Drink in your summer, gather your corn

I went under the house last month and found my childhood “memory box” swimming in mildew. After we four children moved out of my parents’ home, my mother gave us each a cardboard box filled with report cards, art work, school pictures, letters from camp, family photos, newspaper clippings, etc.. One per child. Jeff, Julie, Joan, John.
jeff, julie, joan, john

My box traveled with me from college to my first apartment, to Charlotte to teach, to Durham and a house full of runners, to a storage unit, then back to Chapel Hill for graduate school and more running … but I never actually opened this box marked, “childhood” until my first daughter was curious: “What were you like as a kid, Mommy?” I showed her my straight-A’s and told her that McDonald’s once gave out cheeseburgers for every A on a report card. I showed her the science fiction story I wrote in 4th grade titled, “Trapped in Lamaracus” where the main characters enter a machine with two doors marked “life” or “death.” (oooh, deep). I showed her a photo of my first love, Dale Busby, and lots and lots of pictures of my life-long love … running. I was sad to see the mold taking over this shot of me with Carlton Frazier – fastest 400m man in the state, 1980. Carlton was my idea of what a great runner should look like … unbelievably smooth, graceful, like a god. Carlton was talent; I was grit. He ran 47.36 and I never broke 60.

carlton frazier

But I could be counted on to run my rock-steady 62 on the 2nd leg of the mile relay. My senior year we got 4th at state with Angela Boyce, me, Lisa Blakeney, and my other track hero, Sandra Carter. Here we are – fuzzy in the photo, but oh-so-clear in my memory – holding the stick for East Meck.
mile relay
I wonder what these gals are up to now? Do they remember me? Are pictures of our relay team growing moldy in their basements? Lately, time is playing tricks on me. Last week I had the baton in my hand for a 400m at age 45 … some, 27 years after this photo was taken … and my 64-second relay split wasn’t that far-off my high school best … just two little seconds …yet almost a billion seconds have passed since the state meet in 1980 (851,472,000 seconds if I did the math right) and I feel like I am swimming in mildew.


(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Yes, star crossed in pleasure the stream flows on by
Yes, as we’re sated in leisure, we watch it fly

And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me
And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me

Time can tear down a building or destroy a woman’s face
Hours are like diamonds, don’t let them waste

Time waits for no one, no favors has he
Time waits for no one, and he won’t wait for me

Men, they build towers to their passing yes, to their fame everlasting
Here he comes chopping and reaping, hear him laugh at their cheating

And time waits for no man, and it won’t wait for me
Yes, time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me

Drink in your summer, gather your corn
The dreams of the night time will vanish by dawn

And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me
And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me

No no no, not for me….

2 thoughts on “Drink in your summer, gather your corn

  1. Hieronymus

    Funny, I just had to do something similar. My wife demanded that I remove some materials that, it turns out, had been hanging around for more than a decade! So, I put ’em in my basement “Footlocker o’ Mem’ries.” Tried not to spend too much time lingering, but it is ALWAYS strange to revisit past versions of one’s life.

    In college, I was a lefty libertine.
    In the army, I was an off-beat professional.
    Grad skool found me a reationary right-winger (academia really has gone whack-o, though).
    And now I find myself well along in the role of parent, a path that I swore I would never take, and I find that I love it!

    The box contains all of this–letters and writings dating back to adolescence; collegiate musings; military missives; photos of long-lost friends and lovers. I know the box is there, yet now is not the time to review it–or cull it.

    Your warning re:mildew, however, may require some inspection.

    Also: your photos are a little more interesting than mine!

  2. joan

    au contraire, Monsieur H.!

    EVERYone’s photos are interesting.
    Mlle. Voyeur

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