Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Story of The Three (now Four) Coats Part Two

*The Story of the Three  Four Coats - Part Two

That day, the day I returned my Blue Duck Genuine Shearling and Fox Fur coat to Nordstroms, I still wasn't one hundred percent convinced that I should return the coat.   My plan was to look through the coat department one more time to see if I could possibly find another coat that made me smile as much as the Blue Duck did.  In fact,  we didn't even bring the coat into the store with us, but left it in the car.
As Ross and I were looking through the racks, I happened upon this beauty, a long Mackage  Down Coat with Genuine Fox and Rabbit Fur in black.   I tried it on and it   made   me   smile.  I know I'm so fickle.
The salesperson on the floor that day was an attractive middle aged woman who spoke with a Russian accent.   She  told me that this Mackage was meant for me.   She said, "Dahling, this coat is you."
"Funny," I thought to myself,  "that salesperson from the other day told me the same thing about the Blue Duck."
Anyway, perhaps it was the Russian accent, or maybe it was the way Ross nodded admiringly at me, but, once again I believed that this coat, this Mackage Down Coat with the Genuine Fox and Rabbit fur in Black, this coat was really the one.
As I twirled in front of the mirror,  I bashfully confessed to Natasha I actually had a coat out in the car that I needed to return.
"No problem," she said.
Ross brought the Blue Duck in, still tucked in it's luxurious Nordstrom's garment bag.  When Natasha unzipped the bag and saw the Buck Duck, she said, "Dahling, a shearling?"
"Ugh, my deah, trust me, you do not want a shearling."
"You wear it once in the rain, and it spots."
"Believe me, I know.  I had one.  Spots, spots, all over spots.  And you can never, never get them out!"
"No, my deah, you do not want a shearling."
Natasha told me that she would have never sold me that shearling, never!
"It's just not you, honey."
I noticed that the Mackage also came in a tanish color called "desert".  I thought I would like to try it on.  Natasha insisted though, that: "Dahling, with your coloring?
"No, absolutely not.  It would wash you out."
I shuddered.  She was right.  I definitely wouldn't want that washed out look.
Oh yes, as an aside here, something happened, that I thought was a little strange.  When it came time to ring up the sale, Natasha asked me if I would do her a favor.   She told me that her hand was injured and it was very difficult for her to work the cash register/computer.  She asked me if I would.  So I stepped behind the counter and processed the sale myself.  Crazy, huh?
So, anyway,  the Blue Duck went back on the rack, the black Mackage was zipped into the luxurious Nordstrom's garment bag and came home with me.
And so for the next week, it stayed in it's luxurious Nordstrom's garment bag, with the tags intact, while I tried to decide if the coat was really me, "dahling".
To Be Continued...

*To find part one of this story click here.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.
Here are the past few entries from Anna's diary:
Sun.  December 22, 1929
Went to Grandma M's for dinner.  In afternoon drove grandpa to Montclair to visit Mr. Lucas. Drove him home and came then to our own house.  Bed.
Mon. December 23, 1929
Went down town to do last minute shopping.  Supper at 360.  Isabella Long and Ted came home to stay with Junior.  Jean and I went out to buy our tree.  Junior so happy. 
Tues.  December 24, 1929
Christmas Eve.  Home until 6:30.  Then went to 360 for little while.  Home early.  Junior to bed.  Waiting for Santa to come.  Edythe, Peg, Rob and Ted helped trim tree and get out toys.
Wed. December 25, 1929
Christmas Day.  Dinner at 360.  Turkey.  Then exchanged our little gifts.  Went to Mrs. Naps in the evening.  Grandpa M. there.  Had been all afternoon. 
Thurs. December 26, 1929
No entry

Here are a few entries from Lynda Grace's diary, if Lynda Grace had a diary, that is:
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Made gravy with meatballs and also a marinara for Anne.  Made lasagna.  I haven't been able to do that  for a while because it was Joe's favorite.  But Bella and Ryan were wishing for it, and, well how could I not? Dinner was set for 2:00.
Anne came early and went for a 7 mile run on the Barnegat Trail.  
Jen, Derek, Bella and Ryan came at 2:00.  We sat down at the table all together.  
After dinner, it was time to open presents.  The kids were very excited. 
Sunday, December 23, 2012.  
Ross and I vegged in front of the TV.  I knitted, he read and we watched a marathon of MI5 episodes.
Monday, December 24, 2012.
Christmas Eve.  A sad, sad day for me.  I cried for most of it.  Received phone calls from Jen and Jimmy. That always makes me feel better. 
Tuesday, December 25, 2012.
Christmas dinner at Jen and Derek's.  Ross, and I,  Ken, Jimmy, Anne and Domani, all there. 
They did a nice job.  Ham, sweet potatoes, potato salad and best of all Jen's cookies.
More presents.  
Stopped in at Elaine and Al's afterward, had dinner with them.  While there, Kenny and Ty rang me up on Facetime.  They showed me all the toys Santa brought them. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Obviously Plastic White Tree

I had a restless night and I am awake and up before the tree this morning.  The tree is on a timer and lights itself (well sorta) at 5:30.
The Tree
True to form and duly documented in my last post, I swore I wasn’t going to put up a tree this year. No,  there would most definitely NOT be a tree this year, especially not this year.
True to form, a few days ago, I started to have twinges of maybe, possibly, entertaining the idea of "putting up a tree".  But, I decided if I were to put up a tree, it would either have to be a real tree, or I would go totally artificial and buy an obviously plastic white one.
The thought of the scent of a real tree was enticing.  The thought of dropping needles and eventually having to dispose of a real tree was not.
I decided to go for the "obviously not real because it is obviously plastic" white one.

This morning, as I sit in a corner of the room, too far away to particularly notice each of the sentimental and nostalgic hand mades, I don't think of Christmas pasts.
The soft pink and pale blue lights don't frantically twinkle on this tree.  Instead, they calm me with their steadiness.
After a restless night of worries and scary dreams, I welcome the numbing chill of this obviously plastic white tree.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.

I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.
Wed. December 11, 1929
Home in Morning.  Brought baby to 360.  Went to card party at Washington given by St James guild.  Mrs. B, C and W and myself.  Shopped a little afterwards.
Thurs. December 12, 1929
Charlotte here to wash.  brought Junior to dentist.  While taking his nap went to St. James hospital to see Jean S. little son.  Then after supper to wake of Vincent D. 
Friday, December 13, 1929
Stayed in bed quit late.  Came in at quarter to eight from "Wake." Jean home from work.  Went to 360 for supper.  Met Flo downtown and Jean and peg after school.
Sat. December 14, 1929
Went to Arlington to see Chrysler car.  Would not meet my price.  Met Jean for lunch at Kresges.  Then met Rae at 2:30 for bridge.
Sun. December 15, 1929
Dinner at Naps.  Met Professor who just came back from abroad.  Stopped at Louisa's with picture.  Lena still stays pretty sick.  Home early.  Junior in bed.  Peg came to see Jean.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Changing My Mood by the Grace of Joe's Embrace

On Saturday, I re-arranged the furniture in our living/televiewing/fireplace-watching/knitting nook/magazine-reading/dog-begging-to-be-put-up-on-the-sofa/obsessive-iPhone-addiction-abuse/and-even-occasional-conversational space.  I have to admit before I discovered HGTV I would have just called it the living room.  Now, that I am designer savvy, I know that the area is not only a room. It is a space, as in blank canvas, perhaps?
Anyway, my re-arranging the space is not big news.  I do it quite often, actually.  It gives me a new perspective.  You know, sitting in a different area of the space means I can see things from a different angle.
I have been spending a lot of time in that space lately.  I and the space needed a freshening up, so to speak.
Since my Mom passed away, I have not been in the mood to do the "decorating".  By decorating, I mean as in "Christmas tree type" decorating.
For the last three years, I have made the statement that, "This year, I'm not gonna put up the tree.  I just don't feel like it."
But then, something happens. I don't know what, how or why, but I find that I have this compulsion to put up that tree.  Really, it is beyond my control.  One day, some time after I have made the "I'm not gonna do it" statement,  I find myself in the garage, climbing the ladder and getting down the decorations.  Last year I fell off the ladder.  By the way, that hurt.  I got right back up there, though.  Now that's robotic, JT.  (Ref: Graciewildes post "On Being a Robot")
Then, to top it off, my mood changes.  "I'm not in the mood" suddenly changes to "aww, I remember this ornament that the kids gave me."  I hate when that happens!  I want to, so desperately want to, stay in the "I'm not gonna put up the tree" mood.   I do not want to be transformed into a "sitting in the pre-dawn, watching the twinkling lights on that tree" mood.
I put up the tree last year.  I mean, two weeks after Joe passed away, it was Christmas and I had the tree up.  Except for falling off the ladder, I don't remember any of it, really. It truly was a blur.
So, here it is again, two weeks before Christmas and  I'm not gonna put up the tree.  I just don't feel like it. 
Last night was a special night.  We attended a memorial candle lighting service.  With Anne on one side of me and Ross on the other, the grace of Joe's memory became a comforting embrace holding the three of us together.
This morning, with the images of our emotional and poignant evening from last night still fresh and lingering, I have a new perspective.  It's a re-arranging.   I see things now from a different angle.
This is why I may have to do just a little more re-arranging, and empty out that corner. You know the one. It's where I usually put up that tree.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.

Here are the past few entries from Anna's diary:
Wed. December 4, 1929
Home all day.  Left about five to go see Mrs. Naps for a while.  Then stopped to see the C's.  Very glad to see Junior.  Stayed until ten.  Then home.  Jean in school tonight.
Thurs. December 5, 1929
home all day.  Rosalie came after school.  Jean brought home a pumpkin pie.  After supper Rosalie and I went to Mt. Prospect.  Jean here studying.  Junior in bed asleep.
Friday December 6, 1929
Had a lady do some cleaning for me today.  Have a bad cold and don't feel so extra.  Attended the Montessori Card party at Elks.  Had a table, Mrs. Miller, Mullins and Witt.  I won prizes.
Sat. December 7, 1929
Home all day.  Ordered turkey for tomorrow.  Dressed it today and partly cooked it.  Rosalie came over.  Ted came at night.  Both stayed all night.
Sun.  December 8, 1929
Had the girls over for dinner.  Turkey Dinner.  Parents in Brooklyn to see Louis's new daughter. Helen and Ray came over for supper.  Hot turkey sandwiches.  All feeling full of pep and loads of fun. 
Mon. December 9, 1929
Home.  Went to see Dr. Murray this afternoon.  Having sinus trouble and a bad cold.  Junior was examined also. He was fine.  Had a long chat with Mrs. Mullin.
Tues. December 10, 1929
Home all day long.  Cold a little better.  Belleville club me at Helen's house.  Her table looked lovely.  All green and red for Xmas.  Meet here next time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Memory of My Son Joey - This Day, This Fifth December Day

I knew his life before anyone else.  Almost from the first minute, you know?  Those who argue about when life actually begins, should ask a mother who has life inside of her, because we know, almost from the very first minute.  I knew.
Those months, counted in threes, are a most special time, you know.
Before it was evident to anyone else, I would find myself placing my hand on my flat stomach and I could feel the warmth of him.
Before it was evident to anyone else, I felt his life, quiet fluttering butterfly feelings.
When it became evident to the rest, only I could feel his heaviness, one arm under, one on top, soothing him as he turned and kicked.
He came quietly into the world.  Not in the middle of the night, but at a most considerate 2:00 p.m. time of the day and my arms were his first cradle.
The memories of the time of only he and me are vividly clear, while at the same time gently calming.
Then the memories of the days after he wriggled out of my arms and climbed down from my lap are fleeting.   They seem to be hidden from me, only coaxed out by old photos and videos or by hearing stories from others.  I suppose the passing of time and  the stuff of life have cluttered up those spaces in my mind.
I knew him though, I knew him so well.  Because he and I we had a bond, you see, as only a mother and son can.
Today, as I recall that day, that December fifth day of only one short year ago,  I am overwhelmed with painful and sad memories but they are painful only because they are of that day.

This poignant passage from "The Testament of Mary" reveal my feelings so well, on this December day, this fifth day:

“He lifted his head for a moment and his eyes caught mine.” He was the boy I had given birth to and he was more defenseless now than he had been then. And in those days after he was born, when I held him and watched him, my thoughts included the thought that I would have someone now to watch over me when I was dying…I would have cried out as I cried out that day and the cry would have come from a part of me that is the core of me. The rest of me is merely flesh and blood and bone.”

Yes, the core of me is where he lives and I will never say good-bye.

I wrote the following piece once year ago.  This is my Joey.

Who was this mysterious man who was known to us as Joseph, Joe, Joey, Bro, Uncle Joe, or Hon?
From the time he was a little boy, I figured out how to "read" Joe.  I learned what each subtle body movement meant.  His facial expressions were actually quite loud.  Sometimes his eyes alone would tell a whole story.
His teachers would say to me,
"Joseph is a good student, but he is so quiet."
As he got older and moved on to adulthood, I lost touch with little things about Joe. What music he liked, what clothes he chose to wear, what songs he liked to play on his guitar, where he was on the weekend or who he spent his evenings with.
I never lost touch, though, with the silent communication we shared.  His eyes, his smile, or a little shrug of his shoulders, each meant something particularly special to me.
Because he was so quiet, very often Joe would get teased :
"Keep it down, Joe, you're talking so much that none of us can get a word in edgewise."
Joe would turn red, but he would always smile.
It seemed as though some people would be uncomfortable around him. "He doesn't talk much", they would say.
Many of the people in his life knew only small bits and tiny pieces of him.
He is so quiet they would say.
What is he thinking?  How does he feel?
He is so quiet.
Oh yes, we all knew that Joe was a Mets fan.   I know that when everyone in the stands was yelling "Lets Go Mets, Lets Go Mets," Joe was quietly yelling it too. 
His laugh may have been quiet, but his sense of humor was obvious.  I'm sure if you listened closely you would know that inside he was laughing loudly at a silly Conan skit. 
What was there about "Unca" Joe that Bella, Kenny, Ryan and Tyler could hear that perhaps others couldn't?  I'm sure they never said, "but he is so quiet."
I suppose there may have been some little specific things that I didn't know about Joe.
But when I reflect on my son I understand that I knew the most important things about him.   
I knew what a gentle person he was. I understood his off kilter sense of humor.  I knew that he loved little children and puppies and that they loved him.
I knew that he would always go back for seconds when I served my "famous" lasagna. 
I knew that Domani was the light of his life.
I knew that he was a good father.  
I knew that it was meant to be for he and Anne to find each other again.
I knew that he loved his wife. 
I knew that he was strong and that his strength ran deep.
During the last weeks of his life I knew that there were times when he must have been very frightened; but he never gave up the fight.
I knew that he would never willingly leave his family.  
Just few days ago he smiled and said to me "we still have time."
He knew I loved him.   
The last time he "spoke" to me he mouthed the words "I love you." 
Quiet people are sometimes misunderstood.   
Take the time to get to know a quiet person.  
After all you might be lucky enough to discover the treasures of their mind, heart and soul, just like my strong,  lovable, wonderful "quiet" Joe.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Top Best Things About Being Married to Ross

At 3:30 yesterday morning, I asked Ross this question:
"What am I going to do?"
His response was "whaa?" "huh?" "whas a matter?"
Yea, he was sound asleep.
The best thing about being married to Ross is that no matter what he is doing, 99.9% of the time he will immediately stop, or in this case jolt out of a sound sleep, and give me his undivided attention.
Actually tied for the best thing about being married to Ross is that he listens, giving my question or statement thoughtful consideration.  His brow furrows and I can almost hear the wheels turning as he ponders what I have said.  Of course I realize that part of the pondering he does may have to do with stalling for time as he attempts to assess my mood.
Ross and I have been married 11 years.  Early on in our relationship he revealed to me that he has been gifted with "the force".  He reassures me that he only uses "the force" when all other humanly efforts have failed.
By now, I probably should not be surprised that even if I pose a quite cryptic question or make a seemingly ambiguous statement,  99.9% of the time, with perhaps a minimum number of clues or a few follow up questions, he is able to piece my sometimes jig sawed words together to solve the puzzle. But  I am still in awe of how eerily telepathic his responses are.
Actually, topping the tied for two best things about being married to Ross is that he knows when no words are needed, just big, tight, secure, "I got ya", hugs.
Oh, one more thing, a little while into our relationship, Ross revealed his "dancing" name to me.  Sorry but I promised not to tell.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.
Here are the entries from the past two days from Anna's diary:
Mon. December 2, 1929
Went to N.Y. to get coat out of storage with Mary & Rose.  Went to New Paramount. Very stormy out and lots of snow.  Came home about 7:30 and rushed to pick up girls for card party at Elks by Mrs. Albano.
Tues. December 3, 1929
Home all day.  Tired from rushing last night. Slippery and nasty out doors.  Junior had to stay in all day and made him cross.  Baked a lovely cake to amuse him a bit. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Who Is My Ghost Writer?

I wish to mind meander here a little...

I am struggling with grief loneliness.  I understand, believe me I get it, no one can actually feel my pain.  
For instance when I watch a video of someone sky diving, I might suck in breaths of fear, feel tinges of exhilaration and a sense of relief when the parachuter lands safely, but unless I actually jump from the plane, I know that I will have never get the full impact of the experience.  

I can gather together with others who have had losses almost exactly like mine and I may have the ability to empathize with them more than someone who has not suffered such a loss.  But, their tears are agonizingly and privately  their own, just as mine are.

Today, my mind is weary and my limbs seem too heavy to move.  I speak a mute's language of shrugs and sighs. The pain just above my right eye is relentless, and my heart is writhing.  

I imagine being somewhere else.  Strangely, it is not basking in the yellow warmth of a sandy beach, but instead I picture shivering in the white cold of a snowy mountain.

My scattered thoughts lead me to my mother's death bed.  She was unresponsive at that point.  She had not seen my brother for a long time.  She spent her whole life wanting him to be okay.  Although he was not able to be by her side, he called and we placed the phone up to her ear.   He told her he was doing well and that she need not worry about him because he was okay.  It is what she longed to hear.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I went in to check on her.  I stroked her hair and told her that she was a good mother, she was loved by all of us and most importantly, Adam was okay.  
She passed a few hours later.

As I think and write about this, I realize that there is never really an end to life's story.  Our life is not a sit-com TV show or a novel that gets wrapped up tight.   Life is more like a short story, a very short story.

My mother died thinking that her son was going to be okay.  He was not and still isn't.  But we gave her the ending that she would have wanted.

How silly to think that we are the creator's of our own story.  

My story had a predictable beginning, and a relatively uneventful middle. I spent hours developing and nurturing my beloved characters as I helped them grow and evolve.  How foolish of me to think that  I had the plot all figured out and I could end my story with "And they all lived happily every after".

Actually, the epiphany of accepting that my story is being written by a ghost writer is somewhat of a relief.  I can relinquish control to her, for she writes a most suspenseful story which will keep me guessing right up until the...

As I willingly and gratefully share my thoughts, I remember and appreciate those everyday hugs and "I love you's", the hours of almost daily telephone support chats, the continued "thinking of you" notes I receive in the mail, the "just when I need it most, "checking in" and Skype sessions, and of course the supportive comments from my very kind readers.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.

Here are the past few days from Anna's diary:

Friday November 29, 1929
Junior and Vera are invited to Doris C's party in Arlington.  Children had a nice time.  On way home stopped for alcohol in the car.  Very cold out.  Both Vera and Marie came home with me. 
Sat. November 30, 1929
Stayed in bed all morning.  Vera and Marie here with Junior.  Jean home at one.  Got lunch for us.  Mary came over about four and Isabelle and Ted.  All stayed for supper.  Tom did not come.
Sun.  December 1, 1929
Home all day long.  Raining out.  Jean studying. I read a book.  Junior took a long nap.  About six o'clock we took him to Mt. Prospect with us.  Quite good but tired towards the end.