Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nothing Like a Move to Unearth Lost Memories

As I've mentioned, my folks have relocated from the old homestead in Wayne to McLean VA, and the inevitable downsizing leaves a trail of debris behind. Never one to throw anything away, I made sure that I ended up with a huge box of slides taken during family trips to Florida before the Interstate System (ah, the Boston Post Road and US 1 from Maine to the Florida Keys), their 10 year relocation to Taiwan in the late 60's at the behest of American Cyanamid, and numerous other little vacations to here and there.

So I sat myself down to take a look at the slides, many of which I actually took with my Kowa SLR purchased while a student at Anthony Wayne JHS from Two Guys, and the Nikkormat I got in Japan on my way to Taiwan (again on Cyanamid's dime). Obviously someone else took the photos of the adolescent me that appeared here and there among the other images. Yes, many memories were jogged out of that landfill I call a brain both good and not so good.  
Chris Van Denburgh at peace
with nature and himself
One slide in particular was a slice of reality I had forgotten completely.  It was a picture I took of Chris Van Denburgh. Chris and I hung out together a lot in high school, especially so after graduation that summer before we all headed off to school. We'd pack ourselves into that VW bug that Chris called transportation (his family was always a VW family), and he always managed to stow fishing gear somewhere. I wasn't much for fishing but he'd fish and I'd sit on the shore or bank or wherever we ended up and talk for hours. I think that the time he spent fishing were perhaps the only time he was really content. The summer ended and we went our separate ways, not to see each other for over a year. 

The Chris that showed up at my dorm room in New Haven was nearly unrecognizable. He'd lost an eye from a splinter that flew up during a solo camping expedition but he'd also lost himself as well. We talked for a long time that evening but by the time he finally left, I realized that he was in need of more professional help than a friend could offer. I didn't really know who to contact about his disturbing visit, and in the end, did nothing but worry about what might happen. And it did, and is something about which I will always feel guilty.

I wrote this in July and just realized that I never posted it. So here it belatedly is.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful photo of Chris! So recognizable! Milton, Thank you very much for sharing your time with Chris and giving others an opportunity to remember. Linda Ucko