Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Today’s blog challenge insists on a photo or story from our 21st year. Can I remember that far back?
Ah, yes. It’s all coming back to me….
At 21, I was in my junior year at Alderson-Broaddus College, studying English literature and preparing to teach high school. I’d discovered the joys of writing and was happily scribbling away–bad poems, mostly–in my spiral notebook. I loved my coursework and read voraciously.
At 21, I was married and had two sons, Michael and Jason. I remember strolling them around in a make-shift stroller for two. Jason, the younger, was in one of those small carriers which I balanced on the basket behind his brother. We walked all over campus and everyone knew my beautiful boys. I was the only student mom at the college.
We were so poor we didn’t even have a deck of cards—no television, no radio, no phone. My ex-husband created a card deck, though, so we could play in the evenings. Our furniture consisted of early attic and late basement–we accepted what we were given from family and friends and were happy to have it. At some point that year, we separated for three months. I moved back in with my parents and I don’t know where he went.
Then, on one of those crazy nights when the moon is right, we met and got back together. Our reunion lasted about a year, maybe two.
At 21, I was sure I could manage anything that came my way. I knew the world would open up for me and I would wrestle any monsters in order to raise my sons. As it turned out, I was not able to give them much, materially speaking. I hope the love I have for them makes up for any other lack.
At 21, I was shy and bold, silly and serious, afraid and brave–the usual bundle of contradictions. I loved books, music (all kinds) the theater and writing. I loved my children and my parents. I loved my sister. I remember dancing in the grass in my bare feet with the boys playing nearby. I remember cooking meals, simple cheap food, and serving it up with pride. I remember the sweet feeling of holding my sons on my lap, both of them squirming and laughing.
Ah, 21–it was a very good year.