July has always meant something more than just mid-summer.
For some reason, it is stuffed full of anniversaries that later seem to have significance I am not privy to at the time, or perhaps hadn’t even been born when they transpire.
Some of this may be attributed to Dr. Freud’s anniversary syndrome, which claims that we attach meaning to particular dates in order to fit our own vision of the world, and/or cause events to take place that fit what we want or think.
Some dates, however, are etched in stone: the date of my mother’s marriage,
July 17, 1950,
the date of my mother’s birth, July
28, 1928, the date of death of several key family members, and the
day I got to see my kid again after thinking I would never get to see her
again, July 3, 1982.
Other events are more vague, events that occurred this month that are significant, but cannot be pinned down to some mysterious force related to the Roman Emperor Caesar after whom the month was named.
I remember being in a hospital ward at Fort Dix when the first men landed on the moon, and seeing the faces of wounded Vietnam vets staring in awe at the tiny black and white television the Captain had allowed set up on the ward.
I remember the trips to New York State to find land to build a commune during several summers in the early 1970s, and struggle for Hank to find a job in 1972, making him decide not to take the trip with Pauly to the West Coast he so much ached to make, a moment that changed a lot of our lives, since the trip marked that point when we all had to choose between being the boys we were and the men we had become.
Most of my anniversary events come at other times of the year. July almost always means larger change that is beyond me or my control, some cosmic shift to which I later have to adjust with my life during such periods dedicated to keeping my nose to the grind stone without wearing it out (I mean the nose, not the grind stone although with my nose, one never knows.)
This month has always been one of belabored change, the aftermath of my May anniversary syndrome, the gradual recovering from some personal crisis that for the most part was self-inflicted in spring and must play itself out.
So in this post Fourth of July time period, just as we moved into the All Star break (something that always pissed me off because I never saw it as real baseball, just a lot of fluff), I work through the details of some self-inflicted wound I’m not even yet aware I have inflicted, having done so many foolish thing in my life that I could be recovering from any one of them at any time, and still run out of days in July in which to recover from them.
But this time of year is when I miss lost things most, the people who have passed on, the people who I will never see again, the people whose lives have touched mine and left their mark – adding to a calendar of anniversaries that reverberates in me forever.