Sunday, October 19, 2008


I started a post last night entitled We're So Screwed, after watching Saturday Night Live. I meant to talk about what a terrifyingly good job Sarah Palin did on the show. She really gives good TV. Which scares the pants off of me. But instead of finishing my post, I fell asleep. After I woke up on the couch I trundled up the stairs to my little room and that was it for the night.

I'm on vacation. We're staying in a cottage in St. Leonard, on the Chesapeake Bay. Haven't actually seen much of St. Leonard. We've only been down to the corner market for a few vittles and walked along the shore. Otherwise my friend and I haven't been out of the house. We haven't seen each other in fifty years. She flew in from London yesterday.

Fifty years. That's a long time. She brought a little stack of brownish photos from boarding school in Switzerland. I was startled to see how young we looked. I mean, I knew we'd been 12 to 15 years old when we were there, but I didn't feel like a kid back then and neither did she. We'd seen some things. Experienced some things, I suppose, that made us feel grown up. Not the least of which was traveling all over Europe by ourselves. It never occured to me at the time that at twelve and thirteen I was, we were, little girls.

We were trouble, just the same. Trouble in an English boarding school tucked high in the Swiss Alps in the late '50s may be small potatoes compared to the shit kids are getting into nowadays, but we held up our end of the stick, outlaw-wise, as best we could. We even had to sign the Black Book. Something we all took giddy pride in. All of us who were at the infamous Midnight Feast.

Looking at those pictures, though, at those little faces, those purposely rumpled brown uniforms, scraggly striped ties, pony tails and bangs, was a bit of an eye-opener.

We spent the day remembering little things. The oddball choices of treats we would buy ourselves on the weekends. Condensed milk and sardines. Marmite and lemon curd. Merengues and black cherry jam. Not necessarily in that order, but often at the same sitting. Certainly at the Midnight Feast.

She's upstairs now, floating around after a lovely bath. I'm downstairs on the house broadband, candles lit all around the room, space music on the cable TV. I have to say I feel a bit rejuvenated. Just as I never knew how young I was, I'd have to say
now that I have no sense of how old I am. I don't feel at all old. I feel as if I could look in a mirror and see that scraggly tie and rumpled uniform and that innocent little face.

I guess the revelation is that I've always just felt like me. I'm exactly the same person I always was. There's something quite comforting in that.