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Luther's Daughter

Posted February 21st, 2011 at 09:53 AM by chas

“Or would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar?
And be better off than you are?
And all the monkeys out in the zoo,
(Everyday you’ll meet quite a few)
So you see it’s all up to you;
You could be better than you are--
You could be swinging on a star!”
--Bing Crosby, Swinging On A Star
Reprised by Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello in Hudson Hawk

She was magnificent.

Even in liberal, gentle Beloit College, Wisconsin in 1969, there was a bane of freshmen everywhere—the Eight O’clock Class. Only defenseless freshmen, just out of high school, would have put up with them. Here were teens away from home and independent for the first time in their lives, not getting much sleep anyway, suddenly forced to act civilized at what was for them the crack of dawn, after partying or exploring other things most of the night. I was lucky to take Government 100 from the motherly Mrs. M., who said to us sleepy kids on our first morning together, as we stumbled into old wooden desks, blinking half conscious out at the world: “Don’t worry. I’ve got coffee in the urn in my office across the hall, and I’ll lecture for the first hour until you wake up. Then we can discuss things.” God Bless her! But that’s not who I’m talking about.

There was a girl in class who spoke up that first day, with informed opinion on current events and an assured style of speaking, with the light of soulful intelligence in her eyes. She was cute, too. Wow! And afterwards at lunch time in the cafeteria, there she was again, by herself. Before I knew what had hit me, I was right next to her on line, complimenting not her cuteness, but her effectiveness as a speaker. Home run. I was welcome to join her for the meal!

I was surprised to discover she was as nervous as I was getting to know a new person, and also (she put it right out there) engaged, with a ring on her finger. When I continued my interest, she continued to warm up to me. Pow! (Sorry, I’m a teenager here). It turned out that she was a local Wisconsin girl, whose family had barely been able to send her, the eldest of four girls, to college. She’d scrimped and saved too, and to her I was an exotic foreign New Yorker. Together we joined the Christian Fellowship on campus, which was made up of mostly high energy Preacher’s Kids (PKs). She was the daughter of a Lutheran Minister. They were in the Wisconsin Synod—the more liberal of the uncompromising Lutherans, the ‘Catholics of the Protestants’. They sang hymns like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” When old Martin Luther was nailing his thesis up on that Renaissance Era church door to start the European Reformation, this babe would have been right there holding the bag of nails and handing him the hammer.

But I was the one who’d been hit over the head. One thing led to another, and a few days later after a visit to my room (separated in a two room suite shared with a roomie--who considerately got what he needed the next day from our closet on my side of the door and departed--she went back to her own dorm early the next morning for appearances sake only. But it was clear that she was trying to escape the marriage, and needed a push to do so.

Months later, when we were a legitimate couple, she swallowed a pineapple spine at her birthday party, and I stayed up all night with her until the clinic would open in the morning. At breakfast, although she as usual disagreed with my suggestion of a swallow of milk to coat her stomach, she gave in, weakened by pain, and she was instantly cured after eight hours of torment. Late at night where she working an on campus job as the switchboard operator in the administration building, I’d come and pick her up and walk her home I had eventually nurtured her right out of her engagement, being a not disinterested party.

Love is wonderful. I had been one of the more mature kids before this. Now I was so busy being hypnotized, I failed Geology. So what—I’d take it again. During our time together, we’d meet each other’s families. One term when she was not on campus at all in our progressive tri-semester schedule of the old Beloit Plan, I missed her so much on the phone that she jumped on the bus and came down to visit. She also joined me for a work term in New York City, where I got to share my world with her.

All the world is aglow when you’re part of the right kind of couple. I wouldn’t trade it for all the tea in China. I don’t think I’ve ever really fallen out of love with anyone. We’ve just been separated in time and space. To get through this world, you need all the hugs you can get.
Total Comments 3


tcglkn's Avatar
hmmm... Maybe I should read more of your blogs. This was a good read.
Posted February 21st, 2011 at 10:54 PM by tcglkn tcglkn is offline
Chardar's Avatar
I enjoy all of your blog posts, but this one is probably your best yet, aside from "the taste of soap".
Posted February 21st, 2011 at 11:35 PM by Chardar Chardar is offline
chas's Avatar
Thanks, guys--its good to get some feedback once in a while. I'm both tickled and charred to hear from you.

Feel free to read further...
Posted February 22nd, 2011 at 04:25 PM by chas chas is offline
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