The Voices of Long Ago Sundays
Paul Caparatta takes us back to a time when attendance was mandatory at Grandma's house for Sunday meals. I can almost hear them.
We seem to have a primordial need to maintain some form of contact with departed loved ones. At its simplest form, it is a reaffirmation to ourselves of the love and respect we still have for the deceased.
A different set of emotions may come into play when your loved one is interred in a larger family plot. In this instance, my parents, along with four of my father’s five siblings, their spouses and my father’s parents all purchased adjoining plots. With time, each went to their reward and the burial plot now holds eleven family members.
We have the ability to recall the voices of loved ones, remembering what each sounded like, the timbre of their voice. My memory goes back to the late 1940s, a time when any given number of family members would gather at their parent’s house, mostly on Sundays, to socialize, dine or enjoy coffee and pastries. It was a festive era and I can still hear the din and identify the individual voices comprising the cacophony of noise that passed for conversation. It was also the child-bearing years of my mother and my aunts and over the next thirteen years or so, the family grew by 12 offspring, besides me. So, add crying babies and children’s voices to the sound track.
But those were the long ago Sundays. All the adults are at rest, many of their offspring are now grandparents and are scattered to the four winds. Compared to what once was, the silence enshrouding the family plot seems overbearing and otherworldly. Yet, I can select any two family members and imagine them engaging in conversation like a set director. Or, I may more accurately recreate those long ago Sundays by having all of them simultaneously competing for airtime. For a fleeting moment, I might trick myself into believing that the long ago Sundays never ended.
The illusion lasts for a few seconds while I momentarily relive a carefree and nostalgic period in my life. And when it’s time to leave, I can’t help but recall Bob Hope’s classic line, “thanks for the memories.”
The first, first cousin