Dashed dreams

I envy artists I know, they always seem to have something up their sleeve.  Call it creative genius if you like. Mostly it befuddles me, although I’ve grown to appreciate art more as I grow older.  Heck, I’ve even developed an appreciation for some ‘modern’ art, whatever that is…even sculpture.

Long ago, when I was an undergraduate, I got an A for a paper I wrote about one of Van Gogh’s paintings.  The professor told me I should major in art history, but being pragmatic, I stuck to coursework I thought would offer employment. I don’t think I made a mistake, because I discovered later that to break into the field and actually work for a museum or gallery, you must “know” someone. The closest I came was volunteer work locally.


A puddle of rain water

A puddle of rain water near the front step


My mother, who dreamed of becoming a poet when she was younger, once wrote a poem about a puddle of rain water.  Where I find puddles wet, she found them mysterious  When I went through her papers after she died at age 56, I discovered many things along with the poem:

1/ carbon copies of letters to movie stars, some with return letters and photos;

2/ letters to the local police chief explaining her movements (the police brought her home when she rambled off);

3/ copies of letters to her brothers to whom she expressed the fear my Dad was trying to kill her;

4/ rejection letters  for unpublished stories;

5/ copies of letters to various editors complaining about one political issue or another, some attached to clippings containing the printed letters.

Written when she was a teen, Mom kept her childhood poem for 40 years through dozens of moves around the US.  The closest she got to becoming a poet was to write pulp fiction on an old Royal typewriter, under an assumed name.

Because the puddle poem reminded me of the sadness and frustration of her life, lived with a dictatorial husband, before women believed they had choices, it made me sad.

Shortly after my Mom died, I divorced my first husband. Clearing out the house, in my grief, I tossed the poem out with many other papers, much to the chagrin of one of my aunts who read mom’s last story and “thought it a gem.”

Hold onto dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged butterfly that cannot fly. anon.

21 thoughts on “Dashed dreams

  1. My mother’s poems exist only in the lives of children she taught. At her wake I met a woman who was in the first grade class my mother taught in WWII. Mother had finished two years of college, but the rural school had been desperate for teachers. She loved that first teaching experience. It led to her finishing her degree after I was born and in school. She taught elementary students for the next 20 years.

    Your poignant post stirred so many memories. She and her older sister had worked to put themselves through college until the war turned their women’s college into a military training camp. When I was in third grade almost a decade later, my parents decided that her finishing college was a better investment than paying for life insurance. Later she earned her master’s while she was teaching. She fulfilled her dream of continuing her education beyond college.


  2. I’m sorry you tossed it, when cleaning out house. But I totally understand. I was an only child, and had to clean out the family home. It was an awful task. I even tore up and threw away my wedding gown, in that purge.

    Isn’t-that-awful?!? -sigh- Yes it is.

    Your photo is lovely……..



  3. Oh, you’re gonna think I’m a philistine; but my favorite class in college was art history too. The prof. turned on the slide projector, flicked off the lights. started droning on about … I don’t remember. I caught up on my sleep.


  4. You are sounding better if you can discourse about your mom. I so hope that your nose runeth less. I savedd my mother’s stuff…a bit drunken.
    Me, I have the blah’s. Uncharacteristic of me. QEII not well written. The only part that wasn’t dry was the chapter about Diana. The monuments men is a good read so far tho I have the feeling that I read it earlier. Darn it.


  5. I wish my mom had left such a colorful history for me. She kept all disappointments and hurts buried deep inside. I knew some of them from others, but never from her own hand. Too bad you don’t have your mother’s poem anymore.


  6. My favorite college class was art history, but at the time the idea of a career in that arena never occurred to me. But as you said, it probably would have led only to frustration and no job.


  7. That’s too bad you tossed out her writings. My newspaper columns have been preserved in plastic and filed in a 4 drawer metal filing cabinet in the master bedroom. My memoirs are in boxes in Maria’s old bedroom, now used as a storage room. Who knows what will happen to them after I die.


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