I remember the time when enough was enough and we didn’t need the next great thing, we didn’t buy everything new. I remember when we loved what we had, we saved and worked for the next thing and it meant so much to us. I remember when we didn’t know what credit cards were and our handwriting mattered.
I remember scraping the house with my dad, board by board. I didn’t even know you could hire people for things like that.
I remember walking to school. I was never driven, never once got a ride. I remember my paper route, especially on the really cold dark mornings at 4 AM. I remember occasionally my mom would wake up and come find me in her car and help me finish the route. I remember describing her arrival as Jesus coming over the horizon. I remember when we had a rotary phone and I would try to make it go faster. I remember stealing the shiny caps off of people’s tires, we’d go to the campus parking lot and steal as many as possible and then sell them at school the next day for kids to put on the tires of their bikes. I remember when going out to eat was an event, something we looked forward to. It was always about honoring something, a birthday, a success, a sadness.
I remember life being so much simpler.
We had smaller lives, things mattered more, our connections were deeper.
I remember falling in love the first time, or at least what I thought was love. I don’t think we ever talked.
I remember Reagan’s Presidential campaign and specifically remember my parents paying me $1 for every Reagan sign I could steal from the neighborhood.
I remember our back alley. I think kids who grow up with an alley simply have it better. That alley was the scene of my entire childhood, bike races, tennis against the side of garages, chalk drawing on the pavement, college kids occasionally coming to fight.
I remember the night of the first Gulf War. We heard about it on the news and it felt like everyone I knew gathered in my living room to pray for peace. I remember September 11th like it was just yesterday, I remember feeling so trapped and alone. Trying to get home, stuck for days away from everything and everyone I knew, not knowing who survived, what was happening. I remember when I realized that one of our offices was totally gone, along with almost everyone in it. I remember the fighter jets in the air and the incredible silence that seemed to consume everything for days after. I remember leaving my rental car in the parking garage just in a random no park zone, just abandoning it because I didn’t know what else to do. I remember seeing my daughter after I finally made it home, she leapt into my arms and I remember falling to the ground overcome.I remember when everyone seemed to open his or her hearts, I remember when it seemed like as a nation we began to wake up. I remember when people started to forget again. I remember when I also started to forget.