No dog of Pavlov has been more profoundly imprinted than the neighbor of Byron and Anne and daughter Wendy. (Those from the neighborhood, none of whom read this blog, as far as I can tell, will remember their last name. It’s not important here.) He and Wendy were born the same year. The dau was nice enough, but there was never any “chemistry” between the two. And though her mother never knew, as far back as he can remember, his first lasting impression of a woman who was not his mother or 12-years-older sister was a young married woman named Anne. She was the first really beautiful adult woman he met. Anne would come over for coffee some mornings in the really early years when both were stay-at-home moms. No movie actress resembled her and vice versa. Doris Day was of the same “carriage” (height, movement) and Dinah Shore (“See the USA in your Chev-ro-let”) had her voice; a patient, mellow, mid-range that never squeaked and never rasped. It was as smooth as mink. Sometime, during the early years of his life, Anne’s young neighbor three doors south made up his mind that he was going to marry a woman named Anne. He never confessed this to a living hummin’ bean.
He didn’t have to go out with women named Anne. The first Ann he met who was his age was Anne Kessler, and she was vivacious and easy on the eyes, but he never asked her out. They were in junior high home room together, and probably a few classes too. During high school he dated around, always hoping to find and go out with someone attractive named “Anne with an e” but never searching for anyone named “Anne with an e” and still having a pretty good time, Almost anyone named Linda was great company, he learned. The closest he came Anne was Jo Anne Walusek when both attended college. She was from Chicago. It didn’t work out. Summer happened, and they never reconnected.
He was also smitten with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, famous poet, wife of New York-to-Paris aviator Charles. He read her poetry and Listen, the Wind, a book about flying with her husband.
He came close to getting married only twice: to a woman from Hobart, Indiana who had moved to Springfield and a woman who lived on Peoria Street in Lincoln, Illinois. Both were named Ellen.
That name might have worked for him and marriage, but he seems to have given his “man-soul” to a Mary Ann whom he loved passionately and reasonably well, but who would not consent to marrying him despite his hanging on like a breathless swimmer to a twig of hope in the middle of the Pacific. He would make a new man-soul for Anne; maybe purchase one at a Salvation Army Re-Soul Store. Maybe return to the “faith of our fathers, living still.”
He’s still looking for a woman named Anne today. True, he’s not dated for years, more than he cares to admit. In his current employment circumstance, sans significant cash, sans significant future, despite generally acute powers of the mind demonstrable in journalism, verse and song, and a modicum of regard by those who still know him in his town. Some would say he’s too OLD to get married, but he doesn’t believe it. A fellow misses the companionship which he used to consider akin to a hankering for Vlasic Mini-Dill Pickles or a thirst for Wild Turkey. He misses the wisdom, the aroma, the affirmation, the laughter, the validation of what he is. He’s still looking for a woman named Anne to complete his destiny, but he’s decided to stack the cards in his favor at this late phase of the game, so to speak. Today, he’s not looking for just any garden variety Anne, the kind who would walk a mile for a quart of gin and a pack of Camels . . . . or thinks Ezra Pound was a great poet. He’s looking for the ULTIMATE Anne, and what kind of woman is that, you may wonder?
He’s looking for a woman named Anne . . . who is looking for a man named Job.
Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.