. Peggy thinks he still likes me – but I kind of doubt it. Maybe he does – I’ll just have to wait and see. I suppose, you know, how much I really like him. Of course I like you and Mike, but as long as Dave lives I couldn’t get serious about you. I do hope you aren’t serious about me. Mike feels that you are. I don’t want to hurt your feelings – but if you become serious about I might – and I don’t want to do that or I’ll lose our relationship. I hope this didn’t hurt you – I hope we’re still good, good friends. I’m just going to stay home today and write letters to my relatives and friends.
Linda showed me the card you sent her and WoW!! She also told me the inscription.
This letter is short – but I feel it covers a lot of interesting subjects.
See you soon!
PS … The Jamestown yearbook has clues to who these people are. Claudia also had some ideas. My memory is the fragile part of the equation. Maybe some of my fellow Blue Jays can help me restore or rebuild my memories?