Taken in by Sham

It’s the final push of moving here at the condominium.  My good friend Jaxon will come tonight to help me move ten big pieces into a U-Haul.  I’ll strip the sheets and blankets off my bed this morning and fold them up neatly.  There are no rugs and dishes left to move, just big things.  There are almost no pictures on the walls, either.  By rights, I should be packing and cleaning instead of blogging.

This is the last picture.

I’ve had it near my phone as long as I’ve lived here.  When I took the picture off the wall last night around ten o’clock, I unplugged my phone and thought I might pack it, too.  Poor Reggie Black…he kept trying to call me on my house phone and I kept e-mailing him asking him why he hadn’t called.  I didn’t hear the phone ring because it was unplugged.

I was stoopid with moving fatigue.  Reggie knows my faults; I hope he doesn’t give a damn.

I’ve written about this before, but when I was growing up in Lisbon Falls, my relatives lived close by and I saw them every day.  They were all “9-1-1 close.”  I could run to their houses faster than an ambulance could get there.  Two houses separated our house from my Uncle Richie’s house and I visited often.  They had an old black phone hanging on the wall in the hall and above it hung a framed picture just like mine.  That’s why I bought this one at an antique shop years later; I liked the sentiment and when I answered the phone I would think of Uncle Richie and Aunt Jo.

Richie’s phone number was 353-8978, but why would I call their house on the phone if I could walk over?

My uncle was the town barber.  His shop, Baumer’s Barber Shop, was on Main Street for many years, at least from the time I was born until Richie retired.  Another barber worked in the space for a few years until Dr. Mike expanded Mario’s Restaurant into Dr. Mike’s Madness Café.  The barber shop was a man’s place and I might stop in and say “hello” to my uncle, but I didn’t stay long enough to have more memories than the smell of hair tonic and cigarette smoke.  Stephen King must have gotten his hair cut there because he remembered different things about my uncle in one of his books.

Mr. King doesn’t need my help to promote his books.

How is it that two people can remember the same person so differently?  What do we do with all of these memories?

In the course of sifting through old papers, I also found a letter my cousin (Richie’s daughter, Beth) wrote to me in 1993.  It was touching; we had had a correspondence when I was in college and she was still in high school.  Her note began:

“I was cleaning out boxes under my bed and I found some of the letters you wrote me while you were at Orono.  I am such a pack rat.  I just wanted you to know how much it meant to me to receive them…you always gave a fresh perspective and were always encouraging me to strive.  Thank you.”

I’ve decided I’m going to give the picture to my cousin.  This weekend, I’m going to take a break and write a letter to her, just like I used to do when I was in college.  She’s all grown up now and is married with two young sons.  She lives a few towns away from Lisbon Falls and I’ve seen her at Moxie Festival parades from time to time.  She has Uncle Bob over for Thanksgiving dinner every year.

It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about anything of consequence; maybe she’ll think I’m a sham after all these years.  There are a lot of shams in our world today.

But family and friends…aren’t they more important than Tee Vee characters and electronic devices?  Maybe tending to our families and our friends is the important thing, keeping them close and forgiving their faults.

I am a faulty work in progress.  Forgive me.

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1 Response to Taken in by Sham

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    Never explain yourself. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it.

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