Monday, December 28, 2015

A Departure from the Norm

Every year for more years than I can remember we have sent out a Christmas letter. You know the sort. This year I ordered the paper and made a draft, handed it over to my editor in chief—then we both looked at each other and said "Do we really want to send this out?" We agreed what we wanted to do but we didn't agree on a timeline. And in case we don't, let me tell you what is important to me this year (and will, I suspect, become more and more important with the passing years):

Christmas 2015

It is a given that “old people” (and you known who you are) live in the past. As this year draws to a close, I realize that I am doing that more and more. And it makes me happy.

There are the friends I made before I left England. Diana and Yvonne started school with me when we were five and we continued at the same institution when we passed the 11+. Although we parted ways in our late teens, we kept sporadically in touch and I have seen them on my occasional visits to England. We now correspond more regularly and I admire the way they are coping with the problems they have faced. When I went on to college I made close friends in my own department, and what sad news I have heard from many of them this year. Yes, we are getting old. I think fondly of them and welcome all the news I get from them. Thank you internet! I can see photos they have posted on Facebook and read letters which would never have been written without e-mail.

Off to Los Angeles! My friends there seemed just a bit more exotic, and I treasure memories of Elizabeth and Rory, Libby (she played tennis with Barry Goldwater), Jane and the Trapps. Some I will hear from this Christmas.

When I married I met a whole boatload of Aments. My memories grew to include the parties and reunions which marked life in that large family. Of course we visited many of them and kept in touch, not only at Christmas but throughout the year. Now they are mostly gone and I have added them to the memories I mull around when I can’t sleep. Chief among them are Ernie’s siblings, Flo and Bob.

Our arrival in Detroit (and the arrival of our five children) led us to meet more people who are gradually becoming the fodder of my memories: the parishioners at St. Ambrose—especially the talented members of the St. Ambrose Players and their husbands—the teachers at the various schools the children attended and their fellow students, some of whom I still come across.

You can imagine how happy I was when my brother and sister-in-law visited us this year, not a memory but a beloved reality.

I am delighted in my children and in my 21 grandchildren. They are part of my present, but this year I wanted devote to the past. It worked for Scrooge.

Love from Beryl

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

21 Grandchildren! That's a lot of presents to buy but lots to love!
Maggie x