Yesterday afternoon it occurred to me I hadn’t mentioned my friends–spending the night out, the spend-the-night parties, the trips together. I find that odd. I always had a best friend. I still keep up with my best friend from high school, from college, from law school. But I’m writing what pops up first, trying to remember at least one specific moment, what it felt like to be in my skin that year. The mood.

1974: My mother and I scream at each other as she watches me back out of the driveway with my three sisters in the car on the way to school. I’m taking lots of AP courses and doubling up on French. I study 3 hours a day. No sports. Over a weekend I go on a ski trip to North Carolina–I only have blue jeans and I freeze. I make what I look back on as one of the stupidest decisions in my life, that there’s no way I can go to my dream college in Vermont if I’m freezing in NC. Followed right up by another one… While I’m making a scrapbook for my boyfriend, my mother comes into my room, sees what I’m doing, and says, “You’re wasting baby pictures and it won’t even last.” I vow to prove her wrong. The clock radio spins Bennie and the Jets, Hooked on a Feeling, and Time in a Bottle into the darkness. Nixon resigns. That summer, we get our senior photos taken. On the weekend, I babysit or go on a date or spend the night with my best friend Susan. Senior year begins. I apply early decision to Davidson College because it’s the school most like Middlebury in the state of North Carolina. I get in and it doesn’t seem real. At home, we eat at the table. Four girls and one boy share two bathrooms, someone is always banging on a door, and despite college plans, I’m certain this will always be my life.

43 days to 60


Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver