by GLENETTA SHUEY
How many times have you expected or awaited an important event and came away disappointed? But, then some of our most memorable moments, those “Kodak” memories, came from those simple, unplanned events. Those memories still play in our minds like old movies just as vividly as the day they happened.
Nostalgia. I like that word. It’s one of those words that rolls nicely off your tongue and also has substance to it. Simple things in life eventually become bits of nostalgia. Moments that we tuck away in our head and our heart and take out every once in a while to look at and think about. Sweet memories. No one can take them from us, nearly sacred and all our own.
When my speech students were preparing monologues for speech rally, I often would pick one of my favorite pieces, one of which was from “OurTown” by Thornton Wilder. The soliloquy is by the character Emily who has just died in childbirth and has been given the chance to go back home. Her words echo so perfectly my thoughts about cherishing life. Some of my students will recall these poignant lines.
“It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed. ….. Good-bye to clocks ticking and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute?”
Like Emily, I remind myself as often as I can to enjoy the little things. I made my own list. But I won’t say goodbye to them; I will be thankful instead.
The smell and feel of newly washed sheets, the breeze on a beach, the hug of a grandchild, the quiet on a summer morning in Florida, listening to children’s laughter, holding hands, the taste of watermelon on a warm summer day, the smell of popcorn, the toast of champagne among friends, jitterbugging, exercising until I sweat, waiting offstage for a cue to enter for a first performance, watching old movies, visiting and laughing with my sisters, the sight of the Theatre District in New York, and, try not to laugh at this one, listening to the intro music to “The Young and the Restless,” just to name a few. You can make your own list. You can add to it as you like. All our lists will be varied and special.
Most importantly, you can make more memories and add to your nostalgic moments. I truly believe that the simple things in life make all the momentous occasions simply fade in comparison to the touch of that baby’s finger wrapped around yours or that smile you receive for simply being loved!
Some of my favorite memories are years old and others are more recent – time has no limitations on our special moments. Simple things in the end define us, for they are what matter to us.
After I had written these words, that very day I was wandering through a gift shop and saw this sign: “Live simply, Laugh often, and Love deeply.” It goes by fast, as Emily said. We need to make the most of it.
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