Monday, October 23, 2017

Years of My Life

A Journey from 1944 to … Now

1975-76 School Year

In 1976—the spring—
In April—quite a complex thing:
We mounted a production then
About those days—yes, way back when.

The 1940s—gumshoe tale—
Like Raymond Chandler (couldn’t fail!).
The Periwinkle Perplex—yes,
That was the name … oh could you guess

What this our show was all about?
(But don’t forget: Three strikes you’re out!)
We had a lot of fun with that—
With 40’s music—never flat!

And so another year rolled by—
It all seemed endless, my oh my.
And I turned thirty-one that fall—
Was feeling old. (Oh, Time, please stall!)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Years of My Life

A Journey from 1944 to … Now

1974-75 School Year

So the years rolled along, full of work, full of play,
And I candidly say that I loved every day—
Had a wife whom I loved—and a son who was great.
I was blessed—and I knew it: There is no debate.

On that road we call “Grad School” I started to see
Just a little bit farther—oh yes! Ph.D.!
But it took so much time—what with family and work—
I was swarmed with so much I was sometimes a jerk.

For we tend, when we’re busy, to think all we do
Is for me and for me and for me (sometimes you).
So I don’t always think of these years with much pride—
All I know is I felt at the time that I tried.

In my classes I felt much more confidence flow—
For the more that I read, well, the more I could know.
And my time with my wife—and my time with my son—
Oh, that time was pure gold: Oh, please never be done!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Years of My Life

A Journey from 1944 to … Now

1973-74 School Year

Our son was growing! What a boy!
And sleeping well throughout the night.
And eating Gerber’s (naught to bite!).
He brought to us continual joy.

And Joyce and I were writing hard—
Oh yes! It’s Dissertation Time!
And now I must confess that I’m
By all of that still somewhat scarred.

But Steve was such a happy child—
We took him everywhere with us,
And he would hardly ever fuss—
He sat at plays, transfixed and mild.

For teaching? This, my seventh year,
Remained much work—and so much fun.
And by the time each day was done,
I knew I’d picked the right career.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Years of My Life

A Journey from 1944 to … Now

1972-73 School Year

July 16. Our son was born.
We had to find a different place.
“No children” (sigh), so we were shorn
Of home—not really much disgrace.

Our landlord helped us with our search—
And we moved just around the block,*
So we were not left in the lurch:
Our lives ticked on—tick-tock, tick-tock.

In grad school I took “Incomplete”—
A baby—Steve—changed everything.
Demands of school just can’t compete
With needy infants—all they bring.

But soon we got into the flow
And figured out our many tasks.
But Joyce, oh, she’s the one to know
The silent things a baby asks.**

Or … not so silent (parents learn)—
The cries that come in day, in night.
And everything you know you earn
And years required to get it right.

*from 323 College Court to 214 S. Willow in Kent—razed during the esplanade project
**I returned to Aurora and full-time teaching in September; Steve was only about six weeks old.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Years of My Life

A Journey from 1944 to … Now

1971–72 School Year

This year began—yes, Number Five—
In my short class career.
I felt a lot more confident—
With far much less to fear.

Don’t get me wrong—I made mistakes—
I made them every class.
I still went home most every night
And sighed: “You stupid ass!

“Why did you say that? Why that move?
You made some kids feel bad.
They are, you surely recognize,
The best allies you’ve had!”

But I was having lots of fun—
The clubs, the classes, plays.
And my wee life was now so full—
So full in many ways.

In 1971—the fall—
We got the welcome news:
We would be parents in July!
Oh, such news cures the blues!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Years of My Life

A Journey from 1944 to … Now

1970-71 Academic Year

Well, I turned twenty-six this year—
Oh, I was really wise (I thought)—
Just look at all I’ve learned and taught!
Oh surely I can have no peer!

About that? I was really right.
I had, instead, superiors
In every way: exteriors,
Interiors. I wasn’t bright—

Well, not so bright as I believed.
Oh youth! I guess I’ll blame you now—
For you’re the one (some way, somehow)
That made me so, well, self-deceived.

But still I loved my life at school—
My life in classes that I took—
I wrote each paper, read each book,
And knew—yes, knew—I'd be no fool!

This was year five of my career—
I sponsored clubs, directed plays,
And found so many different ways
That I suppressed my primal fear

Of failure.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Years of My Life

A Journey from 1944 to … Now

1969-70 School Year

“The married man!”—that is a line
From Shakespeare’s Much Ado.*
And I was feeling so amazed:
My dull old life was through!

And both of us were back in school—
Though I was just part-time
(Through nights and summers)—on we went—
An ever-upward climb.

I still was loving middle school—
That would not go away.
In fact, I love it as I sit
Right here, right now, today!

We had a tiny place in Kent**
But close to campus sites—
We walked to evening classes—then
Returned in darkest nights.

It was, in ways, a magic time—
Yes, all of it a thrill.
And I confess to all of you:
It has that magic … still.

*Said of the confirmed bachelor (and now a groom), Benedick, near the very end by Don Pedro: “How dost thou, Benedick the married man?” (5.4).
**323 College Court; Kent, Ohio (still standing!)