I never knew old people would feel waves of homesickness. I thought that was an experience of children.
But today I passionately miss both my Mom and my Dad. Maybe it is because today is their wedding anniversary.
I nurtured my sadness by pulling out an old cassette tape. As I listened to Mom playing the organ accompanied by Dad on his drums, there was a comfort to knowing what song would come next and allowing memories to randomly invade.
When Mom and Dad were dating, a common meeting place was Pete’s Ballroom. As the band played the established couples in the neighborhood would dance alongside those who were exploring a relationship. The story my parents love to tell is how when they had hit a rough place, Dad would request the song, “My Isle of Golden Dreams.” He would then ask my Mom to dance and, every time, she would melt into his arms, all offense forgotten.
For their honeymoon they drove ninety miles to the home of Mom’s college roommate.
One day, when I was about four, Mom took me up to their bedroom and showed me a little bottle of pills. She tenderly explained to me that she and Daddy had so wanted a baby. They prayed and the doctor gave her these pills. Then as an answer to the prayers, I was born. (Later in life, when I was an adult, she showed me the pine tree back in our woods under which I was conceived). I wonder today if it was the pills or the whispering pines.
Dad and I always had the ability to look into each other’s eyes and know what the other was thinking. (My husband tells us this has ruined our marriage). Because Dad and I could read each other in this way, we could make up a story that a room full of people would follow. No one but us would know that we were just having fun.
I remember seeing Dad standing on the back porch of our farmhouse during a strong windstorm. He was watching as the oats, which were ready to be harvested, were beaten into the ground. I grabbed my jacket and stood and watched with him. We didn’t need to talk. What we needed was to stand together as the resource for feeding our family was lost for this season.
I remember the day our High School Band was marching in a parade. I knew Mom couldn’t be there because she was having her teeth pulled. But as we rounded the corner, there was Mom waving one hand high in the air as the other hand covered her mouth.
I am both old and homesick today.