A family night – many years ago Sunday nights were Murder She Wrote – and now with a new generation we have Cold Case. With the DVR we are a week behind, but hey, no commercials.
The series and I have something in common – a love of music, the same kinds of music. And the show always ends with a montage set to a fitting song. Tonight I watched and listened: “You are my sunshine…” I did not have sleep away camp as a kid so I had never learned that classic: Never learned it until February 29, 1972. I was seventeen, a freshman at college and in love with Allison. I wrote about her last October, a bit of my history.
I lived on campus, but it was a mere train ride from what was once home, a ride on the A train of Duke Ellington fame from the High School where Allison was a senior. She took the train that day. It was the day that makes it a leap year – Sadie Hawkins day: that once in every four year moment where the girls get to do the asking. She came to the dorm and went into the bathroom – very hush hush. When she emerged she handed me a little box and inside a littler shell – scalloped on the outside and smooth on the concave. In her inimitable handwriting it said:
You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey”
Listening to that song tonight and lying there, Carrie on the far side of a child, my mind wandered back. My sunshine has been Carrie for more than half of the thirty five years since that afternoon and now my sunshine has been clouded by the haze of my gayness, by the knowledge that we are both moving on. Life seemed so much simpler then. At that moment, reading the shell, I could see my life ahead of me so clearly.
It was a mere three months later when that dream ended. I cannot tell you when the shell disappeared, but that would be measured in years, if not decades. It took a while to recover from that disappointment. This one is easier to measure – it is a disappointment that I will take to the grave.