THE SECRET MEETING WITH MR. ELIOT / Gloria Whelan Dear Professor Wally, This is not a poem about a cat. It is my life. I graduated from high school during the height (depth?) of the depression. Three students in my class went to college. Although I was valedictorian (Latin: valedictus, bidden goodbye) and spoke on "The Promise of the Future," I was not one of them. An excellent seamstress, even at that early age, I was fortunate to find a position in the yard goods department of a large store where I worked as a saleswoman (I will not neuter myself for any women's movement). I enjoyed my job. When a customer held a pattern in one hand and a bolt of material in the other, it was a moment full of possibilities. I seldom had to see the finished product which likely had poorly set-in sleeves and an uneven hemline. Apart from a brief leave when the children were small, I worked there for twenty-eight years. In those days women were not promoted. When I retired, I was still a saleswoman, while the buyer was a girl of twenty-three, a management trainee who couldn't tell a tailor
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1983
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