‘Whatever you want’

white-prom-dress

Handwritten page of a diary dated April 14, 1989

… had THIS conversation with Mom:

Mom: “But Rita’s son is such a sweet sweet boy.”

Me: “No.”

“You don’t have a date yet.”

“Prom isn’t for another month. There’s plenty of time.”

“This would mean so much to Rita if you went with Carl, and I owe her a huge favor.”

“No.”

“You could go with him this year and then next year, when you’re a senior, you could choose who to go with.”

“What will you give me?”

“Whatever you want.”

“That’s funny because ‘Whatever you want’ is my favorite thing.”

“I’ll buy you that white dress you tried on.”

“I thought you said I couldn’t get it because it looked too much like a wedding dress.”

“Well, it does, but …”

“And you said I had to get one with straps.”

“Well, it is kind of skimpy on top and tight all over, but I’ll get it if you promise to smile when you’re with Carl.”

Original image:
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Published in: on November 6, 2016 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dinner with the kids

tattoed-couple

Handwritten page of a diary dated July 29, 2009

… Paulie wanted us to pray before the meal, but in the end I think he was the only one with his head down. I guess it was kind of sweet of him to stand up with my gigantic daughter, who can barely even fit behind the table any more. Bobby was ignoring the praying and eating already and I used that chance to get a look at Paulie’s 10 millionth tattoo, not that Jeannie isn’t trying to catch up by getting a few tattoos of her own) (oh, and I barely recognized her when she answered the door because her hair is now jet black). Well, what can I do? As long as they keep inviting me to eat with them, I’ll go. Even though the kitchen is getting more purple every time I go.

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Original image:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/robdeman/476655955
Published in: on September 28, 2016 at 3:29 am  Comments (1)  

The brown meal

chocolate cake with cherries

Handwritten page of a diary dated September 30, 1989

… found out dad was going to be gone for 24 entire hours. And since he’s the biggest nutrition police, I talked Mom into letting me plan the supper for that night.

The theme I told her was ALL BROWN AND ONLY BROWN. I wanted steak, Pepsi and chocolate cake. She said she had one objection and I was afraid she was going to say “There are no brown vegetables” but instead she just pointed out that steak is kind of expensive so I agreed to shake a lot of quarters out of my piggy bank.

I helped her make the cake earlier in the afternoon but when I came to supper, there was something weird on top of the frosting. I said what is that? and she said cherries and I said “That’s not BROWN” and I was so mad I flicked one of the cherries off the cake and it landed on the wallpaper. Woops. But she didn’t go ape on me like Dad would’ve. She just made me clean the wall and “carefully” put the rest of the cherries in a little bowl “for later.” And she made me go up and search through her Van Morrison records because she wanted to hear “Brown Eyed Girl.”

I think she enjoyed that meal about as much as I did, so I said “if you want a more nutritious lunch tomorrow, we could have ALL ORANGE AND ONLY ORANGE.” She said “I’m afraid to ask what that menu would be.” So I told her: Cheetos and carrot sticks and orange juice, and the song would be “Orange Crush” by REM.

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Original image:
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Published in: on September 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm  Comments (1)  

‘Do what you wanna do’

bedroom-427634_1280

Handwritten page of a diary dated November 24, 1966

… first time i ever slept in Granny’s attic, um, I don’t know but I think by the time I was old enough to realize it seemed like it belonged in a scary movie, I was kind of used to it. I slept there every time we went to visit her. The first time I bumped my head on that leaning tower of Piza wall, I was about 10 so I told Granny that it would make more sense to make the bed with the pillow on the other end of the bed but she said then if I moved too much in the night I’d knock the pillows “clean off the bed.”  And she said it would be like sleeping upside down, which made me laugh but she didn’t laugh.

So I had to wait till she tucked me in and after she left I shifted the whole operation. But I felt so guilty. Like if she came back in for some reason and didn’t see my head by the wall she’d be all wigged out. Which never happened by the way. She still doesn’t know about it. And I’ve been doing it for a few years! EVERY TIME WE GO THERE!

Advice to my future self. If there’s something you want to do, just do it. It’s like that song on Belinda’s Mamas & the Papas album: “Go where you wanna go. Do what you wanna do.” I mean not like a bank heist or something like that. But, you know.

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Original image:
https://pixabay.com/en/bedroom-sleeping-old-vintage-427634/
Published in: on August 27, 2016 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  

‘Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on’

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Handwritten page of a diary dated August 15, 1970

… HATE to go back to school without at least a few decent pairs of bell bottoms and a jean jacket — I needed to make some money and I mean fast. So when Paula was complaining that the new album she bought didn’t have lyrics printed inside, I told her I’d listen and copy them all down if she would throw a couple of bucks my way. She agreed to it but on the condition that I didn’t get my “grubby fingerprints” on it, and that if there was a scratch, she would kill me (and she would do it too even if I’m her only brother. Don’t doubt it for a second)

This album was called “Deja Vu” and it wasn’t exactly the easiest lyrics ever written. Like man they sing this song really fast:

“If I had ever been here before I would probably know just what to do         

Don’t you?

If I had ever been here before and another time around the wheel I would probably know just how to deal

With all of you”

I didn’t know how long this would take and really I thought about quitting. But she came in to my room to look over the pieces of notebook paper I had written so far and she said it wasn’t bad. She said maybe she could get me some more jobs like this from her friends so I said OK. But I have to think about restructuring my price. I think I’ll charge by how long it takes instead of just a flat fee per album. Groups like Crosby Stills and (whoever they all are) might end up killing my writing hand.

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Original image:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/hansthijs/3586702590

Turn up the heat

Landscape

Handwritten page of a diary dated December 18, 1968

… don’t know why we had to move to this godforsaken blizzarding state anyway when it was perfectly nice living in San Francisco. I was walking home from school today with my scarf covering my nose — UNTIL the scarf got wet from me breathing into it. Eeeew. I got home and told my mom to take back whatever stupid frilly dresses she bought me because all I want for Christmas is a space heater for my bedroom. Then she said the thermostat is set at 64 and that’s plenty warm for any human beings who are wearing a sweater. Then she pulls out a picture of her and her dippy friends posing in bathing suits out in the snow.

The only sweaters I have are some she picked out for me, which are all itchy, so I put on my bathrobe and listened to the Doors song called “Wintertime Love.” When Jim Morrison sings “Keeping you warm, your hands touching me”  I have a fantasy that my mom walks in my bedroom she goes ape because she sees that Jim Morrison and I are here under a blanket rubbing up against each other to keep warm. That would serve her right for bringing me up here to the arctic north.

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Original image:
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Published in: on July 18, 2016 at 3:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Bebop is the MOST

dance class 1949

Handwritten page of a diary dated November 6, 1949

got stuck in the back row again … and not even on one of the ends. I’m going to all this work learning the stupid tap dance, only to be lucky if anyone notices me at all.

First there was the big scuffle we had about the music. Our new teacher, Evelyn, wanted us to use “I’m looking over a four leaf clover that I overlooked before.” The one from last year by Art Mooney!!!!!!!  We almost flipped our wigs. I played this record, the only killer diller song I could think of — “Bebop Spoken Here” by Frankie Laine. She finally agreed, but she said it was only because it has a really good tempo for the dance she had in mind.

Then she was all excited because Betty’s uncle volunteered to come and photograph us rehearsing. She wanted to send a picture to the newspaper and maybe get more people to come to our recital. It’s a good thing she didn’t see the one picture he took — a closeup of her … well let’s just say he seemed to really enjoy her white shorts and the legs that were coming out of them. Ha ha, what if that picture got in the ‘paper by accident?

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Original image:
https://pixabay.com/en/dancing-class-children-vintage-1386236/

Home alone

pretty_punky_preppy_girl_by_theblackkath-d5kg4pf

Handwritten page of a diary dated April 16, 1994

… few of the things I did when my parents took ALL THREE of my brothers to the pinewood derby contest and left me blissfully at home alone for the whole day:

Dressed up and drew a picture of myself .. well, myself with a different body and longer hair.

Went outside and walked along the very top ledge of the retaining wall (which would’ve given my mother a heart attack if she was here) AND I strutted and sang “I’m a model, you know what I mean and I do my little turn on the catwalk.” I thought I didn’t even like that song, but it did come in handy.

Noticed it was a full moon, and started singing “Full moon and empty arms, the moon was there for us to share but where are you” which is a song from a Frank Sinatra CD given to me by Basement Jerry next door.

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Original image:
http://theblackkath.deviantart.com/art/Pretty-Punky-Preppy-Girl-336675795
Published in: on June 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Join the club

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Handwritten page of a diary dated September 15, 2000

… sent home a note to parents that it was time to join clubs for the coming semester. I almost didn’t give it to her because I knew she was going to stick her nose in my decision. And yes she asked me what clubs I was thinking about and I told her Video Gaming.

She said, “How much Duke Nukem can one boy play?”

I said “Duke Nukem is practically an antique.”

She asked if there wasn’t some other club I might actually get something out of, so I said “I don’t know Mom, maybe the Gay-Straight Alliance would give me the chance to talk through some things.”

That didn’t exactly get the reaction I expected so I said “Aren’t you going to ask me if I’m gay?”

She said she wouldn’t mind if I was gay but she knows I’m not and I said how do you know that and she said she didn’t think a gay boy would hang a half-naked picture of Carmen Electra by his bed.

Good point Mom. Good point.

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Original image:
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Published in: on June 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm  Comments (1)  

‘Hee Haw’ slumber party

dubuque 1908

Handwritten page of a diary dated March 24, 1974

… and I still got to have the slumber party, even though Great Grandma was staying at our house.

So it gets to be about 2 a.m. and we’re acting stupider and stupider and we start singing that song from “Hee Haw”  (which we would NEVER have chosen to watch in a trillion billion years, but Barb’s mother likes it and we’ve seen it at her house). The song that goes:

“Where oh where are you tonight? Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and I thought I’d found true love, but you met another and *** you was gone.”

The corniest (but funnest) part is that where I wrote the ***, that’s where you stick your tongue out and give the other person the raspberry. And right while we were doing this, Great Grandma comes out and instead of being mad that we woke her up, she thinks it’s hilarious that we’re singing a country song because it reminded her of when she and her two best friends goofed around the same way. She said they went so far as to dress up like they were farm girls, even though they lived near downtown Dubuque. The song they sang from 60 or 70 years ago was by Cal Stewart, and she remembered it:

I went into a meeting house some doughnuts for to git,
From the gal behind the counter,
And dressed up fine you bet.
She wouldn’t take my nickel cause it had a hole that went clar through,
Says I to her that’s nothin’ now, there was a hole in the doughnuts too.
Then I laughed ****
I couldn’t keep from laughin’ cause it really tickled me.”

Where the *** is in her song, she laughed like the guy did on the record. We didn’t really get the joke of the song and she started to explain about plugged nickels, but we just wanted her to sing again, because it was funny to watch her dance in her flannel granny nightgown.

Then Mom comes and says we’re too loud, and about drops her jaw when she sees Great Grandma is partying with us.

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