Life seems so short,
…especially when I try to keep it all. I’ve been thinking about my bent (proclivity, habit, proneness, desire) to hang on to old memories and abilities while living in the present. The one I was thinking about today, of all things, was doing math. Joyce wrote that she has wished she had studied more math in her school days. In good old FHS, her class was offered only first year algebra and a couple of chapters of geometry. I remember how it was in our old high school. The teacher may have taught to the average student in the class, but I wonder if it wasn’t more to the slowest, although I may have had better teachers in my days. I studied algebra, geometry, and a slow-moving presentation of second-year algebra.
When I went to junior college, I thought I wanted to study engineering (mostly because I didn’t know of any women who were engineers at that time), so I studied advanced algebra, trigonometry and analytic geometry the first year, and calculus the second year. But seven years later, when Joyce started college, her big sister (me) told her that home economics would be a good choice for her major.
Well, what started me on this little essay was remembering that Miss Torrance, our junior college math teacher, told my friend Jane and me that she kept a math book by her bed and enjoyed working out a problem before she went to sleep at night. Jane and I liked to have conversations with Miss Torrance, because we had confidence in the value of Attitude when it came to grading time, even in such an exact science as mathematics.
I wasn’t really wishing I could do a math problem every night, though, because like all of the other Renner kids, communication skills were much higher on my priority list and I ended up majoring in English.
But if life were just longer…that is, if I could follow all of my inclinations and interests…I still linger over the page in the Great Courses advertisement that offers the best lectures on the discovery and history of calculus and the ways it has contributed to the modern world.
Don’t send it to me, though. I have a long list of interests I will never get to. I will always remember the question Glenn asked me in the library at ACC—what are you interested in doing with the rest of your life? I remember telling him that I was interested in so many things that even if I had nine lives I would not be able to do them all.
Even little things. I have nine autumn leaves arranged in a shallow basket with a peach and a Hubbard squash. The leaves are a tangible piece of Maryland memory.
Life is too big.
But, as Ruthe T. Spinnager wrote in her book, A Woman’s Walden: “The accumulated yesterdays that seemed too full will reappear in the meanings they give to this present moment.”