Thoughts of wife shared for Valentine’s Day

Published 11:01 am Saturday, February 11, 2012

I met my wife, the charming Betty Boone Foster, in the summer of 1967, in a Brooklyn employment office.

These were the hopeful, the progressive days of the Kennedy era [faithfully extended through the masterful machinations of Lyndon Johnson] a sort of Reconstruction renaissance. All sorts of civil rights initiatives spiraled about.

Betty and I had ridden this enthusiasm – she from the deep North Carolina town of Hallsboro, and I from the backwoods of Zuni – to the rumored opportunities of New York City.

She was in the second row of seats from the front and I in the third row, in a rather crowded employment hall called Youth in Action, the very language, indeed, the spirit of the era. We came to be there through a remarkable coincidence.

Sitting beside me was a former classmate and friend from St. Paul’s College, William Howard Ayres Jr. from Buckingham, Va., who had just arrived in search of a summer job.

Sitting beside Betty, was a former classmate, recently arrived from Elizabeth City State, also in search of a job. [Ayres’ subsequent IRS refund was mailed to me. I mislaid it (a tidy sum of $70). I came across it 10 years ago and although a guilty twinge of trepidation, I sent it to him. He has framed it as a valued memento.]

Betty and I, total strangers at the time, already had jobs and had taken-off as an accommodation.

One thing led to another and Betty and I would celebrate a 30th year renewal of vows ceremony in 1998. It was a grand affair, dwarfing the original festivities. Her happy smile that day will be with me always.

Yes, I’ll be getting the candy. But which ones? You see, there’s the annual controversy pitting those pecan/caramel patties — yeah, the “turtles” (my favorites) purchased as a quantity of individual pieces from a first-rate candy store — against the colorful, romantic elegance of the traditional box of assorted. Hey, how ‘bout me!

Yeah, I’ve gotten away with it, before. A dear, dear girl.



Softly sighing “I’m smitten”

of treasures held in truss,

the body of all fore written

the genre’s syllabus.


Fetching in every ounce,

attractions blooming large,

a devilish coy flounce

b’jiggled décolletage.


My brash boldness sputtered,

a fevered nervous state.

Staring hard, then stuttered

a hoarsen “H-Hey-y wait!”


I stumbled forward to woo,

besotted, in a trance.

I mumbled “How you do,”

awarded a sultry glance.



Femme Fatale

Nothing more than a dilettante

a fraud in full flower.

A foppish air, a bon vivant,

the gigolo of the hour.


A charlatan, a venal vulture,

a rake of rogue conviction.

A velveteen veneer of culture

the linchpin in his fiction.


But then again his lady friend,

that damsel….! I digress.

That cad, a fool, a has-been…


Come on! I couldn’t care less.



The lecher waxed lascivious

and lo! — the dread surprise:

she wasn’t just oblivious,

she sneered, rolled her eyes.


A ribald rakish tryst

Of puerile naked lust

Peremptorily dismissed,

A foregone arrant bust.


Foiled — in disbelief,

a master on the make

brusquely brought to grief

over lust he sought to slake.


Ivor Girl

I walked against the traffic light

for you’re a sight to see;

a risk I take for walking right

along the side of thee.

— J. Walker

CLARENCE FOSTER is a resident of Southampton County and a 1963 graduate of Hayden High School.