To Helen

TAPOLW_CHILDREN'S_CHOIR.jpgI would have liked to have a had a sister. When I was a kid, girls were TOTALLY MYSTERIOUS to me. They could not have been more alien if they had wings and  traveled about on moonbeams. They always gathered in these clutches and whispered to one another, and they would write their own names over and over in their notebooks in big, neat, loopy, curly letters, as though they might forget them if they didn’t do this. I thought they were very beautiful, in their neat skirts and blouses, with their neat pink cases for their pens and pencils. Beautiful but ungraspable, like a snowflake that disappears in your hand. So, one day in fourth-grade chorus, having become enamored of a round-faced GODDESS who sat behind me, and two seats down, I wrote a note. Well, actually, not a note—I drew a heart on a piece of paper and folded it and labeled it “Helen.” Helen. Helen of Troy. The most beautiful creature in all of Fairview Elementary! Nay, in all the known universe! I asked the girl behind me to pass the note down to the fair Helen. The girl, of course, opened it and snickered and showed it to everyone around her, and I thought, I shall never live this down. But I triumphed in the end. The note made it to Helen, and at recess, she came to me, and we kissed beneath the fire escape around the corner from the playground, and thereafter, we would meet and hold hands and kiss and play Beatles records and she was, like any boy, my friend.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Art: TAPOLW_CHILDREN’S_CHOIR. By Snowing.optimi2015 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation
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