Tag Archives: Lynn St. John

Martha King Memoir (Outside Inside) Prose

Fifty years

A daughter turns 50 this Groundhog Day

I have no concept to fit this.  50?  The other daughter is very soon 49.

I have an overstuffed memory.  Shrink.  But I forget too much.  Stretch.  Personally I’m sure I’m not older than 35. Maybe not even that.  In every fat man there’s a thin man, dancing.  In every grown-up, a child, who wants to play.  In every blended woman/man, some who chase and some who chase after. And some giggle and others sob. That’s normal. But a 50-year-old daughter?

Not a Canadian clergyman!  This was taken in our loft on Whitehall Street by Lynn St. John.
Basil drawing  on Whitehall Street in 1959. Photo by Lynn St. John.
Martha smokes a cigarette in North Carolina
Martha smokes a cigarette in North Carolina, 1961













I do remember a despicable doctor in Grand Haven, Michigan chastising me for using a toboggan “at your age.” (I was 35.) I do remember a nice neighborhood yoga teacher telling her class that people can do yoga in their fifties! (I was 61.)

Yesterday is tomorrow’s face. Shrink.

I’m only 28 years younger than my mother, who died in 2000 at 92. Stretch.

Accordians wheeze and are music simultaneously.

Our two children have children – the most normal thing in the world. But their dad and I are now their last bulwark. Everyone in the generation before ours has passed into the dark. Too many in the generation almost ours have done the same. I have no concept to fit this.

Except for an upwelling of gratitude, so acute as to be almost absurd. Stretch.

Except for a deep pinch of fear, so sharp as to need immediate denial. Shrink.

Withall, here is a section from my (unpublished) memoir about birth adventures fifty years ago…:



Mallory was a tiny, skinny 17-month-old with a firm sense of herself the summer Hetty was born. Mallory is from the smaller order. She had weighed in at just two ounces over five pounds. The young nurses at New York Hospital solemnly and wrongly assured me she’d catch up. She was physically mature. She had exquisite blonde eyelashes and binocular coordination.

“Probably over-carried,” a young resident said, wowed by her ability to follow his finger with both eyes. He also assured me her small size hadn’t anything to do with the tumor she was born with, that walnut-like aberration, poking out of her mouth. It was attached by a thick stem coming out of the ridge in her jaw where her bottom teeth would be.

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