I was going to write, yesterday or today or tomorrow, about the news that affected our little family in 1960 & 1961. I still am, a little, but for a moment I'll bring in 2007 as well. In 1960 a new President, John F Kennedy, was elected President. He took the oath of office on a cold day in January of 1961. For the young men and women of my generation he was a hero. Young, strong, committed. I'll talk later about JFK because my family had other news in roughly October of 1960; my mother was expecting a child. It had been four years since my younger brother Ted was born. Mick, and Ted, and I pranced around my Nonny Glading's kitchen chanting, Oh no, not again! We were thrilled to have a new child join our merry band. This being 1960 we did not know if it would be a girl or a boy.
But to get more to the point; last night my niece Louise had a daughter. Makenzie Marie was brought into this world sometime yesterday evening. Her mother, a young woman, is doing well. The news of this young girls birth struck me with a force I hadn't anticipated, made me feel odd in ways I hadn't anticipated. I'll explore those thoughts in my poetry and in my conversations with my brother and my niece. But last night I also had a dream.
I dreamed Acme Exterminating was moving. We had to move quite suddenly to new headquarters and when we arrived we found our headquarters had no roof. There was a storm brewing and Luis and I and Willa were hastily moving things into a small enclosed room. Some of the things were my books. Books from my childhood. We were moving not just Acme but our own possessions. The owner of the company was weeping over the death of his father many years before.
I woke suddenly and wrote this down. It's three am. Acme Exterminating is in fact moving in just a little while for the first time in many, many years. The man who founded the company, Harry Stien, will not be moving with it. He died a few years back. He was a big, ebullient man of great joy and passion. He served his country well in WWII and left his son and his employees a company with a proud record in an industry known for it's family businesses.
What does this dream mean? What do any dreams mean? John F Kennedy was a new President in a young country that had just fought a bitter war across the globe. The men and women of his generation sacrificed much, achieved much, and believed that they could do anything. They passed that belief along to boys and girls like me and Mick and Ted and my soon to be born sister, Mary Louise.
Harry was JFK's contemporary, though from a very different background. He walked out of WWII and built a business in one of the toughest markets in the world.
Bob and I and Luis are the heirs of that business. Luis and I and Willa and Bob are a family as much as Mick and Ted and Mary Louise and I are a family. There is a roof over our heads in the new Acme Exterminating. That's a bit of what the dream means.
I was wrong. There is a roof over our head in the new office. The new office is just around the corner from the old.
So Makenzie Marie...welcome to a world that is the same and different. Just a few moments ago you weren't here. Now you are. Everything we tell you, everything your mother and father tell you will be the truth. None of it will be the truth. You will wake up one day in the year 2064 and look around you and say, wait, where is the roof? Why is it raining? When did we move?
Then you'll realize, as we all do, it was just a dream. A beautiful dream we hold in our hearts for a short span of years. Like all dreams it's filled with terror and sex and laughter and tears. Cherish your dream Makenzie as we cherish you.
Goodnight Mr President. Goodnight Harry. Goodnight Luis and Willa. Goodnight Ted. Goodnight Mick. Goodnight Mary Lou. Goodnight Louise. Sleep tight wrapped in your cherished dreams.