Monday, March 14, 2016

Four Family Friends

These four people were a very important part of my childhood in the 1940s. Both couples lived in Scotia, N.Y. The Leighs lived in the house next door, (which we had rented before we bought 316 First Street) and the Hansens lived down the street. (I remember being impressed by their thrift (and the way they spent 
easy time together) when my mother told me 
that they took an evening walk together 
to the library to read the newspaper, 
thus saving the cost of a subscription.  
We all went to church together every Sunday, 
first to the LDS Branch in Albany 
and later to the Schenectady LDS Branch.

Left to right, Henry Leigh, Joan Cooley Leigh (originally from Bountiful, Utah) Evelynn Sylvester Hansen (originally from Southern Utah near Monroe) and Burns Hansen. 
My mother probably took the slide,
perhaps in Utah, in a house I do not recognize.

The men were young engineers who had come east 
to Schenectady to work for General Electric, like my father. 
Both couples transferred back to Utah after several years, 
but we kept in lifelong touch, 
and visited whenever we could. 

The man in the white shirt is Burns Hansen, my first love.
His kind attention was ever available; I never saw him lose
his temper or even get annoyed. I planned to look 
for a husband just like him, since he was already taken.

Skating Backwards 
is also the title of my poetry manuscript in progress.


Sometimes my life opened its eyes in the dark.
A feeling as if crowds moved through the streets
in blindness and angst on the way to a miracle
while I, invisible, remain standing still.

Like the child who falls asleep afraid
listening to his heart's heavy steps.
Long, long until morning slips its rays in the locks
and the doors of darkness open.

Tomas Transtromer
                                        translated by Patty Crane

Bright Scythe: 
Selected Poems of Tomas Transtromer; translated by Patty Crane.  (Kindle location 230)

The feeling-tone of this poem is not synchronous with my memories of the people in the picture. At that Scotia time I never fell asleep afraid; I had a blessed childhood, really. 

I love the work of Transtromer, and was very glad to see these new translations (with the Swedish originals on the facing pages, which are wonderful to examine!) by a new translator who has selected poems from all parts of his long career.

I have missed doing this blog and hopefully will resume now. 

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