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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Old Detroit

She came from what residents called "Old Detroit."
That is, her parents' people predated the automobile era.
Her father's kin fought in Michigan regiments in the Civil War.
Her mother's parents came from Scotland.

He was a marine engineer, training ore boat engineers
Who sailed the Great Lakes after the discovery of iron ore
  in the Mesabi Range near Duluth.
Her mother was the manager of the Elizabeth Arden store in Detroit,
Serving the newly rich automobile aristocracy.

Her father sold real estate until the Crash, was out of work,
Until their connections got him an expediter's job at Ford.
They married late in life, had only one child, a girl
Whom they alternately spoiled and repressed.

Her mother did not take to mothering, so they
Packed her off to a Catholic boarding school at eleven,
Where she stayed until the end of her sophomore year,
When she found out the nuns would only send her transcripts
  to Catholic colleges.

Back in Birmingham for the last two years of high school,
She learned how to smoke and drink and generally
  have a good time.
Her parents wanted her to go to Ann Arbor, but
She chose to get farther away from home.

She heard that Northwestern had a program in
Interior Design, and thought that might be interesting.
She hadn't counted on being pursued by a young, blond twerp,
And from time to time gave him the slip.

But after he moved to Evanston for the Spring Quarter,
And was initiated into the Phi Delta Theta fraternity,
They spent time together with the brothers and their dates,
Sampling the roadhouses on "West Campus" near Evanston.

In late spring, he gave her his fraternity pin,
Which was sort of being engaged to be engaged.
The fraternity showed up at the freshman womens' dorm
To serenade her with the great old college songs.

By prearrangement, the freshman women responded with
"It Had to Be You," and that became their lifelong song.
Before his departure for West Point, they agreed that no strings
Would be on her social life for the next four years.

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