A boy I went to school with at Stamford High called me last year and I was amazed at how the eclipsed years didn’t matter – it was as though we picked up where we had left off! (And we weren’t even close friends or anything – just a friendly classmate.) In a follow-up email he reminded me of a memory he had of us standing by a window together, and his amusement at my reacting with confusion to some ironic remark he’d made. Bizarrely, I remembered that moment too – and truly, it was such an offhand, “in passing” thing. Not “memorable” at all. Well, memory’s a funny thing.Email message from Mark G. to Belle, 27 August 2007
Belle, I had a memory from late 1976. It was a winter day, and we were in the AP English room early (you'll recall it was on the 2nd floor of the main building, in the front, overlooking the main entrance basically). It was a late fall, early winter day, and we were looking out the window. Some cheesy (but attractive) girl in a 1970's type fur coat-thing was skipping (some 3-group) class and heading out to the Dunkin Donuts. I said to you "that's my ideal woman" - joking but I kept a straight face. You looked at me sort of not knowing what to say, but clearly shocked.Belle to Mark G., 28 August 2007
Do you remember that?
My goodness, your memory! I could not have come up with that memory on my own. But do you know - I do remember that! Either that, or I'm very suggestible and I can simply conjure the image. But I don't think so. You were standing to my right as I recall. And as I read your description of that moment, I found myself re-experiencing the feeling of being very taken aback, because your comment was so unexpected and because it was unusually personal and revelatory (or so it seemed!). Underneath my (thin) veneer of ironic detachment and sophistication was a girl who took things quite literally. Especially since you said it with a straight face. That's Mark's type? Really? (I look out the window again but the girl's out of sight.) Darn. I wanted a better look at her. What is it about her? Who is that anyway?) Huh. Wow, go figure. Well, okay then.
So thanks for that memory - it's nice. I wish I could come up with one. I mainly remember a general overall impression of you as someone very kind, very benevolent, never judging harshly or meanly, which I much appreciated, especially in that environment which underneath all the swagger and bonhomie could be quite cut-throat and competitive and anxiety-producing. Except that that makes you sound dull. Which you weren't. You were observant and smart and capable of being quite surprising!