The way back machine is the song of the sirens. It gets me mulling and researching (to confirm my memories), thinking and placing my feelings and ideas around my growing up in Pittsburgh within a cell which was within a cell which was within a cell. This is to say, I lived in a subcategory of people who really did not leave the boundaries of their self-prescribed world. Within that subcategory, I lived in the ghetto/ gulags of not quite "being there"...so not able to engage. And when you layer on what a wierdo I was (did not embrace it as I do now)--prior to "dork" or "nerd" which has a cachet today. I was a kid that carried books around on Christian symbolism, lived in the basement most of the time working on calligraphy projects and making stuff. My idea of fun was to either be in school, read, do the art stuff, or take the bus to Oakland to spend the day at "The Museum" (The Carnegie Institute, and the Carnegie Museum) or to go further, downtown, to wander around aimlessly going to any store, exploring the five and dimes, being on my own.
My sister and brothers all were very social creatures who skied, went to high school parties, had a small coterie of friends that they hung out with. They came from the same box within a box, but the difference was to my thinking, they all were outwardly focused, interested in business and finance (dinner conversations never included the word chiaroscuro but embraced methods of loan making). My siblings had needlepointed belts, wore madras, and could play golf or a "mean game of tennis". They all went to colleges and universities in Virginia--and knew how to be charming and entertaining post College. They are amazing in those environments. However, as an amusement to me, it came as a surprise to many of my siblings' friends that they had another sibling (me) as they did not know I existed--I was so far out of that loop to be considered. Read, in the basement with my clutch of pens and jars of india ink.
It was not a poetic time but that of awkward oddness. It was a time of incubation for me. A time to figure out what I liked and didn't like--looking at the clock, counting down the years, days and hours before I could really burst into something I had influence over, myself. Counting down the moments when I might have friends and a place I could settle...at least not continually be that square peg being hammered into the round hole.
I guess I am thinking this way as we are on the verge of Kitty graduating. It has been 4 years of change and incubation. Prior to that, High School was another chunk of 4 years of change and growth but now, right now--we see that change dramatically. She is ready to launch. Were my parents introspective of this change, this progression for me? Or was it another time where with the line-up of 4 kids, getting one out of the cannon and into the RW (real world) and as my father reminded me "off the payroll", it was a relief. It was a contract completed. Were they even looking to the next horizon--projecting and helping to plan? Did they care beyond "I hope she doesn't come back and take up residence in the basement again" . I do not know if they even cared....their duty was done. I was off the books...
Thankfully, we are not our parents...for good or for bad. As Kitty moves forward...so do we. We will be with her shoulder to shoulder until we are not there but by then, she should have her own community, her own friends, her own family as she defines it. But until then...our contract has not been fulfilled nor our duty done. Duty is done when we are no longer.