I never told
when my hand-me-down panties w/ the frayed elastic fell down
& I walked out of them, chin up, never missing a step;
while behind me, Converse AllStars, penny loafers,& white bucks
scuffed them along the packed halls of Salem Classical.
But then it was slips & petticoats
Mum mostly insisted upon for my sisters & me,
for a reason we knew had something to do with modesty, being good,
& boys; so I never told.
(Toward the end of the 50’s as I went through K-8 Horace Mann Training School into Salem Classical and High School, these would have been on the hi fi back in our den where I was supposedly practicing cello.)
To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.
My parents fashioned an enduring love that grew strong through lean times. Amidst the chaos of the Depression and war, they forged a sturdy bond.
Like trapeze artists, they trusted in each other, performing their routines day after day ~ letting go, holding tight, somersaulting into a life together. While my father excavated quarries and moved mountains, my mother stayed at the boarding house and learned to knit. While he experimented with explosives and single-engine planes, the housekeeper instructed my mother in the domestic arts. She painstakingly recorded every word ~ how to make War Cake with lard and raisins, how to can beets in cider vinegar and water, how to keep the fat at just the right temperature for frying Salvation Army Doughnuts. In perfect Palmer script, the teacher fresh from Normal school penned the recipes in her spiral notebook and read them aloud in the evenings to the daring construction worker that stole her heart.
It’s quiet today at the church. The sky is the color of grief. A scent of wintergreen rides on a gust of sharp spring air. Sorrow inches down the narrow aisle; in the pews, bodies shift and touch. A wash of candle light stipples the two drab olive caskets.
Enskyed in Heaven’s vault, their simple vows, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, are ones they will honor for endless time.
What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?
Fireflies inside of a mason jar.
Acting big behind the wheel of daddy’s car.
Playing church around the old piano stand,
You were quite a preacher and oh, we sang so grand.
I remember every night what we would say and do:
“If you’ve forgiven me, then I’ve forgiven you.”
And now when life begins to get the best of me,
I reminisce these childhood memories.
We built a raft and traveled all around the world,
And stopped for penny candy at the corner store.
You let me fly your kite but when I dropped the string.
I thought my life was over, but Mama rescued me.
When I was just a kid you taught my prayers to me.
Then you turned around and you told me about those birds and bees.
Come what may, you’ve been endeared to me,
Because we share these childhood memories.
Well, time, it moved so fast; those days are over now.
We’ve all gone our separate ways, but still somehow,
I often need to telephone and talk to you,
To see if you remember things the way I do.
It won’t be too much longer `til we’ll be old and gray,
And winding up our travels here on life’s highway.
But no matter where I roam, I’ve got you here with me:
When I reminisce these childhood memories.