Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Past is STILL Perfect

"We can neither glorify nor live in the past, but we must revive its truths in order to rise to consciousness."

DAMN - I love that quote. Not sure where I heard it, or who said it. So it has to be billed as "Anonymous." But - DAMN - I love that quote!

For years I've heard, "Oh, Herbie J - you're so OBSESSED with the past. You need to live in the present."

And I'd be like, "Whatta ya' mean? I'm fine."

"Fine" - on several levels.

I've had what I like to call this "fascination" with the past, because I am quite aware of my previous incarnations. And secondly, I have made the past work for me - from a professional standpoint. I took my "fascination" and cut myself out quoite a career.

Also, my past experiences as Herbie J in THIS life, is awesome material for future scripts, TV shows and films of every shape and form. (Namely, look for LORDSVILLE, about my experience with my Dad.)

Meanwhile, here's a tiny memory that will one-day be screened, published or televised:

In the mid-1960s through 1972, I attended the beautiful St. Peter and Paul's School and Church, the latter for which still resides on West Main Street here in Rochester (near what used to be called the Bull's Head area - and it's called that because, allegedly, they used to slaugther bulls there eons ago - and there's actually a sculpted bull's head on the facade of one of the buildings).

One day, in the early 1990s, I decided to take a trip back down this particular memory lane. I drove down Brown Street, past Padilla's Market (which was owned by the father of famed body-builder Danny Padilla, brother to Linda Padilla - my first love and kiss as second graders). The school was in the front on Brown Street, while the Church was in the "back" on West Main Street.

In between was the school yard, in which I drove, parked and began to reminisce. I remembered how Sister Alacoe would ring the bell when recess was over, how all the students would first line up in the morning before school starts, .and meet again there after lunch. Oh, the structure of Catholic academia. Awesome.

Anyway, as I sit there in my car in the 1990s recalling the 1960s, I notice this little elderly man, walking towards my car with a smile on his face.

Could it be?

No?

Can't be?

But it is!

"PIETRO!"

The grounds man. Oh, my gosh! He has to be at least 90 - and he was STILL working at St. Pete's! And he's smiling now now he actually recognizes me.

How the heck could have recognized me? The last time he saw me, I was 10. And I'm now frickin' 32-years-old.

"Pietro," I started to ask? "Do you remember me? Do you know who I am?"

"I don't recall the name," he replies. "But I remember the face...and the scream."

"The scream?"

"Yes...on your first day in kindergarten. You screamed in the hallway, outside of the classroom. And you wouldn't STOP screaming. I never heard anything like it."

Oh...my...good...heavens. He REMEMBERED that. How the heck could he remember that?

Then again, how could he forget it. I was LOUD! I didn't want to go to school? Who does, on the first day? Apparently, I just didn't want to more than anyone Pietro ever met - and he "schooled" a ton of kids in his lifetime.

At any rate, Pietro and I talked a little more that day and, shortly thereafter, he passed away.

But what a gift I was given - to meet up with him again that day and share that special, if very spastic, memory. More like a validation, really. I had indeed lived. And what's more, I'M ALIVE NOW!

Be alive and STAY ALIVE, everyone. And "remember":

"We can neither glorify nor live in the past, but we must revive its truths in order to rise to consciousness."

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