Saturday, January 15, 2011

September 2010

Having just retired in June, this was the first September in 56 years that I was not returning to school. In 1954, my mother's hand securely in mine, we walked the streets of the South Bronx as I headed off to school for the first time. This strange new environment with its long corridors and strange antiseptic smells was to become familiar each September, in one form or another, for more than half a century to come. From grammar school, to high school, on to college and graduate schools, then through forty years of teaching, September has always signaled for me, Janus-like, both the end of a glorious summer and a new beginning tinged with both eagerness and apprehension.

The year, of course, had its seasons, from tumbling autumn leaves that crunched underfoot each Halloween amid the masks of fall; to Thanksgiving with its brisk, chill winds; then the long, frenzied anticipation of Christmas and the revelry of New Year's Eve. The long dark nights of January gave way to red-hearted fancies on Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day parades then heralded the spring, soon followed by April rains and Easter blooms. The warmth of May made winter but a distant memory, and June heralded the approach of summer once again. July and August melted into long, lazy days of balmy reverie. Then September, with all of its schedules, routines, renewal, and promise, came round once more.

But this year, this September of 2010, was to be different. To mark the month that I would not be returning to school, and I suppose to afford something of a distraction from that long-ingrained routine, my wife and I booked a trip to Ireland for the first three weeks in September. I was in Dublin on the first day of classes back in New York, and I lifted a pint to my former colleagues, and toasted all the Septembers past and those yet to come. Something tells me it just may be the start of a new tradition.

Chloe´Colette Kersting

Chloe´ Colette Kersting, born on November 18, 2010

From Blog pics
Becoming a grandfather is like walking through a memory with eyes wide open. The instinct to love and nurture is still intact; the weight of the infant in my arms, so long forgotten, is yet familiar; and dreams for this babe unfold in endless hope.

Her father's features in her face are winsome and uncanny: the puckering lower lip precedes a cry, the rapt gaze absorbs the world about her. And in her smile I see her mother too, the joy echoing in her eyes, with just enough of the "divil" to rouse some mischief in the years to come. Then there is the soft contented sigh when she is fed and swaddled and so thoroughly dependent upon the love that surrounds her, the love that in the end will last a lifetime. 

So here I am once more cradling an infant in my arms, but this time it is our little girl that I hold, our Chloe´, and already I cherish the stories untold, the songs unsung, the books unread, the tops unspun, all memories still to be made. And I get to dream dreams yet undreampt for this little girl of ours, for they are grandpa dreams, and lifting to the sky on the wings of love, they know no bounds.