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He’s been telling the team captains all summer that the boys should stay inside the dugout. I told him maybe he shouldn’t be involved, but he said someone was going to get hurt.
Sure enough, last regular game of the season, and four different boys are up on the hill swinging the bat. Demetri takes a swing, and on his back swing, hits another boy, Blake, on the jaw. This breaks the skin and hurts him; Demetri was mortified. Joey looked at me smugly, “See? They gotta stay inside.”
I planted my flowers today, saw a baseball game and talked to another person about the big cruise. I rented a boat for Father’s Day, no that’s not correct - I rented space for 24 people, then 26 people on the “Spirit of Chicago” brunch.
The thing is, many people began calling every day saying they wanted to go. It’s been a nightmare! We have three tables of eight, and they can push in an extra chair at each. So tomorrow if I have all these people show up and they can’t get on the boat, I will be insanely angry.
It was one day before her old lover’s birthday and she found herself sad that she remembered it. After all, it was twenty years ago.
But you don’t forget lovers like that, I added slowly, unsure of her response. For she had confided in me, told me that he was the most fabulous lover in the world. Not much of a husband, but a lover supreme. A lot of men are practiced lovers I had said.
She said no, not just knowing everything. But loving you. He knew how to make you believe he loved you. He
I watched her face, sure she was still thinking of him.
Do you ever try to contact him I asked her.
No, I don’t want to know. Because I’m almost sure he is no longer living. When I was training for the police department, I looked his name up on one of those machines, one of those data bases. And it said HIV positive next to his name under comments.
I swallowed hard, knowing this could be very bad news for her. I waited through the long quiet.
Don’t worry, she said. I was tested twice, and I am fine.
When she spoke, I remained silent. For all of an hour she talked about him and him alonle. How he loved her. How he sang for her and wrote notes to her every day. How he kissed her, from the soles of her feet to the ends of her long hair.
How he would look into her eyes and trace her lips with the gentlest finger. I love you he would say. If I had my fondest wish, it would be like a story I read--time will stop, and we, wrapped around and in one other, love unto eternity.
I mean, where do you go after that? What can you say to someone who has experienced that? I remained quiet. She was so fascinating that I sometimes wondered if she really had experienced these things, or was she making it up, from the magazines and books she read? I decided that it really didn’t matter. She was a hypnotizing speaker, with stories and amusing things she talked about. Her family, so many different people, and jobs, and all manner of things. She wasn’t even bragging. She spoke in a very matter of fact way. I chose to believe her.
I really do think she has done this stuff, but it makes me feel a bit like I haven’t had much of a life, really.
And I guess that is what makes us all interesting to one another: the fact that we are all so very different. That is what should be
in life....our differences. And it seems that our similarities are what gets us into trouble....banding together and deciding that the “others” are bad, or don’t think right, or have terrible habits.
Who was it? Kipling!
“Everyone like us is We, and Everyone else is They!
My friend has gone quiet and I only WISH I could watch and listen to what she is remembering. Isn’t there some sort of brain machine where they can hit certain cells and retrieve a bit of a memory?
Perhaps soon we will look right into the imaginations or memories of others and have no use for movies or television or any of those items. We will simply watch actual events or fantasies! Would that be the best or what? Of course, for safety, you would have to know in advance if they were of a sexual or violent nature.
I don’t suppose we really want to watch things as they happen–there are too many ugly things that no one should ever be able to recreate or recall for fear that someone would redo that.
But I would love to feel the way she described, loved fully and totally, loved for just being me, cherished perhaps a better word. Some would say that it is not healthy to love like that–everything else is locked out. But I don’t agree. The problem is trying to communicate a feeling.
If you have not felt it, you simply can’t grog, or understand, it.
June 10th. It sounds like a wonderful day for a wedding. I’m sorry that those days are behind us. Now how can I feel bad when so many others are happy, you may ask?
Because I know that most marriages these days fail. It’s true–a greater percent fail than make it. And that is tragic. Also, the REASONS for getting married seem to be flawed. You don’t get married because you’ve always dreamed of yourself in a beautiful Cinderella like ball gown, or because you want everyone to look at just you on one day in your life.
No...marriage should be ONLY because you have found, finally, a person who you can love and live with the rest of your natural life. It sounds hard, but it really isn’t. You don’t get married at 20!
You search for a large group of good friends, the kind of people that you respect and are proud of. People of accomplishment, whether it is in science or entertainment, but folks who have followed their stars and do what they LIKE to do.
Do not follow those who choose actions depending upon the crowd’s opinion. Follow kind, gentle people who love themselves.
Surround yourself with positive thinkers. And when you have this large pool of friends, then you begin to think of a mate. You may look right before your eyes, ask for recommendations, go out to local events, whether concerts, or classes, or bowling, a simple trip to the store. And you will meet other people cut from the same cloth–not exactly like you, mind, but people who are kind, positive, and caring. And one day, when you least expect it, you will look at one of them and feel a little spark. And you will have found a possible mate.
Now, you strengthen those bonds and find out if the other person feels the spark that you do. If so, you continue to spend time together and get to know the person deeply. You’ll discover if they want a family; you’ll learn their sense of humor.
Then, if all is well, ask if they will marry you! If not, continue to live your life as described above and live a full life. You will feel a spark several times in your life, perhaps many times. But if you wait and take care, you’ll find love.
Or, love will find you!
I asked my dad once to describe love. His answer: trust. I wish all children were taught to face life in the manner described. And the most important words to live by are trust, respect, and honor. This is the way he taught us to live.
I wish I had a whole lot more of his insights to tell right now, but they will come to me as I need them in life, I’ve found.
For now, I feel satisfied his words are “on paper” so to speak.
My MOM would include one more ingredient to a good life:
She yelled, “SOUPS ON”, which sounded more like “soups own” to my mid-western ears. Her name was Nell, and she was the mother of my friend Ann. She was a pretty woman, but prematurely grey.
The family had recently arrived from Tennessee, and according to the block, only one place was worse and that was Mississippi! That’s what they said on Washington Boulevard in 1958 Chicago.
Her dad was a beer guzzling guitar player. He and his buds would sit on mattresses laid across the floor and play the guitars, tossing beer cans out the window, clattering into the gangway.
The knock at the door was insistent, demanding.
“Let me in!” he screamed.
“Kai, open this door!” Again the banging, pounding.
Earl stepped over to the door and opened it.
“What the hell are you doing here?” he demanded. Earl was quiet and cool, “She does NOT want you here, man, so hit it!”
He tried to push past Earl, and that left hand, always a surprise, knocked him down.
“She said she doesn’t want to talk to you”, he said, closing the door. Earl turned and took her in his arms.
“You don’t ever have to worry about him,” he said.
She had called Earl when the threats became more frightening.
At first, he came in the evening, sometimes bringing one of the kids. But lately, the visits were at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., sometimes right after work.
One day he waited for her in the parking lot at the post office. He hid behind a car, and when she arrived, he ran up to her and demanded she come with him. Upon her refusal, he threw a Coke at her, drenching her hair and soaking right through her uniform.
She saw her supervisor, but she would do nothing for her.
The supervisor depended upon him to run various windows in the post office, so she couldn’t possibly get involved and reprimand him.
She was a sexist pig, all the more dangerous for being a female.
She once asked, “What does that mean? That I like men more than women?”
No, that you think men are smarter than women and you favor them on job assignments.
She said, “Well they are better workers!”
The conversation ended there–there is nothing much you can say to a moron, especially one who lies; we all had similar records.
Unfortunately, she was light on brains.
Last night I went to the drive-in (shades of yesteryear!) with my husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandson. We saw Transformers and the new Bruce Willis flick.
It was such a good time, partly because my grandson shared the chaise longue with me. He is nine years old now, and getting to be aware of what people say and think.
For example, there is no more hand-holding while walking into a store. He hasn’t said anything, but he makes sure he’s not near that outstretched hand! But he sat right between my legs, and I made a pillow for his head.
When we were first married and didn’t live together, she said, he would sneak over in the middle of the night.
He would open the door quietly and tiptoe into the bedroom. There, he would take his clothes off and “rape” me. There was never a word spoken–almost like the "zipless fuck" that Erica Jong made famous long ago.
After the sex, he would leave a couple of hundred dollars on the nightstand and sneak out. I could hear him speed away.
It was so sexy, she said, but I feel ashamed now. Why?
That was like prostitution, she said.
I found out yesterday that a long-time friend (I no longer speak to) had a horrific year. We parted ways over continuing drug use that I could no longer watch.
I judge her not.
But when you do not get high, you cannot spend much time around those that do–it is far too painful and perhaps, tempting.
But what happened to her should not happen to anyone. She lost her youngest brother thirty years ago to a drug overdose. This year, she lost one brother to AIDS, one to a cocaine induced heart attack, and one to suicide by hanging.
She had a rubber gravestone magnet on her refrigerator that read, RIP/Why do you think they call it dope? Her youngest brother had passed away, so I thought it a bit light for the situation.
She was the kind of friend that you didn’t really want to have, but she clung to me like glue.
I had fun with her at times I’ll admit, but she liked to do dangerous things constantly. She would spin donuts in her car on the little, icy bridge over the creek, laughing wildly, for example. But I would imagine drowning there; my parents distraught.
The couple heard the band was in town, so they stopped over. There were two children with them, a girl about four, and a boy about six. Their hair was in knots and they were dirty.
The guy, Red, was a friend of my husband’s from long past . . . before the band, even. His wife Mary and he were drinking cough syrup out of coke cups.
I was afraid to let the children play with Danielle. After all, she was only two; I didn’t know if the children would be gentle and kind–their father certainly wasn’t. He belittled all of them.
How to get these freaks out of my house? I knew my husband wouldn’t be too aware of the condition of the children; I had to do something. I watched Red drop his ashes on the carpet and called him on it. He said it was good for the fiber, hahaha.
I took the children into the bedroom and tried to brush their hair. Sadly, their hair had gum in it, sticky substances, knots upon knots over knots. When they last bathed was anyone’s guess.
I wondered how I could call Social Services while they were here. I tiptoed upstairs.
Drat! No phonebook upstairs–well, I’ll just have to call information. The office was closed on Saturday.
I went back downstairs and took Mary to the side. What’s up with the children I asked her. Yeah, I know, she said, Red locks them into their bedroom as soon as they make noise and I don’t argue with him because he just belts me.
She pulled up her shirt and showed me the bruises.
Mary, you have to do something; you have to get these kids somewhere safe.
She said I had my Mom’s, but he found us and pulled us out.
Thankfully, Eddie got rid of Red and Mary quickly.
The next few days I worried about those children; they haunted me. I prayed that something good would happen.
As time went on, I thought of them less, though. And then a full year later, I got a phone call from Mary.
She told me she had taken the children to a convent, where they were all doing well. She said she would have never left Red without my speaking to her. She said I was the first woman that would even talk to her after they saw the kid’s condition.
Mary told me that most women left the room when Red and Mary showed up. One woman had slapped Mary’s face. She had basically written herself off as useless and hell-bound.
And now, it was the opposite. She was embracing Christ and learning how to live and love herself; the children were doing wonderfully well.
And she thanked me, over and over.
The children had counseling a couple of times a week, and Mary was training as a nurse. When I hung up, I was so joyful I could not speak.
See? I scolded myself—
sometimes there IS a happy ending.
I met Kate for the
time in the seventh grade. We had met in Kindergarten, she informed me upon meeting, and the next day she brought over a large picture of a kindergarten class at Tilton School in Chicago.
Sure enough, there we both were - in 1955, both Libras and in school early, at four years. I was very surprised she remembered me. The only person I remembered from that class was Walter Whitehouse, son of Father Whitehouse of Saint Barnabus Episcopal Church on Washington Boulevard. The church, and their house, were across the alley from our hat company.
So you see, it was almost as if we HAD to be friends.
Her family had lived just two blocks from mine in the city. They we moved to Bellwood and went to the same school and again lived several blocks from one another.
We became good friends, and it didn’t hurt that she had a house full of handsome brothers. There wasn’t one that wasn’t good looking.
But Kate, or Kathie as she was known then, didn’t want anyone messing with her brothers. You either came to see her or you didn’t-–no brothers could be thrown into the mix.
And what fun those boys were.
It seemed her father was always beating on them and her mother spoiling them. Out of the house, they were always kissing someone, or doing other wild things.
They had it all–there were six of them and one was better looking than the next. And they made you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world–they had all the moves.
Those days were so carefree it makes me smile just to think of them. Smiling and flirting and walking to the park. Watching baseball games and swinging on swings.
Life was muy exciting.
The Tip Jar