The other day at lunch, I was talking to the social worker at my kids' school. The topic of where she was from and where she had lived came up. She was from Vermont and had lived in DC and NYC. After comparing notes on living in DC, I asked her more about the circumstances of her time in New York City. Her face lit up as she began to revisit that time in her life and remember details squirreled away in the corners of her mind. She painted a picture of a young girl in miniskirts and platform shoes walking twenty blocks or more to work and happily window shopping the whole way. Young, happy and energized by all the big city had to offer. I was enthralled, being the HUGE New York City junkie that I am. I was thrust back in time to a cleaner, safer, better city. You know, the one in Barefoot in the Park with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. Oh, to be able to visit THAT New York City! Through this woman, however, for a moment I was transported there.
I am currently reading a book set at the end of the Sixties. I was reading about what this group of women was doing when man landed on the moon. It made me realize that I had no idea where my parents had watched this historic event. I could hear my mom smiling, almost holding back a giggle as she remembered. "We were at the bowling alley with our bowling league and you were in the playroom in the back." I laughed, imagining reporting this to anyone. "Hey- Where were you when Armstrong made that giant step? Oh, I was in the playroom of a bowling alley." The rest of the story came spilling out. All the details that had us laughing so hard. About how it was my mom's idea as a newly married couple that they should make new friends and what else to do but join a bowling league. How they were the worst team in the league. How my dad would sweat profusely when he was under pressure and the team relied on him for the winning points. The ball would always slip and land in the gutter. Humiliating for someone who, under normal circumstances was a pretty good bowler. I enjoyed hearing the story, picturing my parents as a young couple. My mom and I laughed so hard. I could almost hear her reaching back in her memory for details that painted a vivid picture for me.
Why then is it so hard for us to go from verbally telling a story, to writing it. My point is, we all have a story. LOTS of stories. When we share them we share ourselves. We can escape our bodily prison to truly connect with others. That is why story is so important, why there has always been a storytelling tradition. As long as there are human beings, there will be story.
Cam across this on a blog today. It was a good reminder for me and I want to remind you too:
Your story matters.