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Memories. . . of the Way We Were

One of the loveliest of pop songs from the 70s comes to us courtesy of Barbra Streisand. The song, written by Marvin Hamlisch, is titled “The Way We Were” and was used in the film of the same name starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. The lyrics are at once evocative of melancholy and nostalgia:

Like the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were

Scattered pictures
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we, would we,
Could we, could we?

May be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

So it’s the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were

I recently took a trip up to the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where I grew up. It had been a while since I had been there. But I was blessed to squeeze in visits with a variety of people – Denny Berthiaume who is not only an extraordinary pianist but was my very first college professor for a music course I enrolled in at Foothill College in the summer of 1977. Denny is now in his 80s and still playing piano and I was fortunate to have dinner with a dear friend, DB, in a great restaurant where Denny was performing. Lot’s of memories. . .

I also was invited to dinner at the childhood home of a dear friend, CM, whom I’ve known since grade school. Her lovely mother, whom I adore, is now in her late 80s and served up a delicious pasta dinner. As I grew up on the same street, it brought back a flood of memories.

I also had a great time visiting with a sweet lady, MM, whom I’ve known for decades. It was great to catch up and see how she is doing, living a great life. Spending time with my brother and nephew was fantastic. On a sadder note, I had a visit with a former neighbor and great friend, Dan, with whom I have a long track record. Dan was instrumental in alerting me to some amazing music over the years, and he helped me fine tune my first ever speech – a speech I delivered on the occasion of my high school graduation. Dan suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. He did not look well. My heart breaks for his suffering.

Driving around Los Altos and Mt. View also brought back a flood of memories. It was interesting how some things hadn’t changed in over 50 years. Chef Chu’s restaurant is still located at the corner of San Antonio Road and El Camino Real. Lunching with MP with whom I attended high school revealed to me that downtown Los Altos had not lost its unique charm. The Deli was still there after all these decades. The fire station was still on Almond Avenue. But Linda’s Hamburger Stand was long gone. The Safeway grocery store, located at the corner of Clark Avenue and El Camino Real, had been replaced by a variety of new stores. And the Douglas Shaw’s ice cream parlor in the same strip mall was replaced by an O’Reilly Auto Parts store. A few things resisted the storms of change, but most things had, indeed, been replaced.

The idyllic environment in which I was raised had remained in small part, but most of what I remember was now gone. They remain memories.

Of the way we were.

Ara Norwood is a multi-faceted and results-oriented professional. Spanning a multiplicity of disciplines including leadership, management, innovation, strategy, service, sales, business ethics, and entrepreneurship. Ara is also a historian, having special expertise on the era of the founding of our republic.
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