Sister Cherry spent many, many hours perched behind her battle-scarred desk, frosted pink lips pursed, glossy chestnut beehive sprayed into a vertical cone that a tornado would fail to ruffle, ankles prissily crossed, brow furrowed. She would nod emphatically now and then; each nod was a prize. Sister Cherry seemed to relish nothing more than watching her lectures make inroads into the sturm-und-drang-clogged byways of her pupils’ teenage brains.
Sister Cherry was my favorite English teacher in high school, and I wasn’t alone. Even the most literature averse among us couldn’t help but fight over her nods. Under her eccentric, obsessive tutelage, my fellow students and I learned how to gather the clues that Mary Shelley and Shakespeare scattered for their readers, in the raindrops that glistened on their characters’ lashes, and the storms that lashed the tropical isles dotting their landscapes.
Flashes of foreboding, auspicious revelations, harsh judgments and subtle insights into character were there in black and white for us to dissect and interpret; we just had to skate across the lonely, otherworldly glaciers of Geneva with Frankenstein’s monster with our eyes open, to anticipate and bemoan his fate.
Whether it’s Sister Cherry’s continuing influence or a serious case of SAD, I can’t help but feel a thrill of delight for the day ahead when the sun peeks at me when I first open my eyes and a bone-chilling sense of foreboding when the sky is steel gray for too many days in a row.
The fact that Stephen and I just bought a house, a few days after a 5.8 earthquake shook the East Coast and the day before the first storm in history that managed to shut down the MTA, had me a little rattled.
We’re moving from semi-urban White Plains after a year of camping out in a convenient, but personality-free hotel-cum-apartment-complex to a totally rural home in the sticks of the Hudson River Valley.
Signing the mortgage felt like a Faustian bargain with The Bank in which I was exchanging my soul for permission to eat hot dogs and beans for the next year. Thankfully, I’ll be eating them next to Stephen and Penny in our bursting-with-personality (if not convenience) little cabin the woods.
We held our breath through the storm, and the house survived. Nary a branch fell on the house, though Hurricane Irene certainly howled resolutely enough. Wherefore art though, pathetic fallacy?
We celebrated the hurricane’s leave-taking with an appropriately cheap bottle of Prosecco and two budget shrimp recipes, with eggs. Pictures and recipes below!