Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old poem with update: CAROL

Found out the other day about the passing of Carol Eby McCredie (1959-2007).

Here's a poem I wrote about her (and my immature-at-fifteen mindset) a few years back for my chapbook WICHITA FALLS:


In 1974, I was a member of the
Backdoor Youth Theatre group
in Wichita Falls, Texas.
One Saturday afternoon, I saw
a fifteen-year-old girl with
long brown hair play the role
of Lady Macbeth.
“Out, damned spot!” Carol said
as she convincingly essayed the
madness of the character.

I fell in love.

A few Saturdays later, I asked her for a date.
She smiled and said, “I’ll let you know.”

One Saturday later, we had that date.
I was too young to drive,
so my parents had to chaperone.
I came calling at her parents’ home
near Midwestern University.
My parents went to a movie at the State Theater.
Carol and I went to the old Piccadilly Cafeteria
for dinner.
She told me about her life in Guam
when her father was still in the Air Force.
I told her about my growing up in the
small town of Electra.
She told me of her dislike of Jerry Lewis.
I told her I didn’t think he was all that bad.

Two things were becoming evident.
We didn’t have a lot in common and
I didn’t know how to carry on a conversation.
Those were the days where I didn’t know how
to talk to-or listen to-a woman
especially when she was nine months older
and infinitely more mature than I was.

But I thought she was a goddess
and told myself, “This could work!
Don’t let her get away!
We’re the couple described in
She’s a lady.
And I’m a dreamer.”

After dinner, Carol and I walked
to the Strand Theater and bought
two tickets to Peter Bogdanovich’s
I picked the movie.
I thought that anyone who could
perform Shakespeare would appreciate Henry James.

DAISY MILLER is a film that has disappeared
from American memory.
I remember it as a film where Cybill Shepherd
talked a lot, flirted a lot and then died.
I hoped that Carol would appreciate
my sophisticated taste in movies.

When it was over,
we received a ride
from my parents.
I walked Carol to the front step
of her parents’ home.

“Thanks for a nice evening,” I said.
“Thank you,” she said with a smile.
“Maybe we could do this again sometime,” I said.
“We’ll have to talk about that,” she said in a soft,
quiet voice.

On the way back to Electra,
I began to believe that a love affair
of the ages had begun.
I knew we would see each other again
in theater class-seven whole days away.

I couldn’t wait that long.
Three days later, I sent her
a thank-you card that reiterated
the “thanks for a nice evening”
sentiment I told her previously.
My parents said, “Take it slow.”
I said, “I don’t think she’ll mind.”

Those were the days when I didn’t
want to listen to my parents’ wisdom.
I was fifteen-going on sixteen.
I just knew Carol felt something for me.

Four days passed.
I saw Carol at Backdoor Theatre.
I tried to talk to her but she
seemed to be disinterested in me.
What little conversation there was
concerned the theater class and the
upcoming public performance of scenes
from great American plays.

“Maybe it’s not over,” I thought.
“Perhaps I should wait a few weeks
and call her once more…”

…And that’s exactly what I did.
I called her on the afternoon of
Christmas Eve at her parents’ home.
“You just caught me with a piece of cheese
in my mouth,” Carol said.
I had an upsurge of hope.
She was in a good mood!
Perhaps she’ll say yes!

After about five minutes of casual conversation,
I asked her about the possibility of a second date.
She declined-politely but firmly.
I hung up the phone, devastated.
No great love affair for me.

From that point on, Carol and I saw very little of each other.
We graduated from our separate high schools.
I went to Midwestern (State) University for five years.
She went to Southern Methodist University.
After that, I knew nothing else.

About four years ago, a mutual friend told me
that Carol lived in south Texas.
She was a wife and mother, married to a doctor.
On occasion, she still acted in community theater.

It would be nice to meet her someday
and see the person she has become.
Nowadays, I know a little more about
how to talk-and listen-to people
than I did at the age of fifteen.

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