The Ages of Carolyn
She grew up in the South, in the age of Jim Crow
In a town divided, no black friends did she know
She has her father's russet red hair and mother's walnut-brown eyes
The rarest combination, I surmise
She was a daddy's girl, at twelve he taught her to drive
She loved it and never felt more alive
At sixteen she left high school to marry
Which they all did then, it wasn't contrary
By the age of twenty she had a boy and two girls
One, born on the other side of the world
While she was living in the wild Azores
Then, in a time when it was a shock
And only gossip and humiliation it brought
She knew she wanted a different course
At twenty-one, she sought the divorce
So, with three toddlers to support
And no high school diploma-she went to work
Standing long days on small feet
In the muggy South Carolina heat
At twenty-five, with her friend on a double blind-date
She met the man who would change her fate
Their courtship was accelerated and sweet-
He proposed after only weeks!
His mother, however, did not see it that way
Her only son, her pride and joy, marrying a divorcee!
With three kids, no less - what would people say?
They had a quiet courthouse ceremony, no lavish presents
And spent their honeymoon night watching "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"
He adopted her children, all one and the same
So everyone shared the family surname
It was over four years before I came along
Named for one of her favorite Beatles songs
When she was thirty-six we moved to Great Lakes near Chicago
She was always cold there; she never liked the snow
During the Illinois years she lost her first three
Both girls teenage brides, her son to the Navy
And she was a grandmother before she was forty
She was thrilled when we got assigned to San Diego
She'll live the rest of her life in its warm glow
During the early years, when I learned to love all fruit
She loved purple polyester pantsuits!
But San Diego held a darker side
More and more alcohol my father imbibed
She could not have carried on
Had she not discovered Al-Anon
She tried to endure his silent ways and drunk nights
Until his infidelity extinguished her fight
At nearly fifty, during my senior year
She faced her second divorce, and not without fear
But also re-found her fun side, her love of dance
And had more than one flirtatious romance!
She might have re-married but decided against
She didn't need to be saved by a prince
For the next two decades she enjoyed her life
As her own person, not anyone's wife
But time is a thief, stealing her memories
So this is for her, her trove of stories
Now, I don't want you, or I, to see her through rose-colored glasses
When we misbehaved, she rarely gave passes
Once, in anger, she slapped my legs with a belt
But, worst of all, she had an Elvis painting - in felt!
She is my genesis, where my lives began
Both as an embryo, and as a woman.
Copyright © Michelle Faulkner | Year Posted 2018
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