1961 Revisited

February 6th, 2008
In 1961, I was 17, young and dumb. In June of that year, I ran away from home in Kentucky with my high school boyfriend and eloped to Memphis on a Greyhound bus. Yesterday, I was back in Memphis 47 years later and discovered that the Greyhound Bus station, where we had our wedding dinner, is still standing, still in operation. Next door was a new Doubletree Inn replacing the hotel where we spent the night before we were married, so afraid the desk clerk would ask us for i.d.s, so afraid the police would call my mother. Yesterday, a friend took my picture in front of the bus station, and I thought, dear god who was that clueless 17 year old who wore her virginal-white high school graduation dress to her runaway wedding in front of a judge in some little Tennessee town whose name I no longer remember? I felt so tender toward that other me, and I thought how 11 years spent at the hands of a brutal guy can leave scars that still have numb edges after all this time. How, despite years of therapy, I’ve never lost my hunger for happy endings. (Don’t we all want Elvis to wake up in Graceland, drug-free, reunited with Priscilla and fit as a fiddle?) Little did I know that the long ride back home as “wife” took me farther and farther away from the girl whose tender spots could have been stroked and encouraged to grow instead of beaten and calloused over. And now all these years later, I have a big full-of-friends life and a wonderful job and creative work I love…but when I flew home tonight, there was a reunited couple at the airport who couldn’t keep their hands off each other — their attraction was electric–and I realized there was no significant other who missed me while I was gone, that years ago I bought a ticket to ride and it took me to some fantastic places but it also included a stop at heartbreak hotel and maybe part of me is still there, wandering the halls of the Doubletree Inn, wondering how to turn back time.

One Response to “1961 Revisited”

  1. Mayberry Magpie says:

    ohmystinkin’heck has encouraged her readers to post about blogs they love. You’re up on mine today.

    http://www.mayberrymagpie.com

    So glad I found your blog.