Sunday, May 20, 2018
When the old reliables make me sad ...
1) Books. I began reading Robert Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, the biography by Chris Matthews. I was appreciating, if not enjoying, it. Bobby was just 42 when he was murdered, and so there's a pervasive sadness to this book. When he marries and begins his family, you realize his life is already half over, and that his brood will grow up fatherless. That's just what made me sad on a personal level. What the country lost when we lost him 50 years ago -- a leader who had the capacity to evolve and reach out to those in pain, regardless of their socioeconomic status -- makes me sad for all of us.
Then I lost the book. It's gone. Just gone. I think I left it on the train, or maybe in the cab, when I was ferrying a ton of personal stuff home from the office and the cord on my cart broke. I'm so angry at myself for this.
So I picked up a book I'd long been meaning to read: The Things They Carried. About the boys who fought the war in Vietnam. I found it moving to the point of painful. My favorite uncle a private in Vietnam. I hate thinking of him experiencing what I'm reading. He was just 20 when he was over there.
What's even more resonant: I found out after he died that he kept the letters I wrote to him. My chatty, scrawled letters about what mattered in my 9-year-old life -- Batman, school and the new swingset in the back yard -- so amused him, and maybe comforted him, that he carried them with him in Vietnam and even retained him with his personal papers. My mom found these letters (from me, not my grandmother or my sister or any of his girlfriends, just me) and returned them to me after he died. My careless and carefree self helped him cope when he was in hell. Just writing this makes me tear up.
So I think I'll put The Things They Carried away for a while. I can't deal with it right now.
2) Cats. See post below.
I've got to shake these blues!