CHANGES

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This morning before the snow

There’s snow falling here in Central Jersey on this miserable January day. We’ve been lucky, of course. Reading through previous posts from about this time last year, I realize how much worse it could be. Still, the last week or so has hit all of us with so much depressing news – most notably the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman (oh, that remarkable voice!) – that we can use some sunshine and a little cheer.

I didn’t know either of these men personally, and I often wonder why celebrity deaths affect us so. With me, it’s nostalgic. I loved Bowie’s music, though I’m the first to admit he wasn’t my favorite artist. Still, I’ve always associated certain times in my life (especially wonderful times) with music. Changes is my favorite Bowie song – and not for obvious reasons. I will always love it because this song was used constantly in the ‘80s and ‘90s during NY Mets documentaries. I loved baseball, and 1986 was a particularly great year for my family in terms of our favorite team. Whenever I hear Changes, I think of my husband, Big Mike, rushing home from work, trying to catch the very end of game six of the National League Championship vs. the Astros. He was amazed (Amazing Mets, get it?) that the game had gone into extra innings and delighted he would be able to catch at least some of it on TV – win or lose. The kids were very young, and were both thrilled and terrified that the Mets would blow it, and me, leaving the room, too nervous to watch. I was young and hip (well, not too hip, I was a mom after all), and a mommy who could recite the entire roster and who knew every player’s batting average, as well as wins, losses, and strike-outs and save percentages for the pitchers. I was a huge Wally Bachman fan – and thought the sun rose and set on Mookie Wilson. We were in our own little universe back them and I yearn for those days. So whenever I hear Changes, I always turn to mush and shed some tears – for what once was and for what will never be again.

Okay, just so you don’t think I’m totally certifiable, I have to say I feel the very same way about certain books. Some I take down from the shelves – dusty, yellowed, and faded where the sun hits them – and reread them, relishing the words within and remembering the first time I absorbed everything between the book covers. Peter Straub’s Ghost Story comes to mind, and much later Susan Isaacs’s After All These Years (a totally different kind of book). I recently rediscovered The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons after reading a story about a house that one of my favorite writing buddies wrote and emailed to me. I found the haunting Siddons’s novel so unique when I first read it, that every few years I pull it out and read it again. For Siddons fans, this is quite a departure from the stories she usually writes.

I only hope someday a reader will look back and recall one of my books as they reminisce about better days gone by. Maybe it will be from the Jersey Girl series, or perhaps a stand-alone like Recurring. Who knows?

Hey, a formerly hip mom can dream, can’t she?

Have a wonderful week everybody!

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