She was a young girl … optimistic and unfettered by the cares of motherhood, rent or budgets. Deadlines bored her, responsibilities rarely found her, and if some dark night reality intruded upon her, she blew them off with a song. She learned to have fun with few resources … a radio and an old Remington manual typewriter. The babes, now grown, were the ballast of her otherwise insane life.
She was the dreamer and I loved her so. I wrapped her in sensual silk and satin bottoms, layered with denim, daring cut-a-way, braless and carefree on a fat old bike. And oh, she had the lightest touch. She was me.
Dream Boat Annie, Heart
From the journals of Ramblings:
When we love …
When we love I am standing
Before a stranger
Awkward in my nakedness
The plans of each act
I have memorized
Scatter about the floor
With my garments
And I am left
With the finest performance of all
The improvisation of this one
So nice to feel creation
A mountain with bare hands
I am awed by the challenge
Climb its rocky
Each time I take a breath
I ascent to the highest peaks
Where the purest creation is born
Suspended in mid-air
I descend to earth slowly
More slowly than the time before
Finding solid ground in your arms
Where with a frown
And a sigh of disappointment
We separate and become
Ready to glue back the masks
And button up the costumes
Unable to understand
What it is
And how it is
When we love
She be me, you and her …
I am girl/woman/child/femme/fatale/female/feminine/feminist/a fragile/fragrant/feline/phoenix/ rising to the moon/to howl chant/sing/lament/serenade !
Free/falling/fairly/far/into your charms/arms
a female/baby boomer/post menopausal
toward the new millennium
seeing nothing but
a blue haze
How is it people always search
Each other’s eyes
Hoping to find the answer
When they haven’t yet learned
To ask the question?
I wonder how it feels
To be Atlas
In a time when the world
Is no treasure to hold ?
Your Hit Parade …
To someone on the outside looking in and not knowing the individual players in our tiny theatre, we might have appeared to be blatantly crazy. Since all the men and women shouted the same way in two languages, we thought everyone lived like us, and chaos became the norm.
There were no dads who wore suits and ties to work or stay-at-home-moms who baked cookies for after school snacks. Only Italian-American-blue-collar, wrong-side-of-the-trolley-tracks, working men and women who had precious little time for play groups or little league.
It was a factory life, which meant adults worked from pre-dawn to late afternoon and kids were generally on their own or answered to some old lady who corralled several of them at a time before the worker’s shifts were over.
Late afternoon meant trips to the grocer, the baker or the butcher. Not much kept in the tiny icebox necessitating daily shopping, which became my “job.”
While my mother turned the groceries into our supper, the big one sat in a corner of the room working on his latest project, and my dad sat next to him reading one of his three daily newspapers.
The middle one sat alone in the outside hall or the bathroom and read everything except his schoolbooks, and I bounced around to each of them to homework to errands.
When the adults banished me to my room, I would sneak over to the French doors in the parlor, listen to the music on the radio and ignore the adult conversations.
There was a guy who called himself the Sixty Minute Man, a concept later explained to me by the middle one. The middle one seemed bent on explaining all the unexplainable things little girls are better off not knowing.
I sang with Nat King Cole as his sweetheart was Unforgettable and much Too Young for what the Sixty Minute Man was talking about.
I sat by the front door and rolled my middle brother’s marble collection, often watching desperately as one of his best agates rolled under the icebox or one of the adults slipped on his Cat’s Eye. Mostly I counted them and enjoyed one of Guy Mitchell’s latest hits brought to you by the Lucky Strike countdown on Your Hit Parade.
There was lots of stuff on the radio that the family discussed and argued about besides music. My dad and the big guy had the upper hand in the voting process and before this year, I had learned to like what everyone else wanted to hear.
Radio waves brought us the mystery and detective shows of Ellery Queen, The Adventures of Philip Marlow, Bulldog Drummond, and Charlie Chan, the comedy of Amos & Andy or George Burns, and of course, lots of World News Today.
The stand up Philco provided everyone in the family with their own special kind of show. My mother could not iron all the shirts and blouses we needed unless she listened to one of her soaps or The Bickersons, and my dad never finished a newspaper without a news or sports show.
The big guy liked anything at all that included music. Neither of the boys were much for sports, but the big guy sat with our dad and listened to Red some-body talk about those “damned” Yankees. After supper, we sat in a semi-circle with coffee or cocoa and listened to family comedy, music and big band shows.
Never missing a chance to taunt me, the middle one loved to repeat the more frightening introductions, like that creaking door of Inner Sanctum or the voice on The Shadow … “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! …”
Yeah, and I knew what evil lurked in the hallways of Brooklyn.
It hardly mattered ’cause I had my own personal radio and could listen to any old thing at all, any old-time I wanted.
Among the nice and not-so-nice Italian relative and non-relative males populating my life, was a short, wiry angel-faced boy with a great smile.
Here In My Heart he had a special place even if he wasn’t the first boy I ever kissed. He was smarter and nicer than all the rest and the one who remembered to hold my hand Walkin My Baby Back Home.
He never tried to look under my dress, he didn’t use foul language or try to trap me in the corner of a dark hallway, and he never sad bad things.
He was my best friend, my only friend and the only boy I didn’t hate.
I’ve searched these pages for the word “look” to satisfy a challenge by my writer friend Sheri Degrom. Be patient dear one, I might find a look or two for you yet.
Do you have secrets you hide …
from yourself or the world?
Tell me … what memories do you treasure?
fOIS In The City