Save Me Sister

picture from my childhood

All you need is love

Photobomb me from the grave, will you? I see you there, don’t think you’re hiding. You with the big stuffed bunny toy, so pleased, me with my P-47. And why are we all dressed up? Oh right, this must be Easter Sunday: 1956 I’d say, Rhein-Main Air Force Base near Frankfurt. Occupied Germany still, the U.S. Zone. And to think we were living in the same apartments occupied by Luftwaffe pilots’ families during the war… (Someone calls out, “Which war?” World War II, of course, back when they were separate and didn’t run into each other until you couldn’t tell whom we’re bombing now and why.)

You’ve been gone for over four years. Can’t mean anything to you, I guess. Hardly a day goes by without my thinking of you and the way you lived. “Dying is perfectly safe!” you chortled, knowing you were right, and proved it. What can happen to you now?

I want to make a difference. Don’t want it said that all I did was take. The wagon piled up high with everything is rolling down the hill. I can’t run fast enough to jump on board. You knew what the secret was, how to let it all unfold and end. How to be yourself and nothing else. How to fill the life you had. When you left, the world was sorry. I still get emails from people with your paintings, sad that you’re not here. I wasn’t going to write this, but I came across the photo, and it hit me. Johnny’s not a genius any more and feels himself for lumps in funny places; not that anything would break, except a heart.

  • Rita September 29, 2014, 8:56 AM

    You make a difference to me, in my wee, reclusive life.

    Life can be so dull without the sharp insights of poets, and the beauty displayed by artists. This made me cry.

    • JHF September 29, 2014, 9:12 AM

      Thanks. I went through a few kleenexes before posting, too. She was damaged, just like me (and everybody), but cleared her own space early on. Somewhere I have a photo from the Austin paper of her roller-blading with a hand-held sail—and she was maybe sixty then!

  • Rita September 29, 2014, 12:32 PM

    Please post that photo when you come across it again. My best friend (since 1969) died suddenly March 19th. She had lived in Austin for 30 years. Lala (my name for her because she was so damn la-la) is the only dead person I have really grieved in all my 66 years, probably because of the traumas, deaths and deep secrets we shared. I never had siblings.

  • Carmel Glover September 30, 2014, 7:44 PM

    John, I’d love to see some of her paintings. I wish I’d known your sister.

    And yes, you have made a difference, probably to many more people than you realise.

    • JHF September 30, 2014, 10:20 PM

      I meant a positive difference. 🙂 But thank you. There have been some times, have there not? The thing is though, NOW I know how to fly this thing…

      I have a number of Teresa’s art works, of course, but by no means representative of all her styles and themes. She produced some wonderful intuitive, symbolic pieces in her last few years. Her husband gave me this one, which I posted once on my previous blog. It means a lot to me.

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