My sister and I still recall how mad we were when our mother allowed our younger brother into our bedroom where he nail polished paper onto our mirror and ruined our lipstick. Of course he didn’t know better; his mischief hurt us, and yes, our belongings.
My sister still brings up how I’d chase her around her twin bed, my fingers positioned over her head like claws, scaring her into screams. “That was mean!” she exclaims. Yes, but does anyone ask why?
For many years, I have called family members (and still do), usually my daughter Megan, on April Fools day, and claim I broke my arm, or some other believable fib. (She’s onto me now.) Once, on arriving at an IPA board meeting, I enthusiastically blurt out, “I’m engaged!” and everyone claps until I say you know what! I’ve straight-faced my landlord saying, “I can’t pay the rent for another week:)
Now, I am remembering how I told my elementary school teacher to look out the window to see a cardinal. She looks. I laugh! I relish the surprise, like chopped onions on a NY City curbed-hotdog! Why do I delight in this? it’s not my natural bent to be humorous – but I try; I think it goes deeper. Maybe it’s one way I have control over something.
I had so little, actually none with my mother. She even picked out my clothes in junior high school. I disliked a gray straight skirt I had to wear, along with an undershirt until I was 15, when I hid my shopping trip to Rothschild’s to buy a bra. My mother being a very religious woman, she made sure we didn’t go to movies, the theater, or swim on Sundays. (of course smoking and drinking were forbidden – a plus). She’d use the bible to believe that blacks were inferior. I challenged. I fought.
After becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist, I continued to ask why like a two-year-old. Why never grows old!
It is one of my many idiosyncrasies:
I make sure each piece of silverware gets used, although I live alone.
Each evening, I lift a tablespoon from the bottom of the pile, with which to eat my ice cream.
In the morning, I reach to the back row of mugs for one to fill with orange juice; so each one doesn’t feel excluded. You get it, yes? They each get good attention.
When the carton of orange juice is empty; I crush it down to be recycled, then fold it and allow the last drops to fall into my mug, amazed that there is a remaining stream to be saved. Juicy – like I still am at 70, when I self-love, touching myself, still not dried up.
I drive to the Laundromat every two weeks (how many pairs of underpants I have available) , where I peer into the three large garbage cans, spying on BOUNCE fabric softener sheets. I bounce back from my embarrassment as I retrieve and place them into the dryers. Reuse. I think I hear my daddy’s sweet voice: “Waste not, want not.”
Some people are surprised to learn that I am friends with my four ex-husbands and that I have not soured on marriage – who knows, I may marry again. On a March Sunday afternoon, 2017, I walk into The Range, a classy bar, to hear a live jazz band and to dance. I was hoping a friend who dances would be there. Bill had come with another woman-friend, but was glad to see me and dance with me. While we were talking at the break, we share our two basic healing modalities, he grabs my hand and holds it for a minute or more? I am stunned yet did not pull back…I go with the flow. Then, he says, “Maybe we could get married and heal each other.” WOW! My upturned lips are still aglow. I wish I was more attracted to this 13 years younger man…still I am deeply flattered as we laugh together.
Although I have lived alone since 2005, I have been lucky enough to have a few lovers. In 2016, I am surprised by a thirty-nine year old beauty of a man spontaneously kissing me under the stars; us lying in the grass as he sucks my excited nipples. That’s as far as we go that evening. The next morning at the IPA convention breakfast, I whisper in his ear, “I’m so juicy.”
After lunch, I am writing in my journal when I hear a knock on my shared bedroom door. Before I could swallow my surprise, he was undressing me and himself, primeing our nakedness, despite my flushes of embarrassment: crêpey folds of leg skin, wrinkles about my face, as I venture to accommodate his large penis. With some position-changing, we make it happen. Unity. Incredulous that my roommate did not walk in!
During 2016 I became aware of my food sharing idiosyncrasy: while in Shenandoah National Park I realize the idiocy of finishing my ice cream dessert although I love ice cream. I was stuffed like the proverbial thanksgiving turkey so I introduced myself to a young couple eating nearby. I learned they were on their honeymoon. Subsequently, they fed each other my loving-to-share-dessert.
Another male stranger at an Orchard Pass dance offered a bite of his mocha chip ice cream cone when I looked longingly. I did not hesitate to partake.
At Mount Mitchell, I asked a mom with two boys where they got their chocolate chip cookie (another favorite if with walnuts). She offered the last half of her son’s cookie as he did not want the rest. I munched away.
At the Americana Winery, I offered a slice of my pizza to another stranger-man.
At the Grassroots Festival, a woman I didn’t know was going to ditch the rest of her Indian spinach dish and offers it to me – YUM! No fear of germs when ‘love’ is shared.
Can you imagine wiping my arse; folding the toilet paper inward four or five times? “Waste not; want not.”
I find it funny that I have added to my collection of hair elastic bands by picking up lost ones found in parking lots, like I do pennies. Surprisingly, when hiking at a nature preserve in March 2017, I found a red one lying in the mowed down corn field path leading to my favorite local waterfalls. My smile is about as round as the elastic band. Surprised that all of the bands are still elasticized! If not in use, they hang out on the handle of my four-wheel-drive.
I have forgotten what year I began sleeping with my two Gund stuffed polar bears: one being the daddy and the other a child-cub. Maybe I bought the large one in the 1980s when I was not in a romantic relationship. When I read in bed, they hold my head, up.