Looking Back in My Eighty-First Year
By Maxine Kumin
How did we get to be old ladies--
my grandmother's job--when we
were the long-leggèd girls?
Instead of marrying the day after graduation,
in spite of freezing on my father's arm as
here comes the bride struck up,
saying, I'm not sure I want to do this,
I should have taken that fellowship
to the University of Grenoble to examine
the original manuscript
of Stendhal's unfinished Lucien Leuwen,
I, who had never been west of the Mississippi,
should have crossed the ocean
in third class on the Cunard White Star,
the war just over, the Second World War
when Kilroy was here, that innocent graffito,
two eyes and a nose draped over
a fence line. How could I go?
Passion had locked us together.
Sixty years my lover,
he says he would have waited.
He says he would have sat
where the steamship docked
till the last of the pursers
decamped, and I rushed back
littering the runway with carbon paper...
Why didn't I go? It was fated.
Marriage dizzied us. Hand over hand,
flesh against flesh for the final haul,
we tugged our lifeline through limestone and sand,
lover and long-leggèd girl.
Adam has graduated from Winston Churchill High School! That event has taken up nearly the entire day -- we drove to DAR Constitution Hall with all four grandparents to attend the ceremony where speakers included a Churchill graduate who's now a White House staffer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who represented nearly all Churchill families until redistricting in the last election.
Adam was wearing the sashes and cords of the National Honor Society, Academy of the Creative and Performing Arts, Certificate of Meritorious Service, National English, Chinese, and Art Honor Societies, and National Merit Commended Scholars (he was supposed to have one for the International Thespian Society, too, but they didn't order enough cords and he already had many). So we feel justifiably proud!
We watched him and his friends get their diplomas, took pictures, hung out with other families while waiting to pick up our cars from the garage, and went to Founding Farmers for dinner, where we watched the lightning and rain that had held off all afternoon. My in-laws have gone home and Adam is at a get-together at a friend's house, and I have uploaded a few photos and am trying to get through mail and all the rest!