I was 8 when my mother was 50, and sometimes, standing among the young moms in the schoolyard, she said she felt like our grandmother. For Cal, as everyone called her, had married late.
Because there was a Depression, she said, and no one had money. Because there was a war, she said, and all the men were gone. We had heard both reasons as she described her young life as one of five children of a widower.
They may not have had much money, but they sure had fun, to hear the tales: of evening dress at the Ritz and raccoon coats at the Harvard games. And yes, there were men on these occasions: young singles and the brothers of friends. “But to be honest,” she said of them all, “there was no yeast in the bread” – by which she meant they didn’t attract her.
Then she met our father, stationed…
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