Last night, over dinner, I met a charming man and spent some time remembering the past. He is from Cleveland; a theatre director, a traveler and a very enlightened man. We shared a mutual friend, Carol, who invited a group of us from different cities to join her for dinner and the theatre production, “War Paint” at Chicago’s fabulous Goodman Theatre. Carol’s son wrote the music.
Joe asked me, “Are you from Chicago?”
My answer startled him. “No, I am a small town girl. I was raised in Kankakee by the Sea.”
He laughed when I said, Kankakee by the Sea.
“Why are you laughing,” I asked with a smile.
He then began to exuberantly chant the Kankakee High School cheer! I was shocked but joined in, as everyone at the table just stared at us as we raised our arms above our heads, cheering Kankakee High by the Sea!
“How did you know the cheer? I asked.”
“My partner of over 40 years was raised in Kankakee,” adding with a twinkle in his eye, “by the Sea!”
Small town connections
I was walking beside Joe as we left for the theatre. He said, “When David and I traveled on the Sea Born or Silver Sea (David just passed away) we would, on the first day of the cruise, pick six people to share the experience. You would be one of the six.”
“I am so flattered,” I replied and then added with sincerity, “Shelly and I would be drawn to you.”
He replied, “Your world view and travels are broad but I can tell from our conversation that you can’t take the small town out of the girl. I like that.”
We smiled and went our separate ways.
Remembering the past
In bed that night, my thoughts drifted back to Kankakee by the Sea; my large fabulous family, my favorite teaches, my first love, breaking up with a love, writing each night in my diary, my beautiful collection of story book dolls, shopping with my mother for gorgeous prom dresses, bleaching my hair with peroxide at summer camp, my nice girlfriends and the mean girls and my boyfriends, the hurts that devastated me, the joys that overwhelmed me, and the valuable lessons I learned as I picked myself up and started all over again.
I was reliving my childhood one chapter at a time, the way you read a novel. I was focused. I was engrossed. I was charmed by the experience.
As I closed my eyes and cuddled up to my husband, I looked forward to tomorrow. I decided, without reservation I, like so many of you, would stop running non-stop, just to keep up. I would not allow my dreams to retreat and frantic feelings to take hold of my thoughts.
Remembering the past was enjoyable, but think about your current lifestyle. Please try to let the following days, through mindfulness, become the finest chapters in your biography. I am going to try.