Remembrance and Reality

I was in the gym at work this morning, on the treadmill, when a person from the distant past simply popped into my head. I’m sure many people experience the same thing—a long distant memory that you wouldn’t be able to recall if you tried.

It was a nearly forty-year old memory of summer camp at a place called Camp Ou-sa-me-quin in Halifax, Mass. and a goofy skinny kid from Jamaica Plain named Tommy VanName. As part of an inter-cabin competition, we created a comedy routine where I was the Jimmy Cagney/Edward G. Robinson bad guy/gangster and he was Super Chicken, the super-hero. It was a lot of fun and we thought we were comic geniuses. Naturally when you’re ten years old and everyone laughs at your jokes, you would have a tendency to believe that.

I had been looking up high school and college classmates on Facebook and other sites out of interest and curiosity. And Tommy’s appearance in my mind gave me pause to seek him out, not necessarily to communicate. But maybe, perhaps, you know, I don’t know.

A quick Google search revealed that Thomas VanName died in January of 2011.

Why did I think of him? What WOULD I have done had i found him? Would he have remembered Camp Ou-Sa-Me-Quin or that summer of goofiness or that stupid comedy routine? I’ll never know.

I realize that I have forgotten more than I remember, that there are a million million details from countless moments that WERE actually part of my life but are now just threads in a larger fabric.

How important are those memories in relation to today, this moment, now as I create this blog entry?

I can only wonder what this moment, now, will be some day in the future.


  1. July 11, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I love the intricacies of memory, the way smells can trigger visions, that random incidents seem to pull together in connections. I loved that you touched on this–your memory of camp reminded me of my own.


    • tikiman1962 said,

      July 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm

      Smells can really be a trigger. So can music. It is amazing what is locked inside, ready to come out at the most interesting moments.


  2. cath c said,

    July 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    i think he was just stopping by to say hi. i’m sorry for your loss, and the way it came about that you found out.


    • tikiman1962 said,

      July 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      It’s interesting that people refer to my “loss” or my “friend”. For four weeks one summer, I knew a crazy kid who was just as crazy as myself. We were funny and silly. Beyond that, I never even considered him hardly at all except for distant memories.
      I will really never know WHAT a friendship with him would have been.
      THAT is the intriguing part about memory.


      • cath c said,

        July 14, 2011 at 8:06 am

        well, in my book once a friend, always….even if the friendship goes through something irrecoverable, the person is in my heart forever.


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