Well, it’s been a bit rough this past several weeks because Elsie died Friday, 7 December, or early the following morning. She ran off (something she never did) and either kept running because she panicked and couldn’t hear me calling her, or she may have run off to die. She was found the following morning in a kind woman’s yard. She was dirty, but no blood or appearance of having been hit. The 2 days before she left she was drinking a lot, a whole lot, of water, and I was thinking I’d need to take her to the vet to see why. My heart is broken, but it will heal. I will always have her in my heart. She loved me and I loved her and we had almost 5 wonderful years together. RIP, my Baby Girl. I love you forever. You were a beautiful girl.
Today is my birthday. It is my favorite day of the year. I love the Thanksgiving holiday. In the past, because my birthday was around or on Thanksgiving, but now because I reflect on how very much gratitude I am blessed to possess.
I was born about 5:20 am the morning after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. That has always cast a bit of a pall and fascination around my birthday. Strangely, 23 November was the birthday of Denise, the first wife of my husband, and Mommy of my boys. I’ve written some about Denise or grief here, here, here and here. Today would have been a milestone for Denise, her 50th birthday. I feel sad for Tim, the boys, her folks and sisters, nieces and friends.
Tim and I were talking about it this morning, and he read some words to me by Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent
knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart
dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd
when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid
upon him in honour.
I have some friends and acquaintances with my birthday. A few months ago we lost one, Annie Mae. She fought cancer for 60 years! Her kindness was renown among her friends. I was especially attracted and amazed by her incredible kindness to children. She made delicious chocolate pie. She loved God, her husband, Billy, and her children. Her soul is one of the gentlest I’ve known.
For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.
The Henrico Citizen has this amazing piece by its managing editor, Patty Kruszewski. She lost her daughter to a hit and run driver this year. It captures so well the agony and, yes, joy that accompanies a tremendous loss. The price and reward for having loved another.
Gibran tells us in The Prophet our capacity for joy is only as large as our capacity for sorrow. The full passage is here. I love the line “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.” Tim and I have talked about that so much.
So, with compassion and love I’m thinking of the losses of my loved ones. I’m thankful for my family and friends. Life is good.
On a chilly, sunny day.
Flat terrain, near the Pamlico Sound.
Just a church and some houses.
My Uncle Guy Swindell helped build the church.
On our way to Lake Mattamuskeet,
were Virginia, Tim and me.
Uncle Guy was my great-uncle,
and Virginia’s stepfather.
I met a Spencer,
surely a relative in this tiny, swampy place,
home to my ancestors.
carved, dark, dusty.
narrow, spiral steps.
Three Generations, No Imbeciles, Lombardo. I just couldn’t continue, I think because my attention span is very short right now. Lots going on.
However, I did read 2 other books this week, and started another.
What It Is by Sarah Burleton. Quick read, a memoir by someone who was abused horribly by her mother.
Return From Tomorrow by George Ritchie w/ Elizabeth Sherrill. It is Ritchie’s account of his after life experience when he was at boot camp in training WWII. It is quite fascinating. I believe his co-author, Sherrill, originally wrote about George Ritchie in Guideposts magazine. They state in the book that Ritchie’s story was the inspiration for Raymond Moody’s research into after life experiences. I found the book very inspirational. Ritchie is a Christian, and believes the name of God is Jesus, based on his experience.
I am now reading a very entertaining book about the marijuana trade in the 70′s & early 80′s. It is called Jackpot, High Times, High Seas, and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs by Jason Ryan. It is very interesting, I love historical books that recount events that didn’t happen very long ago. I’m also dying to see if I recognize any of the characters, because in the late 80′s or early 90′s a fugitive smuggler who was a pilot was captured in Richmond, and, sadly, broke the heart of a girl he was seeing, who I knew. Small world, no?
Plus, my sister, Betsy, is visiting from IN, I left a job under duress 2 weeks ago, starting a new job next week, closing on a house next week, youngest going to FL on a chorus trip next week, and moving the following week. I guess that’s about it!
So Venus & Jupiter are going their separate ways. It was nice watching them over the past few months coming closer together. I love it when I can see Venus in the early evening.
It was a good weekend, although I’m feeling a bit of Sunday blues now. It will pass.
My nephew, who started middle school this week! He was about 2 years old here. Isn’t he adorable?
I was reading about this storm earlier this week, and realized my Dad was living in Manteo, NC during this time. He was 9 years old. Today I asked him what he remembered about it. I’m going to talk to him more, but wanted to get the things he told me down. He remembered going down to Aunt Cada’s store (Tarkington’s) downtown with his Daddy, his 2 uncles Frank, and his cousins Jack and Jerry who were around the same age. He remembered walking through water that appeared very deep to him both outside and in the store.
He also remembered seeing the roof blow off the gym at the school, so I guess they were running around during the storm, but that’s what residents did. They had to check their businesses, and one of the uncles was the Sheriff of Dare County, so he had to be out and about. I’m pretty sure he was Sheriff at that time. He was also in charge of the jail.
Actually, he didn’t become sheriff until 1946 so I don’t know what they were doing out in the storm. Checking on the store, I guess. Anyhow, I’m going to ask him some more questions about it when I see him again.
I wonder if my outer banks kin evacuated. Irene will be there late tomorrow night, I guess. I doubt it. I’ve never known any of them to evacuate during a storm. I’m very concerned about the beach replenishment project at Nags Head. They spent millions and aren’t done, and I’m sure Irene isn’t going to help.
So thankful Andy evacuated to my inlaws’ in Williamsburg. He goes to school in Va. Beach at Va. Wesleyan College, and was planning to stay with friends in the area. I was so worried he was going to be stubborn about it and stay. He’s 20. After he sees this storm he’ll be glad he left, I bet.
All for now-Ta!
called me the ‘other wife’ today.
She was being kind,
and I took it thus.
Mother of my sons,
Giver of Life,
Ruby knew her first.
She knows a family,
who lost their youngest daughter,
and this family lost
their own lives as they’d known them.
I entered this family,
became an instant Mom,
to two precious boys,
the grandsons of Ruby’s neighbor.
I’m the other wife.
First, location, location, location. 406 E. Main Street, Belhaven. Just 2-3 blocks from downtown, around the corner from Water Street & Aunt Nellie’s house on the water.
The floors were always painted light gray, and always gleaming. It was about 5 or 6 feet deep, and had a wide 2 or 3 step stoop. After FEMA raised all the houses, the porch had lots more steps, but it was a long time after Granny was gone. It was as wide as the house, which was late, late Victorian. Nothing fancy, but oh, the most comfortable, comforting, safe place I ever knew. Always something we loved to eat in the cookie jar, and usually something smelling good on the stove.
Back to the porch. At one end was a hanging, 2-person swing and it was old. Once I believe my cousin Susan and I were swinging on it and the screws came undone or stripped and it dropped to the floor of the porch. I believe our egos were bruised, mostly. The swing was painted dark, dark green. She had 2 benches on the porch. One was a sort of plain & simple federal style reproduction, the other matched the swing. I wish I could find a picture. The boards were very close together, and they looked about the size of a broom, cut in half length-wise & round side up. The design was kind of deco. She always had pretty plants on the porch and it was pristine. In front of the porch were hydrangea bushes with blue blooms, lots of blooms.
We always had a crowd on the 4th of July because it was a prime spot from which to view the annual 4th of July parade. And all afternoon we’d watch people parading up and down Main Street on foot, bike, car and the occasional shriner’s go-kart.
The memory of that porch at Granny’s is sacred to me. I’ll find some pics of the 4th of July w/ everyone sitting up on the porch and post them sometime. Since I don’t have any of the porch, I am posting a pic of my sisters and me ca. 1964. I’m the baby. It’s in front of Memom’s house, and you can see Memom’s red Rambler in the background. My oldest sister, Lynn, then Betsy, then me (looking messy, as always). Oh, and you can see why bangs don’t really work on me.
Susan & I were very mischievous. Eventually she had it taken down, but Granny used to have a huge cedar or some time of conifer that reached the ground in her front yard. Once the neighbor lady across the street was calling for her daughter or grandaughter & Susan & I were on the porch, hidden, by the tree, from her view. We kept answering her, “what?” every time she called. I think Granny caught us doing this and admonished us. I’ll have to check w/ Susan. She’s my cousin with whom I have many fond memories of being at Granny’s.
I am looking for full time work.
It’s a topsy turvy process.
I feel confident, capable,
but there is a draining of
some of it positive,
as I willow and wallow through
While I feel good
about most things,
it is very alien.
In 25 years I’ve had 2 jobs.
With a brief temp job,
and child rearing–
No, child rearing
is the hardest, albeit rewarding, job.
I’m not complaining,
It is so new and,
in a way, fresh.
I like meeting people.
I’m happy I like change.
If I didn’t, I’d be a ragged mess.
My spirits have been good,
and my family is well.
I’ve felt joy
and some fear.
How I haven’t felt fear constantly
is anathema to me.
I don’t think I fear, fear
That helps in life.
This fearful voice in my head just said,
What if something happened to Tim,
or one of the boys?
Fuck you, fear!
Love trumps you any time!