My weekend was spent with old friends I hadn’t seen in years…so many that none of us could figure out just exactly how long it had been. We crammed a lot into a short period of time as we explored some of the wonderful Austin sites that my gal pal Frieda (not her real name) had grown up with before she moved to the Northeast. In between all the walking and driving, and while her husband and daughter climbed Enchanted Rock, we took chairs to the dry creek bed and had some time to ourselves. Mostly we just laughed and reflected on the things we had done together in the past (many I barely remember!) and learned some of the ways our lives had changed in more recent times. We certainly have talked on the phone over the years and both of us have always valued our friendship, but there’s nothing like face to face time to really give you a chance to fill in the details.
Frieda and I met when I was 21 years old and just starting as a high school teacher, so our memories go back a long time; and while I was amazed at the details she recalled from some of our adventures, she soon shared with me the ways in which her memory is slipping. It’s in the short-term arena that truly disturbing lapses have been occurring and so she said to me a few times over the weekend, “If I forget you, just remember that I always loved you.”
Hopefully that day is long off and though she said there’s nothing that can be done, you know I believe in miracles. Maybe something really powerful will help her stay present and cognizant of what’s important for her to remember. Frieda had a difficult childhood (part of which drove her to leave Austin so soon) but went on to make wonderful memories with a family and life that is filled with love, joyful creativity, lots of laughter, and a real sense of peace.
One of the places we made it to during this picture-perfect weekend was Mayfield Park and the grounds of Laguna Gloria Art Museum. We were thrilled by the show this peacock put on for us and I hope that Frieda and I never forget the sweet time we had there. But if we do, right here and now, we know we’ve always loved each other.
©Maria K. Benning, M.Ed.
Next Austin Class: April 27-28