June 2009


jackson_boy

I will not talk about seeing the Jackson Five when I was 12 and one dad drove 6 of us to the one venue in Columbia SC that could handle such a crowd….. and how we screamed and laughed and cried and loved those black boys and how back in 1970 it wasn’t yet cool to love black boys (except on the vinyl) … and I took a classical piece I had learned for piano recital and added words to it and would play it over and over… “Tito, Michael, Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon ….. ” and then i forget the names= were there only really 5? seemed like more) “The Jackson Five is my favorite band forever” la, la, la………. all set to a white girl’s classical etude….

Thanks for the memories.

clock

Saturday at the library:

1. A very tall, very kind-faced older man brings his mother (I assume) into the library several times a week. She is so bent and frail he must support and pretty much carry her with a sling that wraps around her back, to hold her up as she walks beside him. He brings her into the library very tenderly, and seats her at a table, making sure to scoot her chair up close, lest she fall to the floor. He proceeds to browse the Large Print books as she sits bewildered and disoriented in her seat. From time to time he comes to her side to whisper to her that he is nearby and she need not worry. Then he whispers to her gently “but I know you will worry” and he says it so lovingly I cannot look away as I watch from the reference desk.

2. M., an 80 or older-something woman with thinning hair and a stoop of her own, comes to the library often with her mentally disabled son D., who loves to waive and say hi to everyone. He must be at least 50. They have no other relatives in Seattle. M. has other sons in far away states, but she is the sole caretaker of D. She is getting very frail and old but always has a good question for me at the reference desk and after all these years we are on a first name basis. She loves to ask for Martha Stewart recipes. But today she is asking for information on gynecological oncologists. This causes me some alarm or at least a bit of concern, but I do not probe. I simply give her the information she wants. She hobbles out of the library, these days using a walker. I ask if she needs any help to her car. She refrains from taking my help as her polyester elastic waist pants sag down below her waist. I wonder where D. has gone, but he appears at her heels within seconds, waiving goodbye. I wonder what will become of him when she is gone.

3. A young girl lingers in the Teen corner of the library for a while. I notice. Her mom is nearby. I finally ask if she’s finding anything to read. She says “you came to my school”… which in fact I did. Her mom tells me that I had “inspired” her daugher to read. That she took notes about the books I talked about, and all of the girls in her class did the same. The girl is not embarrassed or shy about this interaction in the least – she is open and enthusiastic, not what I am used to. I feel true happiness at this point. This is when things come together. They are both so nice and interested in books and reading and for a moment I feel Golden. And they are Golden. We are Golden together for an instant. And, to top it off, her name is Kenedy. One “n”.

4. A young boy comes to the desk to redeem his summer reading certificate. He has completed his 10 books and looks to me for the grand summation of the finishing. I am tired, depressed, slightly hungover and fed up with life in general. But I have to step up and be the good librarian, the enthusiastic congratulatory librarian… he has completed his Reading Record and now gets to claim his prizes!!!!.. I do this every 20 minutes or so when working the desk during the summer. It is alternately heartwarming and mind numbing. I help Henry understand all that he must now do: filling our forms, getting stickers, choosing a book, reading more books, blah blah blah. And then I realize Henry is the same “Henry” I recall as a 2 year old. A precocious 2 year old who was our favorite kid in the library ever. But now he’s 8 years old. I realize I am stuck in a time warp. I have expected my people to remain the same, regardless of time’s passage. Henry is 8? I have been watching these same patrons for 10 years and I’m still in denial that they would ever change.. that they would ever grow older, ever die, ever leave? I live in a time warp, I tell Henry’s mom.

In fact, I believe I do.

lamb
Seriously. This lugubrious self destructive bent must come to an end. Look outside. The sun is shining, there are lambs frolicking on the lawn chasing after butterflies, there’s warm porridge on the table. Dewy eyed rodents dart hither and yonder, scampering at my feet and tickling my toes as I embrace the lush greenness that is life. I am so thankful for the simple things. I have been given so much and yet I have a tendency to squander it all for the sake of….. what?

And today I get to work at the library! This is an opportunity for growth and sharing the love. The public provides endless learning opportunities, as does the challenged staff that I must work with. I’m taking this bull by the horns and turning that frown upside down, mister. I hear the bells a’ringin…. Hallelujah! Cobwebs are clearing as I type. Life is beautiful and so am I. Just for those of you who read that last post and thought I was done – I’m not.

SHOREBIRD DIE-OFF

Modest Mouse. That song. “And we were dumb dumb dumber than the dirt dirt dirt on the ground.” Check.

Details are neither necessary nor advisable at this point. A self destructive streak can never be unpainted from the soul. Once placed, it remains at the core of one’s existence, manifesting in various forms. Sometimes it’s the “I can’t stop loving that man, even if he tromps my heart a million times” and sometimes it’s the “I can’t stop tromping on my own heart no matter how resolved I am to stop it.” In either case the end result is the same. Desolation. Solitude. Emptiness. It’s where I started out and where I end up consistently. The boot to the heart. Down in the dirt. Lower than before, if that can possibly be.

helen1962
Spent yesterday splashing around in the backyard pool at the ex’s with my daughter and the dogs. It’s one of those medium size above-ground deals, not a real pool, mind you. But we floated around and ate hot dogs and watched the doggies chase each other and I wore a bikini, which was a sight to see, because there was no one to endure the spectacle besides my daughter and the ex, so who cares? Anyway it was pretty pleasant but the girl ended up with quite a sunburn on her back. Why this is interesting at all will be explained later in this post.

So last night, we were looking through my closet for a pair of pants I couldn’t find and she turns to me and says “Don’t worry, mom. I already found your dildo.” With her little mischevious smile these words came from her baby mouth??? I asked how she even knew the word “dildo”, to which she replied “I’m in 7th grade.” Ughhhhhhh…. Still processing the encounter. I didn’t make too big a deal of it. I guess the less said the better in this case. We did laugh a little over it, so at least there was humor in the interaction. My hope is that humor will save me from many bad parenting moments. And there have been so many, as you might guess.

Today, I am at work in my neighborhood library and she walked over from the apartment to see me here. Her back is killing her from the sunburn so I take her over to the drugstore across the street and buy some soothing spray for the burn. We come back here to the library and go into the public restroom. She takes her shirt off so I can spray her back. She can’t wear a bra due to the pain, so she’s basically nude from the waist up. I spray her back and then decide I have to pee so while she’s letting the air dry her back I’m there peeing and notice her hair has fallen into the wet spray. I hop up, pull up my underwear but not my jeans and pull her hair up so it won’t get wet. At that point the door opens (we forgot to lock it…. ) and a lady sees me standing there with my pants down around my ankles, E’s shirt is off and I’m standing right up behind her holding her hair. Ackkkkkkk! Child molester in the public bathroom!!!! We were laughing so hard and so loud, it was ridiculous.

I composed myself and exited the loo to explain to the lady what we were doing. Explained that I am indeed the librarian on duty and NOT a pervert. She seemed to think it was funny too. I hope.

bestpictureever

The door opened. I was born. I can’t say I chose to come through that mortal portal,  yet I must say I have never resisted the path that lay before the door. At times, I faltered, But I always continued down the path. Moss hanging from trees, spiderwebs, muddy swamps, golden trails of green, green grass .. trees in Spring, soft fluffy snow in Winter.  Summer as I remember it. But mostly Spring and Fall  – being born and  then dying –  beautifully and consistently. …… I  kept following the path. I have no idea if it was by choice or predestination, genetics, bad luck, dumb luck. Chaos.