Holograms and nostalgia

Once more, I’m in a train back home, leaving my beloved Paris behind.

I still haven’t figure out how I could afford to settle back permanently there. My professional situation is more complicated than ever in this post-Covid19 world.

A few days before my trip to Paris, I got in touch with an old BFF I hadn’t seen or talk to in about 30 years. It was a little earthquake in my head to suddenly be able to communicate with someone who knew me when I was still playing with Barbie dolls. She is my oldest friend left from the childhood years. And I’m not really sure I can call her a « friend » in fact because we’ve grown older apart. What if I met her now? Or what if we had stayed in contact all these years? Would we still be a part of each other’s lives?

I was as much a character from her story, as she was a character from my own narrative. But what kind of character? That is really what I’m wondering. What little parts of you stay with the people you meet along the years?

Still, my memories from being 12 are filled with her presence. Her family. Our sleepovers on Friday nights. Our vacation in Brittany. Our karaoke sessions in her room… 

Her dad, this colourful Russian figure who used to hand kiss my mother when they met.

Our obsession with the 60s outfits.

Then later, the boys. The first kisses. And that’s when we stopped being on the same page!

I wonder what she remembers of me. Our first messages last week have stayed relatively light up to now and I haven’t dared going into heavier, deeper conversations. But I really wish she would tell me if she missed me. If she thought about me. If she mentioned my name when showing old photos to her kids for example? Did she wonder what kind of woman I became? Because I did.

And also… if we were to meet again… I wonder if my face moves the same way. Would I recognise the way she talks? Did we keep some of our mimics? Behind the wrinkles and the grey hair, what part of the 12-year old survived?

When my daughter is older, she’ll have so many photos and videos or her life that most of her memories will be clear and vivid. But people from older generations have much less material to help the mind keeping every past moments safe somewhere in the brain? 

When visiting the Père Lachaise cemetery least week with my daughter, we imagined what this sort of place could become in the future… Imagine an hologram SIRI style, linked with each grave. Each person could choose to record varied messages available to be played by their visitors. A simple love message. Or a little obituary including a brief biography of the deceased person? Depending on how sudden the death was, the notice would be more of less complete.

Imagine Oscar Wilde’s hologram for example: I’m Oscar Wilde. I died at Paris last Friday, in my forty-fifth year. I was the son of Sir William Wilde, an eminent Irish surgeon, and my mother was a woman of considerable literary ability. I died in the Maison du Perier, Due des Beaux Arts, in the Latin Quarter. It is a small, obscure hotel, at which I had been living for several months under the name of Manmoth. In 1895 I disappeared from public life. My life is one of the saddest in English literature. My abilities were sufficient to win me an honoured place as a man of letters, but they struggled in vain against my lack of character...

How extraordinary to be able to visualise those you are no longer…

I wish I could have more videos of my childhood. The few Super 8mm videos I had of me as a toddler have been lost by a careless shop 15 years ago when I wanted to have them transferred on a CD. I wish I could have kept this visual testimony.

Now that I think about it, the child « Me » is just like a dead person. Even though I have memories of this person, we will never meet again.

Alex and I. 1980s

24 thoughts on “Holograms and nostalgia

  1. A post that captured my attention as I have a friend like this who I had re connected with in later years. It took a while but we have become closer again but never a close as when we were children.
    I love the idea of the holograms at the cemetery. How wonderful would that be for genealogists?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is complicated to “gather the wagons of the train” as we say in French. Evolving in the adult life makes us all very different from what we were obviously. But I guess that’s what makes it so magical to reconnect.


  2. Your photos make me want to go back to Paris too!

    I think friendships change with age. I had a best friend from childhood with whom I reconnected 20 years later. By then, we had totally different interests and very little in common. It seems to me that everyone changes and whatever life choices we make, molds our personality & character. People we were close to as children & teenagers, can hardly be compatible as adults. To be otherwise must be really really special.

    Your hologram is an interesting idea but who would create it I wonder? Isn’t that always the conundrum with an obituary – who writes what’s remembered in 800 words? But that’s another rabbit hole … 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. I admire people who keep their friends during their whole life. So obviously, I don’t imagine this new relationship will go very far. I’m just happy I made peace with a very old, childish argument.

      The hologram and obituaries will be created by Google of course!!! Who else 🤪?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This post has me thinking so many thoughts that I think I’ll have to write a whole blog post about it. Seriously!! Did you ever have dreams about this friend, before you reconnected? I keep seeing one childhood friend in my dreams –
    Well, maybe the dreams have actually stopped after the boys came (coz I don’treally sleep now, do I?) but for a long time she featured in my dreams. It’s odd: why her? I had other bff’s after her. What was it about that period of life that made it stay in my dreams? I sometimes also dreamt of my brother in the same age as he was when I was friends with that girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe your BFF dream is like my house dream – in 90% of the scenarios, my house is my childhood one. Maybe she is a landmark for you. Or indeed, you shall ask yourself what was it about that period of life that made it stay in your dreams? In any case, it is a meaningful period for you.
      Looking forward to your next blogpost 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe 12. Not my best years.

        Oh, and about the obituary idea, an interesting thought. We could live on forever that way. But I think we would need to have the option to write them ourselves, to not get misrepresented and so that we could decide what we thought was so important we wanted future generations to know about us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely! And imagine you could choose to record messages just for the family, for friends, for particular individuals, and maybe just a general message for people who don’t know you… Their would be security checks and passwords… Like a social media wall! I’m sure it won’t be science-fiction for very long!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. that’s some nostalgia ♥ and your photos of Paris are so beautifully moody…
    you make such a great point, Vero, our generation (I think we are of almost the same age) doesn’t have so many photos, but has a lot of memories, mental images of what was seen and what was felt 🙂 nowadays everything is photo-documented, can you imagine the amount of nostalgia over so many photos and moments captured years from now 🙂
    so when will you two meet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t really know. She’ll be in my area in July but it’s a family thing – scattering her mother’s ashes 😦 so probably not the best of times.

      You’re right when you say our children will have a huge amount of nostalgia available considering the amount of photos… I actually thought it was worst for us just because all we have are memories. But it might actually be heavier for them…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you. Merci for the story. Oscar Wilde’s “obit” was strange. Did he write it himself?
    Sutout merci pour ces photos de Paris. Notre vol annuel vient d’être annulé. 😩😩😩😩
    Bonne semaine
    (Brieuc, aka Brian)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obit was taken from articles I found in British newspapers!! If he had written it himself, he would have been richer I guess!
      Désolée pour l’annulation de ton voyage. Paris est belle que jamais j’avoue, avec un désir immodéré des locaux de savourer une vie toute en musique, pique-nique sur les bords de Seine, marchés… Et le fait qu’il y ai très très peu de touristes rend, à l’inverse, la ville très calme!
      A bientôt Brieuc.

      Liked by 1 person

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