Because all experiences are valuable.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Falling Back Again

"Surprising and interesting, insightful, tiring and a wee bit strange."-
Variety Magazine Insider calls Sylace's day today an "overall winner!"

If only we got headlines and sparkling reviews for our lives, eh? Today I got a small hint of my near future, spending all day in Gainesville at two colleges and several banks...having lunch, talking to Guy and his dad and their friend, John. Meeting a fellow Agnes Scottie disguised as Guy's college admissions officer was a highlight and seems like a helpful thing, too, as we are behind in our document filing. If I used the acronym OAC a while back (outrageous and climbing), I think our efforts at getting all Guy's forms properly filed might be termed PAF (pathetic and falling).
I jest; I think we will get it all done by the skin of our teeth.

Skin of our teeth? That's a strange one. I like to research and understand the origins of some of our unusual sayings, but that one is too weird even for me. Moving on!

I know I've mentioned my dad several times. I think sometime I should share some of the darker episodes in my history with Dad, but today I was thinking about when I was very little. My father was a professor of Foreign Languages at the Citadel in Charleston, SC until I was about 8 years old. Fall was an intensely exciting season. Time for the Cadets to return and the Plebes to arrive. My sisters and I always spent a lot of time on the Citadel Campus in the summer, running around the azalea gardens, statues, and cannons, but come fall, my beloved playground became the province of the big boys once again. Away went the "play clothes" of summer, back came the dresses, hair ribbons, and leather shoes for private school.

One of the best memories was the return to the parade grounds of the Corps of Cadets. I still love the Citadel uniform above all others...and the iconic South Carolina state flag- the Palmetto State. Saturdays, we would perch at the top of the stands and watch the Parade in Review, and when we got bored, my sisters and I would sneak off down under the stands to play silly games and peek through visitors feet when something exciting seemed to be happening. Then Dad would take us to the battery to look at the harbor and Rainbow Row, and sometimes we might get a praline. (Usually it was McDonald's sundaes, though, on the way home) It was generally Mom's day to go grocery shopping or run errands W.U.G. Without Us Girls.
Three girls under the age of four. I'm sure that wasn't uncommon back then, but we were pretty darn smart and more than that, all incredibly strong-willed and strong-minded.

My Dad had a routine. He was, after all, a military man, Army Air Corps then regular Army, then South Carolina Militia and Citadel Captain. I think he would have been a Major if we had stayed, but Mom didn't really take to military life, especially the strictured and judgmental Charleston way. We would eat Shakey's Pizza almost every Friday night, and Kentucky Fried Chicken almost every Sunday afternoon. Those were Mom's time off from making meals. Shakey's had the glass inset doors that looked like multi-colored bottle bottom rings, and the diamond-paned windows. I loved Friday night, and Dad would laugh, and Mom would smile. There wasn't quite enough of that to go around for the whole week, but, as childhoods go, I think I had everything. More than anything, I can't tell you how much my parents loved me. A whole lot.

Fall, getting ready for college, watching the Drumline and Band take the marching field again, keeping a small sweater in my bag because I get cold easily, the smell of textbooks and markers...it all approaches so stealthily, and then, snap, it is there. This fall is shaping up to be OAC for sure. I'm excited.

And I think of my friends, who didn't have the kind of love and support, even in the midst of the emotional chaos I grew up in, that I had. He didn't go to Shakey's, he lined up chairs so he could walk across them with the pot to make mac and cheese to eat alone, she had a mother who told her that her father was the Devil and kept her from seeing him, another got terrorized for leaving rubber bands on the floor, another shamed into catatonic silence for missing a math problem on a test. Others inappropriately touched, or downright neglected.

Here's what I want to tell them...that you can share my fall, we can make our own fantastic memories, and that I love you all, a whole lot.


  1. You knew I'd have to look it up! Too curious and OCD...

    From the Book of Job, Ch 19 verse 20:
    "My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped WITH the skin of my teeth.'

    Since teeth, like finger and toenails, are one of the few skinless parts of the body, the writer of that particular portion of the Bible obviously meant something done by a margin so narrow as to be non-existent.

  2. Although we have talked of much of the history above many times, and I have loved the stories and imagery you created, I've never seen it put to print. There's always such a difference of thought and feeling when we write it down. You really took me There. And you really got me the boiling pot of water across the chairs (Just stop - you had me at Mac & Cheeese!). I really admire the Mind and the Soul that can find gratitude in the most difficult of places and circumstance. I know of your Dad well. I can imagine, as you know, though my was a different version. I marvel of how you have turned out, the human you chose to become, and I envy your capabilities.

    Before I put you up on an actual pedestal - nicely done.