what do i remember….a poem

What do I remember…
Eating my first sausage ball the day after a New Year’s party
Trying to decide between my dog and my brother
The strange Tony the Tiger dream I had when I was three
Caroline getting nosebleeds ALL THE TIME when we were in kindergarten
Winning 2nd place in a swimming race
Watching a scary movie that my parents told me not to watch and regretting it for weeks
Being the first one to hold Jon at the adoption agency
Being on Mickey’s beat-up list in 2nd grade
Being afraid of sunflowers
Spending summers hiking around the neighborhood with Bill
Having a crush on Brent
Foam rollers
Getting bitten by my own dog
Writing in that cool notebook with the different colored pages
Mr. Gardener
Piano lessons with a metronome – thank you Mr. Thomas
Wanting to be a brownie
Going to the Anchor Club sleepover when my mom was the sponsor and playing Old Maid with the high school girls
Typing stories at my dad’s office and being allowed to use the mimeograph machine to copy them
Starting my own magazine to send around the neighborhood
Being afraid of dogs and bees
Making homemade peanut butter and picking okra
How tall a horse seems in the second grade
Watching a dog break my brother’s arm by running into it
Not eating for two days because I was afraid to pull my tooth
Thinking my third cousin was cute and then feeling really bad about it
Getting hit in the head with my brother’s cast and pretending I was dead
David making me a Barbie Doll bed for Christmas in the third grade
“Publishing” a book of poetry instead of doing math in the 5th grade – boy was Mom mad at the teacher!
Kickball – God how I wish I could forget
Playing the part of a nurse in our 1976 bicentennial play
Allergy shots
Getting lost in a mall because I was looking for some puppies we had seen
Fire ants
Yarn hair bows
Metallic drinking glasses
Falling asleep with a book in my hand and my glasses on
And dreams


Another beginning

I get lots of good prompts from http://www.thinkingten.com. I may pull this one out for a new task….

The only emotion I felt when I opened the oily glass door to the lobby of the motel was surprise. Not surprise at the moldy stench or the dirty carpet or the “America’s Most Wanted” aura surrounding the man at the check-in desk. I was surprised that I was surprised; I mean, what did I expect from a motel called The Back Door Inn? Chandeliers and a doorman? I knew better than that, and I knew I couldn’t afford to be picky.

FBI Poster man looked me up and down as I walked toward the desk. I knew I looked out of place. I had on a conservative black skirt, a silk blouse buttoned up to the neck, and my hair was in a nondescript bun at the nape of my neck. Funny how I always dressed so conservatively. This man had probably seen all manner of women and men and not-quite-sures. And yet I always wanted to look like the woman I had been and not the woman I was. Maybe it would have made him more comfortable to know that my fishnets were tucked into my large purse, along with an arsenal of makeup, perfumes, and tacky , bling-embossed combs. If he had seen the underwear not sold at respectable department stores hidden under my clothing, I would not have seemed to him to be so out of place. But money is money no matter how tight a woman’s bun, and the twenty-five dollars I tossed onto the greasy desk was enough to make him smile and hand me a key.

Room 123 was not too far down the hallway, but far enough from the desk to make me feel safer. Again, why did I care? I didn’t know anyone in this neighborhood, and I would never see the check in clerk again. Who cares who heard or saw me? But that wasn’t the point, and all this thinking was not why I was here. I was here because I had to be, and I repeated the room number to myself in a whisper as I texted it to the phone number I had pre-programmed into my phone. The same message as always: Room 123. Five minutes. Knock seven times.

As soon as I walked into the small room, the first thing I did was strip off the comforter. I knew these places; they never washed the comforters. I pulled out a small bottle of antibacterial fabric refresher, hoping it would waft through the air enough to mask some of the stale smell in the room. Then I settled into the small bathroom. The routine was ingrained. Fishnet thigh-highs clipped to the garters, hair taken out of the bun and swept into a comb, makeup enhanced to comical proportions, and blouse unbuttoned to reveal the cleavage enhanced by the lace bra. Skirt waistband folded once, twice, to raise the hemline. And don’t look in the mirror at the finished product.

The knocks – seven crisp sounds – signaled that transformation time was over. And the timing was perfect. It was enough time for me to become someone else, but not enough time for me to ask myself how the hell I got here.

“thou shalt be neither debu-trash nor a debu-tank.”

The above quote comes from a book I purchased less than an hour ago from a wonderful little book and coffee shop. The book is entitled “The Debs” and was written by Susan McBride. I needed some inspiration, a bit of writing spunk, and going to a real live bookstore always does that for me. Not a bookstore supermarket, but a bookstore with mismatched shelves and antiques and local authors’ signed copies everywhere.

I knew as soon as I saw the only copy of this book on a book stand I had found what I was looking for, and when I read that quote……the emotions began to swirl. And I knew that I had found an amusing source of creativity to propel me into work on “You Need Lipstick,” the novel that has been bouncing around my brain and laptop for over a year.

Now, when I was the age of the opening character, I would never have had to worry about such a phrase. I had been steeped in and wrapped with ladylike graces from toddler-hood, my grammar corrected, my posture encouraged, many legs primly crossed. The only trash in my vocabulary was that which went into the plastic bag inside the color coordinated can in the kitchen….and it was more often affectionately called “garbaaaahge,” with a French accent. And When I graduated from high school I was 5’9″ and weighed 120 pounds. I was neither trash nor tank.

I like to think that in spite of the fact that I have been known to wear t-shirts and a ponytail to Wal Mart and the fact that when I was hugely pregnant with my second child we had the audacity to eat Christmas dinner off of paper plates, that I am still not trash. I am, however, tank. Yes, it’s true. I have wandered into the morally murky waters that are Lane Bryant and jeans with a “W” out beside the size number. Bless my little old heart 9and my big old….ahem, derrier).

So yes, the first few pages of this book had my emotions tingling, but then the inspiration started humming……

By the way, is there an actual sorority called Phi Omicron Alpha? I need a fictitious one. Don’t want any real life debs coming after me!

Just a Random Nighttime Snippet


“What are you thinking?”

The words didn’t fully register for Melanie as she drew the hairbrush slowly through her hair in long strokes, seemingly hypnotized.  She saw her own reflection in the mirror, but she wasn’t really looking at herself, nor was she paying attention to the tugs at her scalp as she brushed.  Finally, the clasping of a hand over hers pulled her back to the present, and she heard the voice again.

“Melanie!  Where are you?”

“Sorry, Mum, I suppose I am a bit…off tonight.”

“I’ve never seen you so distracted.  And believe me dearie, that’s saying something.” Beatrice gave Melanie’s hand a little squeeze and they both laughed.  It was true.  Melanie was easily distracted; there seemed to be dozen of thoughts in her head at all times, along with at least a handful of daydreams.  Once, when they had visited an aviary with birds of various kinds and colors flying and lighting everywhere, Melanie’s father had joked that he imagined the inside of Melanie’s head to be a bit like those birds.

“You are alright, aren’t you Melanie?  You gave your parents a scare today.”

“Yes, Mum.  I am fine, just tired.  I did a lot of walking today.”

“I imagine so,” Beatrice sniffed.  “Though why you didn’t feel the need to tell anyone you needed a stroll is anyone’s guess.  It isn’t safe to just disappear. Where did you have to go that was so important?”

Melanie looked in the mirror and pretended to be scrutinizing her nose carefully.  How could she tell Beatrice where she had been and why.  Melanie was tired of walking around the grounds, meeting only the stuff people whom her parents invited for dinner or tea?  How could she know….what kind of woman she was growing into if she couldn’t see other….REAL people?  But Beatrice wasn’t leaving without an answer, so she told a half truth.  “Oh, Mum. sometimes I just need to see past the wall.”

Beatrice smiled and helped Melanie get into bed.  Suddenly, after she was ticked in, Melanie grasped Beatrice’s hand and squeezed it lovingly.  Beatrice smiled in surprise and then let go and walked toward the door.  She paused before leaving the room and remarked, “Oh, and Melanie, the next time you decide to walk through town in disguise, you might want to hide the braid.  Red hair isn’t very common.”