Bittersweet Memories

Dear Friends —

For the last two years, I have delayed the official announcement of the closing of the Corley Law Firm.  Of course, most everyone knows that I stopped taking new cases in the summer of 2017 in anticipation of the move.  But my guardian ad litem cases kept me traveling back and forth.  Though I had left Suite 100, a friend loaned an office to me.  For all of 2018, I could ignore the fact that the vision which Alan White and I first imagined at my dining room table in March of 1992 had finally faded, or had been fulfilled as much as we would ever manage.

I finished my last case in February of 2019 by transferring it to another lawyer.  Since that time, though I remain a licensed Missouri attorney in good standing, I have not been practicing.  I had my last art show; I packed my last box; I shuffled the last list of stored files into the scanner.

Confronting this change has not been easy.  Though I ultimately made the choice, unforeseen and unwelcome circumstances of my life demanded a new configuration.  The public art space, Art @ Suite 100, had brought much joy and satisfaction, but the situation which gave birth to that dream had also been irreparably altered.  I simply had to find another path to walk.

So I did.   Determined to live a more simple life, I commissioned the build which ultimately became my tiny house,  “Angel’s Haven”.  I sold my home in Brookside, gave away most of my material possessions, and headed west.  

I consider myself a Missouri gal.  My tribe still lives on the banks of one of the state’s two big rivers, the Missouri or the Mississippi.  Many amazing people in the Midwest still hold me in their hearts.  I miss them all.  I miss my son, my siblings, my cousins, and the Usual Suspects on whom I depended at the very center of my quivering core.  I crave the twangy cadence of their voices and the sun-kissed crinkles in the corner of their eyes. 

The lights of Kansas City haunt my dreams.   I fight the dark gloom of fearful regret.  I want to park on 39th Street and amble into Prospero’s, where Will presides over an alluring assortment of genuine, analogue reads.  I’d make my way to the stairs and take any offered arm, the store’s genuine insistence to my personal accommodation.  On the upper story, a drink would await and music would wrap itself around me, the sweet strains of Angela’s cello with Jake’s guitar, maybe; or the raw rapid rasp of a deftly wielded fiddle.

One fine day, I’d head down State Line for a gluten-free vegetarian lunch at tLoft, with its sure-fire wi-fi and its funky teas.  I’d sit for hours, writing, ruminating, humming.  There would be no need for a second round; your table’s secure on just that one order, stay as long as you like — we don’t mind.

But no, it’s First Friday, so let’s sign off and head to the Crossroads, where if we’re lucky, we’ll get one of Ruthie’s give-aways for Free Art Friday.  And so on, and so forth.  There’s Paula’s invitation to lunch; and Katrina’s garden to visit.  Brenda will walk by any minute on her way home from work.  Penny gets off work at 2:00 and has an Americano waiting. Farmer Steve, well, he’s got fresh eggs, maybe, or a bag of greens and a sit-down on the front porch in one of the rockers, because that’s just the way we roll.  

At the community dinner here at Park Delta Bay this evening, I tried to find a way to tell my neighbors how I feel today.  Today, of all days.  The day that I finally sent my closing copy to the best web mistress in the whole damned country, Annie Wilson.  My goodbye went live a half-hour later.  But I couldn’t find the words.  These people — these Park Delta Bay folks, they have good  souls. I’m sure they would have shown compassion.  But how could I describe the bittersweet memories which suddenly overtook me?  How could I share the loss of something that none of them had ever known, or seen, or experienced?

So, here it is.  I took a fork in the road, either of my own accord or because I had no choice.  With many backward glances, I left Missouri behind me.  I won’t pound my chest and wail about any of it — not the difficulty of the decision, nor its ultimate inevitability.  I paid my money, and I took my chances.  I got a bunch of fine door prizes, even if I never quite snagged the brass ring.   Who knows?  I might go ’round again, and get another chance.

It’s the eighteenth day of the sixty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. 


Livingston Taylor and James Taylor duet, “Thank You Song”




One thought on “Bittersweet Memories

  1. Brenda

    Corinne, Your post made me realize all over again how good we have it here. Thank you for reminding me! But let me just add that the good things here were gathered around you because you are the way you are. And it sounds like you’re well on the way to creating that kind of community around you there. I have no doubt you’ll do it again, if you haven’t already.


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