Tuesday, April 13, 2010
#93 – WINNING PLACE
I wondered that I was so focused on New Hampshire, scene of what had been perfect summers, beauty all around, a gang of kids with whom I was popular, something I could not explain, any more than I could explain why I could pick up an actual baseball bat and hit an actual baseball into the distance when we put together a game of one o’ cat in New Hampshire but at home in Connecticut one of the many reasons I was always the last boy chosen when two captains picked the teams – even when my brother was one of the captains – was that I could never hit a ball anywhere, and was so bad at catching and throwing that they always sent me to the loser’s position, right field, which to them meant right field was not covered.
And in what would have been the high school years if people in that family did not always go to boarding school, that too was in New Hampshire, our boarding school not in the White Mountains but in the more gentle lake country an hour’s drive to the south, where I experienced first love first with a girl named Sandie from our sister school, which actually was in the White Mountains, and who in the winter taught me French kissing in the shadows there. And also in the lake country discovering that girls could like me was not the whole story for it was also where, away from family except for my lurking brother I found I was so far from being retarded, as it sometimes seemed at home, that I was smarter and more charming than the chosen one, my brother.
My penultimate first love. For the next summer I had another first love, this girl Kitty I met at a swimming place near a golf course and with whom I thought I would spend my life.
Nothing like that in Connecticut until vacations at home in Weston when Kitty was at home in Greenwich and what had been there in the White Mountains was back again. But it was night and day, the Connecticut version and New Hampshire. The people in my parent’s generation seeming to have so little that was like the people in the generation before theirs.
Though I did keep thinking it might be better than I realized in Connecticut. A few years later when I was in my mid twenties and home from foreign adventures I had taken up in the city with this girl who oozed fulfilled accessible sex, Janice Marsh, who was married to a friend of mine, and we were linked in trysts from the old Henry Hudson Hotel to Shelter Island to mundane Stuyvesant Town, to, when traveling for what seemed like the inevitable abortion, San Juan in a hotel with gambling in what had been a convent.
And I had had this strange vision that Judy Blood would fit in with my careful Connecticut parents, though all the three of them has in common was drinking that verged on alcoholism. I pictured Judy coming down to breakfast, though my parents were now in a tiny house near their former big house, this one with no upstairs to come down from, the strange picture of her entering the kitchen – saying hello with that intensely seductive smile – while great cooking was in progress – not the cooking actually found there, those hardened scrambled eggs to be washed down with percolator coffee that had had gone intensely bitter and bad almost the moment it was made.
Memories of Connecticut in the deep past when, although I was unpopular, I always had a few close fiends, strangely most of them from the popular group, and I had adventures in woods and on water that placed me where I wanted to be, almost – though all of it overshadowed by what was there far to the north down beneath mountain peaks among those rocky fields in grandiose family compounds that were from a world so rare it was hard to grasp – everything that happened up there in the White Mountains overshadowed anything that could ever happen in Connecticut.