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By Katie Bourg
Senior Daze 

Holding on to memories, joy


I’ve got one red tulip. There may be a few more, but not many. Guess I’ll have to think about planting new ones next year. Some things last without much care. Others do not and demand replacement. It is the order of things. I haven’t given them much care so I can’t complain.

The apple blossom Rhododendron in my front yard has never shown much color. We had to take out most of the nice ones when we moved in to satisfy the insurance company. I’m still unhappy about that. It was the wrong time of year and they did not survive. But this year the lone survivor in my front window is blooming its heart out. Guess it is fighting back. Things come and things go. That’s the order of things.

That is true about just every part of the human experience, I guess. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that this week.

There was a time when the most exciting experience in life was waiting for the next Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland show. It always came first to the downtown theater. We struggled with spelling and math, and saved our minimal allowances if we were lucky enough to get one. If not we had to wait for the next time it came to town. The neighborhood theater would show it at a cut rate. My friend Kaye says she never got to go to the movies. Her father was a teacher and they didn’t make enough money for such foolishness. Guess I was lucky. I didn’t always think so. But the Saturday matinee with the neighbor kids was a part of my week. We loved watching the song and dance routines. We would go home, and try to put on our own shows in the backyard. We learned the words and sang every song. And we were just sure Judy and Mickey would grow up and get married. In our perfect world, undisturbed by war clouds in Europe and depression at home we knew everything would come up roses.

Obviously the world does not always run on the same stage as the backyard and the uptown theater. Judy’s life ended tragically way too young. Life continued as it always must, but with a small hole in the fabric.

Mickey’s life was even more chaotic although it lasted much longer. The bright shiny face of youth did not support him very long. It is sad to know his end found him in less happy circumstances. Sort of tarnished an old dream. But the pleasure he gave to the neighbor kids cannot be diminished or tarnished by Hollywood moguls. Kid actors were worked way beyond a reasonable and acceptable norm.

Sort of makes you think how lucky we were to be in the backyard playing ‘pretend’ and not in the hands of movie studio heads.

Still I have to say ‘thank you’ for all the pleasure we knew. And I hope Mickey’s later life had some good times as well as the hurtful ones. I’m just a little sad to know that the world no longer has a Mickey and Judy for the rest of us to dream of copying.

And I hope the kids coming up can save up their own good memories even if they live in condos and have no backyards.

I’m holding on to mine.


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