Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Out Of the Past

Wow, talk about ancient history!  My ex-husband sent me this picture, having found it in some box of memorabilia.  1963......my  high school senior prom (do they still have senior proms?).  My boyfriend Don, dressed in his rented tuxedo, me in my formal, are standing in front of the fireplace in the house where I grew up.  Behind us is the sunburst clock that was the fashion of the time.  I remember that hairstyles were big.........but I had forgotten just how big.  I had been to the beauty shop the day before and slept with my head wrapped in toilet paper to preserve my "do."  Probably that was the happiest night of my life, its intensity increased by the fact that I knew Don would be leaving soon to return to his home in New Mexico.  Relationships with "base rats" were dictated by the whims of the military then.  Any friend, or lover, who was in our high school because his father was stationed at Dow Air Force Base could be snatched away at a moment's notice.  In Don's case, his father was retiring that summer.  The family was moving home to Albuquerque.  He was to become a freshman at the University there, and I was to go to the University of Maine. 

I can't begin to describe the agony of that parting.  So far in my life nothing can compare with it.  I won't belabor the point, but for four years we wrote every day.  The letters came in envelopes specifically designed for "AIR MAIL," with the stamps on them upside down, indicating love.  The long distance relationship prevented me from even considering dating anyone else, even had I had the opportunity......which I did not. I don't know what either one of us was thinking, clinging to each other in some undefined hope that we would be reunited.  Gradually the letters became fewer and fewer, and then ceased entirely.  What a slow, painful death our relationship suffered.  Why we never broached the subject of reuniting I don't know.  It was too vague a concept, I guess.........an impossibility that we tried to ignore. 

We did not forget each other, though.  After my marriage ended I wrote him a letter, to which he replied with a special delivery note.  He, too, had a failed marriage.  We took up our long-distance relationship again.  The romance was gone after so many years. Neither one of us even thought of reviving it.  But we became fast friends.  We are in contact to this day.  Every year I receive several expensive Christmas presents from him.  I have visited him in Albuquerque three or four times and he has come to Maine, I think three times, to see me.  We talk on the phone occasionally.  It is an uncommon connection, I think, and one we both treasure.

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