Posts Tagged ‘henshaw’

First Post

28 October 2006

Dear J-

I guess I should explain, maybe, who ‘J-‘ is — or maybe not, for now. It’s not about being freakishly secretive; anyone who’s read my old pages off the mit website should know that I enjoy baring my soul on a detailed level beyond that required by normal folks. Nope. ‘Dear J-‘ from one of my favorite childhood books, Dear Mr. Henshaw, and J- primarily because I’ve known so many folks in my life with J- names. So J- is, ostensibly, a generic everyone; to be honest, there’s a few folks I have directly in mind, but I’ll leave it at that for now for fear of future embarrassment.

It’s been nearly over eight years since I published anything substantive in my life. I’d send you over to my old site if I thought there was anything worth mentioning over there, but those are old stories, which maybe would be worth grabbing over to this side in the future, just so that other folks can laugh and point.   It’s almost as if time stood still for me, and I kept being able to be a kid until this year.  Many things happened — my grampa died of lung cancer, I started a new job, my parents moved out of the house I grew up in (and thought they’d stay in forever — it’s hard to put my mind around living in the same state again; I may just have to go back East), and my wife is pregnant for the first time.

Maybe I should have seen it coming once grampa (three wives — twice widowed, “your manhood fell off in the garden”) was gone.  This was going to be a different sort of year.  What sort of games did I get to play with a retired security guard from Tsingtao?  I’m still envious of my Chinese cousins for having known him better than me; I was too young to appreciate him, and too foreign to understand.  He was slow getting out of the car, so I’d sometimes help him along with a well-placed foot.  Kids at school would call him fat, so I begged my parents not to have him walk me to school any more.  His English was limited to ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you,’ so I refused to learn more Chinese than ‘Happy New Year.’  J-, if I had a time machine, I think I wouldn’t waste any time getting back to being six and whack the sass out of me.  There were still so many things I wanted to ask him.  Here’s a man who has lived the history you learned in school; there he goes, living in a treaty port, adjusting to life under Mao, now ending up alone in an apartment just five hundred miles away — can’t you call him, can’t you see him, can’t you hold him?  Ah, one last time, please.

If you’ve still got a million things left to do, get one done today.  Why not?   Someone will appreciate it.