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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Letters to Cassi and Other Folks



One of the most memorable conversations in my life is one I had with my friend Cassi. I believe it was in two thousand ten that I came about to ask her if the real paper letters I write her have any worth. She said that not only did they lift her spirits, but that she kept a few of them with her wherever she went to read when she felt down. That was a statement that made a lasting impact on me.

 From the time I was eight I had wanted to be a writer, and the last thing my mother gave me before her death had been a microphone so I could record my ideas on tape. The written word and I had a love-hate relationship back then and, well, we still do, but even in the darkest hours of my life some form of written art seep from my soul like blood from a wound. Here those words had finally had an impact on someone. More importantly, they had brought comfort to the pained, even if in a small way, and that was what stayed with me.

I’ve always like the feeling of helping people and that is what made me decide to start posting my letters on the internet. Will they ever truly help people? Probably not, unless you count the aforementioned Cassi, but as the letters abound I’ve nothing to lose...


15 comments:

  1. *sigh* A long reply to the post and it disappeared. Kind of funny, when I referred to myself as invisible in it. I suppose I will have to more formally introduce myself later...

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    1. I found that odd as well, but this is what you said: "I think letters are a sweet and antiquated notion... but I wish people wrote them more often. In today's digital world, it's too easy to email, facebook and text one another. The convenience is nice, but the intimacy in it is completely lost.

      When I was in kindergarten, my teacher told my mother that I wouldn't be able to read by the time I was out of the first grade. My mother took it upon herself to teach me to read over that summer and I have had my nose in a book ever since. When I was 10, I had a teacher tell me that I should be a writer. This year was the turning point in my life, as it was also the year that I saw Gone with the Wind for the first time. A year later, we moved from Chicago to Los Angeles.

      And now that you know half of my life story, an introduction... I'm Becca. "Becca the Invisible." I say this, because upon talking to a girl I stood next to for two years of high school in choir told me that she didn't remember who I was. Ouch! Makes you wonder why I would ever reach back into the past. They say you can't go home again. And yet, that is exactly what landed me here in the first place. Perhaps, lesson not learned.... There's a loaded statement, if there ever was one. Simply stated, this is not the first time our paths have crossed...

      Will your letters help people? Depends on how you look at it. Sometimes they bring a smile... and sometimes they remind the reader to look a little deeper. It's easy to look at the person standing next to us and not notice them... or not understand there is more going on under the surface. I, for one, am painfully shy. People don't look past the fact that I don't talk. I'm Becca the Invisible...

      Moreover, you have inspired me in a way... I used to write. Merely for my own pleasure. Wrote a book once, but half of it got lost to a missing flash drive and I was crushed. I vowed to fix it and redo it. But haven't gone back to it in over a year. I was beginning to think that that part of me had simply died out and gone away, when I found your blog and remembered how much I used to love writing. So, I'm going to start out small and work my way up to fixing my book. Thank you for reminding me of who I am, even if you don't know me. "

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  2. Hey! You found it! ;) Saves me from having to type it out again... I was very much not looking forward to that.

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    1. You still have me at a loss if we know each other. I’m told that I’m not a man people forget, but you must understand that my nerve damage makes that sort of thing hard for me.

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  3. No, you're not easily forgotten. In fact, you gave me one of the most memorable holiday memories of my youth. You were once my Secret Santa... I was maybe 15 or 16, and you were a grade ahead of me. You handed me a box of chocolates and in delivering said present left me speechless.

    This year is the first that we are spending in Florida. I have an aunt and a couple of cousins (as well as their children) down here. This holiday season, we decided that as I have four children and my cousins have four children combined, that we would let the children play Secret Santa. And the memory of you crept into my mind. Over the years, I have lost touch with almost everyone from high school except for my best friend, Angela. I did, several years ago when MySpace was the rage, find others. Amber has kids. BobbiLynn lives in Denmark and hasn't the foggiest clue as to who I am. Nice to see the bitchy girls, remain bitchy when they grow up. And Camille... ummm... Camille is now batting for the other team. A fact that took me by surprise, as she was one of my closest friends in school. I was able to track down just about everyone from Titan Tones back then, but wasn't able to find you. So when the ghost of Christmas past crept up on me again this year, I decided to give another look... and it landed me here. I read a couple of posts, smiled to myself, and thought that would be it. But, every day when I open my phone browser, your page appears in myrecently closed pages and I find myself here once again... now that I have commented a few times, I feel I would be remiss in not explaining who I am and how I came to be here. I looked different back then... red hair, and green contact lenses... and yes, I remember you. You always struck me as interesting. You were quiet... and in being painfully shy, I find other people who are quiet to be fascinating. I wish I had talked to you more then... you have an interesting outlook.

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    1. Camille was like that back in high school and I recall her and Bobby hating each other because of it. The only time I can recall us talking is at a bus stop. I think you were saying something about your boyfriend at the time but it was long ago and my memory never has been that great.

      I got the chocolates at Costco. I got everything at Costco back then.

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  4. I missed a lot of junior year. And we moved to Phoenix when I was a senior, so I feel I missed the last two years with my friends. My last memory of everyone was doing something at a church in uptown Whittier, afterwards a bunch of us went to Camille's house and they all decided to get high. Her and Chris and Frankie. That was pretty much when I realized I was no longer part of the group.

    My boyfriend? More like a boy who was my friend, than a boyfriend. He and I were crazy about each other, but I thought in a more platonic way. Turns out I was wrong. The boy/friend kept my friends from bugging me about not having a boyfriend. Which seemed important at the time, because I was tired of being picked on. Great friends I had. I was bad about picking friends. The downfall to being shy is that when someone is willing to talk to you, you're just thrilled someone wants to be your friend. O.o Sad, I know.... I didn't have the best support system at home, but then again, who did. Oh the things I would go back and tell my teenage self.

    For the record, the chocolates were some of the best I've had. And the memory still makes me smile. I do my best to blot out most of my teenage years but that shines through.

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    1. They were Belgian chocolates which I believe are considered the best in the world.

      Still I have to ask why you looked up all these folks if your memories were so painful? The last time I spoke to Ramirez he was asking for money. That was back in 2000 and the last time I heard from him. If I see him again I’ll ask him to pay up I guess.

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  5. My parents brought back some chocolates from Germany a couple years ago, that were close to what I remembered.

    Curious thing, isn't it?

    I don't really count Titan Tones as one of those experiences I block out.... at least not up until I was the only sober person sitting in a room full of people higher than a kite. Music has always been a big part of who I am. While I was never sure how I ended up with a spot in Titan Tones, I appreciated my time there and the people who were around me. Fact of the matter is, I'm not the same person I was in high school. I was curious who else had changed. That all being said, moving to Phoenix was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.

    Chris had not changed a lot the last I spoke to him. I SAW him in 2000. I was at Disneyland and he was working the Indiana Jones Ride. I didn't say anything to him. The last time I spoke to him, my daughter was due and he asked what name we had picked out. Then he told me Lila was an unsuitable name. Not really sure what that was about. I may have talked to Camille as recently as 2009. However, unfortunately, it still kind of felt like I was talking to someone in high school. If that makes sense. Sort of still felt like I was the sober kid. I don't know, I'm just not into that. I don't really drink. The strongest drug I've ever "done" was percocet after my kids were born. I don't party. I never did. Which I think is why you interested me and why I looked you up again. I will happily dub you Most Likely to Not Be Lying in a Ditch Somewhere out of all the people I "knew" from back then. As to now, you remind me that there is always more to people than what meets the eye... and maybe the person you didn't talk to is probably the one you would have been able to relate to the most.

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  6. Also, and this is just coming to me, I don't think I blame the experience of high school on the people, themselves. When you don't feel like you belong in your own home, it probably makes it harder to belong elsewhere. My friends may have thought they were doing me a service, pushing me about dating. These are things most people do in high school. It only served to point out other ways in which I didn't feel that I belonged. Other ways that made me feel like a freak. You may not remember this, but you offered to rub my feet once. We were rehearsing in the gym and during a break I took off my shoes and said my feet hurt. You may have been joking, but I remember looking over at Camille like you must have been talking to her instead and then again at you like you were speaking Chinese. I didn't know how to react to that, no one ever talked to me. I was awkward and unsure of myself, not to mention shy. To some, I was an easy target. My friends may have thought they were drawing me out of the shell I was "comfortable" enough to not be drawn out of. For others, I must have looked crazy. My desire to block out high school comes more so from a desire to lay to rest the insecurities I had. And reaching out to people is more about realizing that there were things about myself, that even back then, were good and valuable. For the first time in 14 years, I sang in front of someone older than 12. It keeps me honest about my good qualities. (not my voice, I still hate it) while burying the bad. My eldest will 13 next month. I need to be on the fast track to understanding teenage girls. ;)

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  7. Cafeteria, not gym. There was a stage in the cafeteria.

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    1. Sounds like something I would say and not be joking.

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  8. I'm sorry if I looked at you like you were speaking a foreign language. No one ever talked to me. When they did, they didn't know my name. In the girls locker room I was known as "white girl"... Ah, good old Pioneer. Never, ever, did someone of the opposite sex speak to me. I don't think you could have shocked me more had you actually been speaking Chinese.I had, and still do have, a hard time accepting things for face value. Such as if someone pays me a compliment, I tend to think they are just being nice. Which speaks less about how I feel about their sincerity, and more to my own insecurities.

    Hasn't this been an odd conversation? Uncomfortable yet? ;)

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    1. I scare people, I scared people back then and I still do today, so it didn’t surprise me. In any case, I may be a man in a blue uniform, but I often talk to my clients about their life and feelings. That sort of thing is normal for my occupation. You’ll need to go a great distance to set me ill at ease.

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  9. I'm a mom. Most of my conversations are held with people 12 and under. That being said, you were intimidating. I wouldn't say scary. You had this quiet, brooding quality that piqued my interest, but I was too timid to ask. But yes, I did find you intimidating in the fact that you literally towered over me at six foot something against my five foot nothing. I had this crippling fear of rejection that kept me from striking up friendships with people.

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