Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Old flames; old souls

I recently went to Winnetka, IL -- just north of Chicago -- for my 50th high school reunion. It was a good time though it seems like no one has changed -- the same cliques have prevailed since our high school days. But I saw some good friends -- from our New Trier News clique plus a few relatives and friends while we were there. Being in Chicago always brings back memories of growing up -- especially of being a chubby little girl, having a wonderful grandpa with thick white hair, and a first crush who had a face more handsome than Paul Newman's.

Chicago Days

My grandpa would hoist me high
on top his shop counter
caked and shiny with the glues and polishes
he used to cobble and repair shoes
on Chicago’s West side.
Once he let me try out his pipe
and I decided to leave it alone after that.

My dad got too big for that scene
and we moved north
near Lake Michigan.
Our home had a huge living room
where I dreamed of marrying
in front of the fireplace.

But, too soon we moved again
further north into the suburbs
thick with foliage
that turned bright oranges and reds in the Fall.
I rode my bike to school
played team sports,
lost my baby fat,
and fell in love for the first time.

That guy, with a face like Adonis
and a line I bought too cheap,
gave me my first cigarette.
I kicked the smoking habit early.
He didn’t.
And now he’s with Persephone
permanently underground.

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