Monday, June 09, 2008

In My Life

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain.All these places have their moments,
With lovers and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living,
In my life I've loved them all
   One of John Lennon's most famous songs. I remember seeing the lyrics for it, written in his own hand, in a display case in the British Museum. It has lasted, even with its almost greeting card-like verse; its popularity is based on merit. When we had our high school's 30th reunion, a bunch of us guys who had been in various bands there had gotten together and reformed into a group to play for the gathered faithful. We played that tune, of course, how could anyone of our generation not?

   Received an email Friday from our 40th reunion committee. In it was an attachment with a slide show of the yearbook pictures of those who had passed away. Most of them had died long ago, within the first few years after high school: traffic accidents, drug overdoses, suicides, cancer, and the occasional freak medical condition. As the images scrolled, Lennon's In My Life played. About half way through I was shocked to see a certain girl's face.

   Lynn was never a close friend, her parents and mine had some sort of social connection, I never knew exactly what that was. Still, I had gone to her birthday party once (spin the bottle!) and we had walked side by side at our graduation. During college we had met up a couple of times. One night, when I was out photographing the neighborhood (time exposures were the thing to do in the summer of '69) I met her in front of her house. "Take my picture!" she said, as she proceeded to do a headstand in her yard. Later, that fall, she somehow got me to go with her to the airport. She brought along two of her girl friends. They weren't meeting anybody, she said it was "so sad when people had to part" as we witnessed several farewells. That was the last time I saw her. 

   Seeing her picture in the slide show made me wonder:
How did it happen?
Why hadn't we ever gone any further in our relationship?
What had she been doing for the last 40 years?
Did she find happiness?
And the big if: Why was it her face in the show, and not mine?

   Today I received another email with a "corrected" version of the slide show. Her picture had been selected in error. Lynn was still alive!

But of all these friends and lovers,
There is no one compares with you.
And these memories lose their meaning,
When I think of love as something new.
Though I know I'll never lose affection,
For people and things that went before.
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In my life I love you more

By Professor Batty


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