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Archives for : October1956

School Daze for Me Too

There was a light cool wind that picked up the dried leaves and twirled them tornado-fashion along the wall of the quad.  I had been on the community college campus a few times for school events.  It was compact and efficient; a modern center of learning. Ivy would die here from lack of attention as students of all ages crossed in uncertain paths from parking lots to classrooms.  I called the office yesterday and asked for the location of Lucy’s writing class. Luckily, the class was held early in the day and I could rationalize a visit on my way to the grocery store.  I felt like a self conscious imposter student walking through the maze of corridors.  I passed an open-doored classroom and glimpsed Lucy sitting at a giant wooden desk.  I tapped on the doorjamb and entered when Lucy smiled with surprise at me.  After confirming that I wasn’t interrupting, Lucy invited me to sit and I slid into a desk in front.  Strange feeling sitting in a student desk again and a little reminder that I might be out of place.

I let Lucy know that Mr. Todd had told me about her teaching position and how I found her class.  She was impressed with my sleuthing but still a little puzzled about why I was sitting in a student’s desk in front of her.  I hesitated for a moment and then  asked her about the class. Lucy was noticeably pleased to discuss the writing class and the work of her students.  She was proud of their writing assignments and gave an example of one student who had already sold an article to a local magazine.

Lucy apologized for talking so much and asked about my interest.  There was a long pause while I contemplated my response. I  probably should have thought this part through. I was afraid that Lucy would laugh at me, think me crazy, pity me or even think I might not be capable of writing.  And the imposter in me was afraid of those things too.  I gulped and told Lucy that I might be interested in taking a class.  The words came bolting out of my mouth like one big long word.  Somehow, Lucy must have understood me because she clapped her hands to her face.  Oh god, she must think I am nuts.  But she lowered her hands and smiled.  Lucy told me that was a great idea.  She knew I loved books and reading.  She asked me if I had ever written anything and I told her that I had only started writing down my thoughts a couple of months ago.  She seemed relieved and told me that she lived in fear of students who brought whole written binders to class that weren’t really very good because they hadn’t learned anything about writing before they presumed they were writers.  How ironic; my lack of writing was good.

Since the term had already started, Lucy suggested that I register for the next term, get the textbook and start getting ahead that way.  I might enjoy being prepared ahead of time; it actually suited my personality better.  I thanked Lucy and she told me how much she looked forward to seeing me in class. Now, the hard work was up to me.  Somehow I had to break it to Steve.  I should have asked about homework.  How much could there be?  It’s just a writing class.

Home Sweet Maison

It was nice to finally be able to admire the pale pink walls of Chloe’s “salon.” The lightly flowered upholstered couch was set off with glass-topped side tables which made the whole room seem lighter. The drapes were silk and slightly shiny, tied open at the sides to let in the sunlight streaming in the front window.  A large gilded mirror hung above the mantle.  It looked like an antique. A small clock sat next to a vase of perfectly chosen flowers. There were candles of varying sizes in every room. I had spent enough time in the kitchen to enjoy its rustic charm that served as an opposite, but companionable friend, to the formal dining room with its heavier sideboard, hutch and round table.  I have always wanted a round table in my dining room since that’s the way I always envisioned my super-elegant dinner parties of my daydreams.  Everyone could see everyone else and the candlelight would make us all more attractive.  I admit that I was jealous of the table.  Each room led to the next with grace.

I knew the girls would love what Chloe had done.  Chloe created a home that reflected herself; she was just being the best Chloe she could be.  It was both strong and feminine. That simple description was a good one.  I wonder how my home would be described? When I looked over at Chloe, she was looking eagerly at my face.  She certainly didn’t need my approval but I smiled at her.  Chloe would surely host a beautiful party for us.  The menu might be the most interesting part since Chloe’s lack of preconceived notions about what to serve would allow her to choose freely. Chloe asked if she passed inspection for the card players.  I let her know that she did not need to pass our inspection and would be sure to show us all how to entertain her own way.  I was looking forward to it.  We were starting to expand our group to include our new neighbors easily.  Their inclusion was helping us to change too; what could be wrong with that?

All American Chic

Chloe wanted to hostess the next card party so that she could return everyone’s hospitality.  Mags keeps the party schedule and called me to ask if I thought Chloe was ready to hostess the group.  I didn’t see any issues and offered to help Chloe if she wanted any help.  Mags called Chloe back and added her as hostess for the next card party.

During out next conversation, I also offered Chloe my assistance.  I still had not seen the inside of her house since the workmen finished their projects.  But I imagined it was very chic.  And I really wanted to see it.  I was a little uncomfortable with my mini-obsession with Chloe. I didn’t feel this way about Mags and I respected her as extremely chic and fashionable.  Perhaps it was the foreignness or the mysterious nature of the French.

I tried to learn something from all of my girlfriends.  Gail was very practical and gave me tips on housekeeping and childcare.  Sarah was an all-American woman interested in bettering her family and life.  Judy Anne, my Southern charmer, taught me about using finesse to an advantage.  Edie, even young Edie, demonstrated an ability to use her ambition and talent in a way that fulfilled her. Too bad no one knew about her secret skill; it was a little like a superhero having a hidden identity.  I could never keep a secret like Edie.  And Mags, of course, my heroine.  It’s not that I wanted to be her, I just thought she was great at being Mags.  Maybe that’s the part I’m missing. I wasn’t really sure who I was anymore.  Life was constantly schooling me and showing me some alternate way of seeing things that I was previously so sure of.  I needed to start figuring me out.

I decided to call Chloe back and invite myself over.  Since it wasn’t just a drop-in, she would have time to prepare.  That way I could really enjoy seeing the way she had updated Mrs. Kravitz’ house and get to know her even better.

Leftover Love

The rain had fallen so hard and for so long that Snowball was a sopping mess at the back door.  This morning, Daisy and Junior balked at wearing their galoshes and rain slickers to the bus stop since it hadn’t yet started to rain when they left for school.  Now I was glad that I hadn’t given into their pleas to leave their gear at home.  I towel-dried Snowball and opened a can of tuna for both our lunches.  Before I mixed in the ingredients for tuna salad, I pulled out a couple of spoonfuls for the cat, which he devoured. The house was dark enough to require the lights on in every room and I decided to preheat the oven to do some baking.

Rainy days are great for big bowls of soup or stew but I already had pulled some beef out of the freezer to make chili, so I decided to go with that.  I don’t make it extra spicy so the kids don’t turn up their noses when I serve it.  I wanted to make cornbread to serve with it but thought about making it as muffins to please the children.  Small food is cool to kids.  Muffins look like cupcakes. I was really trying to put a little more thought into the look of my meals.  It wasn’t as if they were picture worthy, but the pictures in recipes always catch my attention first.  I can’t imagine a world where our family meals would be subject to photography.  Both of the children enjoyed the cornbread muffins, especially since I always add a touch of sugar to the batter.

The leftover muffins caught my eye the next morning. It was still dreary outside and I wrapped the muffins up in a tinfoil tent and placed them in the oven on warm.  When everyone arrived at the table for breakfast, I made a small hole in the middle of the warm muffins and inserted some jam.  You would have thought that I invented a new delicious breakfast treat; everyone loved the muffins!  It was so nice to send everyone off with a smile on their face.  Even without the sunshine, our day started well.

School Me

Mr. Todd was behind the counter at the book shop.  I wanted to look at a newly published novel.  At the library, I was on the waiting list but it must be very popular because I was eighth.  That means I wouldn’t see the book for four months.  I wanted to check it out in person to see if it was worth waiting for and maybe read a little of it every visit.  I know, I know, crazy idea, but I’m a fast reader and I might finish it in multiple quiet visits.  The front table was stacked with the most recently published novels and the display was enticing.  I found the book in question and after Mr. Todd finished the transaction and opened the door for the shopper, he came over to greet me.  I hadn’t seen Mr. Todd for a couple of months, so we spent a few minutes catching up.  Mr. Todd went on to tell me about Lucy’s new position at the community college.  Lucy was teaching a class in writing and would only be working weekends.  We went on to discuss the popularity of the book I was holding.  I had stopped thinking about my plan to shop-read the book and told Mr. Todd that I was going to purchase it. I didn’t know why that came out of my mouth and even I was surprised when I said it.

It must have been the shock of hearing about Lucy’s writing class.  I had never thought of taking a class.  Could I be a student? In fact, when I finished school the first time and went to work, I was just doing what was expected of me at the time.  Everyone was working in some capacity during the war.  The years had passed without me considering about going to school and I wondered if maybe I was too old.  Or if Steve would think it a crazy idea.  I have my share of those.  I would have to check into this idea a little more.  I might have to talk to Lucy.