The picture on the front ‘page’ is me when I was two and perched on my mother’s lap .
Our people were Famine Irish who came here and dropped like flies of the illnesses that best people in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Every one of them had a long memory and I do too.
Maybe my memory is long just from having listened to them. My mom, my sister Nan and I lived with our grandfather in the house he bought in 1913 – lived there until he broke a hip, had a stroke, then turned up in a coffin looking nothing like the twinkly man who gave us all those Hershey bars. He was born in 1874 if you can believe it. Then Mom came in 1907 and lasted long enough in the world to hate both Nixon and Reagan. Oh and we also lived with two great aunts both born in the 1860s.
The result of all having all these long-memoried people around is that I remember lot of stuff I wasn’t even here for, like about the ice man and the rag men with their houses clopping down the streets mornings, or the guy with the ladder who came to light the lamps on the streets come twilight.
Mom would be 108 now if she hadn’t died so suddenly in my living room, all for the lack of a defibrillator, such a simple thing now.. And I still miss her as much now as I did that night she exited the party early, leaving behind only her wedding ring and a hearing aid that emitted a series of intermittent forlorn bleats on top of my bureau until it too fell permanently silent.
Speaking of falling, I fell for this older boy named David Marotta when I was 19 and he 21 and the two of us are still slugging it out together with the kids grown and gone, still happily bickering away about who left the front burner flaming away all night with nary a pot in sight.
I used to paint my light bulbs pink so I could look as good as people in funeral parlors but now these same kids of ours are trying to wreck my fun, telling me I have to stop; telling me I have to start buying those ugly yellowish bulbs that look like IUDs but I say the heck with that. I also dye all the lampshades.
I know people cuss and carry on with bad language on blogs every day. I can’t seem to do that; I used to be a teacher is maybe why.
So maybe I’m ladylike, if you can be ladylike in a sort of blunt and earthy way. I know that back in college when everyone hitchhiked I was careful to do so in white gloves so people could tell I was a nice girl.
You can call me anytime at all at 617-512-2264 – that’s my cell – but if you ring my doorbell and I’m not expecting you I might duck behind the curtains and pretend I’m not home because I don’t do well with the unexpected: My sister and I almost killed our mother by throwing her a surprise 75th birthday party. She walked into the house, saw everyone she knew there and yelled “Gad! Am I DEAD?!”
Then, five years later we had a birthday party that wasn’t a surprise and what do you think? She died at it.
Go figure. Life: what a mystery.