‘When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window … ‘ The infamous words of the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. I have never forgotten them, or should I say the sentiment. The actual quote – well, I have a funny story about that involving Sandro, marble and Rome but I’ll just keep it in my back pocket.
Anyone new to Trish-Trash and reading said opening may well be forgiven for anticipating some sort of sermon – and he/she would be right! I quite like the idea of an old pulpit; not sure if pulpits are prolific in reclamation yards or antique shops, though. On hold. Anyway, the past seven days have been momentous really and, if one believed in messages from above, then Major Tom is alive and well! Does that even make sense? (Manny did insist I ‘finished’ a bottle of vino before he left!) Suffice to say, Monday brought an offer on the house; our home of almost 26 years. Sick to death of viewers and the sword of Damocles dangling over my head – never mind the near catastrophic uncertainty of Brexit – I accepted. Drained with fighting, I want to get on with my life; with what’s important. Sadly, control remains all-important to some and my proposed date of exit proved too inviting. Dismissed without question, Becca, Manny and I shall, therefore, get on with dismantling our home – the only one they can remember – and look to the future. 1st July, 2019: Princess Diana’s birthday, if I am not mistaken, she would have been 58. It is also the birthday of my childhood friend, Nic. A significant date, then, it is poised to become more so …
Mixed emotions. What can I say? Perhaps remembering that I was never meant to be here helps … I shall never forget my friend, Janet, dropping me back and seeing the house for the first time: ‘How long are you going to stick this, Tricia?’ was her comment. I remember laughing as I replied, ‘Oh, a year at the most.’! Naïve should, actually, be my middle name. Twenty-six years later, this did become my home filled with memories of my children’s early years and our beloved Wilbur; Norman, Ena and Jimmy, the neighbours who thrived on gossip but, ultimately, cared. Overshadowed, then, by the incomers who transformed a community in an instant … we should have left in 2005 but, mistakenly, we committed to an extension which enhanced the property and our lives, short-term, but, in hindsight, proved the death knell … Depressing, or what? An emotional start to the week.
Do you know, I could have sunk into the depths at the prospect of what lies ahead of me but everything around me has buoyed me otherwise, not least my latest choice of book, The World I Fell Out of, courtesy of Melanie Reid. Who could bemoan one’s own life on reading this? Drawn to the author by my friend, Shona, who is a longtime fan of her weekly column in The Times, ‘Spinal Column”, I bought her autobiography – and there but for the grace of God go I. Melanie is paralysed from the chest down following a freak riding accident in 2010. Like Christopher Reeve – aka Superman – before her, she fell off her horse when it refused a seemingly insignificant jump. Like him, she fell, awkwardly, on her head rendering her neck broken and ensuring the prospect of a life in a wheelchair, beholden to others. As I said, there but for the grace of God go I … I spent my childhood in the saddle: at pony club, competing in gymkhanas or cross country events. I was forever falling off, over fences, through fences, on top of fences, into water … the list is endless. The point is, I could so easily have been Christopher Reeve or Melanie Reid. Why wasn’t it me?
I watched the life of one of my closest friends unfold this week – completely out of her control – and, emotionally, I was with her every step of the way. Not one iota to do with money, instead it was all about family; at the end of the day, the only thing that matters. It pulled me up sharp. Embroiled in my own emotional turmoil for the last seven years – and that of my poor children – I was reminded of the lasting damage which can be inflicted by a cold, egocentric father. The responsibility of a parent is all-encompassing and must never be under-estimated. Get it wrong and the consequences are lasting – and far-reaching.
Friends, real friends, are invaluable. To be able to pick up the phone and speak to somebody who knows you and has your back, whatever … no charge. There is no charge for real friends. I am proud and honoured to be the ‘go to’ friend – whilst a position earned, it somehow deems life worthwhile.
To the side of me are notes of things to include in my post: the editing of photos being one. Regular readers know that my son, Manny, is a keen photographer, reticent as to his talents. Whilst a lover of the film camera, he bemoans that of the digital format enabling the endless editing of the subject and composition. What has happened to the photograph? The capturing of a moment in time …. In today’s world, engulfed in social media, nothing is as it seems; nothing has to be. Instead, Manny is instructed to doctor each and every photograph: remove the bags, enhance the chin, make me more tanned, my nose smaller, my arms thinner, my eyes brighter … nothing is real anymore. Truth is a thing of the past.
I have a note about the US college admissions scandal which has been in the news this week. Felicity Huffman, formerly of Desperate Housewives fame, has been accused of allegedly securing her daughter’s place at an elite college courtesy of a bribe. One of many celebrities, who is really interested? My point is that this world is fast becoming one devoid of merit. Every position has a price and there are those willing to pay it whether for image, status, whatever. The opportunity to buy, however – borne out of those willing to pay – wipes merit clean out of the ball park. What kind of twisted world is this? Nothing is as it seems.
Faced with the dismantling of my home of 26 years and deprived of funds to secure anything equivalent by the one person who was responsible for securing our future, the prospects could be understandably bleak. However, this week I have been repeatedly reminded of the importance of friends: those who will be there regardless; the true testament of/to a person – not sure which! Regardless, I have been reminded that, even if it is rare for the good guys to win in an open field, in terms of friends, there is no contest. I am totally blessed! Now, where is that pulpit … and, Pop, I can hear you laughing wherever you are. Miss you!
Remember no man is a failure who has friends.
Thanks for the wings!
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
This is Trish, signing off.
p.s. How I wish you were here to check it …