Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Man Who Knew My Daughter First (Bill)

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During the course of my youngest daughter’s pursuit of money and her future,

she often worked at a wide variety of restaurants and a country club. She is

a social and interactive young person, so her work was quite lucrative. She also

felt close to some of her customers. No one was as close to her over the year she

worked at Bob Evans than a man named Bill.

She would talk to him about her courses, her books she read, her thoughts and

plans. She would fill and refill his coffee cup and listen to him talk to her about

mainly philosophy and becoming a calm and centered adult. She was always

coming home excited about the new words (like Tao and Daoism) and especially

enjoyed the Eastern philosophies he espoused.

Bill became a person who we met once, while my ex-husband and I stopped by

for a meal. He seemed genuinely pleased to meet us and he shook both our

hands. He was wearing a Kentucky hat and that became another subject

entirely that my daughter would hear stories about. He loved to cave and he

was very happy when he was out hiking or in nature. This all seemed to fit

with his studies of philosophy, too.

Once my daughter left the restaurant, there became numerous times that she

would think aloud, “I wonder where Bill worked?’ or “I wonder if he is down

in a cave in Kentucky this summer?”

Later, while in college, my daughter again brought up Bill’s name, “I wish he

could meet my roommate who is from Kentucky.” When she traveled down to

visit Erin’s family, she went to Louisville and listened to some blues and jazz

bands. My daughter recalled Bill talking about music and that he played the

guitar. She called home and said, “I wonder what kind of music he played?”

In a particularly trying semester of Philosophy, my daughter brought up Bill’s

name in a question over the phone, “Do you remember Bill’s last name? I really

need to talk to him about this dumb course I am taking!”

It was different when I started my laborer job, not knowing how to relate to

people until at lunch a last name connected me to someone who was an aunt

of my oldest daughter’s friend. We had another person join our table a second

aunt of the same daughter. I felt comfortable talking to people in my bins order

filling group. I still would not have approached anyone outside our group or ask

any questions about other people.

But, as I would walk into work for first shift, I did notice a man with a Kentucky

hat on. He looked possibly like the man I would have met in 2000, eight long

years ago. So much had happened, as you may recall, losing a house, a husband

and a professional job. I started say, “Good morning!” or “Hello” to this man with

the KY hat just to see if he recognized me. He would greet me with a smile, a nod of

his head or a “Good morning!” back at me. Neither of us were yet aware of the fact we

did know each other.

One morning, a long line at the security desk with a man dumping out all his pockets

and still setting off the beeper,  was getting “wanded,” and behind me a voice yelled out,

“Jeesh, Bill,” and “Leave it to you to make us late, Bill!”

Little tumblers in my brain suddenly came into focus and I knew that was THE Bill!”

How small a world could it be? (to be continued…)

Going to my Mom’s senior living apt.

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Last time I went with my youngest daughter to my mother’s apt. we had a blast with an unexpected takeover of the flies.

I can hardly wait to find out what is going to happen this time! The punch line in that episode when my Mom walked in from

dinner to see the 2 of us swatting and laughing while balancing in our bare feet on the furniture was priceless.

Before that I had spent a week long visit around July fourth, helping my brothers prepare the cottage on Lake Erie for sale. It

was more devastating to me than losing my own house. So many memories of the extra lot having been set up with croquet,

badminton or soccer games, depending on how old my children were. Innumerable memories of walking the beach looking

for lake glass or watching my kids run over the uneven blocks of stone that make up the pier until they reached the end to

jump into chilly early summer water, shrieks of laughter and basking on those same warm stones with our bare bodies facing

the sun to dry off.

It was the year I was graduating from college, getting ready to marry when we were talking about Mom and Dad retiring from

their respective jobs, buying a house on the lake in Vermilion, Ohio and starting to live the life of freedom and relaxation.

They shortly after selling the house we lived in that we all attended school (suburb of Cleveland) bought a Transvan and

often traveled like vagabonds without any contact since this was before everyday use of cell phones.

Once I had their only grandchildren they settled down more into their home and prepared it with loads of kid-friendly stuff. It

was the shelter I sought during the first divorce with 2 kids, the second divorce with an additional 1 baby. We loved the way

Dad made a double decker deck with a neat trap door and the rails tight enough the kids could sleep out on the top without

any fear of falling off it. We would arrive and find Dad setting up stuff, carrying those silly large styrofoam noodles and life

jackets with oars somehow stuck in the mix.

He would be so excited to show us any new floating devices or the way he made a wooden launch from our high cliff down to

the rocks and sand. Off would go canoes, kayak or rowboats. Soon I would be sitting on a large flat stone with a book,

unwinding from the drive.

Memories sifted, way too much, during that week this summer. Too hard to write at first about it. Now, nostalgia and

gladness reign

over the sadness! We were very blessed with my father being an only child and a street kid who would hitchhike to

Covington, KY to sweep out White Castle to pay his mother’s rent. He really wanted to marry, really wanted to have kids, he

thought of us a little bit like experiments, but he did not mind doing all the legwork, necessary baths, diapers, etc. and go to

both boy scout and girl scout outings, too. His favorite books to read were A.A. Milne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Dr. Seuss,

first to his own kids, then grandkids.

We had a lot of his books and papers to discard, neat satellite and land rover models to sell at the yard sale along with his

fishing gear, other miscellaneous stuff. The croquet set went to Rich’s house, the jars of lake glass, mostly blue glass, were

dispersed among us, and the fireplace where the grandkids’ stockings hung looked bare without the metal grate, tools and

lake found items that had collected dust for awhile. Mom’s beautifully sewn dresses along with her purses, hats, and

embroidered handkerchiefs got donated to a local oldies but goodies shop. No need to make money on them, more fun to have

the owner “Oooh!” and “Aahh! at their uniqueness and antiquity.

I may go by with a friend to the lake house over the weekend, but we three have all agreed:  Mom is not to go back!

How Will I Know?…continued

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After thinking all day about this blog during my exhausting and heated

pursuit of a basic salary, in a brainless occupation, I came up with my

best excuse for my behavior from teenager-hood until now.

I slept with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!

I lived in the dormer of an older house in a small town famous for infamous

people. My father took finishing wooden strips to attach the poster bought

shortly after watching that movie a total of ten times in one month! I also

blame my parents for allowing us to go four Saturdays in a row and staying

through at least 2-3 showings of that movie.

What were they thinking allowing our fresh and innocent minds to absorb such

inappropriate information? We were teenagers watching runaway bank robbers

with the most handsome faces! We saw one of them share sleeping quarters with

their beautiful accomplice repeatedly!

Along with this negative influence on our lives we lived in the same town as

the “Fugitive.”   He was an osteopathic doctor at our local osteopathic

hospital. (No longer in existence.) He also was portrayed innocent of killing

his wife, you know the one armed man was guilty!  Again, by a tortured and

handsome actor, again: BAD influence!

I went to school with Michael Heaton, who writes as the King of Pop Culture

for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He has written a recent screenplay for a real

life story that will appear on Hallmark in the winter months, I believe. But

you can check my facts on this. He was fairly quiet and had beautiful hair

and eyes. I do remember sitting in a few classes with him, but we were not of

the same circle of friends. I carried out the position of Index Editor of the Bluebook

(our yearbook) so I did have occasion to study his pictures. His sister was between

my two brothers and did not appear in our yearbooks, but she is the famous

Debra in “Everybody Loves Raymond” and the equally famous Frankie in “The

Middle.”

Our small town has a restaurant now in the Huntington Playhouse and Huntington

Arts (used to be called Baycrafters) area. Patricia Heaton’s sister opened “Vento’s”

and it is a wonderful addition to our neighborhood.

Anyway, sorry about sidetracking, but I have been addicted to the idea of fame and

curious about the ways it all affects us. We are even more addicted to it than while I

grew up. The current tweeting and flow of famous celebrity watching has gotten

more carried away than all the Partridge Family and Monkees information we all

absorbed from our teen and Beat magazines.

Dear old Paul and Robert were hung above my head from 1969-1978 upon taking it

down after marrying my college sweetheart. Every night I would say a prayer that I

would find love, adventure and possibly a bad boy who had a warm heart. “Raindrops

Keep Falling on My Head” would play and I would see the endearing Paul on his bicycle

with Katherine Ross (a.k.a. Robin) riding on the handlebars.

Anyway, I met my next love (Billy, S.V., science club guy, now…) at can you believe this

luck?… Mc Donald’s! First day of college, my h.s. friend and roommate, Ellen and I walked

across the street from our dorm after our respective parents drove off in their station wagons

with our brothers in them. We were watching these four guys who were playing this ‘beat the

clock’ game trying to say, (you know the words) “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce,

cheese on a sesame seed bun” before the time went out to win a FREE Big Mac! My eyes were

drawn to a mustached, shaggy dirty blonde haired handsome young man with beat up jeans

and a v-necked t-shirt exposing lots of curly brown chest hair.

None of my previous 3 “loves” had hair on their chest! Wow! Almost Robert Redford combined with

Paul Newman since he had bright blue eyes.

Again, curse that poster and all it made me hope and dream about!

We ended up sitting with these wild boys who may or may not have already drank or smoked, because

they clearly had hit the huge “munchies” stage. And, much to my roommate’s dismay, I knew little of

these pursuits. She had worked at a gas station while I had worked at a country club the summer before

college. Her experiences allowed her more sexual knowledge and familiarity with the first question they

asked us, “Do you girls like to party?” Well, unknowing of the variations that phrase could mean, I

enthusiastically answered for the both of us, “Oh, yes! I love to dance!” Ellen grabbed the edge of my

shirt sleeve and I turned my head to see her rapidly shaking her head at me.

I excused us to the ladies’ rest room to discuss the slightly angry look she was giving me. Ellen said

I did not know the meaning of their question and proceeded to educate me about those words. Okay,

I would go back and say we did NOT like to party. But could we do it by not alienating them?

We ended up in the boys’ dorm hall sitting outside waiting for them to set up their stereo system, get

their varied refreshments ready and feeling kind of excited about the prospect of new experiences.

Like the other stories, this one ends with a happy ending, although followed by a less than happy

ending.

I dated him for four years, married one month after college with much protestation from my parents.

They told me repeatedly to go out and search the world, get a teaching job, have a female roommate,

and not conform to the sixties perception of finding a husband in college. My mother went to Europe

and was in graduate school when she met my father. She did not rush into maariage nor did she march

for women’s rights to see me go down this path. Like a fellow blogger recently said, he blames the search

for happy endings on movies (and t.v.) with their unrealistic portrayal of the after effects. But we all tend

to follow the path our hearts choose rather than our minds.

The next chapter of searching for a Man begins with children and in a different  town.

There was a plethora or “goldmine” in my 2 brothers’ friends

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I found my 17th summer a lot of fun working at Cedar Point, (Sandusky, Ohio)

and living away from home in the dorm with 3 other girls. They had weekly dances,

movies that were played on the stone wall below the Hotel Breakers, and a lot of

local people inviting us on their boats or to their homes, if we rode the ferry back

to town. I managed to be an onlooker to a lot of the seventies type behavior without

partaking or inhaling much…

The best thing that happened in the summers after my band boyfriend and I

broke up, were the times I ran into one of my brothers’ friends. They were in

awe of my “older woman” status and they were only 1-3 years younger. We

three musketeers were born in 4 years, since my Mom was 26 and wanted to

be done with having kids by 30. We ran around like a pack, with Randy also

working at Cedar Point and Rich coming up to visit.

Once school started my senior year, I went to a Science Club party where I

ran into my last high school boyfriend. I knew he was the right one, whereas

the others in my life had chosen me, I chose him. It was nice, he was quiet,

thoughtful and now holds a wonderful position helping the Cleveland area

to use conservation and ecological methods learned while he was at Stanford

University.

It was a very nice year with him as he was the first to hold deep and interesting

discussions on all sorts of things, including existentialism and subjects beyond

my conversations with S. V. I did mean to tell you that the French horn kisser

did teach me about French kisses and was so good at showing up at my locker

after school to walk me home.

On S. V., he was so sweet senior year coming up to me in my new hard contact lenses,

saying, “Don’t forget I loved you in your glasses!”

How Will I Know?…Just Trust Your Brain (not your feelings as the song goes)

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Looking back at the boys, then Men, who got my attention is kind of crazy.

I may want to try to find a pattern and break it. The first young man who got

me to be his girlfriend was one of my classmates in school. Did I mention it

was because I had that cool Brownie flashlight hooked onto my belt? Yes, we

did have cloakrooms/big closets where we would start and end the day. I got

his attention that way, he just had to like the flashlight.

His name was Billy and I got a beautiful plastic little egg from a gumball machine

with a bright sparkly pink “stone” in a plastic ring.

My next boyfriend was a friend of my brother’s and played a French horn in

marching band. He wanted to sit next to me on the band bus and like so many

young relationships, this started with his asking my brother to tell me so.

My brother (18 months younger) said, “No way.” That was that for a week. I may

have attracted him with my black and white rimmed glasses with the sparkles in

the corner. He attracted me by being persistent, next person who got the “message”

that he wanted to sit by me was my friend who sat with me. We were both clarinet

players who only moved our fingers while counting the steps for the multiple marching

formations. She was happy to pass on the message because, you see, he had a “cute”

friend. She switched places and that was all she wrote.

He carried my books home and in turn, at age 16, I got kissed and a silver bracelet with

his initials, (S V). It was not as shiny as that first token of affection but it was very cool.

Old Fashioned Gestures Still Appreciated!

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Once in awhile I enjoy some old fashioned hospitality, some

good manners and don’t mind saying that. I realize we may want

to be liberated in so many aspects, but I do like those gentlemanly

actions, also!

An offer to cook a meal or take me out to eat, is one of my favorite gestures.

I suppose the reverse is true, “The way to a man’s heart (after all) is through

his stomach.” Or so I do remember those black and white t.v. shows portraying

married couples.

I am one who won’t refuse a door opened but someone recently put me

on the inside of the sidewalk. Maybe you had a Dad or Grandpa who did

that, just in case the car jumped off the road and onto the sidewalk. I liked

that quick movement changing the position without explaining it. I thanked

the man who did that. It may even date back to the stage coach days! Smile!

I like having someone offer to pick up the check, but I generally also ask if I

could pick it up. I think it is nice to take turns. No matter what each person’s

income is, the offer should be given. I am a big believer of this in other areas,

including movie choices, music on the radio, etc.  “Turn about is fair play” is

a way to look at that in a friendly way.

It is nice when someone offers to pick you up at your door instead of meeting you.

Only after the person is familiar enough that you trust them to come there. I also think

offering to drive gives a fairness in the long term scheme of things, gas prices being

considered especially!

I have had my chair held, umbrella held over my head and offers of a jacket to keep me warm.

Then, looking back I am rather shocked at some of the few who did not make any of these

gestures. Is this a reflection of society? of family and upbringing? I wonder about these little

things and realize they make a difference in how I view the total man.

More about Nana

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My 2 grandsons have already become concerned about who do I watch

television with? who do I go to movies with? are there any grandpa’s interested

in the park?

We were in Burger King and there was an older, nice looking and friendly manager

that asked us how our meal was and if the boys were enjoying the play area? My

grandsons’ radar went up, they were listening with rapt attention, the 3 year old’s eyes

going first to my face to see my reaction and then, to his face to see his.

They talked on the way home about him, he looked a little like he needed a friend, one

of the boys said, the other older one said, he may take you out to eat at Burger King and use

a discount!

We were recently at Zoombezi Bay and I saw a member of a popular local band. He was in the

little ones’ area with his toddler daughter. He has the longer hair, tanned skin and look of a Ricky

Springfield, but he is only 30 or so. I asked my grandsons if they would come with me while he was

sitting on a lounge chair drying his daughter off. They said “Sure, Nana!” (I wonder if they thought

I was about to try to hit on a much younger man or if they realized truly I am just a fan of his band?)

They came with me, I asked “Are you Brad of ____ Band?” And he answered “Yes.” I am a little of a silly 

groupie because I enthusiastically said, “We love your band!” My grandsons followed my lead echoing

my words, “We love your band!” I hesitated and then elaborated on my statement, “My friends and I love 

your group when it plays in Delaware!” The boys said, “Yes, we live in Delaware!” I asked, “Is that your

daughter?” And Brad answered, “Yes,” and gave me her name. My almost 8 year old said, “Hi,___”

and his 3 year old brother said, “Hi, ____!” too. We were a little goofy and star-struck but it was fun

and we walked away while I said to have a fun day…

Just saying my escapades affect even my grandchildren and sometimes I wish I were younger!