Sunday, February 5, 2012

If Someone Had Told Me

About 15 years ago, I met D in a writing workshop. We were working so hard at learning to tell stories on the page and to discuss each others' stories in a respectful and insightful way that would help us grow as writers. I liked her right away. I liked what she wrote, and I liked her comments on my work as well as on the work of the others in the workshop. I felt like I knew her already, which we sometimes feel about people who are destined to become friends. Anyway, I told her that I would like to be her friend, and we did become friends, and our families got to know each other quite well, and we have celebrated many events and holidays together over the years. We have also read a lot of each others' work, as we were in a writing group together for many years. I would say that one of the identities we share is a literary identity.
We both have many other identities. Just to mention a few, we are both mothers and sisters and Jews and Oak Parkers; we are daughters; she is a teacher; I am an editor; I am a wife, and and she was too until recently. And then in addition to all these, we also share an identity of being writers.
The point of all this is that if 15 years ago, when we were sitting in that first writing workshop, thinking about words and stories, and how much we loved them, if some imp had come and whispered in my ear that 15 years from then, I would be going to a Super Bowl party at her house, I would have been incredulous but I would also have thought that this was such a ridiculous thing to say that I might not even wanted to waste any energy being incredulous.
     But things evolve and reconfigure. I have no understanding of the game of football. I am not, therefore, a football fan. For a number of reasons that I might go into in a different post, I have come to appreciate the physicality of it, and I also find some of the shots of the players' faces . . . eloquent. A story of sorts occurs on those fields, and although I don't understand it entirely--not nearly as much as I understand, say, M. Proust up there at the top of the post--in a few minutes, I am going over to D's for a Super Bowl party. Life dishes up many surprises. Does it not?


Anonymous said...

Our married life began in Oak Park some 48 plus years ago in a townhouse on Kenwood. We'd often see some attractive people heading toward another unit and then hear what were rehearsals for their folk group. My husband taught a Ham radio class at the Jewish Center. Two doors down a woman taught guitar, but they did not speak. When we moved to Southfield some ten years later, we met her under different circumstances - our dog got away from me and misused her lawn. I rang her bell to apologize, which began our friendship. During that time we visited her daughter in Chicago and also found ourselves watching a Super Bowl Game.

I learned two two things from that relationship and time. It doesn't matter where or what the party is about. It matters only that you are with your friends.

Most importantly, I learned what Bob Seger sang when he was too young to know. "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."

We share the same birthday month. Happy Birthday, Susan!

Susan Messer said...

Thanks so much. It's true that it's the people who matter.

And happy birthday to you too.

Jim Poznak said...

Over 100 million households tuned in, (even if, like Susan, did not fully turn on) to the Super Bowl. 15 years ago Susan could not imagine watching it. About 40 years ago, the organizers of the Super Bowl, probably could not imagine it would become such a huge cultural event that people like Susan would watch it.

Susan Messer said...

Interesting. And imagine all the seemingly unlikely things that could be hatching today that we cannot even imagine.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Jim.

I remember Dick Tracy wearing a watch he could talk to and a kids' TV show, "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" in the 50s that was about exploring space. Steve jobs will recognized as a world changer in the time to come. We are fortunate to live in a time where so many made such great changes and improvements in our way of life. My mother remembered women getting voting rights and I remember the ice man delivering a huge chunk for our ice box.

Imagination cannot be outlawed. That's a very positive thought in these times.