Sunday, November 22, 2015

Somewhere Between 2 and 19 Years of Age

I'm not sure it's a true memory. When people ask me what the earliest memory I have is, I most definitely age myself by telling them it was when JFK was assassinated. I am just over two years old. For 40 years, I've been pointing to that day as my first memory of childhood. We are in Ludlow, Massachusetts. It is the home I know of as my grandparents' house. Later, I will learn that it was, in fact, the house my parents bought. At the time, though, I know it as my grandparents' house. And old people -- my grandparents, my own parents -- are crying. The reason I think this memory can't be true is I don't believe my very conservative father could have given a crap that JFK would have been killed.

Still, it is the first memory I can recall. There are almost no TV channels. The five or six existing at that time -- within antennae range -- are all reporting the news of Dallas. One channel, though, has Captain Kangaroo or some nonsense on. The adults plunk me down in front of the TV to watch that.

The memory fades.

When I am 19 years old and in college, the afternoon soap operas are interrupted with news of Ronald Reagan being shot. I say aloud that I hope he's dead. The one conservative in the school is appalled. I'm appalled, too, that I would voice that. Being 19, however, I don't admit that.

There is no point to this post, beyond the unequivocal fact that JFK was killed 52 years ago. And I remember that.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


A few weeks ago, one of my employees passed away. She'd taken time off starting in late August. She had a pre-existing kidney condition and it had apparently flared up. Only it hadn't flared up. In the end, it turned out to be cancer. I can't say if the misdiagnosis hastened her end. In the end, it was her end.

She was so polished. She was so together. She was a dancer, not unlike my own dancing girl. She still performed, and she was also a dance teacher. I picture her and her poise and I get a smidgen of a glimpse at how her students must have seen her.

I very much enjoyed my interactions with her, limited as they were to discussing project details and saying, "Good morning!" and "Good night!"

I didn't know the true her. I wonder if we ever know the "true" her or him. Maybe the ones we've snuggled with, we know the truth of who they are. So that's a handful of people in my life.

I donated money to the kitty to get her buried. With a pre-existing condition, there is no life insurance to be had. Our company gave 10 times the amount I gave to get her buried. My colleague -- and good friend -- said if we don't give something to acknowledge such a woman as she was who had been with us for such a long time, what the fuck are we doing here anyway? Only, she doesn't curse, so I've made her remark more colorful.

So I'm going to her memorial in a couple of hours, and I'm going to sit in some Kingdom Hall and encounter people who are believers in the antithesis of my belief, and I'm going to help send her off. I'm going to tell her mother and her sister that I will hold her in my thoughts. I'm going to tell them that she was someone who made a difference.

Aren't we all?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Clearly, I'm not Tech Savvy

The several regular readers I have know that Youngest is futbol crazy. Give that boy a futbol, and he's all over it.

Oh, sorry, you're mostly Americans. I don't mean handball crazy. You know, that silly game where people repeatedly hold a pigskin and pretend it's football. That game that has the greatest commercials of all time every year the first week of February. You know the one, right?

All right. All right. I'll call it soccer for you people.

Youngest is soccer crazy. His dad is, too. And everyone I hang out with on the weekends is as crazed.

He's good. Really good. Not just "mom says he's good," but really good.

He got picked to go to the tryouts for the Olympic Development Program.

This is getting too convoluted.

I'll stop now.

They sent out a cut list for those not asked back for the third tryout next month. I looked at the list and saw that he didn't make the cut.

I was sad.

He was okay with it.

He moved on.

Saturday, at our tournament, the father of another kid on the team asked if they should bring him for the final tryout, when Pete and I are away. I teared up a little and told them he hadn't made the cut. He and his wife argued with me, but I was sure.

I was totally sure until they proved that I was wrong. I had been looking at the numbers for the GIRLS team, not the BOYS team.

Because, duh, you have to choose one.

So, Youngest is going to the final tryouts. He might make it, he might not. Thank you, new friends, for proving me wrong.

I've never been so happy to be wrong in my life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

No Title

This is not my story. It is someone else's story. I didn't live it. I don't re-live it. There that story is, though, whenever there is another story of some fucked-up young male (typically white) who decides to shoot up a school.

It is long ago, long before the media tracked these awful stories. There's a kid. (A kid who happens to be a white male.) He comes into the school, armed with a gun, and takes hostages. This one has a good ending, though, as good as any ending a story can have that begins with some fuck-head coming into a school with a gun.

One by one, he lets the hostages go. My former teacher, a man who befriended me and who, with his wife, welcomed me into their lives and their home, is one of the hostages. He is the second-to-the-last to be let go. He gets to go home to his wife and his baby.

A happy ending.


I have another friend from high school. He's the kind of guy you Fbriend because, you know, you wonder "What ever became of X." He has become a major-league arch-conservative. I do believe that I might be the antithesis of everything that he is. But I don't un-FBriend him.

It's not that I haven't un-FBriended old high school folks, particularly in the last presidential election cycle, when I realized they are so anti-abortion as to have forgotten their own or so religious to have forgotten their own alcohol-fueled slut-to-the-extreme actions of their "youth." Those born-again folks truly are hard to bear.

But this guy. This guy. This guy? I don't un-FBriend. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe because he is the Ted Nugent that I know. Or "know."


I wonder, when the conservative guy ridicules those folks -- ahem, like me -- who beg for something to be done to stop this violence done in the atmosphere of the imaginary gun control of the land -- if he ever stops to think about that mutual friend of ours. I wonder if he stops -- for even a fucking minute -- to consider that maybe...just fucking maybe...we could do a bit more.

And then I chuckle to myself, like I did just now as I was writing that last convoluted sentence, that, no, he doesn't.


And that, dear friends, is why nothing will ever change. Because I am completely wrong.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Groundhog Day at its Worst

Another mass murder by some 18-24 year old white dude with a grudge. Again and again and again.

Nothing anyone will do about it beyond wringing their hands, or, you know, saying if only someone had a gun to stop him.

Stuff happens.

We'll look at the shiny object for a day. Maybe two. If they're first graders, maybe a whole week we'll devote to being just sick to our stomachs.

But Halloween is coming. And then Thanksgiving. Christmas. And so on and so forth.

We'll go on.

Stuff happens.

We'll file it away in our brains and take to Twitter and Facebook and blogs to bemoan the tragedy.

But nothing will change.

Because stuff happens.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Soap on a Rope

It is 1987, and my best friend, Lori, is visiting. Her visit happens to coincide with a visit from Pope John Paul II.

It is mere months after my father died, and maybe that's why I remember it with seeming clarity this many years later. It also happens to be mere weeks before I'll be visiting her, with Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love" newly released. I remember her uncle driving us somewhere-or-another and one of the songs coming on. #Bruuuuuuuuuce.

That visit to her on the East Coast marks my first time visiting my Dad's final resting place at Arlington.

Lots of memories can be dredged up by a visit by Pope Francis.

But back to September 1987, when she is visiting me. This, of course, is far before kids. It is, also, far before meeting future husbands.

She is here. I live...I don't then I was probably in that studio on Sacramento at Gough. I paid a pittance for it then. It's probably $4,000 or more per month now. Out of the reach of many, surely, which I'm guessing Pope JPII bemoaned, and which I sure as hell know Pope Frank would bemoan it now.

Damn, I keep sidelining this post.


Not sorry.

Okay. Lori is in that time. I am in that time. And, beautiful Jewish girl that she is, she is all for heading down to Geary Blvd. to see JPII ride by in his pimped-up Popemobile and feel the adoration of thousands of folks.

I am moved to tears. I really am. When I glimpse him. And Lori is, too. Because she might not believe in what he offers, but she knows a real good dude when she sees him.

At the time, I believe. Oh, how I believed.

But even now, not believing one iota of any of it, I would be moved to tears were I to see the 2.0 version of a great pope pass by on the street.

If ever there was a reason to have "the land of the label free" tag for a post, this would be it.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

True Story

Text messages between the husband and me.

Me: When are you heading out?

Him: I will leave here about 9:30. Traffic will be bad before that. It should, all things being equal, put me back there around 5 or 6 p.m.

Me: Okay. Be safe.

Him: Will do.

Me: And happy anniversary!

Him: OMG that's right! Happy anniversary. I love you!!

Me: Love you too!

Him: Did we get a card from your Mum?

Me: How else would we know?

Him: Ha! Thank God for Louise


It's a running joke. We never know our anniversary. We know it's some midway point in September. But the only way we really know is when my Mom sends us a card. I imagine if we'd gone the traditional way and had a big old wedding, we'd remember the date. But we never did traditional. And there's no point in starting now.

Here's to -- um, how many years -- 16 years of marital bliss. And nearly 20 years of unbridled love.


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