“Everybody does it!” I remember saying to my mother,

“Everybody except me that is!”

And she said to me “If everybody was jumping off the viaduct

would you jump off too?”

Well, no, but everybody (the girls, that is)

had suede jackets and poodle skirts

and charm bracelets

and cashmere sweater sets

and were allowed to date

at the age of fifteen, while I

wore an old corduroy jacket

that was my sister’s

and never had a poodle skirt

or a charm bracelet;

My sweaters were Orlon

and I was not allowed to date

Until I was sixteen.

Somehow I survived these major

Omissions in my life;

My brother attempted to make it

up to me by sending money for

a Suede jacket.

My mother gave me half of the money

And I found a jacket for that amount.

I had to wear a sweater underneath

The suede was not very warm

but I wore it even if I was freezing. **


“Everybody does it!” my sons said to me

whether it was going to an unsupervised

party or smoking marijuana and I said

“If everybody jumped off a bridge,

would you?” hearing the echo

of my mother’s voice even as

I said the words.  **


“Everybody does it!”

I heard my granddaughter complain

to her mother

who responded

“I don’t give a rat’s ass what everybody

ELSE does, I just care about what YOU do!”

I thought hmmmm–

Maybe because there are no bridges

or viaducts around here?

What a great answer!

And now….my grandson

just turned 16.  I’m keeping

a low profile this time around.



Sandra lee Smith

February, 2009

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