There is a song that came out in 1972 entitled, “Hello It’s Me“
First released and written by Todd Rundgren and then remade by The Isley Brothers in 1974. I really liked both versions of the song. Yet it is so funny how the words are the same but I feel so differently when I hear each track. When I hear Todd’s I totally think of my brother and how I used to want to “make him change” and in listening to the song I would think that I shouldn’t do that. My brother would call me so many times in a distress saying “Hello It’s Me,” and he could be calling me from some of the most unexpected locations, he could be local or in some other city or state. Even though Todd and The Isley’s are talking about a lady friend, it still reminded me of the communication struggles Nathaniel and I had. I wished during those days that I could have believed, “Its important to me that you know you are free, cause I never want to make you change for me,” because at the time that is all I wanted him to do, CHANGE. I would get to that part and just cry, because of my lack of understanding and because “I” felt like if he heard that song and knew the depth of it he would want something different. I would only allow the parts of the song that could be applied to a brother and sister give thought to him, I would pick it apart to fit my agony, like “I take for granted that you’re always there, I take for granted that you just don’t care,” I would make that mean something about him. I would play it over and over, trying to make it make sense to me, trying to make my brother’s health make sense to me. During those days everything was a drizzle and unclear.
Then came the Isley Brothers version of the song and though the words were the same, I would think of a guy and a few years after the release of that version a particular guy, who I was very close to and spent a lot of time with, we had a lot in common but during that time period one other thing we had in common was immaturity. I knew without a doubt that we loved each other, yet I had so much going on in my life we couldn’t connect. We were students at Kent State University. Listening to the song in that time frame made me sad because I knew we had something special, yet in all of our communication through our art and music interests, we could not express it. So what made us different from Nathaniel? Maybe just a diagnosis.
Right away I wanted to tell him about the turmoil going on in my head, about my brother, I felt I could trust him. He had a habit of laughing at things that I didn’t think were funny and if he had laughed at my brother, oh it would have wounded me for sure! I could see that there was obvious pain in his life also. Later my friend left KSU, went home to sit out of school for a while because of financial things and a family situation and even though it wasn’t said we were both trying to believe, “Its important to me that you know you are free, cause I never want to make you change for me.” He left at a time that I could have really used his support to overcome devastation and mistakes. He wasn’t there and I thought it would have been nice to hear him say, “Think of me, You know that I’d be with you if I could, I’ll come around to see you once in a while or if I ever need a reason to smile and spend the night if you think I should,” but he said nothing for what seemed like an eternity. I know, “We took for granted that we would always be there, we took for granted that we didn’t care,” When he did call, it was too late. I didn’t wait long enough for him to get it together.
I did attempt to share with my college friend and love, the life of Nathaniel, about his classical music background and all of his music and talent success, yet I found it so hard at the time to share the story of my brother’s mental health. He didn’t understand what I did share and in present day I know it was because I didn’t know how to share it.
“HELLO IT’S ME,” I HAVE CHANGED…