October 16, 2013 —
There’s no time like the present, according to the old adage. While it seems prudent to be in the moment, there’s something to be said for revisiting the past once in a while, and planning for the future often comes in handy. The past week provided opportunities to do all three, and I’m still basking in the glow of reconnecting with old friends, thanks to social networking. For those of you who have chosen to eschew Facebook (and I’m sure you have your reasons) I’m here to testify. I hit a milestone on the site today totaling one thousand “friends” on FB (www.facebook.com ) and while that may seem absurd, without the Internet wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg, my reunion with childhood chums scattered around the country would likely never have occurred.
There is nothing quite like first love, and my nursery school valentine, Judith, emerged from the shadows (via Facebook) years ago. We have stayed in contact ever since. Although we had not seen each other in more than 40 years, it’s been fun to catch up, see pics of the kids and discover that our dogs (www.facebook.com/DharmaTheWonderDog ) have Facebook pages of their own. Back then, she was “Judy” and I was “that Jon Fox,” and although much has evolved in our lives, as it turns out, some things never change. When Judith informed that she would be in Big Indian, NY (www.fullmoonresort.com ) for a family wedding, we set about figuring out the logistics of getting together while she was visiting the Catskills. Excited at the prospect, I was unsure that I could do it, since my dance card was full (as usual) with events to attend all across the Upper Delaware Valley. As my mind reeled with memories of Judith, elementary school and puppy love, I pulled into the lot at CAS (www.catskillartsociety.org ) and immersed myself in the world of legendary artist Mark Rothko, courtesy of Liberty Free Theatre’s Paul Austin, CAS’s Bradley Diuguid and their reading of the play “Red,” which focuses on a year in the life of a complicated, egomaniacal and influential man whose abstract expressionistic paintings sparked controversy and set the art world on its ear. Austin (www.libertyfreetheater.org ) and Diuguid brought the play vividly to life, without sets, costumes, or props, simply by their strong acting skills, and I was impressed. I’m not a fan of Rothko himself and his paintings never moved me, but the story of his life and relationship with his assistant (played by Diuguid) was (IMHO) riveting theatre, and I plan to revisit his work now that I know more about his past. In the near future (October 26) others will have the opportunity to experience “Red” at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (www.artsalliancesite.org ) in Narrowsburg, NY and demand has been high (two encore performances) for this theatrical experience, so reservations are highly recommended.
Hearing Judy’s voice on the other end of the phone (for the first time in decades) was cool, and I was amused that she was taken aback by me “sounding like an adult, rather than a seven-year-old,” as we worked out the details. Her step-son’s wedding was on Saturday, and I was booked for hosting The River Reporter’s photo booth (www.facebook.com/theriverreporter ) at Pumpkin Fest in Barryville, NY, so we decided that Sunday would work, and I used the Internet to figure out where the heck she was. Pumpkin Fest was a blast, with a packed crowd of costumed kids, adults, and contests involving scarecrows, canines, a bake-off, and the always popular pie-eating competition. Co-sponsored by Thunder 102, (like ‘em on Facebook) Pumpkin Fest was spectacular, and I spent the day taking snapshots of the festivities, while calling in to the radio station to report live from the location (www.barryvillesportsman.com ). Exhausted, I headed home, but made a pit-stop at the Fort Delaware Museum on the way to check out the “Haunted History Lantern Tour” (www.fortdelawaremuseum.org ) and paused momentarily to observe the “Colonial-attired suspects” touring guests around the site, sharing spooky secrets and whispered conversations about “Who killed Joseph Skinner?” Present-day visitors peeked into the past at the fort, while I mused about my approaching trip and the upcoming visit with Judy.
In an instant, the past and present collided as she stood before me, all grown up. We hugged and held hands as introductions ensued, and I met Judith’s husband, their kids and friends, all of whom had gathered in New York for the nuptials. Our five-hour visit skidded by in a flash, as we reminisced, caught up and marveled at the time span that vanished in the blink of an eye. Childhood memories flooded our conversation as we made plans for the future, peppered with anecdotes from days gone by, while Dharma played football with the kids, gnawing on an apple and being admired. Living in the present is wise, but there is something special about reconnecting with one’s past and social networking makes it easy. Do thoughts of old friends cross your mind? Find them on Facebook and start making new memories. It’s fun to step into the time machine.