A little sad about the things that will never be.

I was just telling you about my valiant garage cleaning attempt from yesterday. Part of what I was doing was going through some

Photograph

Photograph (Photo credit: http://www.robertorey.es)

photographs from my Mother’s side of the family. I’ve mentioned before that my Mother died when I was 9. I’m still trying to deal with that a lot of days. My Grandmother was moving, and had a lot of extra family photos that she wanted to give me the pick of.

I was pretty conflicted about a lot of these pictures. I really wanted to have some of them. I wanted to have the photos and the memories. I wanted the photos of different times in my family’s lives. I wanted some photos of a “happier” time in my life. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time staring at pictures of my Mother, who died when I was 9, hooked up to machines in a hospital. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time looking at pictures of my Grandfather, who died when I was 19, at home in pain from bone cancer. I definitely didn’t want to spend any time looking  at pictures of my step-father, who is still alive and I wish he wasn’t, for so many reasons I can’t get into them now. I’ll share later, I promise.

I managed the sorting and choosing portion pretty well. I took some, left others. I tried to not end up with doubles or very similar ones. I also noticed that my Grandparents got A LOT of portraits taken. I did alright though. I wasn’t too sad or too angry. I ended up with some nice photos. I took them all home in their frames, to protect them. I figured I’d just throw the frames away later. This is what I had to go through in my own garage. I needed to take them out of their protective frames and take them inside. This was the part that got hard.

My family has always kept a relatively accurate photographic archive. Most of the photos are portrait type shots, and they take them every few years or so. That means that through the course of my 28 years, I have seen photos from every hairstyle and fashion fad. I’m not unfamiliar with pictures of my Mother from high school, or myself in questionable attire. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sadness.

When my Mother died, I wasn’t quite old enough to understand. I have enough memories to miss her, but I wasn’t old enough to know what had happened until later. I understood that she wasn’t around anymore, that it was sad, and that she wouldn’t be able to come back. It wasn’t until much later that I began to understand what it means for someone to have died. I only now understand what it means that someone, especially my Mother, died while I was still in elementary school.

When my Grandfather died, I knew what it all was going to mean. I was as alright as I was going to be with his death when it happened. My Grandfather was a vibrant and vigorous  man. He was sweet and he was passionate about so many things. When he got bone cancer, we first thought it would be easier for him than others. He would never show his hurt and he would be the same lively and dignified man as always. The cancer destroyed him. He hurt so much and only showed us a little bit. He wasn’t able to get up and do things like before. He was sad and tired and he was never sad and tired. I was so happy  for him when he passed away quietly at home, because he was in pain and because he was not my Grandfather. He was not, at that time, the man everyone knew and loved. I refuse to remember him that way.

I wasn’t prepared for how all of those photos would force me to feel. Make no mistake, they forced it upon me. They forced me to remember how pretty my Mother was. They made me see the happiness in her eyes. They captured my eyes with my Grandfather’s handsomeness. They took my will to look away from his lively eyes and smile. They gave me no option to escape my step-father’s false mask. They refused my attempts to forget that he was alive.

As I took all of those photos out of their frames and gathered them to keep safe inside, I had no choice but tho remember how happy we had been before our world came unglued. I won’t say that my life was better before. I am everything that I am because of the sum total of my life. I was happy before it all began to tear at the seams. I was less happy after my Mother died. Anyone would be.

What I had been avoiding thinking about and couldn’t avoid yesterday was how that all applies to my life from here on out. Those people I love and respect so much will never get to see what kind of a man I turn into. I’m a man now, but I know I’m not finished becoming what I will be. They will never get to see how it happened or what it will be. They will never get to see me have children. They won’t get to see what they become. That’s what makes me the saddest. 

One of these days I’ll come to terms with that. I’ll be able to accept that that is the way it has to be. I think what will help is knowing who WILL get to see those things happen. My still living parents and grandparents. They are the ones that will have to be loving and proud to my future children. 

I suppose eventually I will be able to get past it all. It seems that sometimes the only way to truly be able to be okay with something like this is to look back and realize you’ve been okay with it for awhile now. Seeing that you’ve made that peace in hindsight is sometimes the only way it can truly come into focus. 

Until then, I’ll just have to not be scared to think of when it hadn’t begun to crack yet. I will have to accept that thinking about that will make me sad. Sometimes, I will just have to be sad.

4 Things My Childhood Screwed Up.

I thought a short list might suit me today. So, here we go!

This week's plan to do list

This week’s plan to do list (Photo credit: the green gables)

Things my childhood ill-prepared me for:

1) Relationships do NOT happen like Disney movies.

Not every woman wants to be treated like a damsel-in-distress every minute of every day. They do not need you acting upon what you think is best for them all the time. They don’t appreciate the assumption that your job is to fix all their problems. They do not sing their feelings. Most importantly, it does not always end well. Some relationships just aren’t meant to be. It doesn’t always matter who loved whom how much. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

2) School is nothing like work.

About the only thing that school and work share, is the fact that you don’t get to choose when to go, when to leave, or what you’re doing. The rest of it isn’t even remotely the same. School is very structured and task-oriented. Work isn’t usually like that. You usually have 6 things to do, all of which needed done yesterday, and no one is ever happy with the result. Nearly every project is like a group project where you have to do all the work. If they graded work, we would all fail.

3) No one has the same group of friends forever.

I blame sitcoms. Especially the ones aimed at young adults. They told me I would have 3-5 friends and we would be the best group ever, all the time. Not so. People grow up, things change and everyone goes their separate ways eventually. There’s no reunion show where everyone meets up and it’s just like old times.

4) Not every situation requires a hero.

Every book, Movie, TV show and Video Game told me that I was the hero. I was good at everything. It was my job to save the world! Sometimes, it’s just your job to clean the fuzzy shit out of the brush bar on the vacuum. Sometimes, it’s your job to dump spoiled milk down the drain. Sometimes you spill hot water on your bare feet and burn them. Not every situation is glamorous, and you can’t always be a hero.

I’m sure there are more things but I realized reading a different list this morning that my childhood lied to me a lot.

Anything your childhood didn’t adequately prepare you for?

Itch to scratch

I’ve got a wicked itch to play video games. I mean PLAY video games. You have no idea what I’m talking about. STORY TIME!

I’ve been playing video games fro as long as I can remember. Some of my first memories revolve around sitting in my playroom on a beanbag chair watching Eureka’s Castle, or playing on my Nintendo Entertainment System(NES). When I went to the babysitter’s house, before and after kindergarten, and all through the summer, we played Mega Man 2, or swam in the pool. I wanted more Mega Man. 

At one point in my childhood, between my mother’s house, my grandmother’s house, and my father’s house, I had an NES, a SEGA Genesis, an Atari 2600, a Super Nintendo(SNES), a Nintendo Gameboy, and a SEGA Game Gear. I was a bit spoiled. I’m sure that in no way factors into my current lack of impulse control and lack on financial responsibility.<insert eyeroll here>

I watched people play games, and I found watching people play them almost as exciting. Sitting in someone’s living room playing and watching video games is probably the thing that I did the most over the course of my childhood. Not playing outside, not using my imagination. It was video games, and reading.

I used to play soccer. I was pretty good and I really enjoyed that. When I was 9, I was diagnosed with Legg-Calve Perthes. My father and step mother noticed I was limping a lot during a soccer game. After a trip to the ER, a referral to an Orthopedic Surgeon and lots of x-rays, it was determined that I needed to be on crutches and in traction. No weight on my left leg. That kind of put a damper on any possible desire to enjoy the outdoors. It was a pretty small desire, mind you, but I really did enjoy soccer, I swear. I practiced at home and everything.

This diagnosis only cemented the reading and video game thing. They have been my two favorite activities for quite some time now, well into my adult life. I purchased a video game at midnight in college. I skipped class to go buy and play a new video game on release day. My good buddy and I once had to stay at college through a spring break and we spent the first day playing Def Jam: Icon for 16 hours straight. We stopped only for food. The bulk of which was delivered to us.

THAT’S what I mean when I say I’ve got an itch to play some video games. I have always been a binge gamer. Not necessarily at the expense of any responsibility. It’s just that my chosen way to enjoy games involves large chunks of time. That doesn’t happen much anymore.

As a mostly-responsible adult, I just don’t have the time to sit down in front of a PC or TV for 10-14 hours in a stretch. This has given me the opportunity to appreciate games that favor smaller bites of gameplay. I’m grateful for that, since I’m a creature of habit and wouldn’t normally expand my playing options. 

Sometimes, I really just want to binge on games without feeling guilty about wasting time. I need a gamecation!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Do you have any hobbies or activities that you need to take a vacation to do?

Oh Ashland.

My friend says I’m supposed to write more posts with concrete examples.

Concrete

Concrete (Photo credit: net_efekt)

Oh. I bet she meant examples of what I’m talking about that anchor you in what I’m talking about. That was just an example of concrete.

She suggested a ‘Favorite place from our college campus post.” She generally knows what the hell she’s talking about, so here we go:

The A & H building:  Arts & Humanities. I ended up spending a lot of time there my last 2 years and it kind of grew on me. The hallways were usually clean, but there were a lot of art studios in there and they were always dirty. It was great. Certain portions of the hallways were sectioned off. They were for the Music classrooms, or the the drama studios. All the art studios were on the top floor, or the basement.

You walked in an unassuming doorway and a huge expansive room was hidden behind it. It would be filled with paints, easels, chalk, conte crayons, charcoal, and paper. Maybe it would be filled with printing presses and big glass worktables for inking press plates. Maybe it would have kilns and pottery wheels, and big mechanical clay mixers. Could be a corner for welding or lots of wood working tools. Every studio was like a separate, themed world in a video game. It was always so cool.

That was where I spent my class days. When I was going to learn how to be an artist. I always learned how to be an artist, but I can’t say I learned much about how to make art. Of course, learning the how to be and and not the how to do isn’t uncommon for me.

Quarry Street:  The best off campus party house that ever existed. Ashland University is/was a dry campus. Alcohol was not permitted on campus. So we went off campus to enjoy adult beverages.  This house was a couple blocks away from campus. Close enough to walk, even in crappy weather. It got even closer when some of those adult beverages impeded your perception of time. It was positioned on a cross street that was just one block long. It sat in between 2 funeral homes and a public library. There was no one to complain about the noise. You should ask that same friend about the time she went ass first into a pile of snow walking home with some impeded motor skills.

My Room:  I absolutely loved my room in the fraternity hose. It was a double room that wasn’t big enough for 2 people so I bought it out. I had a dead bolt on my door and a mini-fridge. I had a built in loft for my bed and a futon for a couch. I could sit in my room, with my music on and just be. It was absolutely glorious. That room is what I miss about college. I had a private space that I left open most of the time. I could stick my head out the door and yell for just about anyone I wanted to see. You never had to look for people to do something with, just walk down the hall.

 

Those are my places from college.

What about you?

I Wear Yo Grandad’s Clothes, I Look Incredible.

Not but seriously.

Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit

Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always had a bit of an odd sense of style when it comes to getting dressed up. I blame my Grandfather. I love him, but he wore some crazy things. I spent a lot of time with him when I was young and so I picked up some of that dress style.

My grandfather was born in Kentucky in the early 20’s. He was in the army and fought in World War 2. He was also a minister and a very southern Christian. He loved looking nice, and suits were his favorite apparel. He also liked bright colors. I think you can see where this is going.

There are pictures of me, around age 7, in which I am wearing a white suit, a wide collared teal shirt, and white snakeskin cowboy boots. I have big ears, and my mother used to let my super curly hair grow all year and then buzz it all off at the beginning of the summer. This picture was taken at the beginning of the summer.

My Grandfather had suits in every color of the rainbow. The were always clean and pressed, and he had more shoes than he needed. He always looked sharp. He also always stood out a little bit. Wearing an electric blue 3 button suit tends to do that. He also had a powder pink one, and a peach one. Of course he had all manner of black, grey and navy suits as well.

I tend to look a little outside the box when I have the opportunity with dress clothes. I practically refuse to wear slacks and a sport coat. I would much rather wear a full suit. With a vest, if it’s available.

I’ve really been looking for an occasion to wear a black with black windowpane pattern suit.

Haters gonna hate. I look incredible.

Did you pick up any style quirks from your relatives?

Sad Story

Possibly sad fiction incoming.

EDIT: Definitely sad fiction incoming. You’ve been warned.

I was trying to focus on my silent reading when the secretary came in and started talking to my teacher. I thought it was odd, because normally Mrs. Atkins doesn’t deliver messages to classrooms herself. There’s usually some sort of office aide that helps with that. I knew it had to be important. I hoped it wasn’t about me.

I knew what it meant when Ms. Hollis came over to my desk. She was forcing a smile, but there were tears in her eyes. I had seen that look a lot lately. I din’t want to think about it, so I just listened and nodded when she told me that my Dad was there to pick me up. I picked up all my books and I followed Mrs. Atkins out of the room. She let me lead the way to my locker to get my backpack. I didn’t have a coat, it was practically summer.

Dad was waiting in the office. He took my back pack and thanked the secretary. She looked like she might be about to cry too. I followed Dad out to the truck. He put my backpack in the backseat, and he let me sit up front. I never got to sit up front.

As we pulled away, Dad told me where we were going. I already knew, but it was easier for both of us to talk about it like it was all a surprise. Dad didn’t seem to be upset, but then he never seemed upset; unless you did something to make him really mad. I had only seen him that way once, when Mom wrecked the car.

We got to the hospital quickly. There wasn’t any traffic on a Thursday afternoon. We went straight up to the fourth floor. All the nurses gave me the same forced smile that my teacher had. I appreciated that they were smiling, but it was weird knowing how hard they had to try. Mom and Grandma and Uncle Tim were all in the family lounge on the fourth floor. Mom and grandma started to cry when we got there. Uncle Tim just put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. At least he didn’t force that smile.

After Mom and Grandma stopped crying, we went down the hall to Grandpa’s room. All the machines were hissing and beeping and whirring, just like the last time I had been here. Grandpa still wasn’t moving, just like the last time I was here. A couple of weeks ago, he was able to look around after the bed was moved up, but he didn’t seem to recognize us. He wasn’t scared or anything, he just didn’t seem to notice we were there. a couple weeks before that he couldn’t talk, but he would nod while we were talking and squeeze our hands.

Mom and Grandma were crying again, and Uncle Tim was talking with Dad. Just stuff about work, nothing important. I think it made it easier on him. He sat down in the chair when the Doctor came in. The Doctor talked to Dad for a little bit, but none of what he said seemed to matter much. It seemed like they were just confirming things that they had already decided.

They asked me if I wanted to leave and I told them no. I don’t really know why, there wasn’t anything for me to do. I just didn’t feel like standing in the hall by myself when they did it. I did go stand in the corner. There were nurses and the Doctor. They did something and the machines made different noises. Mom and Grandma really started crying hard. They had Dad do the last thing. Uncle Time kind of just left. Dad herded me out and went back in for Mom and Grandma.

He was holding their hands when they came out. They were still crying pretty loud. We all went downstairs, and got in our separate cars and went home. We didn’t stay there long, Mom and Dad got some things and we went over to Grandma’s. We were going to be staying awhile.

There were a lot of people in and out of Grandma’s house the next couple of days. Lots of people were hugging and crying. Dad ran a lot of errands for everyone. I went with him most of the time, because I didn’t know what to do just sitting at Grandma’s. Lots of people were asking if I was ok, sometimes they didn’t even ask me. Sometimes they asked Mom or Dad and they always said how well I was doing. I never cried.

Man and Children Page 565

Man and Children Page 565 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew what had happened, but I didn’t understand. I knew I would never see Grandpa again, but never is too big an idea for a 10-year old to comprehend. So I just sat. I helped when people needed my help, and I went wherever we had to go. Grandpa was gone and that meant everything would change.

I spent a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa’s. mom and Dad worked different shifts and it was easier to have Grandma and Grandpa watch me. I didn’t know what would change but I knew it all would.

The funeral was weird. I liked all the nice things they were saying, but I didn’t understand why we had to do all of it. I just wanted to try to go back to normal. IT wouldn’t be normal without Grandpa, but it would be whatever the new normal was going to be.

After we went home, lots of people came over and there was a lot of food. We had food and people the whole rest of the day. Near the end when people were packing things up, I went to find Dad. I hadn’t seen him in awhile, and he was the only one not acting weird.

I found him in the back bedroom. He was sitting in Grandpa’s old chair. He didn’t have any lights on, but the radio was playing. When I knocked on the door frame, he waved me in. I could see in the light from the hall that he was crying. I climbed up in his lap, and he hugged me. I finally started crying too.

This won’t hurt at all…

Sorry for the delay, I’ve had this idea bouncing around in my head for a few days now, and just haven’t been able to get it spit out on to the digital page.

Why can’t we enjoy remakes of classic things?

This seems to happen most often with Movies and TV shows and, to a lesser extent, music. Someone releases an obvious remake to a previously enjoyed movie, let’s say. They tell everyone that it is a remake, they do interviews explaining any changes that they made, any artistic decisions. They address concerns about included and removed content. They spend all their time explaining and defending why it isn’t exactly the same as the original.

We hate it.

What got me thinking about this is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

The original movie, itself an adaptation of the 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was wonderful. It’s something that both my parents and I enjoy. It’s something that we watched together because they were fond of it, and it was a good family movie. I’ve rarely met anyone who didn’t care for that movie and Gene Wilder’s portrayal of the reclusive candy maker.

I’ve also not yet met anyone who like the 2005 remake of this movie. This is where I get stumped. I know and understand that there are some significant differences between the two. I also understand that there are many people who prefer the character of Willy Wonka to be the version shown in the original movie. What I wonder is, does that mean that the remake is bad? or does it just mean that most people like the original better?

Let’s pretend you could watch the two movies completely independent of one another. Let’s say I have a machine that can temporarily remove and store your memories. So, you watch the first movie, you think and feel whatever you’d like to about it. Then, I extract those memories and feelings, and set them aside. Now you watch the remake, with no knowledge of the previous version, and no thoughts or feelings attached. You form an opinion of the remake. Then I give you your memories and feelings back.

Do you still hate the remake? (I’m assuming you currently do since, as I said, I haven’t met anyone that likes it)

I ask because it seems to me that people are perfectly capable of enjoying a movie that is a remake or an adaptation of another story, so long as they have no prior knowledge of the story.

I suppose I can see both sides of this discussion because I am able to enjoy the two movie about Willy Wonka as independent entities. I enjoy them for separate reasons. I also tend to be somewhat disappointed with movie adaptations of comic book series. I have a much harder time separating the two ideas. For comics, I guess I always felt the story was pretty well laid out with lots of action so no real need to make changes.

So my main point would be this; Why is it so difficult for us to separate ourselves from a previous version of something, so that we would be more able to enjoy something new?

Seems like we could all have a little more fun if were could sit back and enjoy what we were doing instead of comparing it with something we did once before.