Each month, write a new collection.
Dear Laulette,You kept me from leaving Goucher.First semester was hell on wheelsthe field stone monochrome on brown grass with tan flagstone paths in mud,living in Anna Heubeck in Bennett Hallwith Debby flaunting her sexy clothesHazel showing me Jill’s messy roomand saying “Never, never let thishappen to you,” Faith Wing and Sue and Nina the piano woman. Carol and Kathy and Hopie and Jessie,Sussie and Arlene, so many others,all different and none in tune withmy serious side, my love of learning,trying to cope with Holly and Deenasharing a room meant for two, alwayswishing I’d disappear and leave themto the life of fashion that suited them.The Dean of Students moved meto a double with you in Tuttle Hallfor second semester after my complaints.You and I spent hours debating philosophyin our room, the Froehlicher dining hall,outdoors, in the Heubeck dorm basement laundry area while the snowmelted away and golden flowered locust trees joined blossoming cherries and dazzling white Bradford pears, petalsscattered by the gentle breeze.I loved biology but you hated it,couldn’t get science, feared it hadevil motives that might threatennature and humans’ purposes. Youwrote amusing poems about the Krebs Cycletried to make the words accessiblewithout ever connecting with reality.We went to concerts at Goucher, Peabody, andHopkins, marveled at Susan prancingfor Hopkins young professors, sucked inour breath when our best soprano hit thatsoaring note in Coronation Mass. Laulette, you made me wish I didn’t havea fur collar on my tan suit, didn’t datea Navy cadet, although Nan was the onewho glorified violence, and I professed to hate it and wanted to avoid it. We laughed at Wilma’s super seriousness,even too much for me, but it wasn’t amean or exclusionary laugh. You managed to be kind to everyoneeven those who disagreed witheverything you believed. You imagined piloting your plane over Montanawhen you needed to distance yourselffrom a conversation that might enrage you. You stayed calm. You nevercut anyone off, even Cathy who hadmade your life so miserable you hadto move to another room, so we gota double together. We talked about lesbians and felt it was okay for some,but that we weren’t going that way, although you wrote me a poem aboutthe bitten apple that made me wonder.You never came back for sophomore year.I thought biology persuaded youGoucher wasn’t for you. By that time,it was right for me and I stayed all four years.Last year, I looked you up online.You went back home, finished college,married, had kids, performed music,won flying contests for women pilots,had a rich life. I hope it fulfilled for you that wild philosophic streakthat was so exciting to explore with youback in the 1960s in our one semester.love,Laurie