Posted by: morrowsl | November 22, 2014

Dear November,

For some time now I have been at odds with my birth month.

It has nothing to do with getting older; I haven’t much cared about my age since turning 30, so what’s one more year?
I’m not, usually, a chronically depressed person, so it isn’t a problem that the skies are dark and gloomy.  In fact, I kinda like dark, gloomy skies.  Add some fog and I am simply giddy.
Summer where I live gets much too hot, so the cooler, sometimes crisp, November air is a welcome relief.  Although, sometimes my head doesn’t quite agree with the change in barometric pressure.
My favorite colors have always run in the darker jewel tones.  Scarlett reds and royal blues, forest green, plum, goldenrod and amber.
And I’ve been known to stop right in the middle of the road to admire a tree decked out in party attire on her way to Mother Nature’s Autumn Ball.
Not to mention Thanksgiving…  all that pie!!

Yes, there are reasons upon reasons to love November.  But I don’t.
November, in my mind anyway, is the “Harbinger of Bad Tidings” month.

When John Kennedy’s entourage landed in Dallas in November of 1963, I was a newly minted six-year-old with no idea of guns and assassinations and such.  Television, that new addiction in most American homes, had yet to become the place where all secrets and taboo subjects were exposed.  I had yet to see anything worse on TV than Jerry whacking Tom on the head with a club and making little birdies chase stars around his rapidly swelling noggin.
I was young and somewhat sheltered still.  My world filled with joy and laughter and innocence.

And then, everything changed.

The start of our involvement in Viet Nam was totally lost on me.  But I remember still, am likely to never erase from my mind, the grainy black and white images moving across the television screen as South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem was shot in the head at point-blank range.  Real life had been brought directly into our living rooms.  I had no idea who he was or why I was watching him die.  No idea that my love of November had just suffered its first major wound.

The Kennedy assassination later the same November ripped a scab off the wound and started it to bleed again.  First there was the actual shooting.  The sad face of Walter Cronkite pulling off his black-framed glasses and wiping away tears, real tears, as he informed the nation that our President was dead.  Even then, very little news coverage showed the actual events.  We were not subjected to Jackie’s hollow-eyed grieving.  There were no color shots of her bloody pink suit.
As the days stretched out, other events came to us.  I vaguely remember grainy black and white scenes with background voices explaining that Jack Ruby had shot Lee Oswald, but the event itself looked like a bunch of men pushing and shoving each other around.  And then the funeral.  Again, images that are unlikely to leave me until I am dirt.  Those children, standing in the late Autumn chill beside their black-veiled mother, lives forever ripped asunder.

There were probably a number of minor events that occurred between my entry into first grade and my departure from school nine years later.  Luckily, they were minor enough to have left no lasting impressions.
But the wheel took another big spin in the early ’70s and several years of bad choices, most made in November, sent me careening down a path to early motherhood and multiple divorces until I finally jumped off again at the end of the decade.  Two kids, two ex-husbands, two jobs.  Too young.

For quite awhile it was enough.  I felt that things were maybe taking a turn for the better and I could possibly come to love my birth month again for all the wonderful gifts it presented.  I should probably have trusted my instincts that warned me not to let my guard down.

My beloved father-in-law had his second stroke, the one that would kill him, in November.
My favorite uncle, always a source of laughter for me, died in November.
A week later, so did one of my favorite cousins.  We had lived under the same roof for a time, ate at the same table.  More like a brother than a cousin.  We sadly gathered to celebrate his life on my birthday.
My husband’s best friend since first grade also died in November.
My best friend began the horrifying journey through breast cancer in November.  And, while the idea of it was equally horrifying to me, I was secretly happy she didn’t have to go through it in summer – her favorite season.
And every single year since 1964, the old news reels are brushed off and John Kennedy gets shot again.
And again.
And again.

No, I can not love November.  It has brought far too much sadness and pain.


  1. I wish, for you, that November was as short a month as February is! Sending much love to get you through the rest of the month!!

  2. Honoring this.. and you Sheree..<3

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