Probably shouldn’t

Handwritten page of a diary dated August 19, 1979

… it will ROCK to escape the factory and get back to school, but I needed every penny of every paycheck I made this summer. For one thing, a bunch of us are going to the No Nukes Concert at Madison Square Garden next month, and I didn’t want Skinny Bob to feel left out, so I’m buying his ticket (with his and mine that is a total of $31 PLUS our train fares, ouch).

There’s only one thing I’m pretty sure I need to do before I escape there — every day on my way back from the lunchroom I pass by this old-fashioned switch on the wall in the room that smells like chemicals. And every day I have to talk myself out of flipping it. I do not know why this thing CALLS OUT TO ME. It might not even be hooked up to anything any more, but if it is, and something bad happens, then I might get in trouble, and since this is the only real job I’ve ever had, I might need to use my boss as a reference. What if there’s some future job I really want someday, and my boss tells them “Yes, she showed up every day and worked hard … but then she FLIPPED THE SWITCH and enough extra chemicals were released to force us to evacuate the building for the rest of the night.”

No. A switch that could evacuate the factory would look more modern. Right? And it would be under glass with a lock and key. Right?

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Original image:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Switch_(old_type).JPG
Published in: on March 8, 2017 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Veering toward Myrtle Beach

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Handwritten page of a diary dated May 25, 1979

… back on the road again, concentrating, sure but driving a long way is tedious. The best thing that happened all day was when Steppenwolf came on the radio, “Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway.”  That song is at least 10 years old now, and it still WORKS every time. Unfortunately the next song that came on was some kind of horrifying Bee Gees. It was either that or some country station singing “Linda on my Mind.” So the radio went off. Brutal!!

Got windier kinda gradually and next thing I knew I was having to grip the steering wheel because it felt like it wanted to veer left. So I started daydreaming that if the entire U.S. was made of concrete I would just let go and instead of ending up in Norman Oklahoma (where I wasn’t all that keen on spending the winter anyway) I would end up in Myrtle Beach. I saw this magazine picture a long time ago of Myrtle Beach amusement parks. Then there was this girl who looked just like me at a hotel that was RIGHT BY THE OCEAN!!!! You don’t see that in Norman Oklahoma.

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Original image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/blakta2/8625091375

 

Published in: on January 30, 2017 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  

‘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:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77319512@N07/7617024900/
Published in: on November 6, 2016 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

‘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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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/

Owls on the porch

Macrame_Owls

Handwritten page of a diary dated June 2, 1976

… so it turned out to be a perfect excuse not to work this summer. Just lay around at Mom’s house and do almost nothing except eat her cooking and watch movies on her Betamax player. Because then it’s back to college for one more year and then the real world and that means a serious forever kind of job. I shudder at the thought.

I got home too late for dinner last night, so poor Mom hasn’t even had the pleasure of cooking for me yet. I woke up and went looking for her, hoping to talk her into making blueberry waffles. That’s when I saw them on the porch — not one dorky owl. FIVE DORKY OWLS IN A ROW. Huh?

I heard music coming from the den, and that’s where I find her listening to a cassette of “Royal Scam.” So if she’s cool enough to buy the new Steely Dan, why is she tying rope and beads together and making a sixth dorky owl? She didn’t even want to stop doing the dorky macrame for a while and fix waffles.

So confusing.

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Original image:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macram%C3%A9
Published in: on February 17, 2016 at 3:14 am  Comments (1)  

Does Grandma hate me?

pexels-photo

Handwritten page of a diary dated August 3, 1974

… knocked the sandcastle down because I thought Randy built it. Randy said “No man, Grandma built it and she went to the car to get a camera to take a picture of it.”

I really wished I hadn’ta done it, but I was not all the way worried because Grandma’s never been mad about anything ever. Even when we were playing kickball in her garage and knocked over a pile of plant pots. All she did was worry that we hadn’t gotten cut on any of the broken pieces.

This time though, she gave me this look which felt like jagged alien laser beams of cold mean hate. Really before today I thought Grandma was kind of pretty but when she was all of a sudden not smiling I noticed something I never saw before and that is that her face looks pretty old.

I remembered I brought my Big Chief writing tablet to use in case I got sunburned and had to sit under the umbrella. So I found it and wrote this letter:

Dear Grandma:

Randy and I wreck each other’s stuff all the time and I thought he made that sandcastle. Really I shoulda known it hadn’t been made by him because it was one of the most nice ones I ever saw. If you would forgive me I will do any of these things you want:

1. If you want to rebuild the sandcastle. I will bring you water from the lake whenever you need it to pack the sand tighter and help you in any other way including using my popsicle money to get you a cold drink.

2. Stay over at your house on Thursday night and watch “The Walton’s” with you.

3. Ride my bike to that store where they have the cans of very small tiny little oranges so you can teach me how to make that Jello salad we like (the one without cottage cheese in it) (but if it would make you love me again I’ll eat cottage cheese)

She read it and she smiled again!!!!!! She said “Horsefeathers, I never stopped loving you. Now let’s get to work.”

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Original image:
https://static.pexels.com/photos/26477/pexels-photo.jpg
Published in: on February 5, 2016 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rated X

250px-RWelch2

Handwritten page of a diary dated July 3, 1970

… guy named Tim. His parents own the movie theater downtown. I only talked to him once at school. About six months ago. But I told him I was really curious to see an X-rated movie sometime and I didn’t want to wait three more years till I was legally old enough. He said sure, he saw a few earlier this year. Easy. Then last week he came up to me after History and said “Myra Breckenridge” is coming. I hadn’t even heard of that movie but he assured me it’s rated X. So I said OK and he said he would let me in the alley door at 8 p.m. on Friday. Which is tonight.

I was nervous before it was time to walk downtown so I played the 45 I just bought “The Long and Winding Road” a few times and then I turned it over and played the B side called “For you Blue” which might actually be a better song if you ask me. Then I put it on again and got my tap shoes out and started making up this routine to it and before you know it, it was time to go.

If only I had just chickened out and stayed home tap dancing and listening to records I might not be a nervous wreck right now. I saw that movie and now I think I might be scarred for life. I nervously talked to Tim a few minutes out in the alley when it was over. I said maybe some day I might ask him a few questions because there was a lot I didn’t understand and he said he couldn’t be too much help because this wasn’t like the other X-rated movies he’s seen. I said OK. Then I high-tailed it out of there.

I’m 15 years old and my sex life is already over because I don’t think I can handle all the complicated things going on out there in the ADULT WORLD.

Original image:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/hu/thumb/8/88/RWelch2.jpg/250px-RWelch2.jpg
Published in: on February 1, 2016 at 2:32 am  Comments (2)  

Where is David Bowie?

1974_glam_girl

Handwritten page of a diary dated December 6, 1974

… sent me this Polaroid with a note “This is the outfit I’m going to wear in London in case I run into David Bowie. Do you think he’ll see me somewhere and have to stop and talk to me?”

I didn’t really want to get into it much, because she and I just had a huge argument about the fact that she only plays the “Diamond Dogs” album whenever I go to her house. I’ve told her a hundred times that just because it’s the NEWEST album doesn’t mean it’s the BEST.

I wrote back and said, “I don’t know for sure but I think he’s out on tour all the time. I saw him on the Dick Cavett show a couple of nights ago.” What I WANTED to say is “No. Sorry Charlotte. Even if you tracked down David Bowie, he will not be dazzled by you enough to stop and ask you for a date — because David Bowie is a lot prettier than you.”

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Original image:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970s_in_Western_fashion
Published in: on January 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm  Comments (1)  

I’ll be in the van listening to the James Gang

vw van with privy

Handwritten page of a diary dated May 19, 1972

…  surprised I made it through my senior year. I was not focused at all. A teacher once said “Seems to me …” and I didn’t hear the end of the sentence because all I really heard was “Seems to me … you don’t wanna talk about it. Seems to me … you just turn your pretty head and walk away.” James Gang record — so good AND they’re from right here in CLEVELAND!!!!!

I can’t help it. I like rock and roll. I can’t help it that my goobery brother makes me look bad because he has decided he wants to study actuarial science. Who decides that when they’re a junior in high school? Huh?

So my grandpa has decided that I need to get a job this summer before I go to college and I said what if I don’t and he told me to sit on the “daveno” so we could have a discussion about it. Who calls it a daveno? Geez Grandpa you old geezer, it’s called a davenport. It’s not the 50s any more. So he sat there and said maybe he would start charging me rent this summer because when he was my age he was already in the army and saving up money to get married. Whoa Nellie, I’m not planning on either one of those things. So I said I’d live in my VW van this summer. And he said there’s no “privy” in there. And I said I’d rig something up.

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Original image:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Westfalia_privy_tent_with_awning.jpg