Rewriting the Past


[ a (Defiled) “This Changes Everything” poster, Somerville Ave, 2016]

Years ago at an anti-war demonstration—Vietnam, this time—poet Allen Ginsburg made a startling announcement from the podium: “If the United States government can illegally declare this war,” he shouted, ” I can declare that it’s over! Yes! I declare that this illegal, horrible war is over! Bring the troops home! Peace at last!”  And the crowd cheered and wept and hugged and released balloons (it was the 60s; we brought balloons to demonstrations back then.)

I cheered and wept and hugged, too. And for four or five seconds I celebrated Ginsburg’s fantasy. I believed it. More important, that brilliant poet had given me, had offered all of us a brief, delicious taste of What Might Be. Could Be. He’d allowed us to experience how it felt, ever so briefly, to live in a country not at war. Imbedded in that contrived moment was an incentive: “Your heart lifted, sang just now? And you were filled with hope? Nice, right? Then keep on keepin’ on. Keep protesting.” So we did.

Sometimes, these days, as my Loved One remembers less and less and my actual childhood is being rewritten to resemble a fairy tale: “. . . and they all lived happily ever after,” I don’t correct her.  Just as I don’t correct her when she confuses times or names or other pesky facts. I don’t remind her that, actually, our relationship was “fraught,” as my father would say. No, instead, like that balloon-releasing moment of unadulterated joy, I briefly savor a childhood that never happened but is filled with love—the same love I now see in my Loved One’s eyes. And, like Ginsburg’s “peace,” possible.

(I guess it’s true: it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.)

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hello, there, Patricia, my so, so very For Always dearly precious and dearly special friend and sister who you’re For Always so, so very much!!!!!! Wow, what a beautiful and lovingly heartfelt, endearing, and sensitive blog post article this is of yours, my friend!!!!! The title of this very fine and excellent article is perfect here and so sweetly and finely adds to and complements your entire blog post article with the great themes and topics of this superbly super writing here, sisterfriend!!!!! Sister, the picture which you’ve featured with this awesome article is applied very well and used so brilliantly in making this spectacular blog post article just great here, Patricia! I thank-you so, so very much, so, so very profusely, kindly, dearly, and deeply for these cool and informative links which you’ve very graciously and generously included with this astounding blog post article, my so, so very dearest sister!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!! Sister, this is just such a so, so very remarkable and stupendous writing here, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    I so, so love your heartfelt and open sharing on your dearest and darling Loved One in the long term care facility. I’m very honored and blessed, Patricia, and so are all of your very, very many grateful and appreciative readers to be a part of your great sharing and to bear witness to your deep sharing here. My sister and friend, I pray for and think of daily and frequently of your Loved One, your dearest and darling husband, David, the rest of your so, so very precious, special, and beloved family. all of your very pure in heart friendsfamily at your blessedly holy and deeply so full of Spirit Friends Meeting at Cambridge, for all of your other friends, and, of course, for YOU, Patricia, my so, so very dearest friend and sister, sisterfriend of mine!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!! As well, along with your other very, very many grateful and appreciative readers I’m just so blessed and honored to delight in my reading of your great sharing as I bear witness to how you and the other protestors back then protesting the Vietnam War had such an abiding faith and expectancy of hope and even being inspired by the moving poet, Alan Ginsberg!!!!! Wow, what a blissful moment this must have been very much indeed for certain, sister!!!!!!! Patricia, I’m a dreamer and very idealistic. I can relate so well to all of you back then in your deeply felt spiritual moment and to how each and every one of you was touched and so very moved in that moment. I can just envision myself back then if I had been an adult in the 60s feeling the very same feelings and sentiments, sister, and experiencing the sheer thrill of that moment back then for sure, sisterfriend!!!!!!!

    Patricia, you’re such a so so very wise woman!!!!!!! It is very much indeed true, sister, that it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. I tell myself this every day as I go along in my past and current recovery in my past, and current, ongoing therapy, and in my past, current, and ongoing recoveries in very, very many 12-Step Programs as I grow, heal, and recover from having been very, very severely abused in every way by my parents, older brothers, other relatives, and by the rest of my family of origin, sister, I’ m nurturing my inner child and re-parenting myself to learn, heal, and grow from what I didn’t receive growing up and how I was harmed and damaged from the effects from all of that kind of family background, my friend. I continue to be estranged from my family of origin and do not stay in contact with them to keep me safe, and even alive!!!!!!!! I forgave them years and years ago, and I think of them and pray for them every day and love them so but to keep me safe from potential abuse and violence again I so, so very sadly maintain distance from them. None of my family or other relatives are in Iowa which is such a blessing for me that they aren’t in the same state as I am here in Iowa City, Iowa. Spirit has let me know it’s not safe to try to reconcile with them for fear of my safety with the history which hasn’t changed of their still potential for abuse, violence, and domestic violence like they had done so and in which they had harmed me in the past. I am having the happy childhood now that I hadn’t had when I was actually a little girl, young girl, pre-teenager, teenager, and in my early adult years when I was still around my family and in contact with them. There is very much indeed hope and I have the utmost and complete faith that things have become better and will continue to get better, and that I can have a happy childhood now, and so can you, sister, and in fact, we all can for sure as our Sweet and Fun Spirit’s precious and special children, sister!!!!!! Sisterfriend, see how you have just made my day even better and brighter, and I’m now even more renewed, rejuvenated, re-energized, and reinvigorated by joyfully with such eager delight reading this very, very inspiring and insightful blog post article so full of such astute and acute sagacity, and joyously responding to this enlightening so guided by Spirit article with my very heartfelt and thorough comment,, sisterfriend!!!!! Yay!!!!!! Yay for you, Patricia!!!!!! Yay for this awesome writing here, and for all of your magnificent writings!!!!!! Yay for us and our sisterhood and friendship, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! Yay yay yay yay!!!!!!!!

    Patricia, please have such a wondrously wonderful Wednesday, rest of your week, and weekend ahead, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed!!!!!! Sister, I was also praying that you and yours have such a Very, Very Marvelous and Mighty Fine Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend!!!!!!! My friend, you are just such a sheer and blessed joy and blessing to me, Patricia, and to so, so very many people!!!!!! Patricia, you are just the very, very epitome of such overall awesomeness!!!!!! Yay for you, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always dearly special and dearly precious sisterfriend Christian Quaker white woman, Patricia, with Such Peace and Love To You For Always, my sister, and with Such Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my so, so very dear friend,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in the very spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

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