Friday, May 13, 2011

The girl who cried wolf

Downtown Amherst, Mass.

The dogwood trees and flowering bushes are in full bloom here in Western Massachusetts.

It's a beautiful time of year. My mother always liked to visit around now, and the scenery inspired her to tell and retell a story about me.

I was a crybaby at Vassar during my first two years when I wasn't very happy. It's interesting that I have turned out to be relatively stoic about my illness (in contrast to my foot problems, about which I complain noisily.)

One time as my father drove me back to school along the Taconic Parkway, about a two-hour trip, I said that I was sick sick sick, and he needed to take me back home to NYC.

(Yes, he turned around, and my parents pampered me for one night.)

In the spring of my sophomore year I developed a problem that really was something to cry about. I got a terrible case of strep throat, with a high fever and piercing pain.

I ended up in the infirmary, and I called my parents from bed, crying on the phone that they had to come because I was suffering and miserable. They came the same day, only to find me in an infirmary surrounded by beautiful trees and bushes and cared for by a sweet nurse who spoon-fed me ice cubes and placed cool compresses on my forehead.

My mother laughed and said I had made it seem like some sort of dungeon. But my parents gave me what I wanted, a special kind of TLC that only they could give.

Yesterday when I walked Maddie past the Mount Holyoke infirmary, surrounded by similarly beautiful landscaping, the story replayed in my mind.

I wish my parents were here to laugh with me about it.


donna said...

Before reading your post today, I checked my email and read sad messages from two friends who had both lost parents yesterday. As I write this I see out the window a little girl all dressed up like a bride excitedly enter the church across the street for her first communion. There are flowering trees and the grass is so green and fresh. Your always excellent writing somehow reminded me that even in our darkest hour their is hope and life goes on. We are surrounded by beauty in some form; maybe just look out a window.

Nelle said...

Great entry. My Dad used to love to tell stories about me. He was born in Alabama and though he worked in Manhattan for thirty years he never lost that Southern twang which would entertain us to no end. This will be my first Father's Day without him and I dread it. It makes me want to cling to my mother but I know that someday she will be gone too. I like to think they live on in our memories and we carry them with us.

pam said...

ophobcortuvWas just thinking about your wonderful parents, -- at the beach, when they were in their '80's, didn't realize the Vassar story,--
here's to Mr. and Mrs. Gordon, and Ronni and me at Vassar...with Simon...