Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I used to have to fly to Boston two or three time a year to see an eye doctor--and sometimes for eye surgeries. I had 5 surgeries, and I was usually pretty sick afterwards. Mom, who loved to read aloud, would take the trips and recovery time as an opportunity to read more of the Greek myths or from the Iliad and the Odyssey. (She majored in Ancient Greek and Archeology and studied with Richard Lattimore at Bryn Mawr College.) She liked to tell me what the Greek letters meant and what certain words spelled, esp. if the words were close to English words. Sometimes we would visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and tour the exhibit of the Ancient World. Afterwards, she would take me to the store and ask if I wanted a small item or a card. I always wanted one of those bowls of the athletes training from behind the glass cases or a marble statue or an ancient coin from behind the glass cases.

She also collected old books. This is an excerpt from a page of one of the many ancient books that filled the house, books and more books.

1 comment:

  1. Nin,

    The image of your mom continues to live and grow and take new shape every day in the mind, that capacious place where, thanks to you and others dear to her, she retains an extremely vivid existence.

    Tonight I thought again of your eye surgeries -- and her classics studies -- in retrieving from memory some of the associations and resonances of the Greek word that is the root of our word "glaucous".

    There is/was a bit of Athene, the owl-eyed goddess, in your mom, perhaps.

    And then thinking also about what you had said on the subject of owls, and her wisdom thereto -- the native American lore & c.

    I dithered on a bit about all that here.

    I've never really understood mourning, I fear. But this chain is turning mourning into something closer to a celebration.

    It would be perhaps somewhat out of character for the owl-eyed goddess perhaps, but I am imagining Athene admiring your mom so much that she tries a handstand. (I suppose it's impossible to fall on your face in eternity!)

    In short, so inspiring, all these remarkable memoria.