I Promised You Daisies
For those of us who came of age during the time of Woodstock and hippies and Hootenannies and Annie Greensprings and Vietnam, choosing the path you were going to follow into adult life was not as easy as it might have been just a few innocent years earlier. In 1966 I was discovering that the hard way. Although I had never heard a shot fired in anger, I had to count myself among the walking wounded of those days of political, intellectual and moral conflict. Whether my unusual injuries had come at the hand of an anonymous, lurking adversary or been unintentionally self-inflicted was a question I was just beginning to learn needed asking. Not so long ago I had been a fresh-faced, eager high school graduate about to set out on the journey of college and choosing a profession and marrying my steady girl. No matter their sincerity, all those dreams were broken now, perhaps shattered beyond recall, and I was waking as if from some strange nightmare to learn that it was my responsibility to put at least some of them back together. I was facing choices that were demanding beyond anything I’d have ventured to predict back in high school, bearing guilt I’d never dared to imagine, but I was also beginning to realize that in spite of all those things, I had never learned how to give up.
I Promised You Daisies is the second volume of my trilogy Imperfectly Ordinary . As a sequel to my earlier work, A Gift of Dreams it is the story of my attempts to make sense of life during the disrupted decade that followed hard on the heels of my boyhood in a contentedly traditional New England village. In telling that story I recount meeting studious, serious minded Karen Sandstrom, our discovery that we shared just about every opinion in life that mattered, and our decision to commit ourselves to a lifetime partnership, to a student marriage when we still had years of study ahead, on the conviction that each of us was different and that mutual support would enable us to accomplish more that would be good in the world than we might have managed on our own.
We did not understand that a litany of questions we had not yet learned to ask and cumbersome emotional baggage we believed we’d managed to discard were going to make the path we planned to explore together even rougher, steeper and more perilous than the ones we’d been traveling alone. When we met, Karen was well on her way to becoming a Registered Nurse and I was about to commit myself to returning to college to qualify myself as a public school teacher. In the end we did it, together we achieved our goals, but the life of which each of us found ourselves a part once we’d achieved those personal triumphs was frighteningly different from the one we’d dreamed of sharing.
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