Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Keeping Up With Galoshes

August, 1988

Dear MaryJanes,

Apparently your father is a bit jealous of my VW collection as he had gone and purchased a VW camper van for himself. I would think with all of his own hobbies { motorcycles, RC airplanes, scuba diving, sky diving, and partying} he'd leave VW's for me to have something of my own. I find that it irritates me to no end. I want the camper van to be something special for you and I.
A little retreat for us to take little road trips with. Something treasured and independent from anyone else.
I had to scrimp and save for this van and I value it like someone else might value a huge diamond ring. I want to create fun memories for us and be able to take little outing that are affordable to take. He just opened his wallet and bought one without any sacrifice to his budget of play things.
We took ride into Michigan for a camping outing. It was cooler at night by Lake Michigan so being all snuggled into the blankets at night was very comforting. Most of our meals I have been making inside the camper but on a really cool evening we walked up to a lakeside convenience store as this wonderful aroma was drifting in the air from that direction. We discover something new, Pasties. It is a hardy meal in an edible hand held pocket. They make a pie-like crust and fill it with roast, potatoes, carrots and celery. We had never had these before and devour them. It's a complete meal wrapped up in parchment paper. We can walk along the lake edge while we eat our supper. We both get full bellies and head back to the camper to build a campfire. I have packed graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars to make s'mores later in the night. The next day we head for home and need to stop for fuel right away. There at the pumps in a young boy standing next to a cardboard box. On the outside of the box is written, FREE KITTENS. We peek inside to find three little kittens steering up at us. Two of the kittens are meowing and one sits quietly. Inside my mind I repeat, no, no, no. You beg and tell me how you will take care of it. "PLEASE MOM!" "Please, pleeeezzeee, PLEAZZZZE" you repeat. "Ok," is said, followed by every parents rules of, "you are going to have to be the one to feed it, and clean its liter box and make sure it has fresh water." You agree to my terms and conditions as the quite, little white kitten with a gray spot on it's head is picked up from the box and embraced into your welcoming arms. "I love him" you exclaim. He seems to love you too, as all the way home he was content to be quite and ride along in your lap. We stop at the first store to purchase all the needed kitty items and a toy for Keyda so that she does not feel left out. A good idea that you came up with on your own. Your kitty never does meow all the way home and we later discover that he is deaf. I have learned that a high percentage of white male cats are in fact deaf. This doesn't seem to effect him as he is curious as ever and is sweet as can be. I am not much of a cat lover, but he is a sweetie.

I have been trying to show you things about nature but you seem to shy away from anything that jumps or creeps and crawls. You surely have no interest in frog and toads, even as I hold them and ask you, "isn't he so cute?" "NO!!" you demand. How can such an out-of-doors woman have created such a fancy city girl? It is a rare treat for me to take you fishing and have you actually like the idea, as long as you don't have to touch anything but the pole.

The one thing that you and I enjoy together is creating. We can work on craft projects for hours at end. When I am working, I make up art classes and projects for you and the other kids. Each day we do something new. You tend to like drawing and are actually very good for your age. You sign each master piece with your name and we talk about how it turned out. You love the bright, vivid colors, of coarse you do, they suit your personality. I adore the warm tones though my favorite would be yellow as it makes me feel happy and silly. I will save a few of your projects so that some day we can open up the box and talk about the past. It is hard not to save all of the art projects, so I pick out our favorites. If I were to guess what your future holds, it would be that you will be an artist. Time will tell.

Now paint a pretty picture.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Keyda, the best dog ever

 Card made by MaryJanes 1988 (age 5)

Dear Galoshes,
I love the VW bus. It's not only a fun time camping but I hang out in the bus in the driveway. It smells of corned beef hash, which I love, from our most recent camping trip over the Easter holiday. The Easter bunny brought me a purple bikini with pink ruffles, it will be my favorite swim suit of all time. I don't know how the Easter bunny knew where we were camping, but you say that he knows where we are all the time and you were right.

Keyda is my favorite dog so far. She and I are inseparable, she is my protector of all things. Although she will not stop chasing the barn cats. I have taken a liking to one particular little white kitten. She sits in the VW bus with me and we pretend we are camping. It's a fun hideout. We could travel the world just the two of us in this bus.
 MaryJanes and Keyda on trip in VW bus to Lake Michigan 1988

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

VW Bus

June, 1988

Dear MaryJanes,

I bought a vintage VW camper van with a Westfalia camping interior. So now we can go camping in something other than a tent. The inside has a stove, sink, refrigerator, cupboards, and a couch with a table that folds down to make a bed. The top of the camper pops up so an adult can stand up inside. It is like a compact, little house. I love that when I am driving, you can sit in the back and color will looking out to a wonderful view. I love driving it and I am looking forward to all of the little trips that you can I will take in it. We added a German Shepard, "Keyda" to our family and she sits in the back with you as we travel around. It's nice to have a dog again, as well as the security that she adds to our road trips. I am attaching a snap shot to this letter of us on a trip into Canada.

Now Buckle Up!


MaryJanes and Galoshes 1988

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why Are You .....

 Image by Sixth and Main

January, 1988

Dear MaryJanes,

When I was growing up we took vacations within the states and it always involved camping. I suppose the most memorable would be driving up the Smokey Mountains with the camping trailer in tow. I can't remember for certain, but I am quite sure all five of us in the family were feeling sick from the steep, narrow, winding road with the instant death cliffs at the bottom. There was no turning around or pulling over to the side of the road to let a fellow driver by, you go forward without hesitation. I wonder what my father felt as he was driving up that mountain as he held our lives in his hands. He didn't much care for the three of us kids, well, ok, the two of us girls. My brother was the shinning star in our family. I have a twisted range of emotions when it comes to my brother. I adore him, he is a really nice person. I love him, he is gentle, strong as well as sincere. I envy him. He is popular, athletic, handsome and the favorite in the family due to being the only boy. To my father, my sister and I are freaks of nature merely because we were born female. So did the thought of taking a corner too sharp ever enter his mind? My sister and I were sitting on the deadly curve side. I have warped thoughts like this now and then. An active imagination that plays like a outdoor big screen movie. If only I had an off button!
Our family trips started out in a big, green, canvas army tent and then graduated to campers. In the summer and fall we went camping at Indian Trails Campground where at age 13 years, my sister met her husband, Roy He was one of the campground owner's sons. She and he started their love affair the same year that she entered her teen years. They would continue dating , get married and have two beautiful children. My father despised him through out their dating years. He would say, "He is a long haired hippie, drug using looser." My sister continued to steadily date him despite the contest of our father. She was always stronger than me in that regard. She knew who she was and stood her ground. She didn't continually question herself as I had done and still do. She is centered and secure in her actions. I wish I were more like that. I question and rehash each of my actions like it is a life or death matter. She reasons things before she acts. I act before reason. I suppose this comes from my dad's favorite sayings to me, "Are You STUPID?!!" "Why are YOU so STUPID?!!" "How could YOU be So Stupid?" Those words were spoken more like a observation, rather than a question. These are words that echo through my head daily. I suppose when you are told things on a weekly basis you tend to start believing they are true.

So on a summer day, when my nerves are at end and you break a little, vintage dog statue, I start to say those words to you, "Are You..........." I stop. Thank God, I stop. But none the less I nearly said those words to you. How could I do that? I bend down, pick up the broken pieces, collect myself and then tell you that it is Ok and it was just an accident. I hug you and assure you that I understand. Your eyes show me that I have let you down as they tear up. I can not think of a worse feeling than what I was feeling in my gut. You are always so good and polite. You listen to me and follow direction and do your very best to be good. How could I stoop to that level of ignorance?
Sometimes I believe that certain things happen for a reason, unexplained circumstances. You and I get in the car and go to the bookstore. For a non reader, I adore the bookstore as well as books. My mother is an avid reader, and I myself have completed one book, cover to cover, The Little Black Pony Races. Even in school when assigned a book to read, I merely used my imagination to do the book reports as I never read them. So it should be considered odd that I adore books, especially old books. I can gaze for hours in a book store. I find the children section and we gather up a few books. You are content to sit and look through them, and have a fondness for Pat The Bunny. It is a sweet, little, chubby, pale pink book with a fuzzy, white bunny on the cover. You know all of the words on the pages from memory.
I had found a book while we gotten you situated and I sat beside you. "Women Who Love Too Much" {when you keep wishing and hoping he'll change} was the title that caught my eye. As I read through the cover write up, I notice that they are talking about me.
Loving turns into loving too much when our partner is inappropriate uncaring or unavailable and yet we can not give him up - in fact we want him and we need him even more. We will come to understand how our wanting to love. our yearning for love, our loving itself becomes an addiction.

I make three book purchases that day, the one in my hands and two for you. That night I sat in bed and read each page and high lighted what spots pertained to me. The book pages were turning yellow.

The following day I bought a Sunday paper, I could not believe my eyes, an ad for a group meeting with a counselor for women who love too much. I am convinced that things happen for a reason. Monday I call regarding the ad and get myself enrolled in the group. After the first session, I set up a private appointment with the counselor. I feel lucky that she has evening appointments available. I had a little stash of money set aside for emergencies, not much, but enough for the meetings and my one time private session. I feel that I have the emergency need to justify the spending of my fund. I sit in her office as she asks me why I am there. I explain, "When I was growing up, I was continually asked why I was so stupid." " Last week when my daughter was playing, she broke an object and the words, Why are you...... came out." "I do not want to be the parent my father was." And then the tear streamed down. She asked me a few questions about my life, my father and my own values. She then assured me that I was nothing like my father."In fact," she said, " you are a wonderful mother and I see no signs that you will ever be like him." I needed to hear those words. She then inquired, "have you ever suffered from an eating disorder?" WHAT??? ME??? I lie and reply quietly, "no" She tells me that this is unusual, that nearly all girls that have been through what I have been through, do. I once again lie, "No, I have never had an eating disorder" She tells me that she has a feeling that I am hiding the truth. I stick to my dishonest word, no. Why did I lie? I was there for help.
I walk away from my sole appointment knowing that if I had the money, I would have liked to have gone again. I liked her and she was a no nonsense kind, and could see through my deception. I continue with the group meetings until my emergency funds are depleted {four sessions.} I know that I will NEVER use the words, why are you so stupid, ever. Those words were for my father to use to make himself feel superior. How much did it actually take for him to feel superior to a child? It would cost years of memories on behalf of my sister and I. This is a bond that she and I share and that no one else will ever fully understand. I do not want to raise you thinking I am superior to you, I want you to be better than me, better at everything that I am.

Now go out there and conquer the world!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Keeping Busy

July 1987

Dear MaryJanes,

If I were with the right man right now, I would have given you a sibling. I have forgotten about the pain of child birth and have had the desire to have another baby. Your father would have no part of this notion, and I know in my heart that this would not be either wise or financially feasible. So for now, you will remain an only child. I once again have had my limit your father's wild ways and lack of responsibility. He and I are separating once again and I have no idea of the outcome. But for right now, you and I will move on and take a break from your father's drinking and lack of participation in our family.
My parent's house has been divided into two separate living quarters and we have made the smaller portion our home. It's nice to have a 2 bedroom place with affordable rent, as it makes for more comfortable living. There is a little girl a couple of years older than you that lives near by and the two of you play together. She comes to our house often and I get the impression that her home life is less than desirable. When she is over playing, she invites herself to stay for meals and quite often asks if she can spend the night. I worry about her and why she has a preference to spending so much time with us rather than with her own mother.
Image by Alicia Bock

I am now a nanny for another family that is about to go through a divorce. I was unaware of this situation when I was hired. The husband is an accountant and lawyer an she is a middle school principle. They have two little girls and you enjoy going to play with them every day. I am on a salary and making better money than with the previous family, though there is more stress and still long hours. Both girls are enrolled in about every activity under the sun and so they never seem to have time just to be children at play. We shuffle from the father's house one day to the mothers the following, some times not knowing which home the children will be having supper at. An added job duty is preparation of supper for each family. The father likes big roasts, potatoes, vegetables, bread followed by dessert. The mother on the other hand, has told me that she is happy with anything. As a result, when I am over at the fathers house, a lot of preparing for the last meal of the day takes place. This changes when we are at the mothers house, a big tossed salad and french bread suits her just fine.
The youngest daughter, Lizzie is now enrolled in gymnastics and when we went the first time it broke my heart to have to watch you sit on long the side lines and observe. You beg to go play, and I don't blame you. I find a pay phone and call your father to see if he might contribute towards your enrollment. I do my best to express your desires, but it falls onto deaf ears. He has no interest in such a contribution. I will not let this detour me, as I get out my check book and enroll you in the following classes. I feel like a toddler as I tell him, "I can do it myself!" You will not sit in the side lines next class.
Image by Bonnie Jones

The other day we went to K-Mart and I bought you a Snoopy fishing pole. Sometimes after work we drive to a near by pond and I show you how to fish. I get the impression that you don't much care for the worms and you really don't get the whole concept of sitting in the grass and throwing a line into the water. The Snoopy bobber would be so much better to dress up in a cute outfit rather than watching him float in dirty pond water.

Now play nice.


A Bit Of Hippy In Me

May, 1987

Dear MaryJanes,

Today you and I took a car ride and out of the corner of my eye was a something so exhilarating that I had to make a U-turn. There in a farm yard was a 1973 VW Type One Volkswagen in pale, baby blue and soft, ivory white. I must have it, I WILL have it! I pull into the drive way and get out for a closer view. It is perfect and I will own this VW no matter what. A man walks out as I am giving it my inspection. He is pleasant and I do my best not to seem over zealous. He had just completely redone this charmer inside and out. The custom two tone paint colors were chosen for his wife. Upon completion of this little heart throb he unveils it for his wife, whom, to my advantage was too large of a lady to fit into the drivers seat. So the end result for him was to park the years worth of labor in his front yard so that I would drive along and fall in love. Mission accomplished and VW sold. This will be my good weather transportation and I will continue to drive my Honda in the winter months.
An advantage to being the nanny for a family where the husband is a bank president is obtaining LOANS!!!! I am now the thrilled, beyond words owner of this funky piece of moving art. Everything about my personality says, "VOLKSWAGEN!" I wonder what type of car will suit your personality when you become and adult...?
Today was a perfect day and you look so adorable in the back seat of this classic little car.

Now, buckle up.

Love, Galoshes

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Drive Fast, Take Chances

 Image by ISPhotography

Dear Galoshes,
"Drive Fast, Take Chances" A quote I remember being used regularly by my father. The man who claims to be invincible turns out to be just that.  And motorcycle racing, not the last of his wild, dangerous, expensive hobbies.  I will be taught to "drive hard" and luckily it's in my blood to be a skilled driver.   I certainly don't have his fearless mentality.  I often let off the gas just before any chances are taken.  At least for now everyone is still on the ground! Wait until he takes it to the sky.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Others See

July, 1985

Dear MaryJanes,

I wonder if I will become a widow before you graduate from school? Your father does everything in his power to pursue this equation. Motorcycle racing was his latest roll of the dice. {at least he had to have a sobriety test in order to compete.} He has practiced for this event for several years, both sober and under the influence of a his favorite beverage, anything with alcohol. I do my best to keep him off the roads when he has drank, the problem being that he leaves the house sober with the promise of calling for a ride home, in the event that he has drank too much. Trouble is, he feels he has never drank enough. He had a back roads motorcycle racing buddy that had a promising future. A successful business called A.J. Sweets which was his actual name, would be handed over to him by his father, when he got his life together. The truce between your father and him was "one of us is going to get killed on a motorcycle." Neither of these two have much regard for caution or limits to what speed they will obtain around a blind corner. They pushed each other to exceed any limit. I suppose that when A.J. met his fate on a back, country road, which resulted in him being brain dead, paralyzed, your father felt he had picked the longer straw. He was now invincible, and nothing was going to scare him.

A friend of his, Carl has his own business and has agreed to be his racing sponsor. Carl will also enter himself and his bike in a few runs. Full racing leathers are custom made, I don't even know the price tag on that. My best guess is that we could buy healthy groceries for the three of us for a full year for the same cost. Custom letters are designed onto the leathers to display his friends sponsorship. That word is actually deceiving, sponsorship, it sounds like a free ticket doesn't it!? The cost of the leather letters was his contribution, basic advertising sewn into the full bodied, two toned blue and vintage white racing leathers.
Adjustments were made to your father's motorcycle in order to comply with racing regulations. What ever needed to be 'tweaked" to make it run faster, was done.
I can't deny that your father could possibly become a well know motorcyclist some day. He has the talent, the guts, along with the aerodynamic, streamline Norwegian nose but he lacks in self discipline. And so when your father and Carl end up in a race together, something took place that I am uncertain about. I do know that his friend yells and accuses your father of cutting him off in a corner. I did not see the incident, so I can not say for certain what took place. This did shake your father up though, the thought that his older, wiser friend and sponsor was questioning his judgment.
I don't know if that event aided to the crash that your father took in the following race or if it was simply the oil spill on the track that caused 3 cycles ahead of him to crash as well. I watched those bikes hit that oil and I knew your father was nearing the same corner. Your grandfather witnessed this as well and we both did our best to wave him down, but his sights were on winning not on the spectators.

That crash seemed to make him slide forever. The bike was totaled, now reduced to scrap metal. The custom racing leathers now torn and ripped, though they did do their part of holding most of him together. Road rash is nasty and takes a long time to heal, a life lesson I will now learn.

As soon as I see that he is alive and walking, my anger grows for his friend. With a few suggested words from your father, I convince myself that his friend was the cause of the crash. By upsetting him right before a race, it altered his judgment. I head to Carl's trailer where he and his wife are standing. I state my case that I am furious with him for upsetting your father right before a race. His wife pipes in, "I don't know why you even care, he doesn't love you anyway!" I slap her hard right a crossed the face.

There it was, he doesn't love you anyway. I should have listened to those words more carefully rather than acting out of insult. Some times other people can see things about your life that we ourselves can not or will not see. This would be one of those such occasions.
So when you are grown and you see those pictures of a mangled motorcycle, you will know the story behind them.

Now stay on course.
Love, Galoshes

Childhood memories

Image by Ivy's World

Dear Galoshes,
Most all of my childhood memories will be of visiting with Grandma and Grandpa Johnson. I very much enjoy the time I am able to spend at their house. I am very attached to the little tins and what-nots Grandma has for me to bake with. We make lots of delicious cookies and pies, cut fresh rhubarb from her garden then eat it raw dipped in sugar. I put on her favorite music just so she will dance around the kitchen to me, it's quite amusing and makes me feel good to see her dance in her apron and socks.

Every day when I wake up from spending the night at her house I hear the sounds of Grandpa whistling and the smell of toast and English muffins in the toaster. It is quite different from waking up at home. At home I listen for my father to leave for the day before I get out of my bed, I dread the weekends as it means he will be around regardless of how long I stay in the safety of my bedroom. At the Johnson's I'm quick to jump out of bed and give grandpa a hug and smile. He is always so happy to see me and grandma offers me a choice of breads from the toaster with my favorite home made jams or cinnamon sugar. What I would give to have one of those mornings back again.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Image By: warmwhispers

April, 1985

Dear MaryJanes,

I turn 22 years old this month and wonder what I will ever become when I "grow up." I worry about this often as I have no plan. My mom had wanted me to go to beauty school, but the thought of wrapping little, old lady's hair up in perm rollers just didn't sound like a suitable career for me. I worry that I will never have a plan beyond being a nanny. I know that for me, being with you full time, up until kindergarten is what I feel I need to do. I don't have the option of being a homemaker and stay at home mom. I have to earn an income and pay my portion. Your father and I continue to separate our money and I continue to cover your expenses.

Your father and I actually have some fun times together. We go to visit with his folks and his mother and I talk about all of the "what ifs" in life. She became pregnant with their oldest when she was unwed as well, though she was only seventeen at the time. I suppose that for this reason she was so adamant with your father that he was to marry me when you were conceived. She tells me her secrets of how she felt when she became pregnant. She explains that she was so upset with your grandfather that he had put her in that condition. We talk about what our lives would be if we each had not become unwed mothers. I explain to her that I love being a mother, and would not change that for one second. I only wish that her son would be the kind of man that her husband was. She confides me that she feels sheltered and over protected. She shares with me that my father-in-law does not like her to venture out without him. He worries for her safety. I envy her position, if only her son would show some sign of leadership in his role as a father and husband. She and I can sit for hours and talk about life and what we dream about. I enjoy her friendship and consider her to be a very good friend and confidante.
While the two of us chat, your father and his dad wander outside and talk about the things that matter to them. Your father looks up to your grandfather and they share many interests. He is a perfect role model for your father, if only he would follow the lead.

Your grandmother has a little brown cupboard that she hides treasures in for you to discover each time we come for a visit. We call it the three bears cupboard. It is child size and has cute, little doors and drawers. It is filled with miniature baking supplies and you love to use it to pretend baking. Their house is warm and inviting and the aroma of homemade bread lingers in the air. It's enjoyable to be there and I find that your father and I act like an actual married couple while we visit with them. You love being there and your grandparents love you so much.

Their house is decorated with many antiques. Beautiful, simply artwork hangs from each wall. I am drawn to one framed picture in particular. It is a young woman wearing peasant clothing with two large baskets of fresh flowers draped over her shoulders then dangling down from a shoulder rack. She appears to be on a upper class walk way, at the door steps of a lavish house. I take her to be selling her flowers door to door in a neighborhood in which she does not reside. The gaze on her face gives me the impression she feels less than average in her less than average clothing among those beautiful homes. I suppose those women that answer her knock are dressed in gorgeous gowns and purchase fresh flowers daily to adorn their crystal vases that are displayed under the glow of fantastic crystal chandeliers. I can relate to the woman in the picture. I am drawn to her like she is a reflection of myself. The difference between us is that I do not dream of a lavish life style, but merely a warm and loving home in which to raise you.

Now enjoy yourself.

Love, Galoshes

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Recordings of the past

Dear Galoshes,
One of my favorite things are those tapes of the two of us chattering.  Although I do not wear dresses much I'm sorry to say the girly girl thing is NOT a phase.  I will never enjoy getting dirty, hiking, or nature much.  I love to look at nature, but don't care much to be a PART of it.  I LOVE to read.  I must get that from your mother, although I do enjoy your made up stories. I will always be quite serious as well. We are pretty different in almost every way, yet we will always be the best of friends (even when you start telling me how to raise my kids, which will prove to be the test of our relationship).  The art however does stick and I will always enjoy creating things, this we will always have in common. 


Friday, August 6, 2010

Pretty Little Dresses

December 1984,

Dear MaryJanes,

I find myself wondering who came up with the saying of "terrible twos"? You will be turning two years old next month and I am enjoying this age so much! You love to color and draw and we spend allot of time doing crafts. Your father's parents read to you, and this is a good thing as I am not a reader. I love to make up stories in place of the actual words. Let's hope you don't end up with a reading disorder from my imaginary stories. You sit very still and pay close attention to the details of each story. We point to the pictures and with my fingers I swirl around the pages to show you the dramatics of the adventure that I have conjured up in my head. If my finger stops for too long, you are sure to take hold of it and guide it along the page. You love to get all cozy with a blanket and pillows all arranges up around you. I prop you up inside a collection of them and get you all snug, like a hibernating bear. You are more on the serious side, though
when you giggle and smile, a cute little dimple appears on your check. Your hair is getting long and is the color of sunshine. You could not be any cuter.

When you and I are at home, I set up the tape recorder and let it record your chatter. Some times when I ask you a question, your voice is so cute that I ask it again just to be sure the recorder picks it up.
A funny thing about life, my mom would have loved for me to be a girlie girl and dress up in pretty, frilly dresses and shiny shoes. I would have no part of that. I wanted blue jeans, raggy shirts and bare feet. I remember school shopping with her every year, she would take me to the clothes department and I hated it. My clothes were fine and I didn't need new ones. A pair of new jeans and a couple of T-shirts would due. Then there is you, the girlie girl. I try to put you in blue jeans and you want the dress. You are the child my mom wanted. Maybe this is a phase and you will learn to love Oshkosh Bi Gosh Blue jean bib overalls some day? Maybe...

Now Listen Closely.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spending Time Waiting

September, 1984

Dear MaryJanes,

You continue to make me smile with your sweet little ways. There is something about the softness of your baby legs that makes me squeeze them and say, "I am going to get your chunk-o- legs" You giggle with anticipation.
I have taken you to spend a few hours here and there with your father. He usually asks me to stay around or go somewhere with the two of you. I usually end up doing so, with hopes of having "family time" and it does not occur to me that this just makes it easier for him to watch you. He tells me that he has to drive by my apartment every day to and from work and it has become very dangerous. He explains that he tries to look over into the parking lot to see if my car is there and what type of car might be parked near it. He tells me that he has almost gotten into a few accidents doing this, I think to myself, {well...then don't do that!} He seems to be jealous of the unknown events that might or might not be happening in my life. This gives me a sense of accomplishment. Is he learning?
On a Wednesday in the middle of the month I had a date set up with a guy I had met while out with my friend. Our plans were simple, he was coming over for a visit, and to have dinner. I spend allot of time getting ready and have everything set for dinner. He should arrive about 11:30am. He should.....but he doesn't. For the first time in my life, I am being stood up. I put you down for a nap, and I lay down on my bed and drift off.

A knock on the door wakes me up after about an hour. I look out the peek hole and see blond hair, he finally made it, I assume. I open the door and say, "Where have you been?" But to my surprise it's your father. He sees that I am "dolled up" as he refers to my hair blown dry and make up on. I see his face turn to serious and maybe even a little surreal. He asks if I was expecting someone and then begins to snoop around. He goes as far as to even open the refrigerator and see the large steak I have ready to prepare. He says, " I can't take this anymore, I miss you and I can't stand thinking about other guys dating you." Has he had an epiphany? Or is it that autumn is in the air and is to be followed by winter. Summer is winding down and motor cycle season is dwindling away.

It's interesting that later, I learn that your father actually met the guy that stood me up. How small is this world? I had met him on a Saturday night, and I had saw your father the next day and told him I had been on a date, I even told him the guy's name when he asked. Later on Wednesday he tells me that he actually met the guy on Monday at a motorcycle shop he was at. Turns out they both went to the same cycle shop, on the same day and struck up a conversation. And then my name became the topic. So, I ask myself, was I stood up or was it an intervention? I guess I will never know.

Your father is handsome and charming and I tend to forgive him too easily. I so want this family to be together and to make a happy home. I can work hard enough at it to make it happen. I just need a few crumbs thrown my way now and then. When he and I go out and have a good time, I am on a high. His gift of gab with people amuses me and I enjoy the new adventures that he brings into my life. I am a junkie for those times, always waiting for the next "fix."

So here we go again, we will give this union, called marriage another try. He makes many promises and I believe he is sincere, time will tell. Keep in mind that I am young and trusting.

Now Give It Time.

Love, Galoshes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In Plain View

Image by alice b gardens

July, 1984

Dear MaryJanes,

I will write this down on this white sheet of paper but I will not talk to you about this until you are a woman yourself. But then again I may never tell you. I have never shared this information with anyone. As it turns out, I won't until I am in my 40's. If I don't share it, maybe it was not real.

{I was raped.}

There, I wrote it. But I still don't except it. Maybe if I write it again......?

{ I was raped.}

A new family had moved into the neighborhood when I was a young girl. I know that I was young enough that I had not gotten my periods yet. Though, I was old enough to babysit my younger cousin. She was about 4 years old at the time, so that would make me between 11 and 12. The new family had a very cute boy named Dave, he was a bit older than me, by about 3 or 4 years, and I developed an instant crush on him. His little sister, Linda was the same age as me and we started a friendship, mostly I just used our friendship to get closer to Dave. She and I had little in common, she was a city girl, and I a country girl. The other girls my age had not developed as soon as I did, and boys tended to notice this. Dave was not to be excluded from this club of boys. A group of the neighborhood girls were all hanging out together on a day that I was watching my little cousin. A game of kick ball started up and Dave joined in. There was only one other boy, Richie, playing along with us. He was a couple of years younger than me, though big for his age. I won't go into all of the details beyond me accidentally kicking the ball and it hitting Dave. This made him mad, and you could see it in his eyes. Everyone could see it. He ran and tackled me onto the ground and summoned Richie. I could sense that something was very wrong and yelled to my friends, "Get "little cousin" out of here." "Don't tell My dad!" I have often wondered why I said that. I know that I wanted them to get my little cousin away from view, but why did I not ask a couple of them to stay? Why did they all run? And why the hell did I direct them not to tell me dad? I feared my father, and Dave was my "friend." Was I protecting Dave? I think that I feared that anything that Dave did, could not compare to the wrath of my own father. Everything would get twisted around, and he would conclude that I must have done something to provoke the events that were to follow. Dave was going to do something to me, I was certain of that, but
what, I didn't know. He had Richie pin my arms down as Dave sat on top of me. My shirt was lifted to expose that I was developing breasts. He gave Richie a quick lesson in a girl's upper anatomy. We are in the front yard of a neighbor that might or might not be home. We are on the side of the country road and in plain view of the neighbors a crossed the road. We are kiddy corner from Dave's own house. It's right in that spot that I learn that Dave is not a nice boy and not to be worthy of my crush.
I don't talk about this to anyone, not even the girls that ran, my best friends. I don't tell my sister, my brother or my mom. I just bury it for years and years. I didn't really understand the whole thing before, during or after it happened. No one talked to me about such things. I do not remember walking home, seeing my cousin again that day, or her going home. Years later she questions me about that day as she remembers bits of it.

Image by karcharz

And so when you are a bit older, and you wonder why I ask you questions like, "where are you going?" "who will be there?" or "what is he like?" you will know why. You will also understand why, when you asked me questions about life, I gave you honest and direct answers so that you would be informed. Then someday when you have read this letter, you will know that it was to protect you and to keep the lines of communication open between us. Because I never want you to write the words.....

{I was rapped.}

Now, better understand me.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Alternate Ending

Dear Galoshes,
Reading this now I vaguely recall this gesture of raising a pinky as a sign of love. Funny to know now where it came from. My memory of it had to be from you and my father. How I wish that it could have been Bill instead. I remember many times asking about your past loves, before dad, and being told of Bill and how smitten he was with you. But I was never told that you had given it another shot after I had joined your life. Obviously, I was too young to create memories of him myself. I wish he had worked out for you. I wish you could have felt for him what he did for you. I wish you could have had some stability and support in your life. Maybe I could have avoided my daddy issues and had a normal healthy relationship with an adult male had he been in our lives.

I think it strange that you could not bring yourself to find happiness with him, a man who loved and cared for you, yet you tried so hard to find happiness with my father who was selfish and hurtful. I find in life that I am rarely lead by my heart and always make decisions with my mind. Perhaps this is why.

Maybe it's a coping mechanism, maybe I'm delusional, but although I can recall what my childhood was actually like, the yelling and drinking by my father, I believe I had a good childhood. You see, you were MY stability and support in life. You were my constant, and although you didn't always provide a consistent environment, your love and devotion to me was rock solid. Maybe Bill could have done the same thing for you. Though if he had, we would not be the same people we are today and our story as we know it would cease to be.