During the summer of 1972, when I was 15 and “Take It Easy” by the Eagles was blasting on the radio, I bought a book. And fell madly in love.
The day I finished the last page, closing my eyes, and wishing it had never ended, I gently tucked it into a special place in my drawer . . . and made a vow.
“Green Darkness” by Anya Seton, became my most important indulgence, every ten years. I wanted to read it in the context of what was going on my life at that time . . . to see if I still felt the same way as I did when I read it at 15.
Here’s the original cover, from 1972:
When I was 25 and single, it made me swoozy just thinking about Stephen and Celia and their tragic, forbidden love . . . and being ten years older, I had a much better appreciation for the . . . juicy parts.
When I was 35, I had just met my future husband, and was caught up in the excitement (and drama) of my own new (and not forbidden, thank God) love.
When I was 45, I was the mother of two young girls, working, happily married, crazy busy, and looked forward to escaping the hectic, sometimes over-committed life I had created by spending a little quality time with an old friend.
At the end of this year, I will be 55. My original worn, dog-eared copy of Green Darkness (with “Property of Barbara Hannah” scrawled on the title page, in my 15-year old handwriting) was quietly handed to a friend two years ago, when her mother was dying of cancer, thinking the beautifully written book, and its characters, would keep her company during the many long hours she stayed by her mothers bedside. She read most of the book aloud, even after her mother had fallen asleep. It was never finished.
I have a new copy now. A new friend. We have a date . . . late August. No matter what.