It was a long time ago

and I can remember some details of that Summer. (Referencing yesterday’s post.) I don’t know what Rita meant by “stupidity on Lexington Avenue, stupidity on the F train towards The New School etc….”  I can’t decipher some of her handwriting.

Every time I read that inscription I get annoyed that she added “Thoreau’s friend  under “R. Waldo Emerson” – as if I didn’t know who he was. How does one stay irked for 54 years?

According to history 1967 was the Summer of Love and The Long Hot Summer – I don’t think we were aware of all of that. Oh we were aware of race riots, war protests, San Francisco with flowers in your hair – but we were also oh so young.

I was 5 months away from my 21st birthday, Rita was maybe a year or two younger. We, both of us, were naive and cynical at the same time.

I was an over educated, blue collar class girl who didn’t fit into where she was from, working for a living in an upper class privileged environment where she didn’t belong.

Rita was an upper class, privileged girl working for the summer at a made-up-just-for-her job, courtesy of her parent’s connections, easily trading quips in French with some of the editors.

Oh, did I forget to say I/we were working at the Encyclopedia Americana? I was the clerical assistant to one of the senior editors. Rita was, well, occupying a desk in the same room as I, doing whatever they gave her to do.

Rita didn’t fluff off on the work but she knew it was just her parent’s way of getting her to see how the other half lives. I think she was rather bemused that someone, me, so close to her in age, had to actually work for a living, that I paid my own bills, that I went to a *gasp* community college at night.

I don’t remember which college Rita was going to, Columbia, Barnard – something along those lines. Somewhere pricey, high falutin, intellectual.

Hard to describe who I was at the time – idealistic, cynical, practical, pragmatic, sophisticated to a degree, naive and dewy-eyed, street-wise to a degree but also, oh-my-god is anyone that clueless.

Rita was a bleeding heart liberal, not really spoiled but, not someone who knew what it was like to live in the world I came from. She could talk the politics of the day – the war, the civil rights movement, social inequality but she never lived it. It hadn’t really touched her.

So what did we have in common besides our youth? Initially, I think that was all. Aside from the office boy, we were the only young people in the office. It was rather inevitable that we would become summer friends.

As for the stupidity Rita refers to, I can only imagine it was youthful hi-jinks. I always had a penchant for the silly and Rita was a very *serious* young woman. I guess I introduced Rita to the goofy, as well as the reality of how the other half lived.

I never saw or spoke with Rita after that summer, that I recall. It would be interesting to know what she did with her life.

12 thoughts on “It was a long time ago

    1. Yesterday’s post included a book inscription. In the comments Melissa said she thought I should write about that Summer – so, what- the-hey – I did.

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    1. I can’t even imagine what that might have been…jobs were very specialized, my senior editor was the only one with an “assistant”. But, you know, summer job for some muckety-muck’s kid…

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  1. I agree, it would be interesting to know what Rita did in her life! I give her credit for actually going to work if she didn’t need to because I’m pretty sure that there’s a lot of kids these days who wouldn’t do that.

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    1. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to find her – she’s pretty darn close to my age to she could be retired and living anywhere and who knows what her last name is now…

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    1. Thanks but I dashed it off, there was a rhythm going through my head for something else I wanted to write. it’s not good, I could do better but didn’t. I’m not happy with it.

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