Len's Saturday Writing Essential prompt is to write a romantic story, prose or poetry, fiction or non, or essay about something that is not normally considered romantic.
There are many, many kinds of love, love unrequitted, love shared, love forever, just to name a few, but up until just this year, upon receiving a message from an old classmate of mine, I never thought much about love unaware.
The message has made me ponder about how much we as human beings impress upon others without realizing it or even knowing. How could we without being told?
The "being told," is what this essay regards.
The computer world has given access and in pushing buttons people who have not seen each other for years can be face to face at least virtually. That is what has happened to me.
Johnny Strathmann and I began kindergarten together, traveled the same path through our elementary school years and into junior high school, then he disappeared.
Kids were so busy being busy when I was a child that we might not see all our school chums throughout a summer vacation since neighborhoods stayed quite close to their own and we would get reacquainted when the school bells chimed in September.
I lived on the corner of Cherry Alley and Seventh Avenue and Johnny's house sat on the corner of Strawberry Way and Seventh Avenue with many city blocks between us.
So we lost sight until the return to school. When I returned to eighth grade in the fall of 1952, my friend was nowhere to be seen and it seemed none of the other classmates knew what had happened to him.
Time and ours lives moved on...
Then, after sixty years, I found a note from Johnny on our classmates site: It absolutely floored me and I'm still shaking my head.
I was so happy to find you on Classmates, since after so many years, I had no idea if you were in the same area.
I'd always wanted to send you a note and let you know where our family had gone but didn't have an address.
You see, Barbara, when I finished seventh grade, our family picked up and moved to Monrovia, California, and I felt terrible because I couldn't tell everybody I wanted to, especially you.
I probably shouldn't tell you this even now but I need to....I remember the seventh grade dance when you went with me and we slow danced (first time for me)...you smelled like flowers (wore one in your hair) and I have measured every other girl from that point on by your fragrance and that dance.
I have never forgotten you and have wanted, so, to tell you and how sorry I still am that I left without saying goodbye.
(There was much more in the letter telling me of his college career, pre-med classes, playing trumpet when in the the Air Force, and now, serving as columnist for three area newspapers and working on a book of poetry to be out in April. He is also an advocate for senior citizens, was married and the father of four.)
Wow! I was very flattered at Johnny's words and felt foolish because I could not remember in the way he did.
I do remember the dance because I sang at all our school dances and in trying to recall the sweetness of that moment, I suddenly remembered his brown tweed suit jacket and the aroma of Mennen's, which seemed to permeate the gymnasium. (In the fifties, the boys wore their dad's after shave on special occasions and before the need to shave)
We had been together as pals and classmates for seven wonderful years and those were my memories. Walking to school, laughing and enjoying childhood together, but now, the culmination of those years, I see, took on a different slant for Johnny and finally he got to share what he wished for me to realize.
He signs the name John-Henry Strathmann, I knew him as Johnny, and witnessing all he has accomplished and is STILL accomplishing, I am glad we had the slow dance for him to remember, because his life seems to have been a whirlwind and one still encircling many, many activities.
I'm being very realistic in saying I will probably never see him except for messages on the classmates site and those few and far beteen, so many miles still between, and two very different lifestyles, but at least I know now, where he lodged.
I am planted too deeply to ever be uprooted but reaching out and still touching through memories is enjoyable! It is good to remember!