ROSE NOLEN: May is a month for celebrations, remembering the past

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — May is the month of special days. Some people graduate in May, some people get married in May, we celebrate mothers as well.. There is always something to celebrate.

To be sure, it is a month of 31 days, and we try to make every one of them count. If you come from a large family, there are anniversaries every few days, when gangs of people gather to party.

Unfortunately, one year in May, Aunt Mildred got divorced. It wasn’t a long marriage;she was only married for two months. The problem was that her father, Uncle Harry, wasn’t wearing his hearing aid and didn’t hear the ceremony. So, after that, every time Mildred claimed she was married, her father denied it. It wasn’t long before Mildred became so embarrassed that she divorced Albert, and they never got around to getting married again, though they lived together for a lifetime.

After the Mildred fiasco, the family stopped celebrating anniversaries. They continued to celebrate school graduations, and every year there would be a few of those. So one year, when May came around we started having the cross-country games. The out-of-state people would challenge the in-state people to bingo, and the game would go on all weekend.

That went on for a number of years. After a while, the young people began to outnumber the elders, and they devised their own ways of celebrating. When they get together these days, there are all kinds of new games they play that we’ve never heard of. The one thing the entire family seems to enjoy is that each year one of the family segments will put together a family story featuring the memory of one departed member.

This is one of the methods that we use to bring back happy memories of forgotten times. Life passes by so swiftly, and before long all the happy memories have disappeared. And it seems that people don’t keep diaries and journal as they did in the past, and too few of the movies and photographs that are a part of family collections seem to get distributed. I have one copy of an aunt’s dairy that I’ve kept for many years. Sometimes, when I think about it, I’d give a lot just to reassemble the memories that she shared in those pages.

Sometimes, it almost seems that the more ways we have of keeping the past together, the more ways we have of destroying it. There seems to be certain periods in life when we are more eager to capture the moments of the past than we are in others. I think that’s probably because there are special people with whom we wish to share.

Actually, the past is always one place we can go to live alone. Most of the time, it’s always there, safe in our memory.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at Questions? Contact Opinion Editor Elizabeth Conner.

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Ellis Smith May 21, 2013 | 7:49 a.m.

Nice piece, Rose. I take it you must have, or have had, a large extended family. That's entirely outside my experience, but it fascinates me.

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