Had hoped that having hubby home this evening might actually means some, gee I don’t know, conversation? But since that is not the case I will use this time to tell you about my run in with Robert Frost.
Let me back up, though. For those of you who don’t know, my Dad was a hellfire and brimstone type preacher man for most of his life. That means he kicked people in the spiritual stomach for a living, and occasionally, most notably the year he got kicked out of church league softball, the physical stomach as well. The consequences of this “career” included, but were not limited to, being run out of various small towns across the South. The lives of his wife and children were a kind of collateral damage along the way.
This is how I inexplicably found myself, having been forced to change schools midway through high school, in the school library during lunch time when I was 18. This is not the sort of place a teenager not in detention would normally be found. I was looking at the poetry books, which were covered in a thick layer of moon dust, and happened upon a collection of Robert Frost
Who rocks the Glee Club in a serious way. The Glee Club at my former school had done a performance of “Stopping by a Wood on a Snowy Evening,” with instrumental, not the a Capella version, and it was just amazing. The choir started off as individual mortals but somewhere around halfway through they were transformed into a chorus of heavenly beings, and that music with those words from Robert Frost, how could it not be good?
I YouTubed it, actually, and discovered some very fine examples of how it could not be good. You won’t get the same emotional experience as a live performance, but there is a random school doing the same version of the song here:
Anyway, I saw that book, remembered how moved I was by the choral performance, and checked it out.
Took it home to discover it was a SIGNED FIRST EDITION that had never been checked out, not once in more than fifty years.
Needless to say I kept the book. I was a closet poetry buff even then, and to hold in my hand something that old man Frost had held himself was just more than I could take in, it made my cerebral cortex tingle. Eventually I was told they wouldn’t release my diploma unless I returned it, not because they had any inkling of what sort of treasure it was, but because that is the policy in South Carolina. Don’t think too badly of them, y’all, money’s tight down there.
I did return the book, being 18 and full of desperate-to-get-out-of-this-small-town syndrome. I’m sure it’s been collecting dust in the sixteen years hence, but eventually someone else will pick it up and recognize it’s value. I hope the next kid has the courage to keep it!