One of my students writes a lot about people whom she has known – old teachers, co-workers, and people from her hometown. She writes with compassion, but she also writes truthfully and sometimes the memories she recalls aren’t all that flattering. Recently, she had the chance to do some research through old yearbook to learn more about an old and unpleasant acquaintance from childhood. She was fortunate to have run into someone who had in her possession a yearbook with the woman's photo. I wondered how many people cared about this woman, who frankly was not at all likeable from my student’s portrait. How many had formed a lasting impression of her? And, yet the impression left on my student was strong enough for her to write and conduct research on this woman many years later. What if that’s the only impression left of her? I thought. It should make us more careful of our actions because we never know what the impact will be or the impression we will leave.
That was Thursday.
Friday evening I attended an art reception at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon, N.H. Two of my photographic collages, Nymph and Truths, are on display and for sale in their holiday show. While browsing around the displays, I saw a couple I knew. The wife I had interviewed for several business and art-related events over the years and the husband, a well known graphic designer, was one of the first interviews I had ever done. I had written another article about him years later, but the first one was my favorite. I remember chatting with him forever and learning so much. He was warm and friendly and his demeanor and build came to remind me years later of a mentor and counselor of mine who had played a very important role in my life. So when I saw the couple at the show I ran over to introduce myself. I barely had to say anything and the husband was already saying “You interviewed me over 20 years ago, you had a little dog that meant everything to you.” He touched his heart as he said everything.
“Yes,” I said, “Buffy, (my first dog)” surprised that he remembered that all these years later. Surprised and touched. If there is one impression I wouldn’t mind leaving people with it is this; there are far worse things and few better to be remembered as than a girl who loved her dog.
Writing Prompt: How would you like to be remembered? What kind of impression do you hope you give?