You know your life changes forever when a major turning point happens — sometimes, unexpectedly. And like almost everything else in the world, you have to accept the fact that such changes are permanent and can’t be altered, not even by the concept of time travel — which has yet to become an actual reality, despite the advances in technology that’ve cropped up in over the past few centuries.
As I’ve written elsewhere, my late father Alphonse Lavernoich grew up in Berlin, New Hampshire — one of thirteen children whose parents (and my paternal grandparents) emigrated from Poland. Even after my father left Berlin to not only pursue his career as a school teacher, but also get married and raise a family, he never lost sight of where he came from — which is one reason why my family drove up to Berlin almost every summer since the 1950’s to visit and re-connect with my family’s relatives, who were and remains an important part of our lives. Even after Father’s death in late-November 1994, my family still managed to stay connected with his family, who helped to shape his life — and just as important, shaped the lives of their other relatives, including myself.
But things do change, whether we like it or not — including the passing of a generation. Last month, one of my father’s last surviving sisters (and one of my aunts) — and the last one still living in Berlin — died unexpectedly at home. Late last week, I accompanied two of my older brothers up to Berlin to attend a memorial service for my aunt Bingo — knowing very well that an era was about to end, a turning point that we couldn’t avoid, yet seem somewhat unprepared for. But then, we’ve come to accept the fact that the unexpected can happen, including personal tragedy — trying to pinpoint when and where it’ll happen has proven to be just as difficult as reacting to it, a part of the human experience that has existed since mankind’s beginnings.
But with the end of one generation nearing, the generation who grew up during the baby boomer era that began in the mid-1940’s — including myself — realizes that their world has changed greatly, even as a great number of them are now in their sixties and seventies, and knowing that one day, their era will soon fade into history. For my family, any future trips to New Hampshire — including Berlin — will be different for many reasons, including the fact that the link connecting us to my father’s siblings has been severed forever, with only the latter’s graves reminding us that they existed. And yet, the memories that we shared with our relatives in Berlin remain, reminders of happier and simpler times when we all shared a common bond: who we were, as family members — and what it meant to be truly human. And that’s the kind of legacy that’s worth preserving — and passing down to the next generation.
John Lavernoich is the author of the novels Code Name: Chameleons and Chameleons To The Rescue, as well as close to three dozen articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet – to learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his writing achievements, please visit his official website (http://jlavernoich2008.web.officelive.com/default.aspx), as well as his pages on Windows Live Spaces(http://cid-ef88d131988ab38f.profile.live.com), Facebook(http://www.facebook.com/john.lavernoich?ref=name), MySpace(http://www.myspace.com/jlavernoich), and Twitter(http://twitter.com/JLav65). Mr. Lavernoich also maintains his own video channel on YouTube(http://www.youtube.com/user/JLav65?feature=mhsn) as well as his Author Spotlight page on Lulu Books‘ website (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Highroad).
©2011 John Lavernoich.