1976: I turn 19

So the same thing is happening that happened when I was writing the one true thing posts. I find myself trying not to think about the next post. As if to think about it before I begin to write might scare a memory away.

1976: The very cute captain of the football team knocks on the door of my single room. We start to see each other. I’m confused about what I want. He is not. I can’t make breaking up with my boyfriend make sense–what will happen to all our memories? to everything we’ve said to each other? My favorite class is French Canadian Literature, and I make plans to spend the summer I’m 19 in Québec City. The captain of the football team can’t understand why. I take courses at Université Laval, go to concerts en plein air (Gilles Vigneault, Pauline Julien, Claude Gautier), am wined and dined en français by an older French guy. It’s magical, and for a crazy moment, I consider transferring to Laval. But I make the safe decision, and in the fall, I head back to Davidson with my boyfriend, rushing by the hospital to speak to my grandfather who will die in a few weeks. I have to wait and I’m impatient. In November, Jimmy Carter wins the election. My sophomore year I have a cool roommate–Jake wears unfastened short boots, smokes, and drives a Fiat with a stick shift. I want a Fiat. Lying on our mattresses on the floor, we listen to every song on Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees (What Can I Say, Georgia, It’s Over…) and to If You Leave Me Now from Chicago X. As the year comes to an end, the sun sets on the cover of the Eagles’ Hotel California.

41 days to 60


Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

7 thoughts on “1976: I turn 19

  1. I see why you began fragmenting in your 20s, and I’m getting more envious all the time of all the life you packed into your youth. I spent my summers doing crappy jobs, staring into space, wondering how my parents could get up the nerve to create three people who would have to live the curse of knowing they will die. I sure wish I’d spent a few months of that time learning French and attending concerts….

    I love that you couldn’t understand how your memories could be just that, cut loose to drift away, attached to a previous time and self. I remember having the very same problem with a dying relationship, but I would never have been able to articulate it in that way. Thank you for that little gift.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh I love this—memories let loose like balloons rather than attached like leg irons… It was as if I had no idea I could change. I don’t know why I thought everything I did or said had to continue to make sense as a whole. In this context when I begin to fragment a few years from now, that will be progress.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an incredible young life you led! So self-possessed and focused–you seemed to be able to envision the future and take all the right steps in the present that would lead you toward it, seizing every opportunity along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In those golden days, what I wanted was what I was good at, which makes it seem as if all I had to do was want something and there it was. And I have always been focused, perhaps too much so…


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