Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Story of Finding Someone w/Update

A few weeks ago my older brother found some old photos. His partner scanned them and emailed them to the family. It was an interesting set of four photos, truly a snapshot of a very particular time, but there were two that really set my heart beating: one of my father when he was the age I am now; and, one of my siblings, some old friends, and me after a little hike in a southern California canyon.
Some of you have already seen this photo. I posted it on Facebook a couple of days ago. Here's what you didn't know, it's photoshopped. I took out the friends through cropping and cloning, and concentrated my attention on just on my siblings and me. Here is what it really looked like.

This pre-photoshopped image is the one that stirred us. The two women on the right were new friends we had made after our family had moved to California in 1970. It's the bearded guy on the far left, though, who tugged at our hearts. Our best high school buddy, Martin, who we had lost touch with more than three decades ago. Martin, our poetic painter brother. It was so good to see his face after all these years. Way back in 1971, he had driven across country with my twin brother Michael in the volkswagen van they named Oddfellow. He came and lived with my family in southern California for the winter. In spring of 1972, Michael, Martin, the girl in the gold shirt, and I drove up to Oregon and rented a 14 acre farm about 20 miles south of Portland. We were naive, sweet hippie dreamers planting our first garden, baking our first loaves of homemade bread. Our little house was always filled with music and dogs. We lived our vegetarian lives imagining ourselves in perfect harmony with the universe. Even if we didn't believe in heaven, it was heaven on earth for us.

Who can remember how things happen? I fell in love with someone and moved out to live with him. Michael and the girl in the gold shirt split up. Martin went back east. Our lives shifted. It was tectonic. We lost track of everyone. Life ensued. Marriages, jobs, university re-entry, divorces, and marriages and jobs again. Our high school days were more than years behind us, they were light years and galaxies away.

But somehow this photo brought it all back.

So, a few little keystrokes in the friend finder on Facebook and there comes a face that I don't even recognize as Martin. Michael says, "Oh definitely, that's Martin. Let's write him a message." And so I do. We're giddy. We can hardly wait. A few days go by. Nothing. No response. Then, it arrives. The note that confirms everything: the love, the memory, the warmth. We found Martin.

He sent us a link to his website. We took a look around and really appreciated seeing his artistry once again. This is the artwork of a man, not the teenager we knew all those years ago. He's quite an accomplished figure painter. His work takes our breath away. After being sidetracked by all of that, we stumble on these words on the site:

For updates on Martin's condition
and information on Acute Myeloid Leukemia...


Martin is in a hospital with chemo-resistant AML. He's awaiting a bone marrow transplant. Both Michael and I have called him and talked, really talked. So, now after all these years, we wait for news and updates from his partner. Today, if all goes as planned, he'll be receiving a little laptop that my family sent for his wi-fi hospital room. It has a great webcam and a built-in link to Skype. We're hoping for a glimpse of his face in real time and an opportunity to commune once again with a very well-loved old friend. We can't wait to say hello.

UPDATE: We said hello hello hello. Tears and joy. He said, this connection is good medicine. Yes, we think so too. Oh if love can truly heal, it surely will. This is Martin with his lovely partner, Jeania skyping with us from the hospital.

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