The Holidays are approaching and this makes me think so much of this time last year, this time two years ago, Christmas of 8 years ago… and even further back. Yes, I do become nostalgic this time of the year and do more this year. That is a mood that leads me into my memory boxes that many of you know of. Stories I collected from elderly women I met are overflowing from those boxes. I was lucky enough to collect many letters, tales, albums. Since I was a young girl I have been so eager to sit and listen to stories of elderly people and interviewing them has been a great privilege.
I was in the mood of searching in those memory boxes and bumped into old, very old letters of a friend to a friend. Two elderly women exchanging memories of their far away childhood when their dreams were so different but their hearts so close. They were two inseparable little girls. Nobody could have said that they could have lived apart for so many years yet remain so close for decades and decades till the end of their lives.Celine and Kate recalled when they were little and they were writing reminding each other of their childhood dreams. Celine reiterated the annoying song Kate would sing reciting: “four children and so much love, we’ll fly as far away as doves, four children with me and no more and we’ll be no longer poor.”
Kate would remind the annoyance of Celine’s song: “will not get married, will not get carried, no children for me or only one may be, no man around so I will be crowned”
The moment they wrote these letters to each other they were 86 years old. They thought their dreams died through the reality of their adulthood, while their memories were kept intact in their minds. The more I was reading those letters the more I noticed that the two friends realised how their little dream-songs could have been the summary of each and their own lives.
Kate had a very difficult marriage where she decided to stay, so much love though from her children and from the children of her children. Celine had an incredible professional career as huge of a success as her private life had been a failure. She had one child, a boy she raised as a single mother.
I was reading their life stories from those crumbly papers and some of those words wrapped up in tales read the unfolding of their own lives. Unprecedented prediction at the age of five concisely worded in the rhymes of their little songs, when they knew nothing of their own or each other’s future.
I wondered: did they know or feel something about their destiny? Or did they set their own life path by carving those words in their memories, their hearts and their souls?
What do you think?
Antonella Lo Re