Junior Year at Francis Howell High School Fall 1973
"Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you"
"Bookends" by Simon & Garfunkel
Back in the summer of 1995, at our twentieth high school reunion, the most ironic thing happened; or maybe it was just plain uncanny. One friend had remembered to bring along a Senior yearbook, and as we thumbed through the pages, a loose photograph fluttered to the floor, landing face down. Shaking our heads sadly, we read the poignant and strangely true inscription, in Marilyn's familiar curly cursive:
but one day, you’ll find this picture in your attic
and remember your old friend ~ Marilyn"
How painful it was to kneel down and pick that picture up, to turn it over and see Marilyn's eternally young smile, to imagine her writing that haunting sentiment. Sad enough for those of us who knew, but even more shocking for the few classmates in the crowd who, until that moment, had been unaware of her untimely death from ovarian cancer a year and a half earlier. Gone too soon.
Yet she was there with us that day, telling us a story! I shouldn't have been surprised. Marilyn was always recommending something good for me to read or telling me about a poet I should have known about but didn't, always raising my consciousness! A true friend! How appropriate that the forgotten photo came to light twenty years later, not in an attic, but in the midst of a gathering of friends. Indeed, as she had predicted, we all stood transfixed for a moment remembering our old friend ~ Marilyn.
A week ago, I included one of my favorite memories of Marilyn in my current Fortnightly post "A Heart That Watches and Receives." Do you remember that lush and hazy song from the 70s -- "The Air That I Breathe." Marilyn used to say, "What? No books to read? That can't be right!"
Whenever we happened to hear it on the radio, Marilyn would always express her dismay. She was torn; she wanted to like it; but why No books to read? What kind of paradise would that be?" No sleep -- okay. Nothing to eat -- okay. But no books? Not okay!"
Although it is still a favorite, I never hear it without the memory of Marilyn's wise words!
The Air That I Breathe
[click to listen]
If I could make a wish, I think I'd pass
Can't think of anything I need
No cigarettes, no sleep, no light, no sound
Nothing to eat, no books to read . . .
All I need is the air
That I breathe
And to love you . . .
sung by The Hollies
written by Albert Louis Hammond / Mike Hazlewood
Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing
Copyright: Imagem Songs Ltd.
What You Might Call Beautiful
Happy 448th to William Shakespeare
and see photo album:
My Friend Marilyn, 1957 ~ 1993