Tuesday, August 25, 2009


"Hi, my name is Shelly and I'm a freshman from Streetor, Illinois."

"Hi, my name is Britney and I'm a freshman, too, from Springfield."

The room is filled with girls in their late teens wearing make-up that says "I'm trying to look older," but doing just the opposite. I feel nostalgia for the person I was at their age: determined, dedicated, but ambivalent.

I have more in common with my professors than my classmates. I won't be partaking in the campus-wide water fight later on this evening. A course syllabus rests on my nightstand. I don't want to be twenty again. Couldn't be. It's strange to be wading the same waters, revisiting the eddies of adolescence, if only from the water's edge.

Tomorrow I will attend my first classes and step out into the fray. Let's hope I can keep my head above water and my feet on the ground.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Death By Anticipation

If it were possible, I'd be six feet under by now.

Days before I start school: SIX!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer at Camp Mighty

The girls finished school at the beginning of June and soon thereafter began swimming lessons at Dunlap High School. There they were taught every stroke from breast to butterfly by a collection of mostly male soon-to-be seniors. Well, you'd have thought they were being taught by the cast of High School Musical given the awe with which they regarded their instructors. Conversations on arriving at the pool were often like this:

"Where's Nathan? Oh, there he is!"

"He's my teacher, not yours!"

"I can still look for him."

On graduation I promised the girls a trip to Claire's to chose a small trinket. After much deliberation, Mouse settled on a collection of fluorescent spiky earrings that looked much like a cluster of neurons trapped in the eighties. Emma circled the store once, twice, ten times before finally pausing before the ear piercing station. She called me over.

"Are you sure?" I asked.


Minutes later the deed was done: Emma the Brave, the girl who once swore she would never get her ears pierced, was sporting a pair of cubic zirconia studs from her lobes — and smiling.

It is hard to believe but, in a mere three days, the girls will be back to school. From the precipice of June third, summer seemed never-ending. I remember wondering how I would ever fill the time. And then, one by one, we took in the area attractions: the Peoria Zoo, Wildlife Prairie Park, Detweiller Park, Kellogg 9-hole Pitch and Putt, the library, Lakeview Aquatic Centre and Museum, Safety Town, and Princeville Pool. There were still more kid-friendly attractions that we haven't been able to squeeze in, but then summer isn't really over for over a month.

When the Colonel and Mighty Mum came to visit we took in a Peoria Chiefs game and initiated the girls to the national pastime. Now when asked if they root for the Cubs or the Cardinals, they answer, "The Chiefs." Talk about supporting the home team!

After two weeks in Canada, returning to P-town felt like coming home. One set of neighbours had cut our lawn and kept my herbs alive while another had collected our mail. My bed had never felt so comfortable, nor my coffee so smooth. It was good to be home, no matter where home happened to be. After Geneva, is it possible to be happy in P-town? The answer is yes.