The Class of '73
Hey Classmates, how goes it? Not an idle question, folks--
if you don't write me, I won't have anything to file and then you'll tumble
into a deep depression (maybe suffer slight disappointment?) when there's
nothing in the Class of '73 Notes except my email address. Don't deny it,
I know it's true. These tidbits are our answer to a small town newspaper
keeping us up to date on those with whom we grew up who moved away to make
it big or suffer the travails of life out there in the real world. These
notes alleviate our guilt over not even bothering to answer last Christmas'
newsy card with the recent family photo and scrawled lines of what's up
with an old friend. Let's face it, none of us has even considered sustaining
the sort of classic correspondences we actually used to research and study
when we wrote sociological/historical dissertations on women not so very
different from ourselves who just happened to live before telephones and
computers and too busy days and nights to bother sharing our experiences
and thoughts. These notes acknowledge the time when we were young and promising;
they tell tales of our lives as they have evolved and, in a few instances,
of what any of them might have been if only you or I had had half the talent
of Martha French, half the ambition
of Helen Ackroyd Davis or half the
goodness of Janie Ray Arthur. Is
there anything quite so much fun as clicking your way through cyberspace
to the Cliff Notes and reading between the lines
of a report on suburban life filed by a classmate you best remember plotting
the overthrow of the government?
Because you love it, you, as well as I owe a big thank you to MARTHA
(Mars) GIFFORD Loomis who dropped us a note from the new home she shares
with Steve (yet another lawyer) and Alex in small-town Indiana, far away
from the high pressured life they used to live in Chicago.
"First the sad news-- Orin is no longer the oldest living canine member
of the class. He's now pissing on that great fire hydrant in the sky. I
am very saddened but, hell, better there than on the new living room carpet
(which we wisely waited to have installed until after his quiet, natural
"It's tough moving to a new place, especially a small, all-American
town. Gradually we are meeting people we like, but my anti-social tendencies
are resurfacing (c.1961-- Mother: "Mars, turn off the TV/close the
book and go out and play with someone, would you?!"), but it's fine
for now. It takes time to find people who don't think I'm slightly crazy.
Okay, so I am. It takes time to find people who are amused by it. Not to
mention amusing. Alex, on the other hand, is a very social creature which
has forced me to the startling realization that whether I want to or not,
I'm going to have to be polite and patient with a bunch of other people's
kids for the next fifteen years or so. And their mothers. That's social
enough for me most weeks.
"They can take all the surveys they want to determine what American
women/mothers really want out of life, but I know the truth. Sleep. And
more sleep. And not just any sleep-- from 3am until noon sleep. Or drugs.
Safe, healthy, available from friends kinda drugs. Reasonably priced. Remember?!?!
If you just say no, you did too many back then.
"So, there I was the other day-- a magnificent day of blue skies and
65 degree temperature in the middle of January. I dropped Alex off at his
Montessori school to use up as many staples as he could in three hours and
headed into town. It was so glorious what could I do but put Aretha's Greatest
Hits in the cassette deck and play it as loudly as my eardrums could tolerate?
Which was, I'm afraid, a decibel or two too loud for the dog (Orin's grandson,
Obie). But hell, it was so damned spring-like! We hit town demanding RESPECT
for that ROSE IN SPANISH HARLEM... and two sweet, ever so nice, so correct
little old ladies taking their daily constitutional from the retirement
home turned around to glare at me for behaving so badly. In these parts,
disturbing one another is held to be in the worst possible taste (unless
the victim is some poor, pregnant, unwed teen on her way into an abortion
clinic). Well, I grin back at the old biddies, thinking what a swell picture
I make speeding by in my hot little Porsche; they must be pretty shocked
by my exuberant, rebellious youth not to mention the trappings of my yuppie
success. And then my grin fades as I realize that what they see is some
middle-aged mom badly in need of a touch-up in a dirty black Volvo station
wagon. Someone who should know better. Shamed, I turned down the volume
on the tape. The old ladies and the dog sighed with relief. I headed off
to the market to comparison shop for chocolate covered doughnuts. "Is
this growing up? I'm not so sure. On the other hand, it's hardly where I
imagined I'd be twenty years ago. I never took any drugs that strong.
"Sorry, Maggie. Was this supposed to be about something? Like an achievement?
Maybe I should have waited another twenty years until something interesting
had happened. Maybe not. Anyway, I hope it fills enough space for the Class
of '73 to make it into print the next Newsletter. That's something, isn't
Thanks Mars. Just a few follow up questions...what year's your Volvo? Do
they carry Entenmanns doughnuts in Indiana? And whom do you hate more, Florence
Henderson or Shirley Jones? More next time.
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