“Twas ever thus”

I always thought this was a “Sam-ism” but he says its Winnie the Pooh. 🙂 He said it in response to the most boring part of our conversation today – how people have become less known by their “job” and more by their “career”. My pal David and I were there for nearly two hours! We had to roust Sam out of bed and his Alaskan/nun clothes. 🙂 He was sick yesterday, threw up, but “felt better afterwards”. He also said that I have to write that he felt better because we visited. 🙂

Because David and I had just come from Hannah’s school where I’m teaching media literacy/conflict resolution to the 6th graders, we talked about that for awhile. Sam teased me about “studying” him as I explained that David was “studying me” for a research project. I invented a word, “organicity”, to describe the way the class/group process goes between me and the students, how it’s also effected “externally” by where I am with the FP and [the BM].* Sam approved. 🙂
We also talked about my recent “teacher’s body” project with the undergrads at UMass and peers at the National Communication Association conference last week. Good laughs…more on that in another post! (Check out the ‘How Far Will It Go’ thread if you’re curious.)
Some reminiscing today had to do with languages. David’s first language is Hungarian, Sam’s was German. Sam said his mom used to mix German and English. Example: “Ich filla nicht so hot today.” 🙂 (Did I spell the German correctly?!) He also said he gets mental pictures of mother whenever Edith talks about her, different images, happy ones. (I said he wouldn’t admit it if they weren’t happy, and he insisted, “they’re happy.” grin)
Sam’s getting visits from another Hilltop student this year. We showed David the pictures that the last one, Kevin, made and gave Sam. David’s favorite was the one of the Putney General Store with Sam’s face superimposed: “The windows are your eyes showing through the glasses, it creates a human out of the building.” Eric is the current Hilltop student; his dad is Swiss. Sam attracts international diversity like nobody’s business! 🙂
We talked a wee bit about Sam living in Putney for so many years, 1960-2001, sans a few years in California, which were “f*cking lonely.” He remembers how long he had to wait for public transportation there. And working at the sailing club that Jennifer and her husband owned. He passed up a sail to one of the outlying islands as “sailing wasn’t my priority” then. This whole conversation came about after I’d read the really crude diatribe about “the South” that someone wrote after the election. We’d laughed a lot through it, but it took a lot of energy and it seemed we needed a break. Sam remembers being introduced to people at Newport Beach and someone saying to him, since he was from New England, “oh, you’re one of those liberal assholes.” That would have been back in 1979 or so. We couldn’t quite figure out how long Sam was there. He says it was “very complex” and that he went back and forth a lot before coming back to Putney for good. His name is on the new war memorial there; I think its a source of pride for him.
And wouldn’t you know he again mentioned that afghan given him by SIT students! Maybe I need to flesh out more of this story from him. He obviously thinks about it a lot and treasures it. What were the circumstances under which it was given him? By whom? What does it represent?
It was a pretty relaxed day, actually. We did what we do when I feel I have enough time to actually be there for awhile. Tell stories. Reminisce. Flesh out histories. Read jokes. He laughed really, really hard at the crude one (above) and also the one Ruth sent, “15 things to do at Walmart while your spouse/partner is taking their sweet time.” 🙂 We also laughed at David as he shared with us his view that “graduate school was invented for me”, by which he meant being able to sleep in until 10 or so and stay up regularly until 2 or 3. No wonder he’s had such a rough time getting up to Vermont by 9 am! 🙂
We got a bit somber near the end. Sam asked why my dad left music. I don’t know the answer. It was odd he asked it though, because I’ve just been emailing with Brian and Dad about things that happened with the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Seems there are a lot of things I don’t know about decisions my parents made. Is that always the case? Even more strange (if you consider the convergence) is that I spoke with mom on the phone while driving (shhh!) from Vermont to school and she was in a reflective mood about her own way of being back “when we were all living together.”
Anyway, despite some angst about the election and thinking about past lives’ choices and their outcomes, we had a very nice visit. We ended with an infamous “Sam shrug” – which I always think of as “Who knows? and if one did, what could you do about it?”
I apologize that I didn’t have anyone’s recent comments with me to share with Sam; I’ll do that next week.
*Edited on 12 February 2006.

4 thoughts on ““Twas ever thus””

  1. Thank you Stephanie for doing this. I always read the notes, but never have time to write something! I have some pictures of the day Sam came to SIT to visit (more than a month ago!) I have been traveling and going away again this week, but will stop by before Thanksgiving to show him the pictures. Hoe all is well. Bea

  2. I’m in Japan on a lecture tour, back in the office on Monday, November 29. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. We are college friends of Sam. Tell him Wmily is recovery well from major heart surgery. We are planning to go back to Florida this winter, leaving Nov. 27. sorry we could not get down to see him as we usually do in the Fall, but Emily’s heart condition did not allow for that. We think of him often and wished we could visit…Happy Thanksgiving and a big hug from us both….Dick

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