August 7, 2022
From David Bowie’s “Changes”“Time may change me, But I can't trace time . . .”
As I wrote in my piece, “This Reunion,” back in May, I attended my 40-Something high school reunion in Phoenix, Arizona. The reunion was the fifth one I had attended. Like the four others before this one, the event prompted a lot of reflection and introspection about the events in my life and where I find myself today.
I drove by the apartment that my family lived in when my dad was transferred to Phoenix in 1969. Solidly middle class at the time, it clearly isn’t today. The complex is neat and clean. It’s just not where the middle class gravitates to these days.
I went by the first house Mom and Dad bought a few months later. The current owners have added quite a bit to it and the freeway we saw from our windows when we lived there is now blocked from view by a sand-colored barrier wall intended to block the sound. Oddly, when I was a kid, it was the sounds of the traffic on the Black Canyon Freeway (Interstate 17) that lulled me to sleep. When my parents built a new home in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, the silence of what was then the boonies kept me wide awake.
I drove by the two churches I attended over the years. The buildings are still there but only one is still within the denomination they were in when I was a kid.
I visited the widow of our first pastor and his middle daughter who is like a sister to me. The pastor’s wife is 93 now and still has her beautiful smile. It still warms my heart to think about it. Less than two months after visiting with her, she passed away.
I went by the first house I owned; the hospital where my daughter was born; and I visited with several friends. I wanted to visit with more people and see more places, but time just didn’t permit it.
Along with the memories that were conjured came the reminder, once again, of time and change. Lots of places in the valley have memories tied to them. Some good. Some not so good. All are symbolic of the events in my life that have brought me to where I am today and crafted the person that I am today. Lots and lots of changes have taken place in me, in my friends, and in the city of my youth.
One can’t help but wonder when we visit the places and people of our youth what life would’ve been like if different decisions had been made; if what I got what I wanted; if I made a right turn instead of left.
I look at the changes that have taken place in the city’s landscape and wonder what drove those changes. I went by locations and saw new buildings that have replaced ones that I remember being built and wonder what made the ones I remember to be obsolete.
At the class reunion, we all went on over how each of us had changed yet were still recognizable. Watching all the people visiting, laughing, and crying, I thought about the changes in all of us and wondered where the time went. I wondered who in that room would still be here if there were to be another class reunion; what would we all experience between now and then.
Reflecting on all this caused me to circle back and wonder where all the time went. It has seemingly vanished without a trace. It’s sobering to know that there are precious few years in front of my generation than there are behind us.
And while there are regrets and things that I wish I could change; I am determined to make the most of what remains of my life. I will continue to value relationships, keep away from as much negativity as possible, and do random acts of anonymous kindness. I will increasingly savor the moments as I have been.
While doing so, I will cherish the life I’ve been blessed with and embrace the changes that will undoubtedly come.