Pearl Street

I’ve been in Mother’s kitchen making a grilled cheese sandwich for myself. I am going back home today. I came to Indiana to see Kendall and Mother and ended up in the hospital and recuperating here. I’ve been here two weeks and I am homesick but I also can’t quit crying because I hate leaving both of them.  I hate leaving this house.

The house was my grandparent’s house. I have been here all my life. It is the single thing that has been in my whole life. It is a beautiful home in a horrid neighborhood. The area started out with a promise, I’m sure. It was a nice place to live when my grandparents decided to leave the farm and move into town. That was 53 years ago. Now it’s not quite as savory. Yesterday Mom and I  were just getting home, unloading the car and balancing our Dairy Queen, when chaos erupted across the street. If you know my Mother, you know she puts up with very little. Especially vulgarity. (Ironic that God chose me for her, huh). Anyway, as we were making our way up on the porch, her neighbors spilled out of their shabby little house onto the street. There were, perhaps, 15 kids ranging in age from 20-25. One girl in short shorts, or underwear, a g-string?, standing in the middle of a collection of young men that every mother would have been proud of. They were yelling and hollering, passing a joint, laughing and grabbing at the young lady’s barely covered behind. One of the young men jumped into what can only be loosely referred to as a car and started to choke off down the road. As he did, our sweet little bimbo yelled to be heard over the fire-cracking backfire, “Hey Leroy!! Leroy! That video is gon be on Youtube soon man! That video of that dude eatin my pussy!”

Holy crap. My Mother stopped dead in her tracks and asked what the girl had said, and in a moment of pure stupidity…I answered her. She stopped just inches from the front door, turned around, planted her hands on her hips and glared across the street. You could see the dare line in her forehead. She just stood there quietly. I stood there equally as quiet but very clenched. I made some sort of joke, I don’t even remember what and she said in a deadly calm voice, ‘If you think I care one bit to tell her what trash she is being..’ There we stood, almost 70, almost 50. She was pulled up to her full height of 5’2 and I’m sporting my pretty pink cane. ‘Mom, please. I can’t drag a dead cat right now, let alone whip a girl and 14 guys. Call the police but lets go in the house.’ In a momentous effort of let it go, Mother open the door and we came in the house.

This wasn’t how this neighborhood used to be. I don’t really guess any neighborhoods were though, were they? I spent every waking minute I could in this house when I was young. I loved staying all night with my grandparents. Grandma would make her homemade chocolate syrup and we would have sundaes. I got to wear her little cotton nightgown and robe sets to bed. She always put a fan in the window to pull in the night air. We would watch the news on CBS then a bit of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Grandma liked when the Mutual of Omaha animal guy was on and grandpa liked the monologue. Lawrence Welk, Archie Bunker, Carol Burnett. All staples of my youth that originated in this house. Roast, potatoes and carrots in the pressure cooker for dinner, which was the noon meal then. A pie made with the fresh rhubarb Grandpa and I had cut from the corner of the little yard that morning. When I got older, all the cute boys on the block, the Free Fair, walking downtown to Frische’s and the library. My whole life has always been in this house.

Now it is my Mother’s house. It’s still just as adorable. I can’t wear her pajamas because she has remained stubbornly thin, but we still eat vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. We watch all the old movies on Turner Classic Movies. We still go to the library downtown and last night we had Bigboys with extra sauce and hot fudge cake from Frische’s. Mom has kept all of the bedrooms wallpapered ceilings although she pulled up all of the carpet to reveal unknown hardwood in perfect condition beneath. I still drink juice in the mornings out of the same glasses my Grandma had and now my Mom use. The house is still in immaculate condition. I now sleep in my Grandmother’s blue floral bedroom when I come and Mom and I talk about how crazy she always was and we laugh and laugh.

Not everyone gets the opportunity in life to have a house be a part of the family. I thank God I do. I will leave here today and it will make my soul sad. I long for my family when I am not near them. I miss sitting on the front porch in the evenings and listening to the train whistle in the wee hours of the morning. I miss the rain on the metal awnings on the bedroom windows upstairs. I even miss the sump pump in the basement that has filled many  dark nights with the thought of what might be hiding at the bottom. This house, these memories, these leavings. They are as big a part of me as my green eyes are. This house is part of that. It is a part of me.


Make a wish and say a prayer

Today is my half-birthday. In six months, I will be 50 years old. I have in my head, an image of me dragging my camera and curling iron up the side of a mountain. As I have reached the top, everyone I love is behind me. I look haggard, tired, pissy. My hair is Cruella-like and I have on only black. I’m looking behind myself apprehensively, as if to ask every one if they were there to usher me into my new century with love and kindness or if they were just going to simply push me over the  edge.

I have a lot to say about things, which is why I started this blog to begin with. I have talked and talked for years, most of the time, no one is paying enough attention to what I am saying for my satisfaction. The answer? I can write. No one to interrupt or argue. I don’t have to remind anyone that they are supposed to be listening to me with more urgency. I just write and then I picture everyone I have ever come into contact with, standing at the ready, reading the deep thoughts with all the ferocity of a middle-aged divorcee reading a Harlequin romance novel. I mean it! You all look so beautiful! There is an ethereal glow of anticipation, and then, of course, the applause….(insert Homecoming Queen wave here}

In the next 6 months, I am going to do a series of blog posts about things I need to purge. It will be ugly, it might be funny. It is sure to offend someone.  I almost always do. I hope you take this little trip with me. I feel like this is a necessity in the continuation of the next part of my life. I want to enter into my new half of life full of light and love and tantalizing expectations. I need to shed my old skin. So come on, you can help me mix the drinks.


Silly women, trix are for kids

I saw a meme one day that I thought was sad. Sad because obviously this was a huge enough issue that someone made a meme for it. It said ‘God will never send you someone else’s husband’. 

Why? Why do women chase after a married man? Now look, I’m not blaming a cheating fool on any woman. It takes two to tango, as they say. However, I am at a loss as to why women would ever put themselves in this position.

As a woman, I am fully aware of how hard we have had to fight in all areas of our lives. Women died for our right to vote. We have fought to conquer chauvinism in the workplace. We have had to fight to fight in our Armies, speak in our churches and represent our country in all forms of government. We, as women, still fight the condescending attitudes of  men who think because we have a vagina, we aren’t able to lead a nation. We have fought for hundreds, thousands of years to have our voices heard. So why the hell are we tearing each other down, making other women feel less than, sleeping with other women’s husbands? Why do we judge other women, holding each other to standards that are worse than any man ever did? Why do we mock and gossip and toy with women who should be our friends? What is wrong with us??

I am just amazed of the dissention women have created for themselves. My ancestors fought valiantly for Women’s Rights. For what? So we can tear each other down? Apart? . We complain about sexual harassment in the workplace, then we send suggestive messages to married men we work with. Since when is it ok to chase a married man? There is no good reason for that. It doesn’t matter if his wife is fat or a bitch or ‘doesn’t understand him’. You’re chasing a man who took a vow before God to love and honor his wife. Why is it ok to offer yourself to him? Why would you disrespect another woman like that? Why would you disrespect yourself like that? We are our own worse enemies. I don’t understand it. I never will.

I was married to a man for twenty-six years who cheated on me for the entirety of our marriage. Friends, co-workers, employees, my children’s friend’s mothers. There were no boundaries with these women. I’ve had women in my home, they have eaten at my table, listened to me when I was so heartbroken, I didn’t know if I’d live through it…and leave my house and sleep with my husband. What were they thinking?  Second best is pretty ok? Did you think he’d leave me? He didn’t. But one day, I decided that wasn’t my story anymore. That wasn’t God’s plan for me. Am I to be thankful? Because of you, I woke up? As I said before, the blame isn’t one-sided. My husband is who vowed to be faithful to me. You, however, decided that I didn’t matter. You told every man who ever said anything derogatory about women that he was right. For some reason, you thought you were the exception to the rule.

It’s a fallacy that men have been our only oppressors. We regress every time we text another woman’s husband a sexual message, whisper about things only a wife should share. Every time you put yourself in the position that either of you have to lie about, if you would be ashamed for your friend to see something you said to her husband, you have pushed us back a hundred years. Why aren’t we showing men, children, other women what it is like to be a God fearing woman. Why are we sitting in huddles giggling about sleeping with a co-worker. Why aren’t we respecting all women? Why aren’t we showing the world what being a WOMAN really means.

If we need a silly Facebook meme to make a point about infidelity, where have we gone so wrong? What is this teaching my daughter? Your son? Is this the legacy we want for our children? I strive to teach my girls about respect for other women. They get into trouble if they are gossiping about another girl in front of me. They hear it if they are making harsh criticism about other girls. I am not blameless in all of this. In fact, I said something ugly a few days ago. Kennedy totally busted me for it. I was embarrassed, then proud.

I have my own demons to fight. I am not perfect, I don’t ever claim to be. I am ornery and I curse and I sometimes make fun of those really skinny women who say ‘I need to lose two pounds’. Really? Go poop. I wouldn’t tease and flirt with your husband. I wouldn’t do anything that could be misconstrued as enticement. It is shameful.

I have a lot of really good friends. Friends who have cried with me and told me to pull my head out of my ass occasionally. Friends who love me for who I am and who I am not. I have also lost friends. People who were dear to me. People I thought would have my back no matter what. I hate being wrong. I guess this whole ranting mess comes down to one thing. The crust on the biscuit. I saw that meme and it hit home. Old wounds are still wounds. New wounds that haven’t healed yet. I don’t understand a woman who chases after a married man, or a women who succumbs to being chased. I don’t understand men either, but this particular post isn’t about that. It’s really just so simple. Keep your mouth and legs shut and quit being an embarrassment to all women. Have a little class