It’s funny the things you remember.
Each time I pick up the phone to check in with my mom who’s afflicted with Alzheimer’s, she's more and more distant, more gone, more out there--while maintaining the sharp tongue and her wicked way with words which made her a particular favorite with my friends along the way.
Last night I caught up with the very current going’s on with her mom and dad, her sister, and her brother-in-law, all of whom have been dead for many, many years now. They had just been by the house, they say hello, etc.
But alas, now her sister isn’t talking to her for some reason mom couldn’t quite put her finger on. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it’s because she’s been gone for oh, 15 years now?
Having been adopted myself, my sister long gone, my dad having passed away, and mom in her condition, it suddenly hit me that I’m the sole bearer of the life and times.
And having been adopted, despite the love from very real and involved parents, I/you/we long for the twinge of any semblance of self reflected in someone’s face or gestures. The genetic twist that reveals--you’re FROM someplace.
Me? I’m from Neptune, New Jersey which borders Nicole Atkins’ Neptune City. Moreso, I’m from Shark River Hills, a tiny, tiny enclave on the water (the Shark River) within Neptune where I and Ms. Atkins grew up.
“Our hearts are singing out just for you/A cemetery song for summer/And if we knew just what we could do/A cemetery song we'd not sing
I'm sitting over Neptune City/I used to love it/It used to be pretty/I'll come down, walk around a while/Until I'm sure I can never go home again
Maybe if I paid attention/I could learn to love the landscape I was born to/By the river in the rain/Let it make me new again...”
And so, listening to ‘Neptune City,’ I can finally see myself in someone else’s face for a change.
(Five from the Jersey Shore, both then and now:)
Mink Deville - Just To Walk That Little Girl-Home (Mp3)
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes - Without Love (Mp3)
Nicole Atkins - Together We're Both Alone (Mp3)
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound (Mp3)
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Growin' Up (Mp3)