The 63 Word Decade

Two days ago, I was contacted via Facebook by a woman who was one of my dearest high school companions. We shared some incredible adventures thirty (oh lordy, I hadn’t done the math lately) years ago. Sometime when I’m plowing down memory lane, I’ll post a story about skipping econ class my junior year to go drink black coffee with Pat in her always sophisticated high heels. At seventeen, she claimed that a woman wasn’t truly complete unless she wore pumps, but I digress…

This morning I get a perfectly-Patricia message. It is brief, witty and delightfully demanding. In her message, she encapsulates her life since we last saw one another (1997), into sixty-three words and then challenges me to do the same “speed catch up.”

Ack! Those of you reading this blog or knowing me for any length of time know that I can’t do anything in 63 words. Nevertheless, I’ve given it a go.

Before you read on; however, indulge me. First, this exercise was sobering. To reduce a decade that I believed was significant, changing and full of dimension into a quickie paragraph rather brings one up short. It feels as though there are several thousand words missing. Then there’s the reality that my life, after re-reading the allotted statement, I judge to be somewhat…shall we say –  humdrum? I don’t know what I expected. I mean – I’m perfectly clear that the last thirteen years have not included the long dreamt of retreat to Greece, the Grand Canyon trek, a published collection of poetry, learning to play the banjo or even the purchase of  a new television (my kids have been offering to pool their savings — it’s actually that bad), but I digress…again. Needless to say, the life of glamour that we envisioned all those years ago while delinquently sipping bad coffee transformed into something all-together-else.

So, Patricia Rae, I’m digging in the recesses of my brain trying to recall how old my kids were when you passed through Ashland with a very big, rambunctious dog and a bottle of vodka in your trunk. I’m pretty sure it was 1997. Had I run the Portland marathon yet? Sarah, then my youngest, would’ve been two years old. Reid David was seven, and I was still a brunnette. Yikes! Thirteen years chronologically in the space of a classified ad. Ready?

“Single mom, English teacher, met man, took risk, married man, millennium delivered Virginia, stopped teaching, worked non-profit foundation, kids thrived, eldest child graduated AHS-moved out-started college, continued my art & writing, began dabbling in photography, separated from man, middle kid started AHS, youngest in 4th grade, working freelance studio, eldest child fighting-surviving leukemia, now very different strong-loving single mom.”

About Martha Phelps Studio ~ creative on purpose

...a meandering journal of a changing life and the unexpected graces it brings. Earlier posts may provide some history, but this series of writings aren't likely to follow a straight line as I explore topics such as raising kids, making choices, self discovery, the impact of change on a family and how to (hopefully) live with balance and purpose. www.marthaphelps.com
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