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Saturday, April 30, 2011

On the road again...part 4...panning for gold at the end of the rainbow...

So there we were, literally, driving off into the sunset...a ragtag team of three chickens, two turtles (I had forgotten about the tiny turtles in their plastic aquarium with genuine fake palm tree until yesterday) one German shepherd, one cat, two kids and one adult of questionable parental abilities all in a red 1967 Pontiac Ventura 2 door coupe.  So you can get the full mental picture...
Here is a simulation of Bunny waving goodbye to Ruth

 All of this in a....
Red 1967 Pontiac Ventura

I think you get the picture.

It got dark not long after we left and, since we were traveling through many-a rural area on our way to the thriving metropolis of Turtletown, Tennessee, Anna and I quickly noticed that there really ARE billions and billions of stars...as upset as we were, we realized that we needed to get over it and move on.  Bunnie did not tolerate a bad attitude and she was one to say "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!"  So we stopped crying and started stargazing.

A little about the Pontiac...that was a cool car!  The interior seats were genuine white vinyl that allowed your thighs to form a deliciously wet and sucky connection when the outside temps were just right to cause the optimum amount of sweat to form between said thighs and vinyl.  Of course, since air conditioning was for sissies, we didn't have it even though we had purchased our car in Florida...you know, where the weather sometimes gets a little warm?  So we drove with our windows open when the weather allowed (meaning it wasn't pouring down rain) and that was good because I think I might have mentioned Bunnie's affinity to smoke...alot...even if it WAS raining and the windows were up...secondhand smoke?  never heard of it...

Ok, so white vinyl interior, no A/C, a single back seat across the WHOLE back of the car and a HUGE back window complete with a child-sized window sill perfect for stargazing!!  Anna and I had many battles about whose turn it was to "sleep" in the back window (you are aware, of course, that back then, only LOSERS wore seat belts...shoot, our car may not have even HAD seat belts...I can't remember ever seeing them.) 

I guess a few hours after we started our trip, Bunnie pulled into a rest stop for a nap.  Anna's favorite place to sleep in the car was the front passenger wheel-well.  I slept in the back window because remember, the back seat was chalk full of animals (oh, and did I mention the litter box?  Uh, yeah, we had one for Snoopy.)  Now, Shadow was pretty easy to take care of on the road because we could easily walk her, but Snoopy was not at all fond of this whole car trip thing.  When we were stopped, we had to keep the windows most of the way up so he wouldn't jump out.  The chickens were a little noisy, but didn't really bother me that much.  The turtles weren't bad on a trip, but we had to be careful not to spill the water...they just hung out on the back floor board with a towel covering them so Snoopy wouldn't eat them.

So we slept there at the rest stop for a few hours.  Once we were up, we made a quick stop for coffee and sweet sixteen powdered donuts (remember those???  Delicious AND nutritious!!) at the gas station. 
A little while later, we were back on the highway, speeding towards a better life in Tennessee.  Bunnie always said that it was good to get a fresh start somewhere new and Anna and I were starting to get used to moving around...it was kind of normal for us.  (One of the positive things about our experiences was that we always made friends quickly...we didn't have time to waste!!)

Bunnie liked to sing songs and play games while she was driving.  She was trying to get us to sing a song that day...I don't remember which song, but Anna didn't want to sing.  I tried to coax her into singing because I could see that Bunnie was getting aggravated with her for not going along, but she refused and said she didn't have to sing if she didn't want to.  (Alas, those were to be our lifelong roles...me trying to smooth things over and Anna rocking the boat as hard as she could because she always knew things weren't right.)  I knew that she had gone too far saying that!  Bunnie was trying to reach over the back seat to hit Anna, but Anna was too quick and kept ducking out of the way, really pissing mom off!  Bunnie was now determined to knock Anna's block off for being disrespectful and started turning towards the backseat and swinging her right arm.  This kept causing her to swerve the car to the shoulder and then she would catch herself and straighten the car back up only to repeat the whole process immediately.  After about a minute of this nonsense, I heard a siren and peeked up over the backseat to see a Georgia Highway Patrol car pulling us over.
Please remember, dear reader, that Bunnie and "Johnnie Law" as she was prone to call them were not known to be old friends.  She had previous experience with law enforcement and it wasn't all that positive.  Her first response when she saw that she was being pulled over was to tell both of us to shut up (for we had proceeded to cry and wail just KNOWING she was going-to-jail-for-whatever-she-just-did-which-was-all-Anna's-fault!) and then shove something under her front seat before getting out of the car and walking back to the officer.  I, of course, knew that what she was shoving under the front seat was her gun.  Bunnie was always packing "for protection" although I was sure that if anyone ever messed with her, she could kill them with the look in her eyes...it was deadly.

While Anna and I cried and imagined the worst, Bunnie sat in the front seat of the patrol car for what seemed like forever.  After a while, she and the officer walked back smiling and chatting like best friends.  I don't know what Bunnie said or did to that officer, but he sure did seem like he liked her.  (Don't forget, she was a good looking woman in her early 30's back then.)  The officer leaned into the open driver's window and said, "Now you girls behave and stop giving your mama a hard time or I'll come and arrest you!"  After that close call, everyone was quiet until we reached the Tennessee border.  Once we were in Tennessee, there were steep cliffs at the sides of the road and there were trickles of water coming right out of the huge slabs of rocks.  Bunnie said that it was spring water and was the best tasting water in the world.  She stopped the car on the side of the road and we got out and went over to one of the trickles.  She told us to cup our hands under the water flow and drink some.  I remember that water being freezing cold and a little sweet...it had a taste unlike anything I had ever had...

I don't know how she did it, but Bunnie could always find anything when she was driving.  It never failed that she got us right to where we were going every single time.  We had never been to Turtletown before, much less to the shack we were about to call home for the next year, yet she drove us right to it (after passing through Ducktown, which had a Piggly Wiggly grocery store!)
When we arrived at "the shack" as we came to call it, Anna and I were excited!  We could see that the "house" was small and was surrounded by woods.  At the rear of the house, the treeline rose up...it looked like a mountain to us!  We could see a little tiny building up on a hill about a hundred yards from the house.  We started running around the yard as Bunnie let the animals out of the car (except for the turtles...they were stuck in their little plastic house.)  Snoopy promptly disappeared into the woods with Shadow chasing him.  The chickens started pecking the ground as soon as they were out of their cage.  After checking all around, we saw that no one was home.  The door to the house was unlocked and Bunnie made us help her get the clothes and her trunk (where she kept all her super-top-secret papers and stuff we were never allowed to see) out of the car and into the house.  Once we were inside, I saw that there was one bedroom and a main room.  There was also a kitchen with a pump...a PUMP! at the sink.  There was no bathroom.  I couldn't find a bathroom and I needed to go...badly!  "Where's the bathroom Mommy?"  Bunnie didn't know, but she told me she suspected it might be outside somewhere...huh?

Okay, now remember the little building I saw up on the hill??
So this was our "bathroom" although, of course, we never took a bath in there.  The inside looked very much like this...
And you had to take a stick in with you to "swish" inside the opening so that any spiders that were up under the rim would go away and not bite you in the butt when you sat down...It was the coolest thing ever and Anna and I were thrilled!  It did have a weird smell, but it wasn't bad once you got used to it...really!

Mama Hickey and Susie (her daughter) weren't at the house, so we got back into the car and started driving down the road to where Bunnie said they would be.  Mama Hickey's family had owned a mountain for generations.  It was called Blalock Mountain and was not far from the shack.  Mom said that Mama Hickey would be building her house on Blalock Mountain and she was likely there working on the place it would go.  We drove down a long, winding road and could see a large (to me) mountain getting nearer as we drove.  Bunnie stopped the car beside the dirt and rock road.  I looked around and didn't see anyone around but she told us to get out of the car.

Once we were out, she walked over to a little stream that was running right across the road.  It was a real creek!  A little one, but real nonetheless!  At the side of the road, it was about a foot deep and only about 6 or 8 inches at the center of the road.  There were little rocks and tiny fish and spiders in the water.  Shadow immediately started trying to bite the water spiders and mom suggested that we sit in that stream and cool off...what a fabulous idea!  So we sat right down in the water and started to pick up handfuls of little stones and pebbles...Bunnie said we were panning for gold because this was the end of the rainbow...and that's where Mama Hickey found us an hour later when she was coming down the road heading back to the shack for the day...

Friday, April 29, 2011

On the road again...part 3...the chicken or the egg...

Not long after the incident at Mama Hickey's house with the broken picture window in the middle of the night, Mama Hickey decided it was time to get out of Dodge.  Her family owned a small mountain up in Turtletown, Tn. and she decided that she wanted to retire up there and build a house on the mountain.

After Mama Hickey left, Anna and I lived full-time with Bunnie.  We lived at a duplex in Miami.  I remember this little place because there was a small wall surrounding the parking area.  The wall was under a Banyan tree and there would always be lots of little bird poop nuggets on the wall.  Anna and I would get such a kick out of flicking the little blobs and pellets off the wall with our fingers...I know, but hey, we were just little kids!  One day my mom brought home a German shepherd that she had gotten from the dog pound.  Her name was Shadow and she was awesome!  She was very gentle with us and our cat whose name was Snoopy, but was fiercely protective.  I don't remember where we got Snoopy, but over the years, we had many cats and we always managed to find them when they showed up at our house.  They just showed up as if they knew they could stay.  I guess Bunnie had a soft spot for cats...go figure...she didn't have a soft spot for kids, that's for sure.

Bunnie found a little old Spanish lady to take care of us during the day.  The only thing I really remember about the Spanish lady is that when she gave me a bath, she would tell me to be sure to clean my "bubalina" (that was her Spanish name for my lady-parts :)

I don't remember why we left the duplex, but the next thing I do recall is living on my grandfather's farm in Live Oak, FL.  I can't recall the drive up there specifically.  I just remember living in my grandfather's trailer with his wife (he was on his second marriage) Ruth.  I believe I was about 6 years old and Anna was 4.  Anna and I had a ball living on the farm.  I have really good memories of searching for eggs in the barn every day (an Easter egg hunt every day!) and picking up walnuts and pecans off the ground and using a vice in the barn to crack them open and eat them.  I remember the barn had a smell like engines and animals...kind of a dark and earthy odor that I can still smell in my memory.  There was a Brahma bull that was old and crotchety.  He would not let anyone come near him (maybe because at some point someone had cut off part of one of his ears?) but he would let Anna and I ride him!  There were baby calfs that would suck our entire forearms into their mouths trying to nurse!  There were ducks and pigs and it was so much fun for us to live there.

The notable person there at my grandfather's farm was Ruth.  She was the one in charge and there was a lot of tension between her and Bunnie.  My mom was not used to living in a house with another woman and didn't like having to try to get along with Ruth.  She made it clear that she didn't like her at all.  Ruth was not a very friendly person either.  She was rather abrasive and had a hard side.  I remember her telling me that we were going to have fried chicken for dinner one night and then she told me to follow her outside.  She asked me to catch one of the hens (my sister and I would often catch the chickens and would hold them by their feet and spin them thus making them tuck their heads under their wings and go to sleep...I don't know why we did this nor why they reacted the way they did but they never seemed any worse for the wear afterwards!) so I caught one.  She took the hen from me and quickly twisted its neck and killed it.  She then made me take a hatchet she had on a tree stump and cut the chicken's head off.  I did not want to do it...I was so upset that she had killed one of our "pets" but she insisted.  She proceeded to pluck out the feathers and made me help and then she cut up the chicken and fried it.  I did not eat that chicken.  I was too upset.

My grandfather had given us some special chickens that laid colored eggs.  They were called Araucanas and they laid "Easter eggs!"  We got them when they were little...not chicks, more like little teenagers...and we spent a lot of time handling them.  They were very tame and we could hold them like pets.  The did indeed lay colored eggs...light green and light blue little eggs.  Here is a picture of one that looks just like the chickens my grandfather gave us...

I know it's kind of ugly, but it is going through puberty!  They are much better looking when they are full grown!
One day, Anna and I found an abandoned nest of eggs in the barn.  The eggs did not look fresh and had clearly been sat upon by a chicken.  I don't remember what happened to the chicken, but the nest was abandoned.  Granddaddy told us we could try hatching the eggs by incubating them in a bucket with a light bulb to provide warmth.  We were so excited at the thought of hatching our very own baby chicks so of course we took on the challenge!  We had to turn the eggs several times a day and we diligently took care of them until it was obvious that at least some of them were beginning to hatch.

Ruth and my mother had been arguing for a couple of days right around the time the little chicks started to hatch.  Ruth had told my sister and I that she was going to take us away from our mom.  She had said she was going to call "the authorities" and have someone adopt us into another family.  Naturally, Anna and I were upset.  Now remember, Bunnie had already had three other children taken from her years before.  In that regard, she was very protective of us.  We told my mom what Ruth had said and the problems escalated to a shouting match and threats back and forth.  Anna and I were trying to stay out of the way because we knew from past experience that Bunnie had a penchant for picking up and launching any item that was within her reach.  My mother told us to go in the trailer and get our things, that we were leaving.

Anna and I ran into the trailer and told Granddaddy what was happening and he went outside.  We got our clothes together and went back outside just in time to see Ruth lining some eggs up along the fence posts.  It didn't register with us at first that the eggs were from the bucket we had been incubating.  Once the eggs were on the post, she picked up a long gun (I don't know what kind it was) and proceeded to shoot the eggs off the posts while my mother screamed at her and my grandfather pleaded with her to stop.  At some point, I realized what she was shooting and ran over to the eggs which were now on the ground.  Some of the eggs were broken apart in pieces, but others had been hit in such a way that the baby chicks were still there.  They had been killed, but were still partially inside their shells and were clearly the little chicks that had been in the process of hatching.  Anna and I were devastated.  How could someone be so mean?

I don't know the mechanics of how it happened from there, but the next thing I remember is driving away from the farm.  I was looking back and saw my grandfather standing in front of his trailer watching us go.  In the car (a red Pontiac two door with a white interior) was a cage that held our chickens (the Araucanas), our dog Shadow, our cat Snoopy, my sister and I and our mother.  Thus starts our first road trip...leaving a place we loved after things got ugly.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On the road again...part 2...Bunnie dumps Clyde and meets Dudley DoRight...

Okay, where did I leave off?  Oh yes, conjugal visit?  Clyde as my father?  Hmmm, what's next?  So that was 1963.  I was conceived in May of that year.  Bunnie was a sporadically employed bartender with questionable abilities when it came to picking the right men.  Did I mention all of this took place in Jacksonville, Florida?  No?  Well, it did.  Did you know that's a military town?  Well it is.  There is a Navy base there.  That becomes important later in the story.

Okay, so blah blah blah...oh yeah.  So, my mom gets preggers while Clyde is in jail waiting for his trial and then divorces Clyde while he is in jail waiting for his trial.  Newly single after divorce number four, Bunnie is out doing her thing...again.  Well, it turns out, she liked to get her drink on and, like I said, she was a looker.  I guess she didn't have a car back then (maybe it was confiscated by the F.B.I.?  Not sure about that, but that's kind of a fun thought, so let's go with that.) so she was taking a taxi to and from work at the bar.   Well, it turns out that ONE of those taxi drivers took a shine to Bunnie and felt bad for her with all of her troubles.  She started to confide in him and at some point, oh, about October, she told him that she was with child (ME!) and didn't know what to do.  Well, wouldn't you know that this young man was so infatuated with Bunnie that he decided he didn't care that she might be carrying the child of a Brinks car robber and he asked her to marry him!!  (Can you even believe that?  I KNOW!  Who does that?  Well, guess what else?  He was a really decent, nice, Christian man who wrote poetry to her and loved his mom, so of course, my mom DETESTED him!  But she married him anyway...no sense letting personal feelings get in the way of a way out of a mess!  Oh, and one more thing, I still have contact with this man, but that is another story I'll tell you later.)

So the taxi driver, let's call him Dudley (you know, DoRight?) marries my mom and hopes to live happily ever after!  Uhmmm, guess he didn't get the memo, but that's not the way Bunnie rolls.  So anyway, they get married, but right before I am ready to make my grand entrance into the world, Clyde escapes from jail...AGAIN!  Now, I have a theory here too (yes, I have a bunch!)  I am thinking that Clyde heard that his ex-old lady was about to have a little baby Bunnie and he suspected that little bundle of joy was his so he escaped to come sweep Bunnie off her feet and ride off into the sunset so they could all be one happy family.  Well, he got caught a couple days later and that's that as far as he was concerned.  He spent another 20 years in prison and then lived with his mom after he got out of jail.  I wish I could tell you whether or not he is actually my father but I really don't know.  I can't seem to track him down, although I came close one time about 10 years ago.  To me, it kind of makes sense, but then again, so does the random guy in the bar theory, so who knows?

But, prior to any knowledge about Clyde (on my part) there was Dudley.  I was born with Dudley's last name because he and my mother were married at the time.  It lasted exactly until I was one year old, but they were separated before that because my mom kicked him out of the house and started her bar hopping, er, tending again.  So, about when I was 9 or 10 months old, she meets a handsome sailor...I'll bet you can imagine what happens next...and my little sister Anna was born when I was a year and a half old.  Bunnie had been divorced from Dudley for about 7 or 8 months prior and then married Popeye (we'll just call him that so we can keep it all straight, okay?)
So what are we up to now?  I think we are at marriage number 6.  You know what they say, 6th time the charm...but not so much here.  I have to say though, this one lasted longer than any of the others.  Not too long after Anna was born, Popeye got shipped out during the Vietnam war so he didn't actually have to live with Bunnie.  Turns out, this was the ideal arrangement and they actually made it for a couple of years before they divorced.

Those years, post Popeye, are when I start to be able to remember events happening.  I remember living in Miami (we left Jacksonville after the divorce from Popeye) in "The Bug House" so named because there was a bug in the closet when we were moving in.  That's one of my early memories of the places we lived.  In that place, I remember seeing the movie "Cinderella" (the one with Leslie Ann Warren) and playing records on my record player.  I remember finding my mother's tampax tampons and taking them apart to use the little white tubes as curlers in my hair.  I remember the dog we had had puppies and I sat in a box with the puppies.

Then I remember living with this really nice old woman who used to take care of my sister and I all week while my mom was working.  Her name was Mama Hickey (her real name to us) and Anna and I adored her.  She lived in Opa Locka (a subdivision in Miami known for racial problems back then) in a big old house with neat things like old refrigerators in her back yard (great for playing hide-and-seek with!) and a million other kids she used to take care of running around.  We used to sleep on the living room floor right under this huge picture window (and one night, someone threw a rock through that window, but that's another story.)  I remember my mom would stop by occasionally during the week to see us and I remember being desperate to go home with her when she would leave.

I remember sleeping one night in one of the bedrooms in Mama Hickey's house in a bed near a wall and a huge palmetto bug managed to crawl into the sleeve of my pajamas (you know, the little flannel nightgowns you used to wear that had the elastic band at the wrist??) and I couldn't get it out (thus, my irrational FEAR of palmetto bugs...I can't even step on one if I see it, I just have to leave the area or shoot it with my gun.)  I was four years old in this big old house and my sister was two.  Mama Hickey was very busy with all those children running around, so I was in charge of taking care of Anna.  I would feed her and change her (CLOTH!) diapers.  I have crystal clear memories of swishing those diapers in the toilet when she pooped in one and (this is gross!) one time, the water got turned off and I had just changed a diaper and was thus unable to wash the smell of poop off my hands...maybe that's why I am compulsive about washing my hands now?

So what was my mother doing to make a living at the time?  I am glad you asked!  At that time, Bunnie was an entertainer.  Being a crack shot with a pistol (oh yes she was!) she got together with some other folks (whom I don't remember) and decided to go to steak houses and bars and put on a show of cowboys and Indians.  My mom had two roles.  She would dress up as Calamity Jane and shoot objects off of her partner's head and sometimes, she was the Indian.  I don't remember what she did as the Indian, but she was probably shooting her gun at one of the cowboys.  She would compete in "quick draw" competitions (meaning she could pull her gun out of the holster really fast) and shoot at targets on a wall.  (And yes, back then she was shooting real bullets at her partners in the parking lot behind the steak houses and bars...how scary is that??) She could compete very well with the men.  She has a penchant to dress like a man, smoke like a man, shoot like a man and curse like the devil.  My mom always had a cigarette hanging out of her mouth (picture it...cowboy boots, dungarees (those are jeans) a snap-button western shirt, a carved leather belt with a giant silver belt buckle, long black wavy hair and a cigarette hanging out the corner of her mouth, her head tilted to one side to let the smoke rise and allow her to see out of the one eye that wasn't squinted closed because of the smoke, and a cowboy hat to top it all off) and she would light her next cigarette from her last.
Bunnie prided herself on being a "bad ass bitch" and would often refer to herself as such.  She had a short temper.  She constantly reminded Anna and I that we were "shit on a rock and hatched by the sun" and she should have had an abortion.  She liked to say that she "hated kids" and didn't want us acting like "wild banshees."  She did not believe in sparing the rod and applied the golden rule to our little asses as often as necessary to make sure we were well-behaved.  Since she frequently got herself mixed up in botched "business deals" (more on that later) and couldn't keep a job for long (no one could put up with her for more than a couple of months) we moved around a lot...mostly in the middle of the night.  Anna and I got very good at throwing all our possessions into a bag and jumping in the car at 3 am to go "on an adventure."

Which leads up to the first road trip I can remember.  One of many we would take over the years and one I will start telling you about...tomorrow.  Remember, don't tell her I told you...it'll be our secret ;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On the road again...Part 1...Bunnie and Clyde

I recently had the pleasure of reading a post in my new friend Dweej's blog "House Unseen.  Life Unscripted" (please check out her blog...it's so funny!)  Anyway, I read this particular entry in her blog regarding the road trip she took with her kids when they all moved from California to Michigan to move into their new (I use that term loosely) house.  Her story brought back some crazy memories from when I was a kid and after I commented on her post, she suggested that I write my story.  So here I go, stealing her idea for a little while...

Before I can tell you the story about the road trip(s) I have to give you the background info first, so this post is going to "pave the way" so to speak for the rest of the story.  Many of you who read this blog know that I don't really have a good relationship with my mom.  More than anything, it's probably because she is just plain loco.  Let me explain...

(A little side note:  you guys are probably going to think I am making this stuff up because it is absolutely crazy and "there is no way you (meaning me) had that life and are who you are now...you're a cop for cripes sakes!"  Seriously, I'm serious, I am not making this up.)

By the time I came along into my mother's life, she had been married 4 times (and later another four times making that a grand total of 8 times!) and had given birth to three other children.

I don't really know all of the details about who and where all of those other half-siblings of mine went, but the stories I heard along the way were something about my mom being a "little wild" and getting herself in some legal trouble and losing custody of her kids (two girls and a boy.)  No one could or would ever go into any more of an explanation than that and my mother refused to talk about it.  All three of those kids had different dads too.  Apparently, the kids were taken away from mom and were adopted into other families.  Since that was so long ago (late 50's) there are no records that I know of and I wouldn't know where to start looking.  I've kind of given up on that issue.
So now, mom is single (again) and has no children living with her.  Her profession at the time was bartending.   My mom was a real looker back in the day and had no trouble finding ways to keep herself occupied...only problem is, she was a bit of a rebel and didn't care much for silly rules and laws.  Her boyfriend at the time was a really bad guy.  He had already spent time in jail for various things like stealing cars and robbing stores.  Once, he even escaped from jail (I swear I am not making this stuff up!)  So he (let's call him Clyde) and my mom (we'll just call her Bunnie...get it?) are hanging out one night with some friends and Clyde thinks it will be a great idea to rob a Brinks truck.  Are you listening??  He said he thought it would be a great idea to rob a Brinks truck (yes, those Brinks trucks!)  So they make a plan and Bunnie is elected to be the driver (probably because she was a great driver since her dad taught her how to drive his farm truck when she was three, but I digress...)  So they did it.  They ROBBED A BRINKS TRUCK OF $80,000 DOLLARS!!  WITH GUNS!!  Way back then (1963) that was a really lot of money and (at the time) was the largest armored car heist ever.  (Again, not making this up, I have a copy of the newspaper article!)
Okay, so after that, they split the money 5 ways (there were three other guys involved) and then proceeded to foolishly spend the money thereby making themselves "persons of interest" in the case and eventually getting themselves caught by the F.B.I.  (Still not making this up.)  My mom ended up spending some time in jail and then, in order to avoid testifying against Clyde, she married him...ugh, yeah, I said she married him.  While he was in jail.  Waiting for his trial.  For robbing the Brinks truck.

Now, here's a tricky little side note...some of you know that I don't actually know who my biological father is.  My mom (Bunnie) has told me SEVERAL different stories about who he might be.  Two of my own personal theories are that he is either some random guy from a random bar (it was the sixties, remember?) or he could be Clyde.  I know, I know...he was in jail you say.  Well, I have a theory about that.  Remember how I told you that my mom married him while they were waiting for their trial?  Well, this whole hot mess (robbery, getting caught, spending time in jail) all happened during the time frame leading up to and including when I would have been conceived, sooooo, I'm just sayin' it's a possibility.  What I have never been able to find out is whether they allowed Bunnie and Clyde a conjugal visit to consummate the joyous occasion of their wedding vows.

So I am going to end part 1 here.  Tomorrow, I'll continue with the story right after I finish playing cop for the police department (my monthly reserve officer time.)  Until then, say a prayer that no one tells my mom that I am "telling" on her.  In our house, we were supposed to be good at keeping secrets...I know none of YOU will say anything ;)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The long goodbye...

One of my son's friends has a parent that is dying.  His mother to be exact.  I only know the family a little, however I have been deeply touched by this.  I guess because this little boy is the same age as my son and his parents are my age.

I just found out that she may only have a couple more weeks left.

When I look at her husband, I wonder what it must be like living every day now knowing that the woman he loves and has been married to for many years is leaving soon.  How does one go through the hours knowing that these precious few that remain are it?  What must it be like to be saying goodbye to someone in little bits every day?

I think of her little boy and wonder what goes through his mind.  Has he really grasped the finality of what is to come?  Does his heart break every day knowing she is leaving?

Yesterday, I sat next to her at a game and had an opportunity to talk to her.  Like I said, I don't know them very well, but they are very nice people.  I started to speak with her and I had to tell her my name again (poor memory is the byproduct of medications she is taking).  I told her I had heard about what is going on with her and asked her if she minded talking to me about it.  She was very gracious and told me I could ask her anything I wanted to.

I asked her what type of cancer she has and she told me it is ovarian.  She was sick for a while before it was finally diagnosed.  She told me that ovarian cancer is difficult to detect and hers was only found when she finally insisted on having a hysterectomy after an extended battle with her symptoms.  She said she had told her doctors that she thought it might be ovarian cancer based on some research she had done on her own, but they told her repeatedly that it wasn't that.  By the time they found it, it was stage 3, which meant she only had a 20% chance of survival.  After the initial treatment, she had a remission for a year and then it came back.  After trying to fight it again, she finally discontinued the treatments which weren't helping and were making her very sick.  She knew what was coming.

I asked her about this long goodbye.  She told me it is hard.  She said her kids (she also has a daughter) go through the range of emotions in a day...anger, sadness, frustration, denial.  She told me she is trying to teach her husband how to cook the things he loves that she currently cooks.

I asked her if there were ever any moments in a day that she did not think about what was coming.  She told me there weren't.  She said she is always aware of it...this coming end.  She said she manages to enjoy her moments, but she knows she is leaving and she is sad about it.  She is trying to live the moments she has left in a way that will create some good memories for her husband and children.  She is trying to tell them it is okay and that their lives will go on and that they will be okay.

I wanted to ask her if she was scared, but I didn't.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Middle-Aged Mom's Aspiring Professional Baseball Career Derailed by Pop in the Jaw


Diana Burfield, known to some as BettyShmetty, received a minor injury Saturday morning while playing a friendly game of catch with her son Jack.  "It was awesome!" said Jack, a 10 year old member of the Cardinal's travel baseball team.  "Mom was doing great!  I was throwing them really hard and she was catching them.  I kept telling her she was throwing like a girl, but what the heck, she is a girl!"


Seems that Jack threw a heater at his mom that took an errant bounce off her glove and hit her square in the left jaw.  "I was feeling really good about myself...wondering why I hadn't maybe pursued a career in professional ball years ago when the ball hit me.  I've been hit in the jaw before when I was a police officer, but that hit came from a woman.  This was definitely harder than that...I think I saw stars right before the lights went out."  Diana's husband Kurt was able to revive her with some ice and a neck rub.

While Diana was hoping to receive the "Mother of the Year" award for her dedication to her two boys' extracurricular sports and scouting pursuits, she has decided to leave the practice sessions to her husband and sons.  With a stiff neck and a slight bruise, she is content to sit on the sidelines and watch from now on.  "I guess I've learned that not even I can do everything."  Diana says that her next sporting attempt should prove much safer than baseball...amateur pole dancing on the pole on her back patio.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Funky Friday...Getting ready for a groovy weekend...

 Gotta love G. Love!!  He is so groovy...makes me want to get my dance on!
How could anyone resist??

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Cleaning

On this breezy spring day, I am opening all the windows.  I am shedding light on the subject...lightening my load...looking at things in a new way.
On this bright sunny morning, I am cleaning out the cobwebs.  I am getting rid of the things I no longer need...purging the baggage...clearing my mind.
On this perfect balmy day, I am completing the tasks I have put off.  I am accomplishing some goals...fixing things that are broken...doing what needs to be done.
On this beautiful April morning, I feel free...