Welcome to the Chaos

You have stumbled upon the new blog (i.e. random babblings) of a quirky single mom. A shoot-from-the-hip, anti-pink (yet almost gaggingly perky), non-traditional, can cuss like a sailor but loves insanely and has the save the world syndrome gal who is bracing for a future as a Crazy Cat Lady though she secretly hopes like hell it doesn't come true. Enjoy your stay and feel free to say hi- I don't bite. Well, unless we're dating and you are into that type of thing or you contain peanut butter. >;-)

About Me

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Quirky single mom of two monkeys. I used to beat up the kids that picked on the "special students" during recess. Now I work with those with chronic mental illness. I speak quite a few languages, enjoy coed naked underwater basket weaving, have an addiction to Sushi and humor is my defense mechanism. Arrogant people make my right eye twitch. I'm ambidextrously brained, I will knit for tattoos, I am the friend that everyone comes to for advice and bail money. I pride myself on keeping my eyes, ears, heart and mind open. Making me laugh goes a long way with me, I think the brain is the sexiest organ and I'm the kinda gal you can take anywhere and I'll have a good time. Other than that, I'm just me.


Forget Dorothy, Give Me OZ.

The choice to move back to a town I swore I never would was a very hard pill to swallow. Actually, it was more like the seemingly gallons of penicillin I guzzled as a kid growing up during my 3-4 times a year battles with strep throat and whatever other ailment that came along for the ride. I don’t care what anyone says, that shit does NOT taste like strawberry. It’s just vile. Yet, it was the easiest choice I made because it was done so through the eyes of a mother. I rarely refer to myself as that. Typically, it’s mommy. But, this was a very motherly thing to do.

So why so vile? There are many reasons I suppose. But, none are the seemingly obvious ones. I’m not one of those people that thinks they are “too cool” for the suburbs. I’m about the furthest one can get from cool. I’m not one of those people that fear it will change me. I change me. On my own terms. For my own reasons. They failed before, it would be futile for them to even try now. Put me anywhere and I can hold my own.

I guess, in the simplest terms, it may be that I just know too much. Towns, like people, have skeletons in their closets as well. They vary, just like ours, in size and stature. When you spend your whole life in a town and do so with open eyes you see them. Sometimes you crack open the door and peek. Sometimes they are blatantly waving from an attic window. Sometimes you kick down the door and bravely stare them in the eye sockets. No matter the way, once you’ve met them, they’re damn near impossible to forget.

Yes, people change. Yes, towns change. But when generation after generation remain or return- how much change is really made? To change would mean that they'd have to have opened their minds to new ideologies, new people. Embrace that change and then bring it back and cultivate it. That just doesn't happen around here. At all. I so wish it did too. And the more gruesome the skeletons, the smaller the benefit of the doubt one can muster. And we’re talking pretty gnarly here. The following is where I dig deep and lay it on the line. It’s not pretty and the pacing is pretty odd for me. I have no problem babbling on about things. Trust me. So, yup, it is odd that I rush through them. If you venture on, at the end, I think you may understand why. If not, you are always welcome to ask. Ok kiddies, disclaimer/excuse/stalling over.

It all starts with my parents and how they met….

The biggest suburban fairytale of yore was high school sweethearts getting married, building the ole white picket fence and popping out 2.5 offspring. My parents fall under the next biggest one- my mother ended up marrying her best friend’s older brother. Out of high school my mom and my aunt Diane (my dad’s sister) got a place with another girl. After going through the loss of several of her friends from deaths due to drunk driving accidents (most the other driver’s fault), my mom had no desire to get her license. So, aunt Diane would drop her off and pick her up everyday for work.

On the evening of Thursday, November 3rd, 1966, my aunt was uncharacteristically late to pick her up. Worried, she called my aunt’s other brother (my uncle). He picked her up and they went by my aunt’s job to see if she was still there. No one’s lives would ever be the same again in our family. They still aren’t. There is simply no bracing one for what they saw. The coroner estimated her time of death around 5:10pm. Cause? She was stabbed to death. While the local news toned it down for the public, she suffered over 100 (no, the second 0 is not a typo) stab wounds. Most of which were to the chest, neck and face. Psych 101 will tell you that leaves a high probability that she knew her murderer. Despite the fact that there was a rather large amount of blood, tissue and hair samples found under her fingernails (she put up a fight) and that’s a hell of a lot of DNA for today’s technology- her killer remains unknown. The case is still open. There is no way to describe the weight, the hole, the heavy hurt that this has had on our entire family. I can tell you that growing up in the same town where the mere mention of your last name brings up a story about it, another reminder, another lump in your throat, another case of the hair on the back of your neck standing up takes its toll. The police, despite it still being an open case, have obviously just given up. Leaving a family, still mourning, abandoned. I could write an entire post just about this story, the journey and my encounters with those over the years that came across my name in a phone book or somewhere online and came crawling out of the woodwork with questions and theories and occasional drunken babblings, but that will be for another time. This, my friends, is gnarly skeleton number one.

Number two sits without a date. I recall being young and think perhaps around 1st grade or so. The first “official African American” family moved in to our town. They lived in the subdivision in front of ours. The kids were my sister’s age, so I didn’t know them. But, I remember the entire family being so nice. I also remember the morning I found out that the night before someone had placed a cross on their front lawn and lit it ablaze. Seriously.We’re talking the 80’s here. I had on a yellow Strawberry Shortcake nightgown. At the time I wasn’t sure why it happened. It didn’t make any sense to me. While it still doesn’t, I clearly know now what the significance was and it makes my stomach turn. Roughly a decade later “we” received our first African American faculty member. Mr. Mr. (my nickname for him hee hee and he called me Nata ata li) was a guidance counselor and he freakin’ rocked. He lasted a year and a half before the death threats and people calling the police claiming he was breaking in to his own home chased him out of town. I have NO tolerance for that. I have even less for the cowardly masses that allowed him to leave instead of standing up and screaming “bullshit!”. Gnarly ass skeleton.

Skeleton number 3 still brings a tear to my eye. Throughout elementary school we had a Teaching Assistant that was amazing. Those of us in gifted & talented knew her best, with me knowing her the most. She was in charge of the art supply room, so I used to volunteer to help her out whenever needed. I really loved Miss L. Flash to 4th grade, It was late fall, early winter. I remember it being the time of year it got dark early. It was a Saturday evening and my mom sent me downstairs to get something out of the basement freezer she needed for dinner. My sister just got home from some Forensics thing up at the high school. I was walking up the stairs, in fact I was 3 stairs from the top when I heard the conversation. Miss L hung herself. I would learn on Monday that it was my home room teacher that had found her. It was in the basement, the athletic supply room, with a jump rope. Christ that sounds like a bad game of Clue. Rumor is she left a note. My teacher then has since passed on. So, any remaining hopes of answering the haunting question of “why?” seems small. It just doesn’t seem right. It never did. She would have known there was a possibility of a student finding her and I truly believe she would never, ever do that to any of us. No matter what the reason was she felt her only way out was suicide, she loved her students and was proud of what she did. Am I saying there is some deep, dark murderous plot here? No. Am I saying it’s less than Kosher? Perhaps. All I know is it just doesn’t make sense. Something is blaringly wrong with it.

So, by age 11 I had confirmation this town was full of ugliness and shit. It likes to appear all wonderful and happy. Such a lovely place to raise your family. In reality, it was a Stepford town where football was almost a religion (though we sucked) and nonlocals and those even remotely “different” were completely unwelcome. If they couldn’t chase them out, they would harass them until they masterfully donned the mask of the fake smile. It’s one thing if you are dealing with a town full of arrogant, unkind people. This was an entirely different ballgame (football of course). They were all of that, just plain wrong and (I know this seems like an exaggeration) somewhat topped with a bow of evil.

I learned how to fake the mask when needed. Oh the absurdity of faking a fake smile. It wasn’t easy and there was a price to be paid at times. I managed to dance around it all and even grew to stand firm and speak up when I felt things were wrong. Fuck, growing up is hard enough as it is without having to learn how to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee for what feels like is just to save your soul. In the end, I escaped this town, soul intact, non Stepfordized. Truthfully, I never even went back to pick up the hard copy of my diploma. I hit the ground running and swore I’d never be back.

Yes, I do have happy memories of growing up here. I really do. Sometimes they fight to cloak the skeletons.

And here I am. And here I stay. And heaven help this town.


The Absence of Alternatives said...

Hey, I am sorry for the losses you and family experienced and are still experiencing, & the ugly things you have witnessed. You are the very example of "What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger". XXOO

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