This time of year is often one of memory, introspection and reflection. My head is always busy with the above, but recently more than usual, what with the seasonal dichotomy I always battle around the holidays. I play six degrees of separation in my mind a lot, one subject segueing into a completely opposite one with the connection of a word, a scent, something I might see out the window one moment that can release a flood of memories inside me that are impossible for me to explain. In the last couple of weeks, I had particular memories of two people. One was my major professor in college, a man I greatly admired and who had a profound influence on my choice of studies from the day I walked into the theater building of my alma mater as a first-quarter freshman. We met, and I rarely left the place for four years. I haven’t been in touch with him in a long time, but I’ll always consider him a dear friend and mentor.
The other memory was of a woman who I also met in the same place. She was only at the school for a year, a tall, willowy girl with masses of thick, black hair, gypsy eyes and a waist that Scarlett O’Hara would have killed for. In fact, my most vivid memory of her was during rehearsal for a particular play when the onstage line of “What a waste!” immediately became her signature description of “What a waist!” in the costume department. (God, I love the English language.) She also had one of the most unusual first names I’ve ever encountered. That particular play was in the spring and she didn’t return the next year. I always wondered what happened to her and remembered our giggles and cutting up with a smile.
I’ve mentioned before that I get “flashes” those little, niggling thoughts or feelings that come out of nowhere but usually mean something, even though I might not realize exactly what they mean until much later. Since I had been thinking of Jack, my old prof, I wasn’t too surprised yesterday morning when I opened an e-mail from my college alumnae office announcing that he’s published a book of memories about his life in various aspects of the theater, teaching at my college included. It looks like a massive work, but I’m sure I’ll be getting a copy just for old time’s sake. Sweet, I thought, that’s why I’ve been thinking of him.
However, you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather yesterday when I went to the mailbox and pulled out a Christmas card (our first batch, BTW, and I had just commented that morning on the fact that we had received none) with only my name on it and on the return address a first name I have never seen before or since that one year in college.
“I hope you remember me…” the note inside began, and of course I do. I probably first thought of her again as she was penning those words. The Force was moving through both of us even then, coming together in a card mailed from Georgia and pulled out of a mailbox a thousand miles away and thirty-five years later in Colorado. I was so happy and grateful to hear from her, moved that she remembered my name and can only wonder what memories of hers prompted her to search me out all the way across so much time and distance. Amazing stuff that Force. We activate it every time we do or think or contemplate anything. We never know where those vibrations go–just like ripples in a quiet pond that blip out from a single stone. But never doubt they are out there, or that they will return in ways you could never have imagined.
May the Force be with all of you at this magical time.