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April 1, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

April Fools Society – fun 4 one

Amusing (say others) to be born on April 1.

But to have to share that same birthday, year after year, with an annoying older brother makes it even more fun!

Born in a time of starch, hair bows, white knee socks stretched into shiny black mary jane shoes, she really wanted to swing like Tarzan wild and free through the trees. More Hardy Boys than Nancy Drew. Desperate to become an archeologist with digs in Egypt or kivas in New Mexico – or a geologist and study rocks – both sedimentary, conglomerate, even fossils, – and marveled at layers of history pressed and compacted into hard little odd objects so easily held in hand….visions of volcanoes or pyramids or dusty exotic digs…

But – April Fool – not in this era….

Stay out of the sun to keep your face 2 shades paler than your hands.

A lady wears gloves and a hat to church.

A lady doesn’t sweat, she perspires.

A lady doesn’t run.

A lady doesn’t compete and try to win.

And a lady never ever wears pants.

That’s for the men.

To older brother you must defer. He gets to keep all his college texts – he’ll need them on his job.

Sell treasured textbooks in order to buy more. It’s not important to keep them. They won’t be needed.  Attend the university to simply gain culture, style, and a husband.

Now, Brother, he’s important, and will have a job to support a family.  He gets the new car.

Little slights to both daughters: constant reminders of the order of things.

A constant irritant never folded and put away with the ironing, year after year.

Socially acceptable pastimes, music recitals, chaperoned dances. Occasional flaunts with bobbed hair, tap dancing, and competitions with trophies for swimming and tennis.  Idolizing the scandalous Isadora Duncan. But once grown, no chance, but convention. If independent:  choose only teacher or nurse – no wish to be a secretary scurrying  to serve coffee, and attending to the boss’s beck and call. So, educator it is:

Queen of the classroom.

Just not the Nile.

So the years fell away, with summers to read, camp-outs in national parks with dreams of not going back.  To hike, picking up rocks to place in the pack. Examine them later , book by your side – maybe even give them a whack to see what’s inside.

Sometimes life gets in the way – and it doesn’t seem fair.  Always feeling like the brown sparrow that no one noticed.  The worker in the background, while others got the praise. Teaching wasn’t your first choice.  You were the only one who worked on the block – but you were the only one who went to  college and had a master’s degree.  And you knew how to drive!  At least there was that.

But mom, once teaching was done, just look, you traveled the world.  To Russia, to China – when both were just opening.  Up and down, around the globe.  Across the US and countries on each side.  It may not have been the “grande tour” as done in the Victorian style of the previous generation:  gracious and stylish with ornate passage trunks,  but you have to admit, everywhere you did fly.

So on this special day, April 1, I’ll just say

Society was the fool, not you.

Happy Birthday!

Carpe diem

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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