Carly Simon could have named her memoir A Sentimental Journey.
The frank and raw examination of her life is addicting. I’ve been reading almost non-stop since receiving the book last weekend.
A large portion of her memoir talks about her relationship with ex-husband James Taylor. She looks back at age 70 to their tumultuous marriage with wisdom and grace.
Her feelings for Taylor reminded me of another biography I read many years ago written about Lucille Ball. She talked about Desi twenty -five years after their divorce like he just left the room. She admitted she never stopped loving him. Carly Simon echoes the same- she still loves the man she first met when they were mere children one summer, who strummed a guitar and ate her vanilla pop.
We can all recall the love of our life. It may be our first love, or our last love, but their impact on our lives reshapes our heart and all other lovers are measured against our greatest love.
That kind of love also produces heartache at some point. Great loves often go through difficult trials as the couple struggles to stay together. I once spent a long summer separated from my lover. I soon discovered what the poets and songwriters said was true- heartbreak and longing actually makes the heart ache. The area right beneath my breastbone throbbed in pain.
Lucille Ball called Desi the love of her life, but as much as she loved him, she could not live with him. Desi always claimed that Lucy was his love, but he betrayed her love over and over again.
Carly Simon had a similar experience. Her love for Taylor was not enough to heal them both.
Desi and Lucy who remained friends. In a home video I saw on tv years ago, they swam with their new granddaughter in Lucy’s pool. Their love for each other still shone in their eyes as they marveled and joked while taking the baby for a swim.
The heartbreaking conclusion of Carly’s story is the permanent estrangement that has lasted twenty-five years. Taylor refuses any contact with his ex-wife. One wonders why.