- Special Sections
- Public Notices
“Memories, like the corners of my mind, misty water-colored 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.” Marvin Hamlisch, Alan and Mary Bergman, c. 1972.
In 1973, Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand starred in the classic film, “The Way We Were.”
It was a memorable movie, and though it didn’t win the academy award for best picture, it did garner two Oscars, including best song for its title number and best original score for the composer, Marvin Hamlisch.
Central to the plot is the romance, marriage and divorce of Streisand’s and Redford’s characters, but, in the end, they were left with nothing between them but their daughter and the memories of the way they were.
I don’t like such endings.
A few days ago, Cheryl and I found something truly worth watching on television, an offering by PBS. A singer with whom until then I was only vaguely familiar, Idina Menzel, was singing ever so beautifully while the marvelous Marvin Hamlisch directed the orchestra for many of his masterpieces, including “The Way We Were.”
The concert was very enjoyable, but, once again, I confess, the story connected to “The Way We Were” left my heart sagging.
How do you find sunshine when the day seems dreary?
If possible, you go to where the sun is shining; and in our house I can usually find rays of happiness, memories of the best of times, in the central hallway of our home, our gallery where photos hang from the floor to the 10-foot ceiling. No, I’m not nuts, but occasionally I’ll go there to mentally visit with folks who’ve been gone for years.
That wasn’t the point this time. No, I wanted to grab hold of the happy memories of the way Cheryl and I were, but also to gaze at the way we are.
Sure enough, I found both.
I took my time and drank in the picture of two newlyweds, two skinny, young, incredibly happy kids who’d just begun a life together. I then lazily looked at pictures of the babies who’d been born, quickly progressed to pictures of these same babies as young adults and then shots of ’em with their own little ones.
Finally, I studied a modern-day family portrait, which includes that same bride and groom — still incredibly happy, but no longer skinny or young! They were surrounded by children and grandchildren, all lovely people they love beyond words and from whom they receive immeasurable love in return.
My heart was no longer at a low, melancholy ebb; it was instead dancing a jaunty little jig.
“The Way Were” is a movie, it’s fiction, but the way Cheryl and I were, the happiness we shared when we were kids having kids, hasn’t disappeared; it has increased and brought the joy that is ours as we are now.
Fred Brannen is an Inverness resident and a Chronicle columnist.