Stories from My Life, #4: Memories Made and Memories Lost

July 14, 2015 8:22 pm Published by 1 Comment


Twin Towers_LOC_Public Domain_10Jul15

Public Domain, courtesy of the Library of Congress

I’m probably the most nostalgic, sentimental person I know. I save old letters and reread them. I enjoy reminiscing with relatives and retelling old family stories. And, I like to visit places that remind me of years past, often from childhood. Sometimes, though, the physical connection to those memories disappears. If a beloved friend, spouse, or child passes away, recollections may be satisfying, but bittersweet. On the flip side, something missing can induce a truly appalling reaction. The absence of the original twin towers in New York City elicits a painful memory: the horror of a terrorist attack on our country on 9/11.


Jeff's House Lot_9Jul15

So what spurred me to write a blog about memories past? The reason comes from the second photo above. While visiting my mother in Somerset, Pennsylvania, last week, I drove by the address where my best friend in high school, Jeff Hay, and I spent many a carefree summer afternoon playing Ping-Pong in his rec. room. I remember hearing my first Beatles song in that room. To complement our indoor activity, we rode our bikes outside in the driveway and shot hoops. We risked life and limb when we foolishly jumped off the roof of his house. And, we stayed up all night in an unsuccessful attempt to produce photographic evidence of a crafty raccoon.

But as you see from the picture, there is no house. It was demolished and replaced by a lawn, this despite the fact that it was one of the most modern houses in Somerset, for its time. The only evidence that something other than a grassy knoll ever existed is the small section of asphalt you see at the bottom of the photo; that was the bottom of Jeff’s driveway.

So what is my point? I guess it’s obvious. All of the memories discussed above exist only in the minds of Jeff and me. As is life itself, memories are fleeting. Enjoy them while you can. Better yet, dedicate your life to creating some that you know you’ll want to revisit later on.

To bring this blog full circle, I refer again to 9/11, a day when two additional events coincided. United Flight 93, the plane hijacked by al-Qaeda, went down only a few miles from Somerset. And, Jeff’s mother passed away in that missing house. To be sure, my visit last week reminded me not only of Jeff, but also of Mrs. Hay. I have fond memories of her. She had always been kind to me, this skinny kid from down the road.

Upcoming: Stories from My Life, #5: Close encounters with the grim reaper

Previous: Stories from My Life, #3: Lessons learned from inside Nittany 40 at Penn State

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This post was written by paulmarktag

1 Comment

  • Shirley Evans says:

    Enjoyed. Made me think of the memories I have of our neighborhood and so many fun times we kids had.