Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title. ~ Virginia Woolf
We are the sum total of all that we’ve experienced to date; the things we’ve done; the things we’ve failed to do; the people with whom we’ve interacted; the places we’ve been; everything in our lives is a cohesive in the marvelous creation that is us.
Granted, some of us are more marvelous than others, and then there are always those whothink they’re more marvelous than others but truly are not, but all in all we’re all spectacular creations, each one of us in his or her unique way.
As someone once said, albeit in very poor English - God don’t make no junk!
Now, I understand that there are those who, upon reading , are immediately reminded of a friend, a relative or perhaps merely some passing acquaintance with whom they’d just as soon have not had any human contact whatsoever. We can all relate!
Realistically, we generally cannot discern until they’re in our hands. We can ask for new cards, but the luck of the draw does play a part in shaping that which becomes us. We can only control our destinies to a point.
When I started to write today’s column, I had a totally different subject in mind. But also on my mind was Tom Merrifield, a Mansfield native, who passed away last Monday at the Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vermont; the victim of a heart attack that stole him away from those who knew and loved him; a tragedy that took him quite unexpectedly and much too soon. He was 59 years old.
I remember Tommy from back in my formative years in Mansfield during the 50s and 60s when it was a small, close-knit community of just more than five-thousand. Everyone in town knew everyone else in town and in a of only about four-hundred students it was virtually impossible to remain incognito, even for the most proficient introvert.
So, though he was four years behind me in school, I knew Tommy reasonably well. We weren’t best friends or anything like that, but the Merrifield’s were one of the many families that make up part of who I am. They attended the Orthodox Congregational Church as did my family, and I vividly remember Tommy’s family being involved in a lot of the same activities as we were. His mom was the school nurse for some time and I remember when I was younger I thought his dad was a really smart guy because he wore glasses. I think in reality he was a really smart guy, but it certainly had nothing to do with wearing glasses. It’s funny what sticks in our memories.
So you see, in some small yet very significant way; an integral part of me; a small slice of who I am, has been affected by the fact that Tommy walked this earth; and now because that tiny sliver of life within me that was Tommy has been removed; there’s a very slight, but palpable change in me.
I've experienced a true sense of loss even though I haven’t seen Tommy for more than 45 years and have only recently reconnected with him through posting my writing on Facebook. He always had something positive and uplifting to say when he commented on my columns - and that’s the Tommy I remember.
I know this week’s offering is a bit surreal. I’m not even sure surreal is the best way to describe it. It’s a bit of a departure from the norm for me, but it was what I wanted to share with you this week. I write from the heart and this was on my heart.
No one in our lives is insignificant. Each person with whom we interact leaves an indelible imprint on our souls.
Make it a great week!
Author's note: Memorial gifts may be sent to the CSF Merrifield Scholarship Fund, Citizen’s Scholarship Fund, PO Box 23, Mansfield MA 02048. Online condolences may be sent at www.perkinsparker.com and facebook.
Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer and a consummate trouble-maker. His column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com and on Wednesday athttp://mansfield-ma.patch.com. His column, “The Way I See It”, runs every other Wednesday athttp://norton.patch.com.