Ivy – page 4
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He said he was thirty-five, “I can’t believe I’ve been waiting on tables for more than a year.” She said she was thirty-six, “Stuck in a rut at the bank.” He’d gone to Ohio U, she’d gone to U of Michigan. He’d majored in education. She’d majored in business administration, minored in language. He’d never gotten his teaching license. He was trying to be a writer.
“So you’re observing life on many levels as a waiter, before you settle down or decide you don’t want to settle down?”
“Can’t be what I am—writer or whatever, till I figure out who I really am.”
“And that’s not easy, is it?” Ivy found herself expressing something she’d never expressed before. “The child in you who used to sing and shout, whispers now, to remind you of what you wanted to be.”
“Yes, wow, yes! Great way of putting it! Don’t want to end up like my folks in Dearborn. You live. . .?”
When she said, “Top of North Willow Hill Road,” he knew the area. He lived on Oak Street, “furnished room with a hot plate.” The Oak Street Deli was where she often shopped.
Even though it seemed presumptuous to ask, she asked, “So what are you thinking you might write about?”
“Trying to figure that out, kind of. . .well. . . putting down ideas, searching for a starting point. I fall in love with an idea. It excites me for a day or so, sometimes even a week. Whoosh! It’s gone and I’m starting from scratch again.” He shuddered.
“Floundering, working Thursday through Sunday—tips, all the leftovers I can carry give me three golden days a week, hunt-and-pecking away on my Olympia portable, filling the wastebasket with discarded pages! And you? At the bank, bet you’re not a cashier. You’re an executive secretary?”
“Assistant to the vice president at Michigan Mutual, the main branch. My boss, Marvin makes recommendations to the President. We handle mortgage loan deals the Federation of Michigan bankers investigates for the member banks.” Her story was neatly arranged in her head from many tellings. “It’s a Local Girl Makes Good story— Valedictorian, skinny twerp smartest girl in high school wins a scholarship to the University.
Four years on the dean’s list, three years in Japan translating electronics reports. Out of the blue, girl lands a plum job at the bank, three miles from where she was born.
“My qualifications were apparently exactly what they were looking for. When I’m not working at the bank, I’m a busy, busy-bee at the Washtenaw Woman’s Club.”
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