Don’t discard them, they made you what you are
Every year we mark holidays as they come along, and recall and talk of where we were and what we were doing in past years. It’s just part of the day. But each of us has other anniversaries, our own personal ones, that we mention to no one.
Yes, we all have long past days and places we ‘mark’ silently and alone. Days of a sad marriage and divorce. Times when we moved to another city. Left a certain well loved home, the parting from some loved one by sad events or death. Days we note alone and quietly let them pass, unmarked by anyone else, for those who would know and perhaps maybe also shed a tear, are no longer part of your life.
We’re all the same, for on many an outwardly unmarked day we recall what took place on that self-same day in some former year, and relive the memory because sweet or bitter, it left its mark in making our lives what they are today.
There is something within us that, at times, relentlessly doubles back upon our experiences and we find ourselves standing where we once stood, and in an odd way, face-to-face, we meet ourselves.
There are certain places, which, when I pass by, I can stare at with odd thoughts. Almost as if I’m inwardly asking, “Who was that Ethel who once stood or lived here?”
Years ago, and I know the date well, a man and I met briefly and sadly on a certain downtown Salt Lake corner, each knowing it was a parting from an impossible situation, and that should we ever meet again it would never be the same, for we would not be the ‘same’ people. And, never mourning the choice I made, there are some years when that day jumps out to me and I silently and alone I mark it, and like all humans, wonder if he recalls it, too. . .
There is also a lovely pioneer era home on South Temple, near the Cathedral of the Madeleine, that I stare at, almost expecting so see a young Ethel entering or leaving the door. It is now an office building, but it was then a boarding home and I lived there during an eventual year of my youth, and I mark, and that long ago Ethel, each time I pass.
Oh, I’d love to enter that door, peer out those windows and see those once familiar walls again, but fear holds be back. Fear? Yes, fear it will be all changed. Or truthfully, maybe fearful that it might be too much the same and cut me deeply with the sharp sword of remembrance.
And there’s a large old home on Poplar Street in Murray that I look at curiously, trying to reconstruct a day so long ago that I never even knew Gram, who, as young Rachel Crozier, was spending the summer there with relatives and a young man named Archibald Bradford was invited to come and play his guitar and sing for the group.
Oh me, oh my, what events and lives came from that turn-of-the-century meeting. Without it I wouldn’t be Ethel Bradford and my sons and grand- and great-grand children would not bear that Bradford name either.
Yes and the ground each of us have stood on is special to us. I will always see a tow headed girl-child playing on the northwest corner at 700 E. and 4500 South no matter how it’s changed. Some part of me will forever be turning somersaults, climbing trees and prowling those then open fields.
No one, no matter how close or loved, can look upon ‘our’ spots and ’our’ dates with the same emotions we do. For those places and days created our own private happenings, songs, events, stories, and fragments which no one else would understand.
So, we celebrate national holidays and all laugh and recall what we did on other years, but those memories will never be as poignant as the private dates we all hold. Unshared by wife, husband, lover, children or friend. They are the personal, secret, milestones, both bitter and sweet, which are silent parts of our lives.
Each one of you has your own days to recall, shed a tear or smile over. And it’s all right, for they are yours and, strangely, will continue to be as poignant as when they first happened, but somehow getting both older and sweeter as the years pass by. Treasure them. They can’t be repeated or recalled and are the stuff from which your present days were made.