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Archives for : January1956

A Woman of Letters

Reading about Abigail helped me begin to put things into perspective. Physically, her life was a lot harder than mine. We had all come through our war years with some rationing, loss of friends and loneliness. It was the loneliness I wondered about. My abilities to endure life outside on the farm, like Abigail, with children and no gal pals was a no-go for me. I cherished my friends, family and husband. Old John Adams was off doing his thing, getting ahead in the political world. My Steve isn’t exactly “away” but he does his work without talking a lot about it at home. At least, my modern conveniences made up for Abigail’s hardships with health. Never having been a seamstress either, my kids might be wearing their clothes a long time between new ones.

What I loved about Abigail were her letters. She was a beautiful writer and her daily wisdom and counsel was interesting to read. She poked her nose into anything she wanted, made her own comments and went back to her rural life.

I ran into Lucy at the pharmacy yesterday and she asked me about the book. She didn’t look like she was in a hurry so I invited her to sit at the counter and have a cup of coffee with me. Lucy seemed so full of life but wasn’t much younger than me. Definitely unencumbered by a family, she explained that she was in school and was working on her Masters degree in writing. Wow. I couldn’t possibly tell her my secret about my journal with my wild thoughts. She was probably a very serious writer. I asked her if I could read something she wrote. She blushed a little and I grabbed her hand a little too quickly and asked her again. She told me that she would think about it and I gave her my phone number. We talked a little more about her taste in reading which she explained in a quiet voice centered around “women who wrote.” Extraordinary. I never thought about excluding or including anybody in my reading. I just read. I needed to up my game a little. We parted and I told her that I would stop into see her soon at the book store. There is a world out there I don’t know yet.

Maybe now that the children are in school, maybe I can check some of it out.

The Big Chill

It was really cold. I had layers of clothing on – girdle, dress, sweater, coat, hat, gloves; I was still shivering. I was shopping downtown and decided that I needed to duck in somewhere and see if my nose was still on my face since I had lost feeling in it. The book store looked warm and it might make me feel better to check out the latest best sellers to add to my library request list.

Mr. Todd usually works the register but there was a young woman clerking today. She smiled and greeted me warmly as I entered. I returned a greeting and moved towards a beautiful display of recently published books. I liked the way the book shop smelled, a combination of paper and age and ideas. I looked at the titles and moved toward my favorites – the biographies. When I was a young reader, our hometown library had lots of biographies that must have all been printed by the same publisher. Their spines were a deep pumpkin color and went I squinted, I could pick out the color among the shelves and reach for a new friend. I devoured them all. I hoped that the supply would be endless, but as a grew away from those shelves into the adult section, nothing replaced the excitement of seeing a new friend on the shelf.

Finding a book to read now meant opening up the jacket and reading something about it first to see if it captured my fancy. A quick read of the back of the book gave me some additional reasons to collect the name of the book for my growing library list. I closely guarded my list and depended on the library to keep buying books to keep my reading habit satisfied. I must have drifted off into the book I was looking at and didn’t hear the young clerk come up behind me to ask me if I wanted a cup of coffee to drink while browsing. I jumped a little and she must have thought me peculiar but I liked the idea of having something to drink while I read. I couldn’t imagine why everyone didn’t serve coffee and tea to me while I shopped. I would have lingered longer and certainly would have felt the need to buy something in return for the gracious hospitality. I apologized and so did she at the same time and we both laughed at the same time. Strangely, we had the same nervous laugh.

When the clerk returned with the mug, she introduced herself as Lucy and told me about the book I was holding. Lucy asked if I was looking for anything special and I answered that I read anything good but liked biographies. Her face lit up and she steered me over to a new shelf of choices. Famous names everywhere. I ran my fingers along the spines and pulled out a book on Abigail Adams. Lucy was pleased with my choice. I checked out the back of the jacket and the inside flap for a description but I knew who the book was about and told Lucy that I would buy it. I followed Lucy up front and she told me that she would give me a good discount since I was her first customer. I asked her if she was going to get into trouble with Mr. Todd but she laughed and told me that her dad wouldn’t mind. I had no idea Mr. Todd had a lovely daughter. I thanked Lucy and promised to return soon.

Feeling warmer, I walked out into the cold and finished my shopping in a better mood.

New Year But Same Old Me

Another new year had begun, but I didn’t feel anything resembling new. Mags hosted a great party to celebrate and all the usual friends were there. Edie and Artie were able to join us and we all found out that Artie is quite a dancer! He danced with every woman at the party and probably would have danced by himself if allowed. Edie seemed very understanding of his need to keep in motion but it definitely changed the dynamics of the party. Harold kept having to put on new records instead of playing a radio station for background music. We all enjoyed the floor show.

The children had a nice rest from school and returned for the second half of the school year. I had volunteered to organize the Cake Bake for the Mothers Club fundraiser. I had a list of moms to call to get them to volunteer their baking skills for the greater good. The date was two weeks away so they had plenty of time to consider what to make. This was always a showy event for some and a nerve-wracking one for other moms. Everyone had their own specialty but half were the same thing – chocolate cake. I wanted to insure a nice variety so I tried to persuade some mothers to bake cookies or even a pie. Generally, mothers are easy to get along with but a few were very plain about their need to stick with what they knew best. Oh well, I could always fill in with something other than a cake.

The January doldrums must have hit Steve also. He seemed gloomy when he looked out the window at his beloved lawn. The winter weather had taken its toll and there were a few holes left over from the freezing and thawing of the ground. I encouraged him to work in his workshop but he thought it might be too cold. He didn’t have a lot of hobbies, outside of golf and bowling, and he didn’t seem interested in going to the lanes to practice. He retreated to his den and watched the new television we had placed in there so he could work and watch at the same time.

I had my own new year mood to contend with and I couldn’t place my finger on why I wasn’t excited about the prospect of another peaceful year. My children were healthy and my husband was a great provider and partner; my family was still my family. Maybe that was exactly it – the sameness. I needed something new and different to get excited about. I might just bring it up with my secret advisory group at the next card party.