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:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NYA-Weiser,_Idaho-Residence_School-%22Come_on_in…the_snow%27s_fine%22-girls_of_the_NYA_Federal_Residence_School_take_time…_-_NARA_-_197139.tif
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

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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:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/raver_mikey/2408742508
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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Not like the dream

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Handwritten page of a diary dated December 25, 1970

… can’t afford to go home for Christmas and New Year’s, but I’ve got a whole week off. Ran into Jolene in the laundry room and it turns out she’s stuck here for Christmas too. I saw my big chance with her and said I was cooking a big dinner that day anyway, did she want to come over. Sounds like the best idea on earth EXCEPT I’m not one of those guys who can cook. AT ALL! So I somehow had to learn to cook in the next few days.

I had a few ideas for the meal, but that night I dreamed about strawberry mousse, I mean the kind of fluffy pink thing any girl would love. So I went to the library and searched the card catalog till I found 641.86 — the number for cookbooks. Searched the books, found the one that had a picture that looked closest to the way my dream looked, and copied the recipe.

For the rest, I cheated and ordered some turkey dinners at the restaurant my mom liked when she used to live here. Borrowed a portable mixer, made the mousse and started cleaning the apartment. Picked up the food, took a shower and everything was coming up roses. UNTIL I opened the refrigerator. Not only was the mousse NOT light pink and fluffy like the picture. But I guess I left the bottle opener in the refrigerator because it had fallen right onto the  center of the bubbly tomato soup-colored jello.

Luckily I kept my cool, put on a stack of records to play, and now I’m just waiting for Jolene to knock. Maybe if I cover this with Cool Whip, it will taste OK.

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Original image:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stark23x/56156062

 

Published in: on May 9, 2016 at 3:48 am  Comments (2)  

Bus stop

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Handwritten page of a diary dated Sept. 22, 1990

… knew if we couldn’t scrounge some quarters off someone, we weren’t going to get Lindsey on the bus in time to make it over to play practice on time. Why didn’t she think of this when she was counting all our money to see if we had enough for her to buy the beaded hat at the thrift store?

There’s a total of exactly one guy within a block of the bus stop, and he’s sitting there sound asleep.

I go “He looks like Death’s daddy.”

She goes “Who is Beth?”

I go “I didn’t say he looks like BETH’S daddy. I said he looks like DEATH’S daddy.”

The sleeping guy heard us and woke up. He looked less scary when he was awake, but still, I was not so happy with Lindsey when she said this: “Sir, if you’ll give me the money for a bus ride, my friend will sit here and have a nice conversation with you for half an hour” Then she looked over and saw that I was mad, so she goes “OK, no 20 minutes. She will talk to you for 20 minutes about anything …  but keep it clean because she took judo lessons.” (I didn’t)

After Lindsey rides away, he smiles. Then he goes “I’m not going to insist that you stay here with Death’s Daddy.”

I kind of mumbled that I was sorry for calling him that, and he goes “Actually, that’s quite an interesting turn of phrase. Are you a poet?”

I go “Most of the poets I know are kind of … gloomy.”

He goes “The Traveling Wilburys aren’t gloomy at all.”

He had to explain to me who they were (except I already knew about everything there is to know about Bob Dylan from my grandma) and somehow “Death’s Daddy” ended up convincing me that I should try my hand as a writer of song lyrics. Which is a good idea, proved by the fact that I got a pretty good start on a song thought up in my head while I walked home.

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Original image:
https://pixabay.com/en/grandfather-old-aged-sleep-resting-14446/
Published in: on May 3, 2016 at 3:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Hillary and Di

princess Diana w:Hillary

Handwritten page of a diary dated August 30, 1997

…  “it’s so good to see Princess Diana happy again lately, don’t you think?”

I had almost fallen asleep and her voice startled me, but she is my boyfriend’s mother so I pulled it together and said “Sure, who doesn’t want that?”

When Luke invited me on this vacation, he forgot to tell me about the sleeping situation at their lake house. I didn’t know I’d have to choose between a twin bed in his sister Danielle’s room or a twin bed in his mother’s room. Before I committed one way or the other, I spent a little time with Danielle in her room. I was in there a total of 20 minutes and she managed to play the song “Mmm Bop” three times plus tell me her theory that even though Taylor is the cutest one now (and closer to her age) she thinks she would rather marry Zac. She says she can just look at their faces and know that Zac will be more handsome as an adult.

That’s when I chose the bed in Luke’s mom’s room instead. At first it seemed like I’d made the right decision. Until I knew it was going to be a sleepless slumber party night with a Princess Diana theme.

The second time I almost fell asleep his mom said “I saw a picture in a magazine of Princess Di with Hillary Clinton. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Hillary and it’s fun to have a First Lady who is smart enough to be president herself. And Hillary is pretty too. BUT when she was sitting there in that picture, she looked like it was a charisma contest and she knew she was losing. Hillary should’ve just relaxed and realized that NOBODY is going to win a charisma contest against Princess Diana. When Princess Di is 100 years and has thinning hair and curled up fingers, she’ll still be the most dazzling woman in any room.”

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Original image:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana,_Princess_of_Wales

Not like Grandma’s

chef boy ar dee

Handwritten page of a diary dated September 10, 1961

… was getting dragged to Grandma’s house every Sunday but it was worth it (even though I know too many Louis Prima songs by heart now) because Grandma is the best cook in this world. Or even if Yuri Gagarin discovers another world, it won’t have a better cook. Grandma was born in Italy and I guess that’s where she learned a thing or two about tomatoes and basil. So we had the kind of Italian food that you can’t even get if you pay big moolah to eat downtown at Guiseppe’s Pasta Italiano. In fact I always dreamed that instead of getting a real job some day I would live my own La Dolce Vita by bottling Grandma’s sauce and hiring a crack team of salesmen to hock it to grocery stores.

But today Grandma brought a plate of raviolis to the table and everyone could tell they looked different. But looking different was only the start. These things tasted like bad news. So Dad asked where they came from, and he laid it on her about as nice as anyone coulda. Then Grandma says they came from a can!! She saw it in a magazine and thought how much easier it would be if she let Chef Boy-Ar-Dee do all the hard work. They promised it was “authentic.”

Man oh man, far as I’m concerned, Grandma’s house is now officially Nowheresville.

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Original image:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/29069717@N02/14191575977/in/photostream/
Published in: on March 14, 2016 at 3:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Vintage selfies

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Handwritten page of a diary dated November 3, 1978

… because when I was 12 and starting to get interested in music, she bought me a new Doors album and we both learned the words to “L.A. Woman.” We sang it (LOUD) when I got to stay overnight at her apartment, which was as often as I could finagle since she was my cool aunt and not my boring mom.

Then she got married to a guy and moved to Milwaukee with him. I barely saw her for seven years.

SHOCKINGLY last weekend she showed up and asked Mom if she could crash in the guest room a while. I thought “Oh, this could be fun” which proved to be wrong the minute I knocked on her door and she was playing a tape of “Dancing Queen” by Abba! What happened to her great musical taste? And she has part of her hair feathered like Farrah Fawcett-Majors. So uncool.

And speaking of uncool, she takes pictures of herself in the mirror. Constantly. OK, not constantly, but at least once a day!!!!! What a huge waste of time. She admitted she’s spending a lot of money on getting film developed, but she doesn’t care. It’s hard to even imagine someone taking so many pictures of themSELVES!!!!

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Original image:
http://www.pixcove.com/tag/selfie/
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