[The grave of Sa Sa Na Loft. Evergreen Cemetery, Owego, NY.
Photo credit is my own.]
I’m back in my home town of Owego, NY for a reason. I have no one to visit. Nothing to purchase (I did buy two books at River Row Book Store), but I was there on an early September afternoon for a sad occasion. I was there to attend a memorial service for a long time friend of mine, Teri Ware Bramlett. It was held at the Hickories Park under a glorious sky. The Susquehanna River flowed slowly behind my chair. It was the color of an olive.
But this post is not about that. Perhaps I’ll post my memories of Teri at a later date. I had errands to attend to. The top of my list was going to TOPS and buying flowers for my family’s grave at St. Patrick’s Cemetery. Then I had to center myself. Find the place where I can take in the whole of my early life. And there is no other place than the “Indian Girl’s Monument” on Cemetery Hill (Evergreen Cemetery). From there I can scan the valley below. I can oversee my hometown like a king rules from the highest castle tower.
Certain places are obvious, other less so. The trees are still full and green block some of what I wanted to see.
I sit on the bench with my wife. I can see St. Patrick’s Church…where I was baptized and where most of my family’s funerals were held. I can’t make out my old home, too many trees. I can barely see the backyard of my childhood girlfriend’s house. I see the Susquehanna, entering the view from the far left and fading off toward Pennsylvania to the right. I can see the Court House. There’s Lake Street where I hung out with my friends in the 50’s and 60’s. All of us overwhelmed by the power of hormones we never knew about until we bacame adults.
It’s all below me, but so far out of reach. My youth was spent on these streets. Memories began to flood my mind.
It’s time to go.
I realize I’m no longer a physical presence in this village, but I can never fully find myself free from the chains of the past.