Fall Season (reposted from earlier date)
Posted Monday, September 7, 2015 10:00 AM
Fall, 1998
Thoughts from My Soul--Fall Season
    The children's section of a bookstore always beckons to me regardless of the reason why I went there. This time it was to get a Portuguese-English dictionary. Anthony, my oldest son, called to say he needed me to mail him one for a Beginning Portuguese Language course and that the University of Florida bookstores were all out, I felt sure that calling mom to mail him the dictionary would be easier than to go to another bookstore off campus. "Anthony," I said, "if they offer the course, than they must have all the materials on campus," he said he checked it out, etc. etc. and he didn't have time to check out all over Gainesville and please mom, help.
    I'm glad he is studying the language of his ancestors, on my side, and assured him I'd get it and send it overnight mail. I called Barnes and Noble and asked them to reserve two different volumes for me. When I entered the store, my eyes automatically searched out the children's section and I let myself be pulled by the magic of Dr. Seuss, the Caldecott winners, the whimsical displays, and Pooh. I stood in front of a display of New for Fall books and my eyes fell on a book called Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf and another called Apples and Pumpkins. Every year nostalgia for the autumn colors and sensations overcomes me and it never fails to overcome me completely. It always catches me unaware and I always feel surprised and unprepared.
    The picture book in my hand transported me years and years from the time and place where I stood. I looked above the displays and across the years. Once again I was walking though the park on the way home from New Bedford  High School,  1965.  I walked home a lot, I didn't drive. Senior year I had a dark green coat with a leopard print lining and I could picture myself walking home, coat opened and head high. My mind flew back and I could see the faces in the halls in the east and west building on William Street, the lunch hours, the classes, the high school crushes, the girls in my secretarial classes, the boys I waited on as a car hop at Dels and Mt Pleasant and as a waitress at Woolworths. I winced at the memory of the smells of the Acushnet River through the windows of the sweat shops in the summer as a stitcher, never quite making piece work quota like my Mom used to. The Portuguese Feast in the summer, dancing in the street! I strained to see the face of my high school love; the one I knew I'd love forever. Would I recognize him in public now?
    There were always juke box sounds coming out of the neighborhood restaurants on the avenue, Acushnet Avenue, walking past St. Anthony's church, the old Capitol movie theater where I'd seen "Ben Hur." I smiled thinking of the boys driving by slowly in their cars. I ached to kick a pile of leaves, hear the sounds of maple, oak, elm and ash leaves crush under my shoe, smell a pile of leaves burning a distance away, look up and wonder at the colors in the trees, and rush home before dark.
    I longed for mom's lemon tea; and wanted to cry for all the things that didn't quite work out and laugh with pleasure for all the things that did. I wanted to walk and not get tired or too hot. I wanted the fall of my youth again. But I heard a child call out, "Mom!" and instinctively I turned to look, I'm a mom, after all, not a high school senior and the spell was broken, I was back in the present and high school was in the distant past.
    I bought the books and walked out in the hot, sultry and balmy Florida night.