Sunday, June 19, 2016

If You Knew My Story

What's your story?  Yes, I am sure your life has at least one amazingly interesting story. There is an old adage that says each of us has one great book in us.  There is some debate who came up with this little nugget of wisdom, but a number of years ago, I thought maybe I had one good book in me. I
thought I would put pen to paper and write my story down.  What I found, however, is that I was unable to put it together in any meaningful, let alone interesting way.  Now, I realize that we might all have a story worthy of being written, but not all stories need or should  be written.

On the topic of stories, last Sunday, I was fast-forwarding my way through the Tony Awards program because, I was only interested in the performances not the painfully boring **yawn** acceptance speeches that pretty much consist of thanking everyone the winners have known, currently knows and will meet in the future. 

Anyway, early into the program, there was a performance from the play Bright Star titled "If You Knew My Story".  The play was up for five Tony's and was written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. 

Here are a few of the lyrics...

If you know my story you'd have a hard time
Believing me, you'd think I was lying
Joy and sorrow never last
I'll die trying to not live in the past
If you knew my story
My heaven and my hell
If you knew my story 
You'd have a good story to tell

I love the idea that everyone has a good story to tell. I, for one, love to hear other people's stories and how they came to be the person I know.  What life experiences led them to the place they are?

For that matter what were the life experiences that led any of us to be optimists, pessimists, high-strung, laid-back, kind, cruel, adaptable, obstinate or any combination of personality traits that we are comprised of? What happened in our lives that caused us to morph into who we are?

I think our stories not only affect who we are but how we relate to others.  Take for example: I have a friend who is in her 90s.  She has children older than I am but still, I love hearing her stories about her childhood and  her young life as a wife and mother.  As a little girl she lived down the street from President Truman in Independence, Missouri and was a year younger than Margaret Truman.

You wouldn't think that she and I would have common ground but yet we do.  We both grew up without our mothers. Her mother passed away shortly after her birth.  Her circumstances were different than mine and the time in which we grew up was different but there is still a bond to be had between girls that didn't have a mother in their home,

As for my story,  I, too grew up without my mother but it started in 1960. In that time frame it was somewhat rare for single parent families but not unheard of. Just as I might not relate from a time perspective with my friend,  I would think that maybe younger people today would have trouble relating to my my era. Today family composition is far more diverse. Single parent families would no longer thought to be "odd".

Now the part to my story, that might set it apart is the part where I was abducted from school when I was in the 2nd grade. Yes, as in "snatched" as a by-product of a very nasty divorce and custody dispute. There were only two documented reports of this type of case in 1960 according to the few sources that even kept these types of statistics.  Custody laws in the 1960s weren't so much complicated as they were unwritten.  With divorce not being all that common, custody laws were very loosely written.
OK, maybe she knew some things.
The laws that did exist varied from state to state.  Also, since there were no computers or technology to track people's movements, it was pretty easy to stay hidden if you kept on the move.

While I am not going to go on and on with all the assorted details, I will tell you that 20 years later when I  managed to locate my mother, our collective experiences made it hard to relate to each other.  If a book was every to be written that is a very long chapter.

About the time I thought this story might make an interesting book, I realized that the pre-computer era that it took place in made it all but impossible to get the information I would have liked to obtain. I did manage to speak to two of the police officers that were called to my school the day I went missing as well as one of the teachers.   All three had very vivid memories of that day, was a unique occurrence.  One of the police officers, had gone on to become a detective, the other had become a judge. The detective, by then had retired but said he had thought of me from time to time and had wondered how I had fared.  The judge and I had a long talk about the difficulty of following that type of case because of there not being standardized databases. Without computers or tracking devices there was little to be done.  This was, also, before there were groups such as Missing and Exploited Children's Network so they had little cooperation outside of their state. (which was Arizona).  The teacher I spoke with told me about the scene when my mother came to the school to pick me up.  The teacher was more observant to the emotional scene, while the officers were more knowledgeable about the "facts" of that day.

Soooo...after speaking to a number of  people that had some knowledge of that day, I realized that in some ways that event became part of their lives stories as well. Maybe not a significant part but still it touched then in some way.

Here is a another thing about stories.
Our stories sometimes intertwine in other peoples stories and
stories are multi-faceted.  The story teller has one perspective and the other people that are in the story or hear the story will have a different perspective.  I knew what was going on at my end but I had no way of knowing what was happening  with the other participants.  What did my little girl friends think when I just didn't ever show up again? Did people notice I was gone?  Did they miss me? Where did my clothes, my toys or my little pink jewelry box go?  These things I would never know.

(NOTE: BTW...I am telling this part of the story because it is unique but ...this is not to elicit any type of sympathy or sadness on your part.  As I have said in the past, I have the most awesomely wonderful life now and all of this is history.)

To that end...everyone has a story and I am sure some of your stories are book worthy. The thing I realize about stories is that you have to have the time to tell them, the capacity to articulate them and an audience that is interested in hearing them.  I know from experience getting all those things together is difficult.

Another personal observation...when someone is telling their story, don't try to interject how the story teller should of felt or how they should of handled things differently. You can't un-ring a bell, so to speak.  It serves no purpose to have someone question what they should have done differently.

Another verse of the song from Bright Star says:

Many backs have broken from lesser weight, I know
I was born to carry more than I can hold
Even though I stumbled
Even though I fall
You'll never see me crumple
You'll never see me fall
If you knew my story
Drew water from my well
If you knew my story
You'd have a good story to tell

I suspect you all have great stories with some of them being happy and others being very sad. I recognize that there has to be some of both to make a life. My childhood was bumpy but my adulthood is more than a person could hope for.  For every oopsy-daisy in my life there have been fields of upsy-daisies.  I hope to have a lot more time to live but my past has given me resilience and it has made me adaptable. I am optimistic that whatever comes my way, I will be OK.  Hopefully, not alone, mind my husband has been around around for more than a few times to help me up when I was knocked down by life.  His own story makes him a compassionate person.

So there you have it...if you know my story you'll have a story to tell.

Hopefully, all of your stories are good stories and have a very happy ending as well.

This is so bluegrassy...even if you like the genre is is a lot of BLUEGRASS

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