OPEN LETTER TO ARGUS STILLEY:
Per our last email. It has been over fifty years since we have last laid eyes on one another, yet our words transcend time. We can with a few remembered words travel back to our youth and it can be so real that I can remember the aromas of the chow hall on a weekend morning. Because the food was so memorable? No, I don't really think so. It's God's wonderful mechanism he stuck on the top of our body, our brain, our memory bank if you will. We're given the ability to encapsulate our entire life, its sounds, its sights, its smells, in recallable bytes.
When you give your locator free rein, the strangest pictures sometimes appear. I remember just now a compatriot of ours named Dougherty or close to that, a guy from Brooklyn I think, who was learning Ju-jitsu from a Japanese national and I, in a moment of complete insanity, decided to question him on its effectiveness. All I remember for the next minutes was me getting up off the floor many times until I, in a moment of life saving clarity, admitted that perhaps his new skill was quite effective. Thank goodness he was a gentle practitioner of his new skill and I was able to make a less than gracious retreat to a less physical practice we all took part in, the game of Whist. If we weren't interested in games that involved money such as poker, we never had much, money that is, Whist was the game.
I could go on with personal moments you and I remember my friend, but the thought that is intriguing me is the immensity of the ability of our brain to catalog and recall moments of a lifetime upon request. If you would allow a thought, we are really never really alone unless we wish to be. If the roster would be read, you might find compatriots from our youth, the kid we played baseball with; the guy who gave you a black eye; your father who taught you to ride a bicycle. The roster of your lifes encounters, they're all there.
One of the benefits of our new electronic age is the ability to email. Do we realize how great and life changing email is? Families by necessity are spread all over the world now days, but the ability to keep in touch through email cuts those miles down to manageable size. Sending email is easier and quicker than old-fashioned pen and paper communication, though somehow not as personal. Amassing email addresses as we go through life is somehow an easier task and people are used to being asked for their address so it has no sinister connotation attached to it.
Keeping in touch though is up to each of us. I encourage everyone of its importance. The time will fly by and soon you will have fifty years since you have seen some of your co-respondents, but the memories you accumulated will blossom fresh with each retelling.
The sad part is that regardless of our diligence in keeping our memories alive and vibrant, they will for some of us, dim and start to leave us if and when our body malfunctions, and empties our memory banks of all of its precious cargo. This is perhaps the most cruel of those things that can befall us. But to be optimistic, the scientists are working diligently, searching for a magic pill to rid us of this most cruel disease that steals our past.
To you Argus Stilley I say thank you for your diligence in your correspondence and get those eyes repaired. Perhaps we might have ten to fifteen years left to rehash the old days, and philosophize about everything changing and our attempts to change with them.
My sincere gratitude for remembering,