A Life of Letters

Lindsay Ann Became Unhinged

Posted in 1982, Family, Mom by southpawcom on March 6, 2012

Mom had some pretty close girlfriends among the ladies who lived on the dusty road of the new subdivision they made out of a farm in Goshen, Kentucky. Ann was a Kentucky blonde of the type that today we would confidently call a “milf.” Although I believe she and her husband, Clyde, were childless, Lindsay Ann was more of an “earth mother” type. I think that Mom liked her more, because she was more down to earth. She and mom would share books and frequently have coffee together in the airy kitchens of their designer-built homes.

I treasure these newsy updates she would send me frequently in the years after Dad died and she still maintained the homestead all by herself.

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Redhead Woody

Posted in 1982, Family, Mom by southpawcom on February 1, 2010

In the summer of 1982, I was by this point living alone at the brick duplex on Ann Street. Bec and Ann-Face had moved out and found sub-letters, two girls whose names if I thought long enough about, I could remember. A blonde and a redhead. Rhonda was one of them; can’t remember the other. They were small-town Midwestern girls, and they both lived in the room next to mine (what had been Ann and Joel’s room). I was friendly with them and would party up a little with them with the guys on the other side of the duplex on the hot sticky nights in the summer of ’82. I remember I would amuse them by walking to their bedroom at around 4 pm with my bong and my sinsemilla and tell them, “It’s time for your daily bong hit.” They didn’t refuse me.

It was kind of a lonely time. Kim had moved away, too, having graduated and already found work with a small newspaper in, I think Clio, Michigan. Mostly I think I realized I had blown it with Rebecca, and I missed her really badly.

I spent much of the summer alone, or with Tim G., the cartoonist at The State News, or Dave B., who was a big doper and fellow baseball nut. I took some summer classes, and I worked as the Editorial Editor at The State News. I smoked a lot of dope and spent a lot of nights at The Peanut Barrel. (Mom’s periodic infusion of cash into my checking account surely didn’t hurt my pursuits.) There were usually some good parties to go to on Friday nights, State News parties, and those cats loved to party, drink, smoke, and most of all, dance.

I would spend hours making what I thought were wicked mix tapes of the very coolest New Wave music and take them to the parties. I would remove whatever cassette was already in the tape player, with the Blasters on it, and replace it with my tape queued to Pete Shelley’s “Homosapien,” and just have the place sweaty in four minutes. A little embarrassing in retrospect, but the sound was fresh and pumpin’. I would go around the room and ask selected folks, “Do you want to go to Hawaii?” When they assented, I would take out a little black film vial filled with the most aromatic Kona bud and a small pipe. It only made the music sound better and everyone nicer looking.

I have a vivid memory of lying on my mattress in my room one morning that summer, and waking to hear the neighbor’s car radio play the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby,” which had busted through to the Top Ten. It had been on my mix tapes for a few months. The moment was vindicating, and it made me smile.

Actually, as I think back on the parties, I’m remembering that I had a pretty good time, and maybe I wasn’t so alone.

Interesting that Mom makes three allusions to redheads in her letter.

  • David was my manager at the Boston Shoe Company on Westport Road in Louisville. He was tall and had this wild red afro framing his very pale, Meat Loaf-like face. He scared the crap out of me, and I didn’t like him when I first knew him. But later he kind of befriended me, and I even remember having beers with him a few times.
  • Sandy, who instigated the divorce, was a dynamite Kentucky redhead. She was the wife of one of Dad’s sales associates, and she was just stunning. I remember her showing up at our house in New Jersey in this gorgeous fur-lined jacket, just red hair and the sexiest face and body, and Mike and I (and likely Dad) were just gaga. Talk about redhead woodies…mmm-mm-mm….
  • Mom was a nature nut, and she loved it when birds would nest near the home. She would watch them for hours and chart their movements day to day. I remember many times as a kid, when a robin would make a nest on top of the wall sconces on the front porch, peeking in with Mom while the mama bird was away looking for worms at all the tiny, dinosaur-like beaks stretched out hungry and squeaking.

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We Have Ants

Posted in 1982, Loves, Rebecca by southpawcom on January 17, 2010

Dad was dying in Kentucky when Rebecca wrote to me from the brick duplex we had just moved into on Ann Street in East Lansing in July 1981. I was down in Kentucky saying goodbye to Dad, although we didn’t know exactly when he would go. He had a hospital bed set up in the family room and 24-hour nursing care by this point. He would go in and out of consciousness. I don’t remember really any meaningful conversations with him at this point of his illness. I remember of course being overwhelmingly sad and sorry for Mom. She was putting on the brave face. I also remember it was stiflingly hot in the Ohio River Valley.

I don’t remember the girl in the shoe store that Bec mentions not once, but twice. I guess she was a little unnerved about something I had said that I thought I might do while I was down there. I’m sure I was kidding the both of us, as having fun would have been the farthest idea from my mind with Dad dwindling down to nothing.

It’s interesting and a little sad that Bec said nothing about my Dad in her letter. She wasn’t an insensitive person by any means. I think she was maybe a little freaked out or perhaps I didn’t explain the graveness of his condition to her. It’s also likely that I myself was in denial about it, and so maybe I didn’t talk about it realistically or openly with her. She was very young, only 20.

Not too young to work a naughty picture in between the lines though…. 🙂

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