Wednesday, February 3, 2010

JD is dead

It's been over a week since JD Salinger died and I'm just now writing about it. Part of that is that it has taken some time for it to sink in. Not that he was always in the front of my mind or a part of my thoughts--my goodness, he hasn't published in 30 years or more! But he is in my long-term memory in a powerful way.

When I was 13 years old, my cousin, Mejol--who was as close to being a sibling as I ever had--locked me in her bed room with a copy of 'Catcher in the Rye' and a Bob Dylan album. Mejol was 5 or so years older than me and often went on vacation with us and spent a lot of time with me. I idolized her and would do whatever she told me to. So I read the book and listened to the album and have never been the same.

Since I am such a sophisticated, worldly wise, cultured person (tongue firmly in cheek!) people find it hard to believe I grew up in one of the most provincial and isolated places in the country--the rural coal fields of southern West Virginia. My cousin Mejol went to college and studied literature...and so did I. While in college, she became an Episcopalian...and so did I. She was my lens into the wider world when I was a kid. So Salinger and Dylan in one sitting...well, I have no idea what she had in mind but it shifted my world-view that day. We even named our son Joshua DYLAN in order of Bob and I spent years trying to 'be' Holden Caufield.

Everyone needs a 'Mejol' in their life--someone to open unopened door, even doors you don't know are there and simply invite you through them. I am who I am as much for the influence of Mejol than anyone in my childhood.

I thank her and I mourn the death of JD. It's a part of my youth dying...'course that started happening years ago....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.