Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Great Land of Never-was

One of my beloved childhood babysitters recently started a special interest group on Facebook on which she encouraged us to share our memories and nostalgia about growing up in our tiny hometown and the county surrounding it. Folks have turned up that I haven't heard from in ages- the only thing is, though, you can't share the group to your wall. You have to add people for them to find it...

I guess I went a little overboard, but I thought it only fair and right to bring in everyone I thought might be interested. I also failed to anticipate how much information would flood through within the first twenty-four hours- I find myself culling the updates from my e-mail account about every four hours just to keep it to a manageable level. For unintentionally overwhelming certain folks, I am well and truly sorry- I imagine a few of my friends from back home are a bit irritated with me right now.

Ironically, too, some who've already withdrawn were among my closer childhood friends. I'm taking it waaaaaaaaaay too personally, mostly because I haven't had a lot of sleep, and partly because I desperately wish that these folks were still among my close friends.Wishes, horses, et cetera, ad nauseum. Not that I don't understand the logic of leaving the group; I pulled them (without asking, that's my fault) in for lack of a better mechanism. Tired and scatterbrained, I kind of added my top twenty pretty fast and then pretty scattershot thereafter. I really should've been more circumspect, and sent personal invitations describing how to find the group by searching.

Life moves on. Not all memories are pleasant- I've written here about both the bitter and the sweet. There are aspects of it to which I wasn't attuned; undercurrents of racism to which I was largely oblivious, mild though I suspect they were compared to other places, being from the South, they were there. I just didn't feel them, because my race is primarily caucasian and my father's family has "passed" (for white) for two generations before mine. There were moments of outsiderness that I endured myself, for other reasons...small towns can be cruel, even when they are also kind. Nothing closes rank faster or with greater finality than a rural Southern town, after all.

Others have quite simply moved on. Their continued electronic acquaintance with me is distant, and a study in faint fondness (and good manners, in some cases). That's okay. It's something, and something positive, even if it's mild to the point of evaporation. Everyone wants to be remembered. Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants to be a good memory. It doesn't always work out that way.

Ah, well, I have an Airedale tail to finish trimming when I get home tonight. Time to wrap this up and move in that direction. Let me leave you with this thought, though: the early Church was its people, not a place. Much in the same way, my hometown is its people and what lives in the tribal memory, not the place itself.