Nils Peterson: Talk in the Reading Room
About Nils Peterson
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PART 1: GROWING UP
 The Reading Room
 Halloween 
 Xmas Eve at the Big House 
 Christmas Mysteries 
• 
Summers in Long Island 
 Father Arrives in the    Triumphal Car 
 Yankee Stadium Gone 
• 
Sandlots 
 A Thing of Beauty 
 Learning From My Father 
 Learning From My Mother 
• 
The Bus

PART 2: COLLEGE

 Next Stop 
 Going to College
 My Lecture on Romanticism 
 A Story 
 Go Way From My Window 
• 
Singing in the Rain 
 On the Nature of Exposition 
 A Latin Class
 A Hero's Life
 Letter to Paul Cantrell
• Homecoming 
 The Moon and the Bulldozer
 

 

Singing in the Rain

In my yearbook, it’s still 1954, exams over, Spring Carnival time. One sees the football fields tricked out like Tara, white columns, lit up, King, Queen, and court spread out before them, women seated, shining out of their strapless gowns, wide skirts billowing around them like the mouths of flowers. 

That year they wore for decorations broad-brimmed sunhats made of crepe paper and cardboard. The men stand behind in their white dinner jackets and string bow ties. Later there’ll be a dance — but now it’s started to rain, big-dropped, wind-driven, warm, spring rain. 

I’m in the picture, stage-left with the entertainment, the Stephen Foster Singers, a dozen women in two rows, a half dozen men behind. We’re singing in the rain, the men with grins on their faces. Some of the women grin, but Glenna looks ticked off and one can see the thick of splots of water on her silk dress.

Just after this picture was snapped we men will take off our white jackets and put them about the white shoulders of the women, and soon their hats will drip pink or purple or green on the white coats of our immaculateness. Mine came back with pink shoulders — Mary Ann maybe? — which no dry cleaner could ever remove, though, when I take it from my closet a half-century later, I find the jacket has yellowed and the pink has now faded . 

I’m sitting in a fancy coffee shop brooding over all this. How handsome and beautiful we all were, how close it all seems. Surely it can’t have been that long ago — more than half a century? My thoughts punctuated by a barista calling out the complicated nuances of the modern cup of Joe. 

Singing in the Rain


  © 2014, Nils Peterson
 

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