Just when you think you know everything there is to know about yourself, you get something like this in email:
… I still have your letter of congratulations on my first marriage … written in Elvish.
To be fair, I remember studying Elvish. J.R.R. Tolkien had the most amazing appendices, including alphabets and guides that would let weirdos like me learn Elvish. Or Dwarvish. I quit after Elvish because I had, you know, to work. Stuff like that.
I admit I don’t remember writing that specific note. I remember writing the “Fall of Sauron Day” (in English) service. The first one plus 5 or 6 revisions. We held the annual celebration as near as scheduling allowed to the Vernal Equinox — March 21st or thereabouts. It was like a miniature Seder, but with more wine being drunk a lot faster. Drunk being the operative word.
The entire service lasted just short of an hour. Including about six glasses of wine. I’m sure I have a copy of the service in a huge box of writing from my halcyon days, in the back of the basement, behind the oil tank. If it hasn’t rotted or turned to dust by now.
On a year when “the boys” (our lively groups of crazed engineers) had available time, we had visual and sound effects. We came in costume, or some semblance thereof. When life was too busy to make costumes, we did the best we could with whatever came to hand, dressing in some version of Middle Earth-wear.
Then we celebrated. Drank to excess. Which wasn’t hard since I basically didn’t drink. We laughed, ate mushrooms (the favorite food of Hobbits). Some of us
me passed out and/or got sick me again.
Those were crazy busy years. Babies. Work. Establishing a profession. Partying hearty almost every night, then getting up and doing it again. Those parties could last a week or more. We took breaks for work. I’d come back from the office and my house would be full of the friends with whom I had been partying the day and night and day before. Everyone had gone home briefly to shower and change, but they were back. I cooked a lot. I cleaned continuously. I worked full-time and then some. I raised a baby. Busy.
All of this took place in my twenties. As I rounded the corner to 30, I wanted out. There is such thing as too much fun. Those years formed a cautionary tale of excess.
I was exhausted. I no longer wanted to live in the party house or be the perpetual hostess. I wanted out of that marriage, out of a crazy life which had gone off the rails and out of control. I took my son and moved to Israel. By the time I came back, the party was over. Everyone had moved on.
I lived nine years in Israel, but never properly learned Hebrew. Maybe if I had given Hebrew the same energy I had put into Elvish …
There’s a lesson in there somewhere. I’m just not sure what it is.