Tuesday, June 29, 2010
How many times have you heard that in your lifetime? How many times have you said it?
I think I spent at least a decade pummeling my poor brother's arms during long rides in our family car. I still do it it to my kids - if I can get to them before they get to each other. Or to me. Only now, my daughter says, "punch buggie no punch backs". What is that? I think it originated with her best friend, who has two sisters. There is always threat of retaliation when you are smacking people on either side of you in a minivan.
I grew up in a house, which sat across the street from a field. This was the most awesome of things for a kid to have in front of their home: We made bike ramps, staged photo shoots and created an extremely unsafe tree house: It included a chaise lounge strapped to a branch with fishing line.
The problem was the traffic between home and the field. We lived on an impossibly busy street, where VW beetles sped by in abundance - my neighbors and I spent a great deal of time punching each other.
Some time between childhood and my teen years, I decided that being so thorough in my search for Slugbug victims was passe, which is a good thing, since my high school sweetheart drove a root beer brown, 1969 Volkswagon Beetle. I continue to be fascinated by this car, even though it is long gone. The sweetheart is still around. I once saw him fix a broken part on that car, with a rubber band. I'm not talking about using a scrunchie to keep the glove box closed. I mean a part under the hood. Like, a piece of the engine. With a rubber band. He was just like MacGyver - minus the mullet.
In addition to driving around town to catch concerts, eat at Carl's Jr. and hang out at Tower Records, the brown bug took a few trips through our field: Bouncing along molehills and skidding around corners, sending up a wall of dust. Whenever the car hit a bump, it would "catch air" and fly for a moment. It made my heart skip, watching my man hotdogging it around: Did you like that? I just had a birthday and I feel really, really old - so I thought I'd use the word "hotdogging".
There was one thing better than our deserted field and all the fun we had in it. Two words:
I guess those are numbers.
On the other side of the field was a 7-11 and it was a place that we loved to frequent with regularity. I probably bought enough Tootsie Pops there to fill an Easter basket for every child in Rhode Island. We also used to buy Pop Rocks and Jolt Cola. I always though Pop Rocks were a little creepy - they made it feel like something was crawling around in your mouth. But that Jolt... Sometimes I wish I had a twelve pack in my fridge. When the kids have been up in the middle of the night and it feels like I got around six minutes of sleep, Jolt sometimes comes to mind. I know, I know: Red Bull is what us grown-ups are supposed to drink. But Jolt actually tasted good and how can you resist a beverage with "all the sugar, twice the caffeine" for a slogan? I wonder how those poor teachers got through their mornings, with students imbibing crack-like, carbonated liquid sugar for breakfast? They were probably drinking it, too...
I used to be able to talk superfastlikethis, after downing a couple of cans.
If my mother realized that she was missing an ingredient while cooking dinner, she would just send me to my favorite purveyor of sugary goodness. I'd pick up a jar of mustard. And some Laffy Taffy. And some Hot Tamales. And Fun Dip.
The 7-11 is still there, but you can't get to it easily from my parent's house, anymore. In the 1990's the field was scooped up and turned into part of the highway. Up went the sound proof walls and now it would take more time to hike to your Slurpee than it would be worth.
It was fun, while it lasted...
Yesterday I went to seven eleven to get hot-dog-buns for my mom (really exciting, haw!) Well on tuesday, it seemed like my house was haunted. we go to the front door and you can hear the television, when I opened the door I saw a flash and it was off. we herd footsteps and someone sliding on the loose carpet in the hall so we ran out to Erica's house. We got to her house and we played soccer...
Friday, June 25, 2010
Everything changes. Nothing stays the same.
With my birthday looming, I find my brain spinning like a calendar Rolodex. All day long. I have flashbacks of my childhood and sometimes I find recollections that I didn’t realize were there. For example, just this morning I rediscovered a memory of trying to convince the girl down the street to give me one of the french fries that she was hiding in a miniature tin lunchbox. It was almost dark outside and I was wearing a yellow bathing suit.
I was fifteen.
Oh, come on – did you really believe that? In reality, I was probably around four. I can’t remember why I was allowed to wander around the neighborhood in a bathing suit at dusk, begging for fries – but then again, this was still the 70’s; a decade where the local high school most likely had a smoking section, your mom probably drank/ate Tab all day and Jovan Musk was considered a fancy perfume. Those pesky seatbelt laws hadn't been invented, yet: One of my favorite childhood memories is playing with my Barbies in the front seat of my mother’s green Pinto. That is, I was sitting down on the floorboards with Barbie on the seat – while Mom was driving.
I found my first grade teacher on Facebook, last year. It was one of the most fantastic things imaginable, to be able to write to her and tell her what an impact she has had on my life. To tell her that I appreciate the educator that she had been - so patient and encouraging. She allowed me to write dozens of “books”. I even wrote one that starred her husband. He sent a small white seal sculpture to class with her, as a “thank you”. I keep it where I can see it every day. It has kept me writing something – anything, for almost 30 years.
I can't believe that I am able to say that I have been doing something for almost 30 years.
I remember a clown cup that I used to have at my grandmother’s house, when I was a toddler. It had a red Kool-Aid stain around the lip of it. I wonder if she still has that cup?
I remember seeing my husband for the first time. It was months before we met and more than a year before we began dating. But I remember. I was almost 16.
I used to hero worship a Shakespearean actor who lead some study sessions, in which I was a student. He had this unearthly power to morph into other characters. He didn't seem like a performer to me, more like a shapeshifter. He could turn himself into any gender, object, animal - you name it. You would really, truly believe that he was the being which he was portraying. I mustered enough courage to walk up to him and say, "someday, I hope I can be just like you."
He looked at me for an hour-long moment and then replied, "someday, I hope you can be just like you." He died, not long after he said that to me: It is some of the wisest advice that I've ever been given.
I'm still trying, my friend.
Even Ten Year Old Me knew that things, they are always a-changin'.
Everybody has changed, I don't know how though, because they are so weird everyone says all you should ever do is run around and chase boys, Me, R, B, D, and C don't think so. they asked me if I liked the Library. I said yes because I can write stories, draw, do home work, write poems and read, and "they" started gasping and saying, "oh, my gosh, she likes the library!" like they were going to die or something! and R started to cry in the library because V said she doesn't like her, and they had been best friends the whole school year so far! MAN! What is wrong with these people? I am going to try and find out! Man!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
For some unfathomable reason, I continuously try to kill my best friend's family.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
There are many things for which I am homesick:
The sound of my boyfriend's red bass guitar mingled with the scent of black leather motorcycle jacket.
The feel of my grandfather's small, strong arm over my shoulder - it's silver, wiry hairs tickling against my neck.
The way the Night Jasmine filled up the air on warm nights at our old house.
The sensation of the giant, yellow plastic slide at the County Fair beneath my seven- year- old tush.
My old back.
Although I know that my two surgeries were imperative, I miss how my old back felt. I'm not talking about the back that was broken and masquerading as the spine of an 80+ year-old retired dock worker/weight trainer who never learned how to lift with his legs. I'm talking about the back that allowed me to hula hoop and do a triple time step - without wondering if I am going to be eating Motrin for breakfast, in the morning.
Enter the Sinister Spine.
My doctor thought that I had a blood clot, when I was really having a sciatic attack. I had to arrange for someone to pick my kids up from school and my husband rushed from work to meet me at the hospital. Suffice to say, they did not find anything wonky in my leg. Two months later, I had my first back surgery. Two months after that, the second. I now tell my children that I am Human Cyborg Relations. The Bionic Woman. My back is made up of more metal than the average person. Less than some. Actually, it's titanium. That just means that the airport alarms won't sound when I go through metal detectors and I can get into theme parks without too much trouble.
Sometimes, I think that it makes me sort of special. After all, there is a huge percentage of Americans who don't have a big titanium cage around their spine. Other times, I am a tad bitter that I will forever hate stormy days. Rainy days wreak havoc in people who have implants. There is a constant ache, which sets it's bags at the foot of the bed in your spare room. It doesn't leave until well after Spring comes to visit. I used to love stormy days. El Nino '97 was my finest Winter. I would sit at the window and marvel at nature's fury. These days, I limp around until the cold weather bothers the other side of the world for awhile. Winter is the pest of pests: It teases and annoys - like a particularly impish sibling.
How I wish I could touch my palms to the firm ground again, without bending my knees. Or run for an hour. Or play soccer like I did, in the fifth grade... Which was not very well.
May 14th, 1986
My favorite is soccer, we haven't won a game yet, but today I hope we do, mabe it will be good luck because it is E's birthday! Well, we are playing the Blasters at Los-Poseos school and I sure hope we win! If we don't I will be mad! E says it will be bad luck that today is her Birthday because her grandma died on her birthday, but I don't think so! Oh, well! May 14, 1986 is a good day for me, so far!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The year after I graduated from college, I was head of the Drama Department at a local middle school. I didn't have a teaching credential, but the district was desperate - so they issued me a an emergency credential. A few days later I was the head of a department, teaching at a school where there were two full time security guards walking the halls, waiting to be called by walkie talkie into a classroom for any sort of altercation. There were plenty of altercations: The day after the Columbine incident, a confused sixth grader brought a butcher knife into my classroom and I had to call those very security guards.
I will go to Drama class on thursday. We are learning how to do commercials. We are doing Hershey’s syrup commercial. I can do it now! I memorized it already, this is it:
For really delicious chocolate milk I follow an old family recipe, hershey’s choclate and milk, that’s recipe. Just squeeze that good old fashioned hershey’s syrup into a big glass of milk and drink up! Hershey’s has been this thick, rich, chocolate flavored syrup for over fifty years! Good old fashioned hershey’s syrup, in a no mess bottle. Mmmmmm good!
Do you like the commercial? I do! See, I told you I memorized it! Pretty good, haw! I have a good acting expierience, so, I can memorize quickly. At my old school, I used to make up plays and produce them for my class. I did: Hellen Keller, the live doll, and some more but I can’t remember them. I tried out for the play of Icabod Crane in the legend of “Sleepy Hollow” but I didn’t make it! I tried out for it at the same place as my Drama clas, Kirk Community Center. There is a haunted house there on the twenty fifth of this month!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
You've seen that show "Hoarders", right? How about "Hoarders, Buried Alive"? That show is horrifying. I saw an episode where they found two flat, dead cats in a living room under mounds of indescribable filth. The woman who owned the place sat in her chair on the porch while strangers were digging through her belongings. They found her false teeth, which had been missing for years. The cats had been missing too, by the way.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
My baby sister is thirteen years younger than I am. When she was born, people used to think that I was her mother. They would whisper behind their hands, but I could hear what they were saying: They thought I was a very young teen mom.
When my daughter was born, Sis was a teenager. When we'd go out in public together, I would make her push the stroller and walk around with Peanut. Payback is so sweet: Strangers whispered behind their hands and raised their eyebrows.
Then I realized that people probably thought that I was the grandmother.
That's what happened to our mother. The women who ran the YWCA down the street would see her out walking in the evenings and yell "Hulloh, Grandma!" across traffic. She hated it with a passion.
Being so much younger than I, Sis missed a lot of my childhood. I'll tell a story and then add "buuut you weren't here, yet". I think it bugs her, but I so enjoy saying it. Although, it is really weird knowing that a big part of my life had already happened, before she arrived.
Such as, the time that I tried to marry my kid brother off to the girl who lived one house down. She was the sister of my BFF.
They were both six.
I remember it so clearly. The bride was stunning, in her white baptismal gown. The groom demonstrated his mastery of making fart noises with his armpits. We were all latchkey kids, so we had free reign of most of the backyards in our neighborhood. The reception was held in our yard. It was lovely. I wish that Sis had been there to share the momentous occasion with all of us...
My six year old brother and E's six year old sister decided to get married, so today, we're going to have big, beautyful wedding, exept they're going to be announced boyfriend and girlfriend, it's going to be so cute, we're going to have wedding music, and cookies, and juice! I'm going to make cards for them, and give them stickers for presents. Then we'll have a short reception. And they'lle have a honeymoon, by going to seven aleven and maybe, just maybe Nob Hill, and all those little stores there. I have to admit, they do make a cute couple!
I think Nob Hill is a fine store and 7-11 comes in handy for slurpees, I am grateful that my husband and I went to Mexico for our honeymoon...