Saturday, May 24, 2008

"School's out for Summer" and a book review!

The old Alice Cooper song reverberates in this household this week - "School's out for summer, school's out forever!" I finished yet another year of first grade while Jennie graduated high school in a downpour!! It was the first rained out graduation that her high school has had in its 30 year history~! It has been "May Madness" around here as celebrated with proms, banquets and honor ceremonies and thrown in report cards, finals, field trips, birthdays and jobs!! At times we felt like our head was in a whirl but we didn't want to complain ~ our baby girl was graduating! After 5 graduations we are really finished.

Graduation turned out to be a very intimate thing. Due to a string of powerful thunderstorms and hail the school decided to move the ceremonies inside. They split the senior class into 2 groups and held one ceremony in the gymnasium and one in the auditorium. Due to seating capacity each senior got 3 tickets for family. After out of town family arrived we all pow-wowed and Jennie decided that she wanted just Rich and me there. It was somehow just the perfect decision - two of us were there when she was brought into this world in the operating room and now two of us were there, holding hands, and introducing her and ready to release her into the world! Meanwhile, back at the ranch, company was gathering and enjoying long visits and glad not to be out in the elements!! Typically graduation here means sitting in a football stadium on hard metal bleachers for several hours while 700 ( this was a very small graduating class compared to most years) students graduate. The temperatures are many times in the 100s even at 6:30!! Thursday night it was 60 degrees!! We wore winter sweaters and boots, slogged through the rain with our rarely used umbrellas and sat on padded seats in the auditorium. Rich actually said that this was his favorite graduation!!

As the week got busy or life felt wild and wacky I kept a book by my side that was like reading a poem. Love Walked in by Marisa de los Santos was the perfect companion for this wonky time. Each word was carefully chosen and it was a feast for my eyes and feelings. Cornelia, a manager of a coffee shop in Philadelphia, Clare, an eleven year old girl struggling with an unstable mother, and Martin Grace, a Cary Grant look-alike form a triangle of a relationship when their lives converge in the coffee shop. I read the book slowly after a recommendation from
Lesley's Book Nook.

My favorite passage was on page 190 and stemmed from a similar experience in my own life:

"But that's not what I did. What you have to remember is that I'd organized my life in such a fashion that I'd never had to take much responsibility for other people, for their well being or their whereabouts. I'd never had anyone to keep track of, so I'd never had anyone to lose, and if you've never had anyone to lose, you don't know the proper way to behave once you've found her. Which is just an excuse, of course, because although I didn't know, I could have imagined the proper way to behave."

When my son disappeared at SeaWorld 22 years ago I truly felt this way - this passage resonated with me and I kept going back to it so as not to forget the passion and the feelings. I don't think I've ever seen in print how my head felt when I had the experience. Kudos to an author who could do it! Terrific book, delicious writing - the perfect kick-off to a summer of reading!!! 4.75/5


Les said...

Congratulations on your daughter's graduation. It's been 6 years since mine graduated from high school, but I sure do remember those proud moments (as I did when she graduated from college).

Thanks for the mention of my book review. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the book as much as I did. Isn't she a fabulous writer?! I do hope she writes more about Cornelia and the rest of the cast of characters. Do read Belong to Me, if you get a chance. It's another winner.

Susan said...

I'm sure you're glad for summer vacation - I have to say I'm not. I'm all for year-round school :) Congratulations to your daughter - I wondered what schools would do for such a rainy graduation day. Anyway, I hope you enjoy your (much needed, I'm sure) vacation.

Are you loving this weather or hating it? I ADORE it.

Glad you enjoyed Love Walked In. I loved all the references to Cary Grant - my favorite classic movie star. The passage you quoted was a good description of losing a kid - I've been there, too, and there's no scarier experience for a mother.

Inside A Book said...

Les - your blog always leads me to a choice morsel of a book! I don't treat your opinion lightly, that's for sure.

The last one to leave the nest at our house is bittersweet. We are excited for her and ready for her to make her mark on the world yet we are a bit anxious that we have taught her enough, counseled enough, and enjoyed her enough here in our nest.

It may be awhile til I read de los Santos' next book, but it will be a delicacy when I do. Her writing was truly a treat! Thanks again!

Susan - We indeed loved this weekend. I know that it will be a 100 and bazillion before long so we are reveling in it now. It's weird that the AC didn't click on for three whole days and that we are sleeping with the windows open all weekend.

When our son was 2 1/2 someone took him from SeaWorld and he was missing for more than half the day. We were lucky enough to get him back as they closed down the whole park, but years later we were concerned that he may have been molested during that time. It was a horrible thing and I can remember feeling like there was a black cloud over me for weeks. I still am a nutcase on watching the children I am with whenever I go somewhere!!

Keep up your reviews as well, it's fun to see what you have on your plate. Gaye