Sunday, February 10, 2013

A LIFE NOT LIVED by Sylvia Ruth Weinberg

If I had listened to my parents who sent  me off to college with a wardrobe such as I’d never before had, a wardrobe designed to help me catch a husband, which was after all their reason for sending me to an out of town school -- I would have married a rich man.

“It’s just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man” was the line fed to me with dinner every night of my senior year of high school.

Steven Schucker, who had checked out all the co-eds coming to Cornell from Jamaica High School -- where his father was principal -- and who had decided I was the one -- was greatly impressed with this wardrobe.  He loved to say in front of people, "Tell them how many cashmere sweaters you have," which he secretly loved -- but feigned disdain for.

Steven with his crimped, pinched handwriting -- a metaphor for his crimped, pinched being.  Such a suffocating, demanding world he came from… I didn’t envy him.

But I on the other hand, who’d had no familial intellectual demands, was ill prepared for this community of scholars -- especially the ones at Telluride, the honor house where he lived and brought me to Saturday night dinners.  I loved the feeling of the Louis Sullivan house with the Brandenberg concertos playing in the living room, but I can’t imagine how I made it through all those meals with visiting lecturers and visiting performers -- like the Hungarian String Quartet.

I have always, it seems, been with and among deep thinkers and highly educated people -- artists and writers at the top of their game and yet this life -- a life of the mind -- is never a life I have lived.