My father used to always chime: “The more a thing changes, the more it is the same.” It enfuriated me.
I was your typical Euclidean Spenserian Jungian teenager. To a wide-eyed dreamer, such a comment struck me as dismissive. A conversation stopper. And impossible to visualize.
That led me to talk less and dream more, at least when my father and I were both at home. Fortunately, our ships passed each other less and less, until we were charting altogether different waters. Hal had meetings and affairs. I had a ridiculous amount of ridiculous extracurricular activities.
Eventually, my father might’ve had ten minutes on Sundays to proselytize and hold his Germanic, stoic, and expressionless court of one. I’d grab my car keys and leave: frenzied, frustrated, and embracing my teenage angst. Hal would never convert, convince me.
Today, on this breezy Sunday, I am reminiscing about those green years in Greensboro. I smile. But then I switch channels to dream-bites of the modern Obama/Boehner world:
There is warfare, of the terrifying sort, in at least four locations. Such horrific conflict is eroding the mid-East.
There is a growing racial tension between under-educated, if not ignorant police departments and righteous, enflamed African American community. It seems to exist in all fifty states, although such hatred is often hidden behind enthusiastic Greek festivals, art gallery shows, and professional football.
I question my values, actions, and secreted thoughts almost daily … except on Sundays. I still have hope for a better tomorrow. My idealism is somewhat innocent but not forced, hollow, or disallowed.
My hair is thinning, graying, and falls past my shoulders, but I never, ever gather it into a ponytail or man-bun.
Any visions of the doe-eyed, hippie-fied Sixties start to blur with those in this new millennium. In fact, I might fixate on Franklin Street and the endless parade of Mustangs, T-birds, Falcons, Valiants, and the occasional Studebaker. I trade those black, red, or white SVUs for wood-paneled station wagons.
Damn. The more a thing changes, the more it remains the same. I’ll give that one to Hal. Nonetheless, his crushing and dismissive undertones linger.
On the other hand, my mother simply let me dream of garden fairies and universal aliens and, now and then, those strapping, brooding Heathcliffe types.
I’ll give that one to Margy.
(Images: from the wonderfully and obsessively detailed “Samplerman” series by Lvang, and first seen on a perusal of the wonderful and quirky “50 Watts”.)