Wednesday, September 14, 2016

18: Tom

It’s not here, so’s on the desktop of a different MacBook, what I’m looking for, the full script of “Our Town”. This morning for my 81st birthday I meant to re-read Emily Webb Gibbs’ visit on her first day in the grave, to the morning of her twelfth birthday. Strongly recommended against by her cemetery peers, even this experience, selected over memorable days as a most ordinary day of life, proves too much for Emily, who dashes back to eternity in tears. When my time comes, I'm nevertheless going back to visit September 14, 1953 and watch my parents drive away.

Some of Emily’s lines I halfway remember — "Mother Gibbs, the inheritance you left us, George used it to install a modern watering trough for the livestock." Apparently the modern watering trough keeps the water full and fresh for the animals. But mainly for me, Emily excitedly, "Mother Gibbs, we have a Ford, and it never gives any trouble." This is 1913, remember, in Thornton Wilder’s play, and from the very first time I saw it on the stage of Bay High auditorium an evening of my junior year, would have been 1951 or 1952, my mind conjures up a Model T Ford touring car, “black,” Henry Ford said, you can have “any color as long as it’s black.” OK, green. Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, and the Narrator tells us in Act 3 that there are a few cars in town now, scaring the horses -- 


This morning I’m turning 81 around to become 18, and my eighteenth birthday my parents delivered me to the boys' dorm North Hall on campus at Gainesville to begin my freshman year at the University of Florida. The first day of the rest of my life, when the computer lists (those IBM punch card days) Weller, Thomas C., Jr. and calling the roll the professor blessedly called out “Thomas Weller.” I claimed my birthright, reclaimed the name Tom Weller that my mother had forbidden me twelve years earlier, September 1941, the night before my first day of first grade at Cove School. Mama said, “No, it can’t be Tom, because in high school I had a boyfriend named Tom and your daddy still hates him.” It must be Carroll.

Instead of some deep profundity about life, this is what the mind does on the day I’m entitled to turn 81 around and be 18 again for a moment. Free at last, free at last, no longer a boy named Sue, a college freshman emancipated from parental oversight, renamed by my college and myself as Adonai renamed Abram Abraham and Jacob Israel, never to be reined again.

Moon last night about bedtime.


So what else is new?


DThos+ in +Time+ 

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