Have those lips been kissed?

Twice recently, I have received a bag or a box of memorabilia, mostly related to my father.  It has been wonderful either seeing pictures that I have never seen before or reliving old memories.

But it has also made me sad.  When my mom remarried and sold the house in which my sister and I grew up, I was in the midst of a depression.  We were cleaning out our childhood rooms and going through 25 years of accumulated detritus.  Since I was depressed, I had no sense of sentimentality, at all.  I threw away most of the keepsakes of my youth — pictures, yearbooks, awards.  I wish that I had kept all that stuff.

One thing that I DID keep was a poem.  It was written by Jim Maloney.  We went to school together from elementary school through high school graduation.

Jim may have written this to be satirical (I was often the butt of teasing because of my goody-two-shoes mentality, but my mother had me convinced that anything beyond chaste kissing would result in the total ruin of the rest of my life — no job, no husband, no family, no income — life in the street, living for handouts), but I have hung on to it, choosing instead to think of it as my own personal ode.

Jim–I thank you.  This poem brings a smile to my face, 25 years later.

Have Those Lips Been Kissed

Have Those Lips Been Kissed

Have Those Lips Yet Been Kissed?

Cristy, of extreme beauty and grace,

even more than the goddess of beauty in face,

And the body fair, as a swan in flight.

The subject of many a dream at night.

Upon thinking, one most wonder.

When dreaming, one must ponder.

Have those lips yet been kissed?

Have young men in their velvet prime missed?

One could fight for thee with sword or fist.

For have those lips yet been kissed?

Cristy, of wonderful beauty and charm,

Could any one dare to do thee harm?

The vilest evil, the coldest heart,

Not one could damage, not even start.

When thinking, one most wonder.

Upon dreaming, one must ponder.

Young men would kill for just one kiss.

And when you’re gone the world will miss.

And one would fight with sword or fist.

And kill one another for just one kiss.

–Jim Maloney

The gift of the love note

Matt and I were invited to a Christmas party at my cousin’s house earlier in the month.  We had a great time (a bonus of not having depression).  Before we left, my cousin, Beth, gave me bag that her mother had sent to me.  It was full of items that had been in my grandmother’s house when she passed away, and my Aunt Linda was sending them to me for division between my sister and me.  It was mostly pictures that Grandma had, and the majority of those pictures were of my nieces and nephew, marking their growth and milestones.

But there were also some memorabilia related to my dad.  There was a school report about baseball (with a grade of 97), a model car that he had put together as a boy, and some of her favorite pictures of him.

Like most people who have lost a close loved one, I think a lot about my dad during the holidays.  I remember the fact that he always put his shopping off until the very last minute.  I remember that Christmas Eve that he tried to fix our stuck back door and we ended up with the back door in the back yard–but it wasn’t stuck anymore.  And when we get together with the rest of our family, I miss his presence.

Thus, the memorabilia that was in the bag that was specific to him felt like a Christmas present.  It was wonderful to pull out the toy car and read the report on baseball.

And I was reminded that my dad was, to his bones, an optimistic person.  He was a natural salesman and spent most of his adult life in some sort of sales job.  He was always quite successful at sales because he connected so well with people.  Maybe because of that optimism I mentioned.

In the bag of items were two love notes that he wrote as a boy.  One of them perfectly illustrates that “never give up” attitude.  He had it even as a young man.

Love note

Love note

Dear Cathy I ham (sic) very fond of you.  And I know you love smity.  And I know you have some more boy friend.  But I still love you.  love Tommy.

I love this love letter.  He recognizes that Cathy loves someone else (Smity), but it doesn’t matter–Tommy still loves her.  It’s that optimistic, glass-half-full outlook that he exhibited until he died.

This little note may have been the best gift I got this year.