Yearbooks remember

A thin young boy with blond bushy hair ambled up to the horse trough. The humidity was high and perspiration dripped down the hollow of his brown chest as he dipped down to sip the ice cold spring water that was meant for the horses…

Most of the Iroquois High School Cross-Country team who ran through the park that hot August day in 1972 would eventually stop at the trough to drink the cool water. As the skinny boy drank he was unaware that someone else was watching, someone who had nothing to do with Cross-Country. It was the Yearbook photographer. On that late steamy Summer afternoon a photograph of me was taken, which later appeared in my IHS Yearbook.

I had forgotten that moment because it was just like all the rest of the blistering hot days when we had stopped to drink the icy water from the trough as we ran the five mile loop through Iroquois Park. But my Yearbook remembered…. And, I saw that photograph again at our IHS Twenty-Five Year High School Reunion Picnic, when several paunchy, ex-Cross-Country team members sat with me in that same park where we had drunk the horse water a quarter of a century before, and laughed at the yellowed pages of our Yearbook. As we crossed the page with the skinny teenager I smiled, and I remembered too.

I remembered not just the taste of the clear fresh water, but the rusty edges of the trough, where you could cut your lip if you weren’t careful. I remembered that the cold water always drained down the left side, then splashed high against a weathering piece of timber. I remembered that you must drink from the right side, or you’d get your running shoes soaked, making for a squishy-muddy run down the last dusty mile of the bridle path. And … I remembered side stepping and jumping along the narrow, windy path which was our running track, narrowly missing fresh piles of fragrant horse manure.

You see, Yearbooks remember only brief glimpses, tiny fragments, and foggy images. Our mind supplies the rest. Yearbooks help provide the feel and the smell of our past, not simply the words and pictures. Yearbooks remember…. Our world changes much too fast for us to store all of the details in some handy little mental closet.

Our days flicker by like a (YouTube) video stuck on fast forward. We know there’s a story in there, but we have to slow down the images if we are to understand the plot. We need Yearbooks more as our years pass by; to help remember us as we were and will never again be. Your Yearbook stores thousands of kick-starts for hundreds of people for dozen of years.

When you multiply it out, it’s a pretty cheap subscription. Don’t be afraid of remembering the past, it’s already happened. Understand that tomorrow never comes…

So live today, and make some memories… and don’t forget

Yearbooks remember.         –thom adams, 1998

Advertisements