Motherly Love, ca. the 5th century BCE and the 21st century CE
True Grit

Post On Another Foster-Child of Silence and Slow Time

At the Propylaea

Friday was our last day in Athens, usually a day when I've written a sort of summing-up post about the trip and how Charlie fared. 

Indeed we were busy as we've been on this trip: 8am on the bus to be present at the 8.30am opening of the archaeological museum in Athens, Athenian agora (marketplace/city square), Acropolis, acropolis museum, souvenir shopping in the Plaka. As you may imagine, my students were rather on the tired side by the afternoon (also keeping in mind that, from a students' perspective on this sort of trip, 'activities' of various sorts continue into the night).

I had no problem walking around Athens and up the steep side of the Acropolis even on very minimal sleep, the result of computer trouble and one student's unfortunate discovery of a few too many insects in her hotel room. I matched my pace to that of our tour guide, Emilios, and we brought up the rear behind the students (themselves a bit dragging): I am quite spry (thanks to all those walks and sprints after Charlie), but certainly young no more.

Nightlife and 'hopping' about for potable items were never my sort of thing: I was the sort of college student---a Classics major--- who revelled in the quiet stillness of shelves of library books to clubs etc.. Preferring the safe, I never entertained the possibility of studying aboard in Italy or Greece. As Emilios led us through the museum of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens on Friday morning, I felt a little wistful, thinking that I once might have applied to study here and been like those serious young woman walking with a sort of air of familiarity around the ruins.

Emilios led us among the display cases to one in particular, where we saw this fascinating ceramic piece that has quite a bit more to tell than ye average Grecian urn.

Porta something

Hint: Think Fisher-Price's baby product line. 

If you're stumped, the answer is here---it's an object I, as  a college student, would have cast just a glance or two upon, before hurrying over to the black figure pottery. But motherhood does something to a person. Knowing that another mother---a mother centuries upon centuries ago---did what she could to train her young child in the necessities of life: It's something I find reassuring; something that really gives me that feeling of having commadres (like my friend Emma, whom I shared a lovely conversation with in the hotel lobby on Friday evening) and connected all through experience and time.

At one moment yesterday evening as Emma and I were talking (at some points, about various escapades of our 20s), my students--we had heard them on the second floor by their hotel rooms and I think I heard someone say 'Dr. Chew's down there....'---came down the stairs single file and went out the front door for 'adventuring.'

I was very glad to be sitting at a table with an eye on my cell phone, lest Jim text about some concern.

I'm hoping I'll be sitting in the same place a year from now, talking once more to friends and mothers.


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