when your friends come by

“Dear Bird” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Got to keep it together when your friends come by
Always checking the weather but they want to know why
Even birds of a feather find it hard to fly
~ Aimee Mann
♫ (Goose Snow Cone) ♫

Today is the 26th anniversary of my mother’s death. The pain of loss has dulled somewhat over the years, but this year is a little different because my mom was 59 when she died and I am now 60. It just feels a little unsettling… One thing I still miss terribly is calling her and telling her what was new in my life and what her grandchildren were up to. She would have found this autism thing very interesting.

When I was in nursery school my behavior was different enough to prompt my parents to take me to a child psychologist for evaluation. Autism was not understood or even heard of in the 1960s. The psychologist told them I needed more attention from them. A few years later, when I got a stomach ulcer in elementary school the doctor told them I needed more emotional support from them. How I wish I could tell them now it was not their parenting that was the problem!

Currently I am reading a wonderful book, Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism & Asperger Syndrome Have Influenced Literary Writing by Julie Brown. It’s no secret that Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet and my jaw dropped to learn that she probably had autism and one whole chapter in this book is devoted to her. I found it interesting to learn how autism made so many of her poems indecipherable, although they no doubt made perfect sense to her.

The recurring practice of quoting from someone else’s literature in your own text resembles the echolalia that people with autism are known for. Some repeat words from movies, television, or other people because they are trying to understand the meaning of the words. Sometimes echolalia is an attempt to communicate with others — the words are tools borrowed to build meaning. Some repeat phrases for the sheer joy of it.
~ Julie Brown
(Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism & Asperger Syndrome Have Influenced Literary Writing)

A couple of things struck me in the above paragraph. My autism may be what drives me to collect and share quotations! I’m not sure I completely understand the definition of “echolalia” but my mother did tell me something that I think may be related. She could always tell when I made a new friend at school because I would come home with a different accent and different mannerisms, evidently copied from various classmates. It still happens to me when I spend a lot of time with someone, although I try not to do this.

So many things are making more sense these days…

10 thoughts on “when your friends come by”

  1. I understand what you mean, dear Barbara. I’m glad though that today you feel good and that you share your thoughts with us. I’m happy for the possibility of blogging, spreading awareness & extending hearts. 26th Death Anniversary of your mother, that seems long. Some people who are so special to us, you know they actually never die, they are so much alive in our thoughts. I feel this way about my father who left us about ten years ago.

    I love Emily Dickinson too!
    Recently, I have started reading German poems from Goethe, partly to improve my language and partly because I love poems and imaginations.
    Greetings to you , dearest Barbara! 🙂

    1. Hello there, dear Sonali! And thank you so much for your kind words. Our parents do remain very much alive in our thoughts, it’s as if they still guide us as we continue to navigate this world. And dear Emily’s poems are also alive, each time I read one the meaning seems to change a little. Our brains and how they process words and the associations they evoke are endlessly interesting!

      I’m not familiar with Goethe’s poetry and will have to introduce myself to his work.

      Somehow I missed the change you made to a new blog home! I’m happy to see that you’re still posting and have now signed up for email notifications from your new place. Thanks for stopping by, my friend! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jeff! It’s amazing to realize that there is no end to new connections and the awareness each one brings.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. You are very brave. My own mother died in 1985 and then my father on the same day in 2000. I still have so, so much of my mother’s writings, pictures and sentimental things that I cannot bear to part with. Then, even my father’s handwriting with lyrics of all the old time songs he played either on a saxophone or accordian. We never are far from our heritage. Susan

    1. We’re in the same boat, Susan, knowing we need to simplify and de-clutter our homes but wanting to save special items of sentimental value. As our elders have died we have collected so many of their things we just can’t bear to part with — yet. With time we can let go of a few things here and there because with time what is treasure sorts itself out from what is trash. When I’m gone I don’t want my children to have to go through this!

  3. I am happy that you now understand so much more and many things from the past suddenly make sense. And I remember how strange it felt when I turned 40…because my mother passed when she was only 39. My sister and I often discussed that special feeling we both had becoming older than our mother ever was. I wish you a wonderful weekend.

    1. ‘That special feeling of having become older than your mother ever was’ ~ what a lovely way to describe this! Thank you, Tiny. I’ve been struggling finding the words to describe the feeling. My heart goes out to you and your sister losing your mother at such an early age. It’s good you had each other. My sister will be 60 next year and it will be interesting to see if she will notice the same thing. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Barbara, I find your blog posts enlightening especially in the light of your newly found “diagnosis”. I am still learning about myself as I move along this path through life having only recently learned that I have no visual memory. I cannot picture things in my head; my own daughter’s face is not there, nor those of my dead parents.

    It’s quite the adventure isn’t it ?

    1. It is indeed a wonderful adventure, Sybil! I remember when I was a child I thought that once you became an adult you would be all done growing. What a surprise at 30 to look back and see how much I had changed since I was 20. 🙂 How interesting that you have no visual memory ~ family pictures must be very important to you. I must be on the other end of that spectrum ~ for the most part I think in pictures. Brains are fascinating!

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