Carol Craig 9/32 ~10/5/60
Dudley Craig 10/11/59 ~ 10/5/60
No, I don't even know my mother's birthday.
I've been reading the two letters I have, two letters that she wrote to my (paternal) grandparents from the house on Vero Beach at which this picture was taken, mailed together on April 25, 1960. I found them in my grandmother's attic decades later. Long, chatty letters in which she describes what we were all up to, laments some of the challenges of young motherhood, anticipates summer at home in Ohio, and reveals herself to have been a thoughtful and articulate young woman with a gift for self-expression:
"One of the things I really miss here [in Florida] is the freshness of spring. Sometimes I think that's what a lot of the alcoholics here need ~ a change of season to sort of cleanse and re-charge their souls and spirits."
I wonder, sometimes, who she would have become. She would not even have been fifty when we all finished college; I imagine her returning to school herself, reveling in the opportunity to study. She and my dad had been planning a permanent move to Florida; maybe she would have become a master gardener, or a teacher, or a photographer, or a writer. She had a beautiful singing voice; she would have been overjoyed to hear my daughter sing.
And Dudley, who might he have been? No clue at all. What if we kids had grown up on the beach, instead of in the midst of corn and soybean fields? Would the two of us still here be different people?
And me, now? My mother would be 81. Would she have come here and stayed for weeks after Josh died? Would we be talking on the phone every day? Would I be looking for a way to move to Florida ( Would I have ever left?) to live nearby and help her out?
What if we could have just skipped this particular day in 1960?