The summer I graduated college was a crazy and amazing time. I just finished student teaching and was preparing for my late July wedding. Case and I had our first apartment together, a wonderful spot in an old gristmill in Ashland, NH. Several friends had also relocated one exit south of our little college town. We developed a habit of meeting several times a week at The Common Man in Ashland. If you’ve never been there it is truly a great bar. It is cozy and welcoming. Lots of warm wood, plush seating areas, and irreverent antiques. That year, we claimed an area of the bar, dubbed “The Berries” because of a large vintage sign that hung on the wall, as our own.
Beginning a career, and for Case and I a marriage, can be overwhelming and scary. We were so lucky to have friends to share that adventure with and a local establishment that treated a motley band of recent college grads as revered customers.
We’ve all gone off in different directions now, but I know we all look back at this time with deep nostalgia. Our friend Colleen was often the ring leader of these outings. She was and is one of the warmest and most fun-loving people I know. This poem is a thank you for sponsoring me in the 826 Valencia fundraising event. Thanks, Coll.
for Colleen Marshall
by Sandee Bisson
Sun slips out of sight
papers are tossed on hand-me-down tables
pinching “grown up” shoes tossed aside
slip into worn denim and LL Bean boots
clomp on down the street
through the door, up the spiral staircase.
Familiar faces await
drinks appear, no need to order
the days adventures recounted
triumphs and worries
the exhaustion of creating a career, making a life
rents, loans, bills, relationships, marriages
new responsibilities, bewildering and complex,
when paired with a white chocolate martinis,
shared veggie burgers,