Thursday, May 24, 2012
Today was special. We had a visit from Flip's first girlfriend ever, when he was 14 and she was 13. They hadn't seen each other since they were in their mid-teens, but she found me on Facebook and we began a correspondence. She wanted to thank Flip for showing her in her first relationship that boys could be kind and caring, gentle, respectful and funny. He is still all those things, and more. Lori said that he introduced her to music, which would become a very important part of her life, and to photography as he always had a camera with him and chronicled their young teen life, mostly in pictures of an adorable smiling Lori, who is now a professional photographer.
I warned her that I didn't know how he'd react to her visit as his behavior can be unpredictable, but it couldn't have been better. He was sleeping when she arrived so we went to eat, and when we returned his lunch had been delivered. I woke him up to feed him, and told him who she was. She showed him snapshots he had taken of her at age 13 and remarked that she is much older and larger now, but it didn't matter. He recognized her and smiled. She told him about her life, and that she never forgot him even though they went different ways because they didn't live in the same town and neither was old enough to drive.
She reminisced about strolling in Los Angeles parks and on beaches, hand in hand, singing Beatles songs - it didn't hurt that Flip looked a lot like George Harrison - and talking on the phone for hours as soon as they got to their own homes. It sounds like the most perfect teen romance. She gave me a stack of photographs, all of them precious. I especially love that he wrote on the back of one:
I have pictures of you plastered all over the darkroom walls, so it's almost impossible for me to forget what you look like - (which is fairly hard to do anyway.)
Truly yours, sincerely, love, forever, cordially, Phil.
It charms me that he sneaked "love" in there, surrounded by several less serious words, because he wanted her to know and also shyly hoped she wouldn't notice. Children are so brave but life doesn't often encourage them to stay that way. I feel honored to have glimpsed an important part of my husband's life long before I knew him. His taste in girls was impeccable as Lori is now a wonderful, kind, sensitive and giving woman who must have been an absolute delight then. There was magic in having his first love and his last together at his bedside, and I think Flip was aware of the symmetry. After she left, I asked him if he remembered her although it seemed obvious that he did. He said, "Oh yeah." I believe her visit helped him to reconnect with who he was then and still is now, despite the fogginess of dementia, and I am grateful to Lori for giving him back a piece of himself. Some days God smiles.
Posted by heartinsanfrancisco at 7:44 PM