Hearts in Atlantis - 5/8/2010
A few days ago I was watching a movie called “Hearts in Atlantis.” It was set in a time that I could relate to…the fifties. I was a child in the fifties. It amazes me how we forget so much of our past. I suppose that’s a good thing, as the most important time is this moment. However, to be transported back to a particular time can be rewarding as well.
I remember wearing peddle-pushers. I was teased by the kids about how I said peddle-pushers. I was a California girl living on the East Coast. I didn’t think I spoke funny, but they did. I remember the Schwinn bike; mine was blue and I had it through college. My folks bought it big, so it would last awhile. I couldn’t reach the pedals sitting on the seat, so had to ride standing up all the time. Don’t think I could ride it sitting on the seat till I was in junior high!
I hung out with a bunch of kids; boys and girls. I was about eight. Back then, our parents kicked us out of the house in the morning, had us pack a lunch, and we weren’t expected back till dinner. One time we went to the creek. It had a big moss-covered log going across it. The creek had very little water in it and was covered by huge thick bushes of blackberries. Well, the kids were all taunting each other to walk across the log to the other side. Everyone was too afraid. I stood there silently, and then told them they were all chickens. “Oh yeah? Well let’s see you do it!” What they didn’t know is that I had just gotten a pair of brand new Keds. The commercial on the T.V. said they wouldn’t slip or slide, so that you could run real fast. I figured I’d show ‘em all. So, I walked to the log and started across. I looked down as I slowly inched my way forward. It was a long way down; maybe ten feet or so. I felt pretty confident, since I had my Keds on. I thought to myself, “Hmmph! I’ll show those boys.” And then…my foot slipped on the wet moss and over I went into the blackberry bushes. Man, did that hurt. My little sister went running home to get Mom, mostly to tell on me. Probably a good thing though, cuz all the kids scrammed. But then I knew I’d get it since I was doing something I knew I shouldn’t have been doing. More than anything, I felt betrayed by my Keds. Those people on the T.V. lied! They would slip! And then I was humiliated in front of the kids. And not only was I real cut up, I got in big trouble too.
Now, isn’t it interesting that watching a movie set in the fifties and seeing a girl in peddle-pushers could bring back all of those memories and emotions? It came so clear, and I marveled at how one memory led to another and yet another. The movie reminded me of a lot of things. How I lived in a secret world that my parents didn’t know about, how my dolls were my confidants, and how daydreaming was one of my favorite ways to spend time in the sanctity of my bedroom. Another aspect of the movie was that this kid had a very special adult in his life. Although, his mother was a mess and his father had passed away, he needed an adult to share his inner world with, who could accept him, who could take him into realms he needed to know about for his life path. His mother was too absorbed in herself to help or understand him.
Our main character connected strongly with someone who also had to quickly leave his life, so he had to learn about detachment early on. I thought about that and wondered if I had someone in my life who knew me in that way and who guided me in my path. The person who most strongly came to mind was my Grandfather. He, too, left all too soon. He died when I was only eight. But he left such gifts to prepare me for life.
I learned about other cultures, especially Native Americans. He taught me how to connect with Nature and appreciate it, how to be silent and that it was really the best way to be. And he told me long stories about his childhood in Germany, Wisconsin and the Hood River Valley. He shared his world with me, bought me a pony, swung me on my huge swing for long periods of time, took me to get fresh goat cheese and eggs, and let me brush a few strokes on his oil paintings. But mostly, when I was around him, I knew I was loved and guided, especially when there were no words. He taught me that church was really in Nature and although he didn’t attend regular services, he sang hymns all of the time to me. He was always singing in the car.
I wonder how many of us have had a special person in our lives to assure that we followed the spiritual life paths that we as souls chose for ourselves. For surely, without my grandfather’s love and influence, I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today. It doesn’t matter who that person is or for how long they stay. The effect they have on us is the most important thing that can happen in our young, impressionable lives.
Remembering our childhood is indeed a blessing. We have the opportunity to touch back into the loving and happy times, along with the life lessons that we agreed, as Souls, to learn. We can take the love that special one offered us and heal anything that stands in the way of our wholeness.
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