Friday, October 26, 2007

Memory Meme

Where was I , 10, 20 and 30 years ago? (and should I take it back to 40 and 50 years ago?). Can't resist this one before going over to Eileen's for the TGIF party (everybody'd better get over there this week or else!).

10 years ago - 1997 - Divorce No. 2 was final over that summer, and my new life had just begun. Loved having my own place with the kids, finally with some sense of control over the chaos of our lives. Had graduated to full-time work practicing municipal law, for which I prosecuted traffic tickets, attended zoning board meetings, acted as stand-in city attorney when my boss could not be there, drafted ordinances galore, appellate court briefs, and once in awhile got all suited up and got to appear in court arguing on motions for various legal rulings on the briefs I had written. Fascinating stuff, some of the issues that arose concerning the powers of municipalities. Even got to do some election law. The marathon hearing on a woman police officer's protest over being fired for sexually harassing her married lover was not fun, however, if only because of the emotional damage flung far and wide in the midst of local politics.

20 years ago - 1987 - Just beginning my career as a Legal Writing instructor at a law school in Connecticut after having quit my job as a Legal Services Attorney in Wisconsin the year before and having spent six months in the best job of my life, a clerk in a Kroch's and Brentano's bookstore. During the bookstore period, I lived at home with my parents while my father was losing his battle with amyloidosis, complicated in the end by prostate cancer (which no one caught because of years focusing on other things) and brittle bones that led to one hip fracture, followed by surgery and recovery, followed several months later by fracture of the other hip, surgery, intensive care with pneumonia, and finally death in June 1987. My father was so happy and proud of my new job in academia, after having seen me, years earlier, blow the fast track career that I might have had after clerking for a federal appellate court judge, as a result of the struggles with my first husband's drinking and repeated failed attempts at rehab, inpatient and outpatient, during my critical summer internships at the end of law school, which left me empty and wanting to do something other than fighting the rat race in the big city law firms. By 1987, my ex had finally successfully dried out (we were divorced the first time in 1983) and we were dating, but my father hoped and prayed that my new teaching job a thousand miles away would solve the problem. Unfortunately, after my father's death and my move to Connecticut, we romanced our way long-distance through the remainder of 1987 and 1988 and married again the following summer.

3o years ago - 1977 - Oh dear. That was the first time of falling Madly in Love with my first husband. It was precisely Halloween of 1977 when, after only having known him for two weeks, we took off from Wisconsin to Atlanta, Georgia for a 4-day weekend to see the big, annual sports car and formula car race there. A friend and fraternity brother of my husband's -- a retiring math teacher in suburban Milwaukee who inherited the family's brewery's fortune and took it racing for many years in Formula Atlantic -- was racing. That's when we saw Paul Newman (also racing) and Joanne Woodward. I had fun, but I should have been forewarned about the kind of relationship we would have when our car (an old MGB)'s muffler started falling off at 2 a.m. as we first drove into the Atlanta area and once we parked, John took off the trailing piece, wrapped it in a blanket, and laid it on MY side of the car, while I tried to sleep scrunched up next to it, while he was able to sleep on his side unobstructed. Oh well...... The idea was to get away from bookish and/or practical people. I certainly did, but he was blue-eyed, sandy-haired, and very handsome (which seemed to go well with my raven hair and green eyes and... whatever).

40 years ago - 1967 - I was in 9th grade, deeply immersed in politics and foreign affairs, and then falling (innocently) in love with my World Civ teacher, Mr. Carpenter. He had us write essays due every Monday (which meant that eventually I missed a lot of Mondays when I couldn't finish in time). They were on topics unrelated to classwork -- just ideas to engage us and make us do some minimal research (we had to have three sources cited). I, of course, made what was supposed to be 3-5 page writing exercises into lengthy, major research projects. To make matters worse, I used to go off on tangents reading works referenced in the essays in the first two volumes of The Great Books (so I read enough for several papers). Meanwhile, I suffered through Advanced Geometry with Mr. Klaus who sent girls to the principal's office if their skirts were too short. I don't recall if I got sent down, but I did wear them pretty short (could those have been the years of fishnet stocking and mini-skirts? ouch, recalling fishnet stockings held up by garters, All I got from wearing them were nasty marks on my legs and feet by the end of the day).

50 years ago - 1957 - I was four. I don't know if if was that fall, but that was the year I remember being at the Lyric Opera House for American Ballet Theatre. I got an awful earache and ear infection but was entranced with Les Sylphides and Les Patineurs and only finally agreed to go home during Graduation Ball. My father, as always, took good care of me whenever I was in pain.

1 comment:

Eileen said...

Love it K!

Thanks for sharing some of your story.

It's kind of neat to look back over time like that, and to realize how much time has really passed since those events happened.