Not very long ago, I was writing about how I fall in and out of people’s lives. How I’m not a very good friend. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Out of the blue, someone else has appeared from my past. [Good thing I’m not a guy or perhaps some long, lost offspring would be appearing at my doorstep. Now that’s something a girl would remember going through. A guy? Not so much.]
What’s my reaction to this? Joy. Really. Joy. [And not just because they know about this blog.] I loved those people. I loved them very much. I will tell you the story of them. Perhaps you’d like to pull up a chair. If it’s early morning or late at night, perhaps you’d like to get a nice fleece throw to keep the chill off.
I started smoking and drinking and smoking dope much younger than anyone should start. I guess in today’s world, being 12 and doing those things isn’t that unusual. Back then, before color TV, it was young. [I joke. Color TV was around. We just couldn’t afford one until I was 7 or 8.] I lived for being high. Sure, I still went to school. I still showed up. But, more often than not, I showed up under the influence.
I am sorry about that now. I am sorry for many things now. I accept who I was, what I’ve done. I am at peace with it. I still need to work out the kinks of how to get my kids to not be so freakin’ stupid as their mom, but I’ll get there.
And I believe I am who I am today in large part thanks to a teacher and his wife. His name is Dale. Her name is Claudia. They are much older now. [Hee, hee, hee.] Then, they were hip young things. He came to teach theatre when I was a sophomore in high school. I was 15. The other theatre teacher was a bastard who is likely rotting in hell right now. Good. [Oh, sorry, see, when you think about the past, all those feelings you’ve passed come up and bite you when you’re not looking. I mean, may God have mercy on his soul. Of course I mean that. Really. I guess.]
Dale appeared. He was 23. Claudia was 25. Young things, right? Young, poor things living on a teacher’s salary and a secretary’s salary and struggling to scrimp and save and buy a house and raise a family. And they opened their lives to me, a wondering lost soul. And they didn’t just open up their lives to me. They opened their lives up to many.
It was the year I was 15 that my mother asked my father for a divorce. It was a very bad year. And I was a very lost soul who didn’t get along with anyone in my family. And divorce back then was odd and scary for other kids and other parents. “Could it be contagious?” I guess some thought so.
But some didn’t. Some saw a lost soul. And opened their hearts to her. And opened their arms to her. And opened their home to her.
And 30 years later, when I remember that lost soul, I remember who helped her find her way. And I thank them. With joy.