11.12.2010

homecoming

In the spirit of this weekend's homecoming at Amherst College, here are my grandmother's words on the subject. Tomorrow's forecast is for high blue skies, but last year, the day was not unlike the event she describes here.
Will it be pneumonia or diphtheria or something worse? At any rate, it was worth it. And yet there was nothing about that football game to make us feel that the effort wasn't wasted. The team we were screaming ourselves hoarse for lost the game most ingloriously--or not ingloriously, but at least decidedly--and here we are swathed in blankets with our feet in hot water, wondering what ailment will beset us first.

You see, it rained. Homecoming day for the college--what would homecoming be if rain didn't come home to Meadville too? Rain--a much more frequent visitor than all the alumni together. The field was all one puddle. We were sorry for the team, but oh, so much sorrier for ourselves! We sat in pools of water on those cold cement benches, with icy water trickling off our hat-brims down our backs. For a time we were unconscious of the fact that our shoes were half-filled with water and mud, because they were so numb with cold. The rain gathered in little rivulets in the creases of our slickers and rolled down to form a lake in our laps. By looking cross-eyed, we could see that our noses were as red as cranberries. Our fingers lost all feeling sometime during the first quarter. I think it was in the second quarter that someone waxed restless and poked the point of an umbrella into my eye, but by that time all incidents of that sort were minor.

It was only a form of dogged loyalty that kept us at the field until the whistle blew for the end of the game. I know that none of us could say now how we got home after it was all over. I can remember only the comfort I felt as someone stepped violently on my foot in the rush at the exit, and brought back to it a little feeling of warmth.

And now we are looking forward to the reckoning with mingled feelings of fear and disgust.

6 comments:

  1. "By looking cross-eyed, we could see that our noses were as red as cranberries."
    ahhhhhh Fall!

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  2. She made this so real. I laughed at her honesty, "grateful for someone stomping on her foot so she could have the feeling back."

    How did you get these words? Was there a journal? Or did she speak, and you took notes?

    Is it by memory?

    I love this.
    Of course I do.

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  3. I love your grandmother's voice.

    I'm so glad you share her with us.

    What a treasure.

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  4. this really is a treasure, i know.
    the writing of my grandmother's i've shared here on the RS is from a journal she wrote when she was in college, probably for a writing class, but i'm not certain of that. she went to Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennyslvania. in fact, all of my grandparents went there. later, she was a journalist. i have other writings of hers but this is the piece i'm dealing with and wanting to share now.
    alexandra, i wish more than anything that she had spoken while i took notes. i never even asked many questions. i have a huge amount of regret for conversations never had, even though of course there were many conversations. my grandmother died when i was a young adult and i did have many years with her for which i am extremely grateful.

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  5. Regret for conversations never had?

    Sigh.

    Don't we all have those regrets?

    What a gift that she still speaks to you with her words and her writing. Love her voice.

    As I love yours.

    Even when you will insist on counting syllables.

    Yes, I am shutting up now.

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