Once Upon A Time Past,

For The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #69
http://sundaywhirl.wordpress.com/

Once Upon A Time Past

Anonymous, or so we thought.
Three middle-aged students
sitting in narrow alcove,
adjacent to Women’s Center.

Spinning slightly subversive
(perhaps warped) ideas, as lacy
cigarette smoke curves like misty
swirling maps toward high ceiling.

Ricochet of well-known chunky
heels reverberates through wide,
empty corridor. Silence reigns
as we await her passage.

She smiles, nods, takes two more
steps, stops and turns back,
“You know, I always worry a bit
when I see the three of you
huddled together, laughing.”

We listen to dwindling footsteps,
suddenly flooded with realization
that we are no longer
invisible.

Elizabeth Crawford 8/12/12

Notes: The woman on my right was the first appointed student director of The Women’s Center. The one on my left was the appointed liaison between the Center and the Dean’s office. I had been hi-jacked by those two to become the first volunteer student Advocate for the Center. The ‘she’, in the poem, was the Dean of the University we attended. When Brenda’s list appeared in my email, I saw the word alcove and was immediately lost in the memory.

About a year later, the dean called me to the stage on Honors Day to present me with the honors award for both the History and English departments. Holding my hand, so I couldn’t walk away, she announced to the waiting audience, which included my Mother, two sisters, and my children, that she had “seen Elizabeth playing cribbage in the Peer Support Office,” but, after seeing my GPA, would not recommend that anyone invite me to play poker. I squirmed, but laughed along with all the others.

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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23 Responses to Once Upon A Time Past,

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Oh but this is a lovely way to remember your glory days. Please, what is a GPA? My wordle also took me down memory lane.

    Viv, a GPA is ones Grade Point Average. Actually, I admired the Dean very much. She was a tough lady, but also knew what she wanted and how to get it. I had a few encounters with her and was always surprised that she seemed to know so much about those of us who were no longer invisible, lol. She eventually let her hair down and bummed a cigarette on occasion. And memory lane contains the whole story, ain’t it great?

    Elizabeth

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  2. vivinfrance says:

    PS that last line is a superb summation of the growing up process!

    PPSS I was pushing forty at the time, some of us grow up far more slowly than others. Thanks for stopping by,

    Elizabeth

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  3. Rinkly Rimes says:

    I would have dearly loved a photograph!

    Lol, so would I!

    Elizabeth

    Like

  4. Irene says:

    That last stanza is very interesting, Elizabeth.

    Thank you, Irene. We were women from that final generation who had been programmed to fear/respect all authority figures. And here was one of those figures letting us know that she saw the same potential and power in each of us. It was a stunning moment of awareness. One that has obviously remained and kept its place of importance. The Dean was a fantastic role model for all of us, coming, as she did, into our newly awakened awareness of the Women’s Movement.

    Elizabeth

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  5. drpkp says:

    Oh – this one really touched me to tears – beautiful and incredibly poignant

    PKP, thanks but not sure I understand. It was meant to make you smile, maybe even laugh out loud. The foibles of being human and the telling of them is usually meant to express just that. We were all middle-aged women, some of us still housewives and mothers, yet somehow thought we could take on such responsibilities without being noticed. Our experiences on campus had opened our eyes to a much larger world, yet we were stunned to know that world was even remotely aware of us. We thought of ourselves as anonymous, blending in, and the Dean let us know that was not the case at all. Her remark was made with a large grin on her face. She was enjoying the moment and our surprise.

    ELizabeth

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  6. What fabulous memories. How proud you must have felt and, so deserved too. Lovely memories.

    Thank you Daydreamer. Stunned is how I felt. That first moment of knowing one might actually own a bit of power, was very scary to me. As well as confusing. It really altered the way in which I saw myself. Truth be told, I could understand how it might be aimed at my two compatriots and it took a while to absorb that I was a part of all of that. It took much longer to own the fact that I had earned it. It was a daring time in my existence, but far more of a learning one as well,

    Elizabeth

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  7. anl4 says:

    I like your memory. The words did take you to a “memory place”, didn’t they.

    Yes, Annell, they certainly did. Although I knew that the incident was what I had been led to write about, it was a bit difficult to use these particular words in the process. But then, I’m sure you understand that, my friend,

    Elizabeth

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  8. brenda w says:

    Thank you for the story, Elizabeth. I do so enjoy your memory work, and I love the exposure you recognize at the end. Well done.

    Brenda, you nailed it. Until that moment, I think I was simply playing with and enjoying my friends. Doing the things we were most interested in doing, those things we most cared about and were concerned over. Oh, they were important enough to continue, but I could no longer duck and disappear. Thanks my friend,

    Elizabeth

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  9. 4joy says:

    the meeting and memories must have warmed your hearts so…..nice write, espec. where it’s true!

    Thank you 4joy. It was difficult to turn the incident into anything poetic, but the words led me there, so I had to try. Still not sure that I managed it, but it has been more than satisfying to try,

    Elizabeth

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  10. Marianne says:

    I love how one word triggered a memory. Thanks for sharing! “Lacy cigarette smoke curves like misty swirling maps toward high ceiling” is a spectacular image!

    Marianne, I had some misgivings about those lines, but when I mentioned it to my daughter, she said that was her favorite part and I should leave it alone. Sometimes I actually listen,

    Elizabeth

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  11. pmwanken says:

    LOVE the poem and thank you for including the notes at the end.

    I especially liked how you started and ended on the same note, so to speak.

    Funny you should mention that Paula. Before beginning, I knew what I wanted to write about and knew how I would begin and end it. It was that large blank space in the middle that had me worried. It often goes that way. Thanks for commenting,

    Elizabeth

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  12. When I was younger, I thought I was invisible too. Especially at school. It always surprised me when I teacher remembered me. Funny how little we think we matter at that age.

    For some of us, it can be any age. Thank you Annette, for sharing a piece of your story and for understanding,

    Elizabeth

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  13. markwindham says:

    wonderful weaving of the wordle into memories. Well done.

    Thank you Mark, and weaving is a good word. I liked the fire you created,

    Elizabeth

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  14. Mama Zen says:

    This made me smie.

    Glad to hear that, Mama Zen. I went to your site, but couldn’t get to your comment section. Sorry, maybe next time,

    Elizabeth

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  15. JulesPaige says:

    Not being Ms. Popularity – I always thought I was quite invisible, especially in High School. I really do like that last stanza. Makes you think about who is observing you when you are people watching.
    Thank you for a great comment on my piece. You waxed poetic in the first sentence and I might just have to borrow it (that is If I may…)
    “A wizard with the burnt smell of power whispering after his footsteps.”

    Jules, I was neither the most popular, nor a complete unknown. Yet, I never thought of myself as a mover and shaker. And of course you may use the line, it was what passed through my mind as I read your most recent chapter. I find what you are doing with the words very creative.

    Elizabeth

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  16. Laurie Kolp says:

    You’ve painted a lovely picture here, Elizabeth… and captured the real life essence of humanity.

    Thank you very much Laurie, memories can be startling things,

    Elizabeth

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  17. I love the scenario you lay open before our eyes. I thought your use of words was spectacular, especially in the second stanza.

    Those are generous words and I thank you much for them,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  18. TheOthers1 says:

    I liked this. A memory (a good one from how it read) made into great poetry.

    Glad you enjoyed. It is a good memory and I needed it today, needed to just let it take me where I needed to be. Memory can be a great friend,

    Elizabeth

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  19. I love this poem and miss having friends like that.

    These are my favorites:

    “Spinning slightly subversive
    (perhaps warped) ideas, as lacy
    cigarette smoke curves”

    “Ricochet of well-known chunky
    heels”

    This stanza gave me the biggest smile:
    “She smiles, nods, takes two more
    steps, stops and turns back,
    ‘You know, I always worry a bit
    when I see the three of you
    huddled together, laughing.'”

    And the closing is excellent as well. Great work. 🙂

    So glad you enjoyed it. And yes, friends are wonderful. I especially seek them out when I need laughter. They seldom fail me, and thanks for your very generous comments,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  20. Mary says:

    I love this poem, Elizabeth. It gives a wonderful picture of you. You seem like such a ‘subversive,’ LOL, and this makes me smile. We do have to have coffee someday & share stories. I haven’t written a Wordle this week (my mind is off somewhere) but if you have time to stop here, I would appreciate it. Maybe YOU could identify as well!

    http://inthecornerofmyeye.blogspot.com/2012/08/morning-walk.html

    Oh Mary, thanks for the link. I more than identified my friend. Absolutely loved those photos, but then you knew that I would. And yes, I’d love to sit down for coffee with you and all the stories. My car has been acting up and I have no clue when I will be able to take it beyond the city limits. Just keeping my fingers crossed at the moment. Thanks again for sharing your walk and the heron with me,

    Elizabeth

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  21. Oh I love this story, Elizabeth. I can SEE the wide smile of the Dean, and, frankly, everyone needs to “worry” when a few women with much life wisdom get to cackling together………..

    Sherry, I couldn’t agree more, my friend. I am fairly certain that was one of the many things she was trying to get us to understand that day. I’m glad the memory refused to be pushed aside. It brought so much with it, including this piece of story,

    Elizabeth

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  22. PJF Sayers says:

    A wonderful memory you have shared with us here, Elizabeth. I forgot this was a wordle, that is good when that happens.

    Pamela

    Thank you Pamela, I would have liked to forget that it was a wordle, as well, lol. Some days they are difficult and frustrating, then others they are so simple, and completed with ease. That might be why we keep doing them?

    Elizabeth

    Like

  23. teri says:

    Like Rinkly I would love a photograph. But then you have painted it perfectly with your words. Perfectly!
    As always thanks for stopping by my place.

    Like

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