Friday, April 23, 2010

Common Experience - Different Perspective....

One of my nephews is in town for a visit and he showed some interest in visiting the National Civil Rights Museum located in Memphis, Tennessee. My day off is Tuesday and despite the fact that the museum is closed every Tuesday we decided to drive downtown and visit the site.

The museum is built using the actual front of the infamous Lorraine Motel where the assassination of Martin Luther King took place.
It was a beautiful day in Memphis and as we drove toward the location my nephew shared his views on the life of MLK. He is about 500 pages through the 700 page Pulitzer Prize winning biography "Bearing The Cross..." and is well spoken on the subject. He has visited MLK's church in Atlanta and childhood home. He found it fitting that as he neared the end of the book that he would stand so near to the spot where Martin's life ended as his martyrdom began.

We parked in the museum parking lot and walked to a spot just below the balcony where this famous black and white photo was taken. It was a somber experience. One that my nephew will always remember. I was glad to share the moment with him. Whenever he recalls the experience he'll think of me.

I walked alone up the hill next to the building from where the fatal shot was fired and snapped a few pictures.

One of the good consequences of my "situation" is that I've become more aware of memory building moments. Those little pieces of time when two people are sharing a common experience, but have profoundly different perspectives.

Like the time, as a lad of twelve, I helped my grandfather roof a tin storage shed. He probably would not recall even roofing the shed but I remember how he skillfully hammered the nails, how he carefully taught me how to safely handle the sheet metal, and how he smelled as we sat on the tailgate of his truck parked in the shade of a giant oak eating our well deserved lunch.

Trying to see the changes that are happening to me, both physically and emotionally, through the eyes of others is difficult. We are sharing a common experience but have profoundly different perspectives.
It sometimes helps to walk up the hill alone and look back.


  1. What an interesting and well written piece this is. Not only did I learn about lives past, but also got a glimpse of the real world through your own eyes my friend.

    Top notch.

  2. Insightful, thoughtful, well-written. Thank you.

  3. I am new to your life, so not able to comment as yet. Thank you for reading one of my stories this morning and leaving your mark.

    If you have time and energy, you may consider reading this"

  4. Jimmy,
    Thanks....sometimes I wish to write fiction.

    Thank you Fay. You motivate me.

    I did read your December post. We have more in common than I realized. My diagnosis was Nov, 2008. Here is my first blog post:

  5. yes...I also have many shared moments that may have not stuck in the others mind as it did mine...special little nuances that only you can recall but that have a powerful impact..This was a perfect example as well as the roofing memory...and I think as we age it becomes more profound and has a greater impact on how we proceed..and the choices we make..thanks for an endearing moment..Enjoy Your DaY..!

  6. Hi Bob, your posting brought back memories of our trip to Memphis..we parked by the memorial to MLK, and it was a sunday i believe. not many people there, but the pics you posted brought back the day. And I am a huge fan of Elvis, and have been to Graceland twice , once in 1973 and once probably in 1990. Loved it..did see Elvis in concert 2months before he died in 1977. I still love listening to his gospel and my fav song is IF I CAN DREAM. Kel turns 57 this week. He is still taking Sinemet, not really seeing much of a change with the medication. He is trying right now to fix the printer, he gets very frustrated as he can't figure things out like he used to. Have a good day Bob. karla

  7. Thank you for this post.

    I like the mood your were in when you wrote it (or at least the mood I percieve). A little bit of melancholy, much tenderness and the awareness that what really counts is relationships.

    Great reading.

  8. Hey CW! This entry is a really nice one! Your perspective on 'things' is good... no deterioration there! You have a real talent (gift) to share your innermost thots!
    Who knows... one day you may grow up to be a writer! :)

  9. Robin,
    Thanks for your encouragement!

    I've lived here 25 years and have only been to Graceland once. That was enough. tee-hee.

    You're dead on. Moods now seem to have a physical property that I'm not able to master.

    Haha! Surely I am destined to write the great American novel.


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