Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reflections and breaking news from 1948

Morning, February 12

I wonder how many people only post one blog? Probably far fewer than those who post two or three or five. The soap box is there; you’ve mounted it – how can you resist declaiming, crying out against greed, inequity, injustice? And then comes reflection. No one at all may ever read the blog after all, and you’re wasting pixels which could be feeding the hungry. Besides, Greed is probably a choleric old man with huge fists; Inequity sits in the shadows, fingering a stiletto, and Injustice went to high school with you and once loaned you twenty dollars when you were hard up.

So, no declamation for the time being. Instead:


Having come across my mother’s Engagement Book from 1948, I am filled with useful information (including tracing her increasing worry that she might be pregnant, as she was, with my older brother). Feel free to test me.

What was she doing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12th?
Having a haircut.
Who did she mean to call on January 19th through the 22nd, and in what order?
Marilyn, Claire, Alice, Mom.
Did she?
What did she buy at Macy’s on August 12th?
Kleenex & cigarettes.
Really? At a department store?
Anything else that day?
She returned a library book.
Did she buy groceries that week?
Every day, Monday through Friday. Milk was 23 cents on Monday but 24 cents on Friday.
Do you know what phone number your Great-Uncle Pinney had in 1948?
Now I do.
Why won’t you tell it to me?
You might call him and disrupt the Time/Space continuum. (It is, after all, just the sort of thing you’re prone to do).

She and my father (the very young my father) saw lots of people and ate many cakes she baked. She also held a job until she got fired for being pregnant.

For me, at least, a fascinating document – a chance to look in on my mother the year she turned 21 – a mere kid but my mother all the same.

And a poem:

Most days the conductors call “Last stop!
Last stop! Everyone must change! Last stop!”
No other line comes to the station, though;
So no change is possible. I could
Take the same train back, but this is not change
Just repetition. The conductors –
The tall, thin woman, the short round man –
Know this. Their cry is one of despair,
Their hearts yearn for better passengers
Beautiful, witty, or desperate,
Bound for the unpronounceable lands.

Coming soon: the wizard Henry James.

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