Archives for category: Coming of Age

I have never been old before. Funny I just heard Bill Gates’ mom say that.  Does everyone feel like an observer inside? I heard writers are like that; so that makes me a writer; but I have been doing this for a while.

At this point on the planet, I find life fascinating. Not easy. Fascinating balls or stupidity will back those thoughts up. I was born shortly before the Hurricane of 1938, with a twin, but I was four pounds, so hung out in incubator till I fattened up. (In later years, I would have no such issues of fattening up.)

It’s all an inside job on one level, this growing awareness. Childhood, adolescence, the emergence of tension of the opposites; gnashing forces of worth, no worth, feelings of inadequacy masked by leading kids the wrong way, getting suspended from Roslindale High 3 times in sophomore year by Mr. Gately who looked like a prison warden from the twenties. “You have the worst record of any girl in this school,” he would announce, right before he said, “Don’t come back until you tell your father.” Sunday night would come, and Mr. Gately would have called my father. I was emotionally afraid of my father, but somehow I went back to school after they spoke. I later pulled it together so by senior year, I was voted most popular and studied enough to get A’s and B’s.

Now in my late 70s, I look back upon that scattered, frightened young girl and think how lost she was.  My twin, Elizabeth, said to herself when she was ten years old, standing outside our 12 room house, standing in our circular gravel driveway, “I have to take care of myself now”. She would tell me this in her second year of fighting cancer, at age 68, and she also told me, “We were not born 5 minutes apart, but 12. Lord she held that 5 minutes over me for eons. I was the youngest in the family. Turns out she and I were placed in different classrooms after Kindergarten because she copied my yellow wooden shoe drawing.

I was consider the leader, but in middle school my French Teacher who taught us to sing (Rudolph Le Serf Au Nez Rouge – Rudolf the Red Nosed….) said to me, “Esther, you are a leader. Why do you lead people the wrong way”?

My father despaired over his children. Were we cretins to him?  My mother had her own demons and died when Liz and I were 17. Each one of us, John, Meb, Liz and I drove this man through many an anguished hour.

Now in 2017 I know we act our turmoil out, conditions in the world, in the household pivot through our psyches, and we were all pretty troubled .In 1966 I began my oneness path, took my little yellow lunchbox of thoughts and newly discovered Faith down the road. This Faith saved my life.

In 2017 after some harrowing months I realized I have never done “old” before. This awareness survived many a hospital trip, but I always bounced back. on Last month, recovering from harrowing doses of Morphine during an emergency run to two hospitals.   Little did I know within the space of 27 hours of no sleep, constant pain, and some unexplainable events, I felt tumulted into a fake cult.  Funny how this cult pulled of similar physical surroundings as in the hospital’s art work looked the same, but there was no kindness, no explanations of process.

I ended up in a morphine psychosis, which led me, mild mannered Esther, toddling out of a hospital room, physically in agitation over a recent brutal surgical procedure, asking a man, “Excuse me are you a scientist.”  The scene expanded in a silenced way with my moaning to serried ranks of hospital employees, “help me, help me,” and my running away from a hatchet faced nurse, zipping down a hospital corridor and ripping out the offensive surgical implant apparatus. I was put in a room with another patient who was so inert I thought she was dying.   I thought she was being slowly killed, and I thought her nurse was being punished also, but she got to go home.  Because of this cult, would never again see my son’s face, see anyone I knew and loved, and would be in a world without Baha’u’llah.  recovering from thinking I was in a fake cult which looked like my regular hospital, ripping out something from a surgical procedure, and then running down a long corridor away from the nurses,.  The nurse in charge of my well being was the same hatchet faced nurse who never smiled, only repeated, “You will have that implanted again.”  A kind resident emerged and listened to me, and I felt safe again.  It took me several days to realize exactly what had happened.  Time had stretched for me, but all of my drama was contained in an action packed 27 hours.

I then emerged from my haze only to learn of a suggested search for kidney cancer. Well it wasn’t cancer and I’m fine. Two weeks after this escapade, on October 21, 2017, to be exact, I dashed out for a waiting Uber, skidded and flat lined across the narrow hallway outside my room, realizing seconds later, something was seriously wrong.

Reader, I had a short clean break in the upper part of my pelvic ring, and a hairline fracture at the bottom of this ring. What would this mean?

I am patched up and recuperating and now have time to face my technical dysfunction. I feel like a woman, tossed down a sparse hill, covered with grass, patchy grass. My long arms and skinny fingers dig into hard dirt because I am slipping, sliding, gasping, down a hill. Going down.

I am not keeping up with: Kindle, Ipad, and worst of all Windows 10. Reader, are you with me? I have forgotten how to blog. I can’t find my dashboard. I spend hours looking at WordPress books and the letters “How to Blog,” blur into tiny ants on their march towards my crossed eyes.I will end with this ephiphany. Piph on that dear Reader.

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in-the-shadow-of-angkor-new-writing-from-cambodia-and-cambodian-america

Did you know there’s a type of bug or spider that runs along in the Iraqi desert along side the figure running, and this spider is vicious and has teeth and will give a deadly bite, but it hides in the shadows. I read a biography of a doctor’s time in Iraq, a time where her husband, a Marine also, stayed home with the twins (toddlers) and her mom and dad came in to do heavy duty grandparent duty. I can’t remember the title of the book, and given the multiplicity of books now emerging, can’t remember. Today, as never before, a plethora of memoir on the war; did I say war, I meant “wars” emerges, and I think all valid. It is time to give voice to a day, a moment, an hour, and those who do will cause me to think and feel, and say, “I’ll not forget.”

The pages are still blank as far as our future history goes. Did we go down that random vortex of unimaginable horror, like living In the Shadow of Angkor, written and edited by a friend Sharon May, and also Frank Stewart, and is a University of Hawaii Press publication?

Today as never before, did I say that? Today as never before, the forces of light and darkness duke it out, and how can one forget moments. Yes, my world is still as small as a canary-yellow and-white-cough-drop-colored paper bag, and a picture of a very fat, curly tailed pug, with stocky front legs resting on a small child’s red chair, but over these images lays a heaviness of what is happening out there; out beyond the insulation of our culture and those who romp and play on a Fantasy Island, like Pinocchio, and mercifully, there is always beauty in the world, and prose of horrors overcome, as in Angkor.

I am reminded of a weekend course on the foundation of education building a world society, and realizing we are in a paradigm shift, and it is uncomfortable, but current educational practices are based on getting all of us through a system as the Industrial Revolution, and that won’t work.

Now is the time for us to enable capacity and connection and authentic perceptions, and spiritual insight. We are children of a half light emerging into a global civilization which must consider that we are coming of age spiritually, and it’s time to throw down all shibboleths (is that a word) of difference and pulsate on hoping our tattered world will win the battle of old egos as in old dinosaurs.

But I am dangerously near preaching or lecturing, and the heart, anyone’s heart will go into heels dug into the ground, don’t push me into a way of thinking, but to end with a remembrance of a day I’ll not forget is to remember 9/11 after the airplanes’ destructive paths, before politicians’ games of power, a blank space, like the action potential of the cell before it hits the synapses, and a blank time where we were cylindrical in our unity and our caring for the other; we seemed to be enwrapped in columns of blue misty caring, and we were one – giving new meaning to prayer as a state of being.

imagesCA9U2AM5Dancing the Tunes

I am a woman of rich inner means, of hips which widen, and of feet which grow clumpier as the years go by.  The word “dance” does not call to me as it did in my younger years.

At twelve, my twin Liz climbed out of a tree, swung into the back door of our twelve- room house, and ran up stairs to our bedroom.  We shared.  She drew a line down the middle of the room.  No crossing.  Twins are like that.  But on Friday nights at 7.30, all the twelve year olds in our town dressed in either suits for the boys or dresses, stockings and shiny patent leather shoes for the girls.

Harry Raymond’s Dancing School, Friday night sessions ,were held weekly in a sagging huge yellow house with white trim on Centre Street in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, near the Shawmut Bank.  My father or mother drove us, and we sat in the back seat feeling like victims in a Black Mariah, wheels silently thwopping towards Harry’s.

Dressing for Harry’s was weekly penance.  Red silky type dresses; made by my mother, with tiny cloth buttons and Peter Pan Collars.  Under the dresses, the dreaded undershirt, and down further the garter belts which were like magnets to the seamed beige stockings we reluctantly hauled over our young girl thighs.

This was a mournful time for us; a time we didn’t fight, too locked into the mutual tragedy of garter belts – long floppy rubberized stretchy thin bands with hooks on the end.  The clips at the end were like a snake’s mouth – open, slide over nylon stocking, close, and clip, a metal slider of small proportions would pull the length of the strips tight.  Ugh.  A beginning rite of passage where I would learn women’s looks are for pleasing, pleasing men.  Am I okay?  All right, as in are my seams straight?  Liz and I were poised on the edge of some type of womanhood, reluctantly brought into the fold of How Do I Look, Does This Please?  Will He Like Me?

Once left off on the curb, we clumped up beat up wide stairs next to a rickety white banister and head towards the powder room.  Jannie Cleary with her curly red hair seemed unfazed.  I wondered if she wore a bra, maybe that’s why she seemed to carry an aura of confidence. “She likes boys,” Liz whispered to me with a downward twist of her mouth.

We filed out and sat on chairs in a huge circle around the edges of the ballroom.  We sat like cows watching Harry Raymond, a thin double for Liberace, glide across the floor, moving by each young girl saying, “Girls’ legs are meant to be closed.”  Then, each week he’d tap Liz’s ankles with his slim black and gold cane, and say, “Ladies do not sit with their legs apart,” because Liz always sat as if ready to spring upon a horse and ride off into some elusive West.

First we learned the Fox Trot, l clump, 2 clump, 3 clump, sway together 4.  During the week at Ruthie Anderson’s house, we danced the fox trot with each other.  Ruthie was Protestant, and we were Roman Catholic.  Our mothers were best friends – daring in a world of people who kept to their own.

Then we learned the waltz – l, 2, 3 – l, 2, 3, feet stomped instead of slid  on the old wooden floor as we stood like fledgling dancers auditioning for a musical.  Eventually we sweated through the waltz.

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Girls had to sit and wait to be asked to dance. The boys liked Liz; she was cute and sporty.  I sat there like a female Prince Valiant, a large red square of silk, my hair a dark clump of blunt and my bangs sort of straight, but not really.  My throat filled with doubt, as one by one, the seats around me emptied.  Finally after thinking I’ll just put my throat on a hook, tall, small-headed, round-chinned Holland Morgan stood silently before me.  His brown eyes questioned me, and his right eyebrow went up as in a “why not,” and we wordlessly cobbled our dancing feet together..  A fox trot.  Step, Step, Step and Step; learning to hoof in a measured square to a musical beat.

Then, as if Zeus threw a thunderbolt into my mouth, I heard myself motor mouthing about dogs, our once poodle who died.  Holland knew of this sad event.  I spoke droolingly of our beige non-altruistic pug and our copper-toned farting boxer.  Words poured out of my mouth like an overfill of chicklets spilling out..  I don’t remember his response.

Years later, when I was twenty, I met Holland again.  He was a friend of my step-brother.  I fell in love with him because of his writing.  He called me Cynthia one winter night as we walked over to Howard Johnson’s for coffee in Kenmore Square, and I was shattered.  He was at Dartmouth, and I worked down on State Street for attorneys.  I lived with roommates near the back of Fenway Park, near Kenmore Square.

I still dream of Kenmore Square because my mother died one icy day in our apartment on Bay State Road. Old issues maybe, or deep wounds, not all caught up by the therapist’s dustbuster.   Liz and I were seventeen.  We had a pug and a boxer, and Liz and I would walk them across Storrow Drive, and walk by the river, the wind whipping through us in the winter.  It was a good day when I realized, after Holland, after Bob, after blah, blah, I wanted what they had:  words, empowerment, not to be lost.  I was a dance in progress, and it’s taken a long time to become myself.  I no longer wear stockings with seams, although they are coming back, and I’m glad that time period is over.  Some people want to go back when times were good.  Good for whom, I might ask.  Then I think it’s all some sort of a dance – this life – a dance indeed.