Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Journey Continues, And The Music Starts Again.
When I decided to move from Denver to Grand Junction, the plan was that I would ride Amtrac here to find job and housing, and then make the move out. But like so many things we think we've orchestrated nice and neatly, that's not how it went.

I was so happy about deciding to come here. Some of you may remember my writing about it, the trip out I called "Painting My Wagon". As the train pulled into Grand Junction, anticipation reigned. For a moment or two, I almost broke into song.
but that's another part of this story.

Twenty days later I was mostly unpacked in a new apartment, and about to begin a new nursing job. I wasn't thrilled about having to work twelve hour shifts, but since that's what they do here, would give it my best.

I'm not convinced God really wants people to unfold out of bed at four thirty a.m., but I tried. I really did. Got a second alarm clock, an extra loud one, and set them both, just in case one wouldn't wake me.

Didn't over sleep and be late for work, but the first hours there felt more like sleep walking. Like I said, four thirty a.m. does not sound like a normal time to get out of bed. I kept trying to get used to it, but mostly just longed for days away from work.

Even that bothered me. For almost 25 years I've looked forward to doing my work. I thought I was doing all right with it, at least that's what I told myself. It seemed I fit right in. Most of the other nurses looked sleep deprived, too.

So I kept up the pace, and looked forward to a better work schedule. I did that from part of June, on into September, when something else changed things even more.

Corporate decided nurses would use a computer program, a change from how we've done our paperwork that somewhat resembles what the invention of the printing press did to writing.

It's not that a really good program wouldn't be more effective than the archaic way we've done things. It's the archaic electrical wiring that makes it difficult to find a place to plug the lap tops into. It's many things. Until I decided to give up dealing with all this, only five nurses had left because of it. I am number six.

I will miss my daughter Barb at A Chelsea Morning. I will miss her daughters, and little Cameron, and Chelsea, too. When I go to Barb's that little creature becomes almost ballistic, jumps all over me, then backs off, and looks at me, then jumps some more, making little sounds that, if she could, would come out like words. Even the doggy, if she could, would sing.

But I don't feel like singing right now. Whether I stay, or whether I go, either way brings tears. You've all probably had to make choices about things, too. That's how I was feeling this morning, when something very special happened.

Some may wonder, why is this so difficult. Everybody sometimes faces changes. The worst one in my life was when my son ended his. For me, the music stopped that day. Since then, I hadn't listened to any, until today, when I clicked on A Chelsea Morning, and soft music poured out, a young man singing about not giving up, and how everybody wants to be understood, and loved.

So I thank you, Barb, for starting the music again. After I listened to it, I chose an old CD from a rack, and started it playing. Tomorrow ,I'll play it again. It is time to let the music back in.

  posted at 6:10 PM  
  6 comments


Monday, November 06, 2006
#4. At Home, Somewhere.
The long brown envelopes Mama kept sending me to the mail box for finally arrived, but not before she had to find other ways to feed us. She'd come home from work and dump change out of her pockets. Nickels, dimes, and sometimes quarters. But we still ate a lot of macaroni and cheese. For a long time I thought I'd never eat it again.

One night help seemingly arrived, in the form of a handsome Cherokee Indian. I don't know where Mama found him and his armloads of groceries, but we ate better than we had, in a long, long time.

One day Mama was gone next door. I was somewhere in the house, and the next thing I knew I was on a bed, under the big Indian, and he was pulling my panties off. The only thing that kept him from raping me was the sound of my Mother's footsteps at the door. I can still remember the hot, sour smell of his breath. I was so afraid, but he wouldn't let me go. I tried telling Mom how he held me down. Maybe she didn't understand, but my Aunt did, and she took me home with her. After a while I was back with my Grand Ma again.

Uncle Bill was drafted, and went to Germany to fight. Granny would get letters from him with big sections cut out. When I asked why, she said those parts were censored. When I asked what censored meant, she said Uncle Bill shouldn't write about when he might come home, or where we lived. I couldn't see it hurt to tell anybody we were way off out in the backwoods, a long ways from Houston.

After my father joined the Navy, I seldom saw him. Years later when I did, he talked about being part of the D Day Invasion of Normany, like he had done a great thing.
I understood that we had to win the war, but if he'd stayed home, he could have been my hero. I needed him to be a hero for me.

  posted at 10:37 PM  
  3 comments


Thursday, November 02, 2006
#3. Leaving The Porch And The Daffodils.
I think I mentioned I didn't live with my Mom and Dad all the time. When the following happened, Mom and Dad weren't even together. She and my brothers and sisters and me were staying with my aunt. I was about five years old.

The day started out allright, but I got my head stuck between slats on the back of a chair, and it took some doing to get me loose. Not long after they did, my belly started hurting. Maybe Mom and my aunt thought pulling me out of the chair caused it. Keeping my undies over my belly made it feel worse. I sat or lay around a long time. When Mom realized something was wrong, after that everything went real fast.

An ambulance arrived right up to our door. Men in white uniforms put me on something that had wheels. As they pushed me to the ambulance one of them grabbed a sheet, and threw it over me.

Everything happened so fast I didn't have time to be scared, until the man pulled the sheet up over my face. I remembered a movie or something I'd seen, where overing somebody's head meant they were dead. My belly hurt so bad! Maybe I was dying.

When the driver didn't pull out of the front yard onto a road but just took off, across a big deep ditch, I thought for sure if I closed me eyes, I might not ever open them again. When I did, I was on something else that had wheels, and nurses were bringing me out of an operating room. My belly didn't hurt anymore, except it felt strange when I touched it, and felt all the thick, wide tape.

Years later, when Mom and my Aunt talked about my sudden appendectomy, they'd hold their bellies, from laughing so much when they got to the part about Auntie sobering the doctor up, so he could operate.

A few years later other things changed, faster, and more scarey than the ambulance ride. World War II began. Mom and Dad moved us to Houston where he got a job making ships for the war.

Life was so different. I couldn't visit Grand Pa, and couldn't run and play across big grassy fields. Houses stood close together. Yards seemed so little.

Our house was small, too. I can't remember if we had a builtin bathtub, but I kind of doubt it. My aunt did though. She had moved to Houston, too. The first time I saw her's I thought "Wow", and I soaked in it a long time, until they kept banging on the door. Bathrooms were needed for something besides bathing, I guess, since there weren't any outhouses around.

I don't know why children remember some things, but don't store away others. Psychologists say we're more likely to remember some because of the emotions we had when they happened.

I just know that Mom and Dad and all we kids were in the house. Dad had just come home from work. I can see it like it only just now happened. He kind of rared back in his chair, as he told Mom Mom what happened when he reported for the Draft.

He said the man told him a mistake had been made, that they didn't draft fathers with six children. As he repeated some of the story, he laughed a little. We can't afford allotment pay for your half dozen."

When my Dad was about to say something he wanted you to remember, he had a way of tossing his head back a litle and pausing, to hold your attention, and he did that then, and said: "So I said to the man, can you refuse to let me sign up?" The way he said it to Mom, I knew it wasn't a question.

My father had joined the Navy. The government would send us checks. But I about wore my little legs off, going to the mail box down the road for Mom every day, to see if any arrived. It was a long time before they did.

Strange, how what you're doing pushes thoughts away. Day after day you just get busy with living. I had to get used to going to a new school, and finding friends and a teacher to like me. The daily trip to the mail box kept me busy, too. Before long I seldom thought of Grand Pa's back porch, or the daffodils.

  posted at 9:27 AM  
  6 comments





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Name: Judith

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