Write Again…Memories are our companion

Published 11:58 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

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For those of us who have been given the precious gift of longevity, one of the companions of our journey is, of course, memory.  

Oh, yes.  Even though there is a diminution of clarity, sharp recall, we still remember.  Sometimes these memories just seem to emerge, for reasons we may or may not really understand.  One would surmise that such is endemic to the human condition, at least to most of us.  

Most of us, also, probably know, at least at some level of knowing, that to dwell upon the past can be at times a less than positive thing.  Nostalgia has its place, but to be immersed in such emotions much of the time isn’t really good.  

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t think of those who are or were a part of our lives, those for whom we care or cared for; and those experiences along our journey that in so many ways, large and small, made us who we were, who we now are.  

So.  On with today’s column.  

On several occasions I have written about Nellie Miles Paul, the maternal grandmother of Sarah Paul Cox Houston, my Incomparable First Wife, whom we know as Sally.  

Nellie Miles Paul, the Poet Laureate of Little Washington, was a prodigious writer of poetry.  Her works, which have now been published in two volumes, are excellent by any measure.  Truly.  

Let me, first, offer a “sample,” a short piece which exemplifies this notion of nostalgia, of remembering the past.  

“Happy days gone by,

Happy moments fled,

Ne’er to come again,

Naught but memory in their stead-

Happy words & thoughts,

Numbered with the sleeping,

Only come again in dreams,

That with the morning sun is dead.”

In a much longer poem, let me share the last two parts.  At the end she references the Old Academy, which passed into, well, the past, in the early years of the 20th Century.

“I’m sure you remember, dear friends of my youth ,

Our teachers so gentle and kind,

Who started us on the long road to Truth, 

As they patiently trained each young mind?

Many moons they have been gone to the Land of the Dawn

Where the sun never sets in the west-

Full many a year while the swift seasons roll

They have dwelt in the Valley of Rest.

Of  all those who once gathered there,

Just a few in the town still remain;

They’ve scattered afar – e’en to Paradise fair-

And we sigh for their presence in vain;

But maybe some day once again we shall play,

When we’ve finished life’s lesson so hard,

And the school bell has rung for eternal recess 

On a heavenly ‘Cademy yard.”

The author died in 1959.

For some, the very few, at least, her words still live. Let’s try to meet here again next week, friends.

Until then . . .