Our Edie

by Zara Wilder


Sweet baby girl, you grew up so fast. We elder sistren, watching over you, knew softball was never your thing. Stickball, maybe, out on the street while you stayed small. And how you could jump rope on the sidewalk, chanting old and new skipping rhymes between those slapping lines, a bouncing, darting, shooting star within a flock of busy little girls! But the first time you picked up your brother's baseball bat, we understood that was your game and none other. Couldn't keep you out of the park, not until crazy close to nightfall, rain or shine or shade. And you always kept score. Your grandmother, our wisewoman momma, wanted you to grow out of it, to stop running hard and for real with boys twice your size, racing for home plate honestly, for love of the play and the strength in your scrappy body, so fleet on your feet you thought you could fly.

Funny, though, how the old woman mourned the change when you did cut that phase loose. Turned your eyes to new prizes. Got yourself a solid sense of style, ready-set-go for dancing. Never lost your long-after-dark ways, of course. Gave our sisterhood new worries for our Edie-girl. But you've always known what's what, and you always came home smiling. Your big sister reminds us how you used to dive into just enough hot water to teach yourself how to swim away from bad troubles. Kept your grades up, kept the peonies alive, kept us all laughing with you.

Our sweet grandaughter-cousin-daughter-sister-niece got her first job as a typist for Thomas Winthrup's Printing Service. We said you should try for pianist somewhere, fast as your fingers hammered those keys. You just said you could dance until dawn, but you couldn't carry a tune to save your life. Not quite true, baby girl. We all heard you belting out your favorite songs to the radio or record player or straight out from your high-flying heart. A shame no young man ever yet figured out exactly what your heart is worth.

The computer-thing did take us by surprise. Bits and bytes and tractor paper everywhere. Your aunts wanted to know what computers were good for anyway. You wrote a program that printed out the Statue of Liberty in dots and lines, told us computers were going to engineer all our monuments for us from here on out. We said to you: Just you set aside the gigantic historical statues. Does this database stuff put food on the table? You said: Oh, yeah, a computer can organize recipes too. Your mother couldn't stop herself from laughing. So maybe that's your truest home run after all.

You know what you want, don't you? That's what you chase, what you've always had in mind: the good game, and the high score you earn for yourself. Anything you're missing, it'll come, sooner or later. You made it all the way to the NYPD mainframe. Who can say where you'll traipse off to next? You're finding new kinds of friends these days, riding your wave of the future as far as it can take you. You're sweeping us along in your wake. Can you hear us cheering you on, baby girl? You made it. You're your own woman now. Only keep in mind, you'll never stop being our Edie. That's the one thing about you that won't ever change.



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