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Wednesday, December 31, 2014


My mother finished high school.

There was a photo of her fellow graduates
   -- Milton Grove School, Class of 1924 --
      three girls in white dresses,seated,
      and behind them, standing,
      four boys, soberly attired
      in unaccustomed suits and ties

It hung on the wall of my parents'
bedroom, testimony to her
first-one-in-her-family achievement.

Twenty-three years later, when I was
about to begin my own venture
into the "realms of academe,"
(a phrase she had learned
from her favorite teacher,
Mr. Becker), she pointed me
to the photograph and recited
the names of her classmates
along with a brief biography
of each, ending with . . .
"and now she . . . and now he . . ."
followed by a description
of their current station in life.

She was especially proud
of Adam, who, she said,
was now living in Japan, employed
as a teacher. The point of her
review was clear to me
and required no further explication.
School, I saw, was my passport
to possibilities undreamed of.

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