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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just Kids

This afternoon I witnessed the marriage of two people I adore: a young man who has taught my sons to play their saxophones and trumpet well and a young woman who was a teacher in my building. Their relationship is my first successful attempt at matchmaking (a year ago already). Watching them fall in love has been a delight. Seeing them speak their vows confidently on this autumn day was a pleasure. I think about my own wedding 23 years ago and wonder about readiness for marriage. We were "just kids" at ages 21 and 22. These two are a bit older but still just kids.

My thoughts are influenced, no doubt, by what I am reading today: Patti Smith's Just Kids, in which she candidly writes of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. They were just kids, but living in New York City in the 1960s presented opportunities for discovery, artistic expression, and self-exploration like nothing I can imagine. Her life is such a stark contrast to that of my parents (who are the same age and married at young ages, also just kids), but she tells everything in such a matter-of-fact manner, causing me to be engrossed in her personal story. From those experiences, she became the artist, writer, and musician with whom many are familiar. Her memoir is worth reading for perspective and introspection.

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