Monday, August 2, 2010
#134 – A PLACE IN TIME
And there on the Sunset Hill House’s hill with Terri I am thinking how she looked when she was young and most boys fell in love with her. And then my mind is filled with Kitty, when I loved even the sound of her name. I would take Kitty to the Pioneer after one of the Saturday evening dances at the real Sunset Hill house where old ladies, none of them Jewish, would sit in a circle around the floor of the simple ballroom, looking at us with interest and sometimes disapproval. At these dances we were so bound up with each other that we forgot anyone was watching.
Once in the middle of a Saturday night dance there was a demonstration by a couple who did exhibition ballroom dancing, with acrobatic touches, on the summer resort circuit. She was a dark-haired woman with tight pale skin who could be quite old though she had this calendar girl body displayed in a spangled dress that left her back bare almost all the way down. He was a wily little man in a tight-fitting shiny tuxedo. Aliens in our families’ paradise. I knew the old ladies would be clicking their tongues. And maybe my contemporaries too. I thought the performance was pretty good, but could be better.
We never forgot what was going on outside between the waitresses and bell boys outside.
I am thinking now about the old Sunset and the old Pioneer, and then the small golf course with its old shingled clubhouse and caddy room. My mother learned to play golf there from a resident pro named Harry who was still around when Peter and I became caddies. We actually worked there as caddies for a few weeks one summer. Our jobs were arranged by our grandfather. Unlike the caddies from the village, we would work only half a day. Also, Gaga would match whatever we made.
Our Southern grandmother would send her friends down from the Sunset to hire Peter. It would give her friends a chance to hear his cute sayings.
The clubhouse has still not caved in. It is still in operation. I was aware during my brief caddying career that the golf course was where Mother first became aware of Dad. And now back at this very place again I speak to Gillian of how when our mother was young, she would spend her days playing round after round of golf, often by herself. In those distant summers long before I was born, when she was quartered in one of the Sunset cottages that her own Southern grandmother would rent. It was from this golf course that she first spotted our father. With Gillian I am starting out on this historic hill, where I started out on my first trip over in the summer. On this hill thinking of the lonely girl who would become my mother seeing a lonely boy in a pony cart riding up the hill and along past the fairway.
All time periods seem to take place at the same time. Here on this hill, stressing with my life and other people’s lives.
And now on this objectively calm day it as if there is thunder in the air and flashing lights and whirling winds, and steaming hot and freezing cold and I am outside it all, but also inside.