Thursday, October 02, 2014

Time Travel

I had reason to travel to my old home town of Pryor Creek this week, the cause of which will appear in a later post.  Today's observations are from my experiences on this short, 48-hour trip to a place I called home (and birthplace!) some forty years ago.  

Really? Forty years?  I certainly don't feel forty years old.  MUCH LESS, FIFTY-FOUR YEARS OLD.

I arrived home to Home, my parents' home for the past fifty-five years (they always said that with every move {five}, they had a baby, and so it must have been the water.)  in the early afternoon.  We, my parents and I, had dinner and were lapsing into early evening, when the front door opened wide.

My middle brother, now 59, loped into the living room and looked at me.  "Let's go!"  he said.

"Where?" I replied - always up for adventure, especially with Bob.  

"Church choir!" was the answer.

Whoop!  Really?  I was immediately entranced.  I jumped up from my easy chair and grabbed my shoes.

Ok.  Ok.  You all are reading this and thinking, Really?!  

Yes: Really.  

Off I went, off to Church Choir with brother Bob, all on a Wednesday evening, in Pryor Creek.

Not unlike any other Wednesday I enjoyed some forty years ago.  Way back in the 60s and 70s, we five Webster kids each began singing in church choir when we were fourteen or fifteen.  Dad, a most musical and spiritual, and artistic father, would just announce some August, that we were ready to join choir.  And we did.  Simple.  No rebellion, that I know of.  (Granted, I was #5, so who knows what the former four felt.  I was all for church choir!)  Dad was the church choir director.  He embraced classical music.  In that classical music was what we cut our teeth on at home, church choir was a simple exercise in aerobic breathing.  For me, the Wednesday evening choir practices were comparable in relaxation as to my yoga exercises nowdays.  A very fine facet of my choir practice "way back" was that I was a much younger singer, a youth,  in the adult choir.  This was curious, but not uncomfortable.  I learned a lot in those choir rehearsals and Sundays, and all of it, good. 

And so, now, on Wednesday, my brother Bob mentions that if I attend choir practice, he won't be the youngest one there.  Remember, I mentioned that he was 59?

We get to church.  I haven't been to this church in ages.  The first thing that comes to mind upon entering:  "Hey, Bob!  Remember when Mike (other brother) walked through this glass window?"  (he was lower elementary, and it was a big durn deal.  I had forgotten about it, even though I witnessed it.)  Bob & I laughed about it.  

Wow.  What memories, when we walked into the sanctuary, up by the altar, and into the choir loft.

Forty years. 

I was even married here.

Bob introduced me to the choir director.  I took out the music for the rehearsal.  And then - what fun!

Someone called to me from the loft: Trish!  It was my PE teacher from way back when, Mrs. Briggs.  I had taught HER son how to swim.  Another voice: Trish, how ARE you?!  Wowee: my former elementary music teacher, my former voice instructor, my parents' great friend, Mrs. Talley.  And then, I saw a dear face up in the alto loft: Mrs. Usrey.  I adored her.  What a great spirit, one that I embraced even at a young age.  There was Dr. Burdick, whose kids I once babysat.  And awkwardly (I felt afterwards), Mrs. Ammons, whom I greeted, but whose greeting was not reciprocated.  Whaaa?  Ooops.  Someone failed to give me the memo that Mrs. Ammons was divorced, no longer Ammons, acrimoniously, and now had a new last name.  Sheesh.  I saw from afar, my former Sunday School teacher.  I tried to catch the arm of the accompanist, Judy.  She played the music for my wedding - thirty years ago!

As we sang for an hour, in the choir loft adjacent to the altar of the church where I grew up, I saw things I knew from so long ago, that I never realized I would appreciate again.  The stain glass from Mr. Moore, which lay in frames made by my Dad.  That was decades ago.  The offering plates are the same. As are the altar candlesticks. 

My sister-in-law observed this morning that I call everyone here by Mr. and Mrs.Somebody.  True.  That's how it was back then, some forty years ago.  I never knew some folks' first names.  I was a kid.  They were my elders.  They were Mr. and Mrs.  What a simple rule.

And now, this week, I time-traveled back and forth from 14 years to 54 years.  I cannot say that it was a good trip.  I need time to digest this experience.  All the folks I met this week are fine, are in great shape, and seem happy.  (Mrs. Usrey is 90, still drives herself at night {this, I cannot do}, and she celebrated her 99-yr old brother's birthday this week.) 

I wonder how they feel, seeing Tricia Webster Armstrong, 54, as opposed to having seen Tricia Webster, 14?  

And as Satchel Page asks, "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"

Ah.  A time-travel quandary, to be sure.

1 comment:

Louise Plummer said...

That is a delicious question. For a long time I was seventeen inside, but now I'm eternally forty, and it's good.

I have happy memories of church choirs too.

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