Sunday, May 30, 2021

Being Wise Seventeen

                                                        Judy age Seven

                Being Wise Seventeen May 30, 2021

This year a lot of people wished me

Happy Birthday. I turned eighty-four.

A significant year. Twelve times seven

At seven I began to write stories. I was

in bed with rheumatic fever. At fourteen,

I began to keep a diary, which has

continued. At twenty-one I had my

great rebellion. I tried to change

everything: my clothes and possessions,

how I thought and behaved, but the

deep self never changed. My mother

thought I’d lost my mind. My father

suggested Ethan Frome and other

humanists, since I was rejecting

Christianity. By 1965, when I was 

twenty-eight, I’d divorced Tom, my

alcoholic husband, had a little girl

Amy, and was studying classics in

Berkeley. By 1972 I’d married Terry

and had a baby boy, Tim, and we’d

moved to North Carolina. I was

co-editor of Hyperion Poetry Magazine,

and we lived in an old farmhouse

in Cedar Grove. By July, I had a

baby girl, Ginia. In 1974 I left Terry

and went to live in Chapel Hill’s

Chase Park apartments, as one of

two white families. And I’d been

president of the small press 

organization 1975-1978. In 1985 I

became an affiliate of the Durham

Arts Council. I had published many

books. By 1981 traveled to England

and Wales and Holland. By 1985 even

to Finland. And the children and I

were living on Barclay Rd. In Chapel

Hill, their favorite house and

neighborhood. By 1993 I’d left Carolina 

Wren Press to others, and I’d been to

Russia twice, and Mikhail had come

to North Carolina once. In 1993 three

Russian writers had visited me for five

weeks, and my first grandchildren 

were born, Megan and Will to Amy in

El Paso. I stayed ten months to care

for them. By 2000, I was living alone

in a small house in Moncure, making

friends here, and working on 

environmental problems. By 2007 I had 

two more grandchildren, Lilly and Bobby, 

born to Ginia, and I helped with  local 

elections in Chatham County.

By 2014 the political situation became more

difficult and even worse in 2015, when

the state allowed coal ash to be dumped

in my new community. This finally 

ended in 2020 when we won our court

case. We also had the Covid 19 pandemic

that year. I stayed home mostly. Now,

in 2021, I am eighty-four. I have lived

a good and productive life. I’ve suffered,

and so have my children, but I can’t

complain, nor do I wish to. Today

Ginia, Lilly, and Bobby will come

to have pizza with Tim and me.

I am grateful for these years, my work,

all my friends and loves. Perfection

is not my goal, but learning wisdom.

No comments:

Post a Comment