I don’t want you to feel ” lost” when you read this. Being lost is scary, unless you want to be lost, or unless your lost and thirsty and you pull over to get directions at some random ho bunk bar and you start talking to some really nice people there, and you stay for lunch, and then dinner, and then the next day you wake up and you have joined some religion where they only eat hamburgers and french fries-EVER and only work on Tuesday’s …I have been lost more than once and THAT scenario right there, has NEVER , ever happened to me, so I plan on getting lost a few more times in my life waiting for it to come true. ( I dream big, what can I say)?
If you don’t feel like getting lost today, I totally understand, so here are the links to part one and two of this story, where most likely everyone in my life story has been lost a time or two.
When I ask my Mom what she did after my Dad tracked her all the way from Iowa to Minnesota, found her at a friend’s house, knocked on the door and asked for the keys to his car back…she said this ” Hmmm, I don’t remember, I know I walked to work for quite some time as I couldn’t afford a car.”
I think to myself: ” Does this explain my innate inability to stay angry with anyone?”
I want my Mother to react with some sort of anger, some deep harbored hurt, for herself, for me and my brother, for someone….but she doesn’t, she doesn’t focus on the moment of hurt, she focuses on the moment she walked away from it.
Or does she place all the hurts in the bag she carries around with her, like an old lipstick, she flippantly tosses them back in the bag, until years later she leans to one side from the weight of it, the seams start to rip and pretty soon she can no longer stuff the hurt and keep ignoring it like an old lipstick she no longer wears. Sooner or later the bag is going to give, the weight of it is going to leave her unable to walk straight… and trust me it’s going to be a mess.
But I am getting ahead of myself…
So, there we were without a car, living with my Grandparents and my Mother walking to work. I don’t know how or when but my Mother managed to get another car, another job and a room-mate who didn’t mind sharing an apartment with my Mother and her two children under the age of six.
The truth is I don’t remember a lot about those days, I could ask my Mom I suppose, but I get my memory from her and I don’t think the two of us could put together a timeline longer than a week. So I will tell you the bits and pieces of what I remember from those years living on Skillman ave.
I met my first best friend , her name was Dee Dee and she had red hair. I remember that she was the first person I ever had a sleep over with and I remember leaving early with my blanket in tow in my pajamas to walk home to the apartment building next door where I lived, because I was to afraid too spend the night. ( So technically I guess it wasn’t really a sleep over, it was my first ” attempted” sleepover.)
I remember that my Mom’s room mate took me to a cabin one weekend and bought me a an Indian girl figure with a papoose on the back , I remember taking the baby out of the papoose, holding her in my hands and thinking this was the best moment of my life.
I remember a birthday party that was held for me at the bar/restaurant where my Mom and her room mate both worked and how they made faces on the hamburgers out of ketchup and mustard and pickles for the eyes.
I remember my Mother kept her wedding dress in the garage , and that one weekend we had a torrential rain fall and her wedding dress was ruined.
I often wonder the meaning in what we remember and what we don’t. Why silly things like Indian dolls with Papoose’s and smiley faces on hamburgers are what stand out in my memory, why the moment my mother’s wedding dress was ruined was a memory burned in my brain. I don’t remember day to day nuances, in fact truth be told I don’t remember my Mother ever having a room-mate when we lived there. I remember small pieces of places like an 8mm film that has been played too much, a memory- then the film catches and it’s scratchy and the screen turns black, minutes later it is smooth and clear and it jolts me back.. and I remember something else….
I remember that there was a large metal slide on the playground where all of us kids would walk the twenty stairs to the top of the slide and then slide down the pole , we were playing batman and robin, on one such occasion I was almost to the bottom of the pole when my hands slipped and I fell to my untimely death , that right there was my love for dramatics, I didn’t die, obviously …I am still writing this.
However; I did break every bone in my left foot and had to wear a cast clear up to my knee for a year. I think it was a year, see, here is the problem if I ever want to try to publish my book, I think I will have to publish my very own memoir as fiction, because I can’t rely on my own memory to be fact. ( by publish my book , of course I mean write it, bind it, but a cover on it and then hire some people to stand on the corner to sell it, you know like those mattress company’s hire when they are having a huge blow out mattress sale do…) I can’t remember how long I had the cast on, but I can remember this, when my Dad and his new family came to pick my brother and I up for the summer they arrived in a car and because my leg had to be kept straight with the cast on, I remember the ride from MN to IA with my brother, step brother and step sister all crammed in to the back seat corner while I had a very comfortable ride taking up almost the entire seat to myself…just me and my cast.
And this is how I met my new instant family…three hours in a car, four kids in the backseat, the freckles on my new brothers face, his smile, the mischief in his eyes, how I knew he was my kindred spirit without ever speaking a word. How my new sister seemed out of place amungst the four of us, how she looked to her Mother for a sort of unspoken approval, how I knew right there I would never understand her, nor would she understand me.
And so we traveled to Winthrop Iowa to a new house, with a new Mother, a new sister and a new brother. A new life I had to learn to limp in to.
Driving away from the apartment building I lived in with my mother I remember something else, something we are driving away from…. A fragmented memory of my mother’s first nervous breakdown…
The film catches, I hold my breath waiting for the next scene.
And the heavens were rolling
Like a wheel on a track
And our sky was unfolding
And it’ll never fold back
Sky blue and black
*Jackson Browne / I’m alive album / released 1993