Published January 21. 2015 4:00AM
Because this past holiday season was the first celebrated by our granddaughter, and the first for all of us celebrating it with her, I am thinking a lot about the firsts of life. Like first day of school, first car, job, first home and heartbreak.
My first school, on Pearl Street in Norwich, was a huge imposing building to me when I was little. I drove by about 20 years ago, (it was a Head Start Center then, I think), and I was amazed by how small and bleak it looked. My first teacher, Mrs. Homes, was exactly like Miss Shields, Ralphie's teacher, in the holiday classic "The Christmas Story." (Which our family has always actually called the BB Gun Story).
My first bike was a blue Schwinn and my first car was a 'hot' red '65 Plymouth Barracuda I used to street race. I always won. That was back when I was blond and stupid. I'm not blond anymore.
My very first boyfriend was named Barry. We were in third-grade together in Soprano-country, Elizabeth, N.J. My first real boyfriend was a less-than-perfect compulsive liar named Ray. And I know he was a compulsive liar because, at the time, I worked for an insurance company and peeked in his file. It contained doctor's recommendations. That wasn't why I broke up with him. He was also a jerk.
My first husband, (and first true love), is still my husband. He's not a liar or a jerk. He's a nice, hard-working guy, as honest as the day is long. I'm not quite sure what that cliché' means but it does apply to the man I eloped with three and a half decades ago.
When I applied for and got my first job I was excited but also felt like a failure. I had to go to work because I flunked my first semester at college. Working in the men's haberdashery department of a discount department store was not what I considered my dream-career choice, but it did get me the money I needed for a first, second chance, at a second semester of As and Bs.
Our first baby, now has a first baby of her own. Having a grandchild is the pudding on top of the frosting, on top of the cake. As the first grandchild she's the one showered with all the extra affection and attention we didn't have time to lavish when in the midst of raising her mother and her aunt.
Apart from the happy firsts there are the difficult ones too, the one's which break your will and your heart. The first hospital stay, death in the family and first passing of someone younger than yourself. The first time you don't get your dream job, or lose it, get laid off from it or fired from it. The first time the partner of your dreams doesn't show up or doesn't call.
The first time you look mortality in the eye, you realize that when first and final are in the same sentence, there is an end to all of this. Maybe, just maybe when that happens, it's the first time you get a second, or a third chance, to get the rest of your life right.
January creates a new first for each of us every year. Resolutions be damned, we get to reinvent who we are every time the ball falls. But wait, as they say in the 'as seen on TV ads', there's more. Every single month thereafter provides us with a new first, a new day one, a new start. Like we said in the '60s, "today is the first day of the rest of your life." If ever a cliché gives our paths meaning, that one does. Enough said.
YOU CAN REACH CAROLYNN, PURVEYOR OF LOST RESOLUTIONS, AT CP.ENOUGHSAID@AOL.COM