A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Letting Go Of Rebecca While Not Telling All
Saturday, January 03, 2009

I last saw Lee Lytton when we both graduated from St Ed's High School in 196l. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally located him and the emails have been going back and forth fast and furious. In his last email Lee wrote this:

I'm still trying to patch together some things about your early history so that I can fit what I remember about you from almost 50 years ago into my recollections. I hope I'm not getting too personal, but I'm operating under the assumption that since your blogs are remarkably uninhibited and about as open a window into your past as I can imagine, you don't mind filling in a few more gaps.

January 20th will mark the third year that I have posted a blog every day. At first I had no idea what blogging was all about. It took a while to figure out the mechanics of fitting pictures with copy. It was my eldest daughter Ale (40) who about a year and a half ago told me, "Papi I was sometimes afraid to ask you about your past and our family. Now, thanks to your blog it is all there." I really appreciated that as it gave me at least one goal. It is a goal that is similar to Rosemary asking my mother to write in white ink under the old photographs of our family albums. They are pasted with black corners on black paper. My mother's neat handwriting (a nun's school in Manila) will keep the people in the pictures alive for a few more generations until distance takes its toll and memory fades.

This blog which is part of Blogger (purchased by Google some years ago) means that when people that I mention Google themselves, more often than not they find me. And this is how I find them. My blog has helped me as well as Lee to fit gaps in my memory of the people that have passed through my life. These people remind me of the experience of leaving in a train from Retiro Station in Buenos Aires. Sometimes our train left the platform as the same time as another. Both would follow parallel tracks but sooner or later one would give way or we would reach a fork where each train would bifurcate in an opposite direction. Lee and I were together for four years but we weren't really friends. I was much younger for my years while Lee was less shy and as soon as he got rid of his thick glasses he became popular with the girls. I had my glasses for the duration and I preceded the computer geeks in looks even though my interest lay in 4inch reflector telescopes and photographs of Lokheed F-104 Starfighters. But I do remember being in the back seat of Lee's 56 or 57 convertible Chevy in our last year. It was a thrill. To me Lee was the type who would write essays about women, cocktails and style for Esquire. That was not the case as he decided to become a prestigious professor of law.

I am a bit taken aback by Lee's statement, "your blogs are remarkably uninhibited and about as open a window into your past as I can imagine..." His statement will not prevent me from trying to answer all his questions. But it does make me think that if Lee and I played poker I would lose my shirt in no time. These West Texans can keep their cards real close to their chest. Perhaps he is right. My wife Rosemary does not have an have an opinion as she has made it a point not to read my blogs. The only one who has protested about my candid approach has been Rebecca who says I reveal all her faults to the world. She says I embarrass her all the time, and has stictly prohibited me from telling anybody, especially in this blog that she is interested in boys and in one in particular. So I will avoid that subject.

But it really has been Rebecca and my relationship with her as her grandfather and friend who has been the focus of most of my thoughts here.

Of late it has been all about my sadness of seeing her grow up and becoming far less moldable to my wishes. She is becoming literally her own woman at 11. Just two days ago she informed that she will no longer "mope" for any of the pictures I take of her. She plans to smile.

Today Lauren (6) spent the day with us and is sleeping over. Rosemary read to her. We had a leasurely dinner. At the table she said, "It is nice not to have Rebecca with us now. She is not shouting at you Papi. It is quiet." Perhaps it is time to let go, just a bit, of Rebecca and take advantage while Lauren is still some years away from the distraction of boys, iPods and video games.

But I will not forget nor can I forget that without Rebecca in my life my blog would have never gone past a few months. Thank you.


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