To all friends and followers

I thought I was replying to all of your comments, but I think I might be wrong.  When you write me at “gmail” I answer but I don’t think you’re getting my replies.  In order for me to respond to each and every one of you who has taken the time out to send me a comment I am asking you to comment on the blog site and not to “gmail.”  I only noticed yesterday that my “reply” is going to a “do not reply to this address” and so I wouldn’t want any of you to think I don’t value your remarks and I would love the opportunity to respond to each and every one of you.  If  you haven’t heard back from me yet, please forgive me as I have written to each person but maybe  you haven’t received my replies.

I look forward to responding to your comments from the blog where I can better monitor them and reply and know you received it.

Thank you all.

Patricia

My First Kiss

I used to live in a 6-floor apartment building in New York City.  I was about 11 or 12 years old and had never been kissed.  Actually, it hadn’t really  occurred to me that this was something I was supposed to look forward to.

I spent most of my days then going to school, coming home, going out to play with  my friends, and then coming in to eat dinner and do my homework.

Kiss?  It never crossed my mind.  Now, back in those days, apartment buildings had two different wings.  I lived in one side and this boy I knew, Clark lived in the other side.  We were really good friends and as friends do, we liked to talk to each other once we were home.

But telephone calls were expensive back then and I certainly wouldn’t dream of my mother catching me on the phone, in general, and certainly not with a boy at my tender age.  So, we developed a secret code for communication.

Again, apartment buildings had what we called (and they may still be called this) housephones.  Everyone’s apartment had a housephone connected to it and downstairs in the lobby was a great big switchboard which was this huge metal plate with as many buzzer buttons as there were apartments.  People would come into the lobby, buzz an apartment and speak to its occupant to be allowed to go in.

So, Clark and I figured out that if we both picked up the housephone at the same time we could talk to each other for free just like being on a real phone.  If someone came into the lobby, we just stopped talking until they were through talking and then resumed our conversation.  It was a blast.  And, we thought we were just so smart.

One day, while we were talking, Clark asked me the strangest question:  “Have you ever kissed anyone?”

Of course, I said “No.”  I then told him I didn’t even know how to kiss anyone.

He laughed.  Then he asked me if wanted to learn.  I wasn’t really sure, but I said “Yes.”

Now again in our building, on both sides, there were elevators and stairs all the way up to the roof, but I lived on the top floor, the sixth floor.  Clark agreed to meet me outside of my apartment in the sixth floor stairwell.  I was so nervous.

A kiss.  My first.  What would it mean?  How would I feel afterward?  So many thoughts ran through my mind.  And then, it was time.

Clark was already there when I snuck out of the house to meet him.  He was sitting on the top stair of the landing.  He motioned for me to sit down beside him.  I’m not sure but I think I might have been shaking.

I sat down next to him and he told me to close my eyes.  And then…he kissed me ever so gently and ever so quickly on my waiting lips.

My first kiss.

 

Copyright 2012

What Morning Brings

I know what the

Morning brings to me-

It brings the radiance

Of the sun

Even when the clouds

Try to weave their fingers together

To block it out.

I still feel the gentle gliding

Of Gaia’s hands

Moving in and out

Of each tree’s leaves

And between the artists’ palette

Still life of flowers and fruit.

I know what the morning

Brings to me – but –

What does it bring to you?

Sticks & Stones -or- Did My Mother Really Love Me

Most people have fond memories of a good, maybe great childhood.  Holidays spent together with family, vacations to God knows where, just happy, happy, happy.  My childhood was quite a bit different.

They say “sticks & stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”  If you haven’t realized it before, the words are just as bad as the sticks and stones.  But what’s really destructive is when you’re the victim of both.

One of my earliest memories is of me angering my mother so badly that she waited until I was sound asleep, then crept into my room and threw ice cold water over me while I lay sleeping.

I was a child who was (and still am actually) very attached to my collection of stuffed animals.  I even remember going to Alexander’s department store and buying a stuffed animal, a blue bunny, just because his head was sewn on backwards.  I called him “backwards bunny,” and I still have him.  I was a loving child.

But, one day, I made my mother mad and she threw a bunch of my favorite stuffed animals down the incinerator shaft.  I thought I would die of sadness.  She had killed some of my best friends.

Then there were the words that aren’t supposed to hurt, but which, in all actuality, cut like a knife.  There were too many and they were too cruel to mention all of them here, but I’m sure you can use your imagination of the verbal torture a parent can bestow upon a child.

But, as in all abusive relationships, there was the love.  My mother had pet names for me and bought me nice things and toys and presents and yet, I don’t ever remember her telling me she loved me, even though I told it to her often.  I used to buy her small presents all the time with the pittance of an allowance I got (25 cents a week) and I always wrote on cards and letters how much I loved her.  And, I still do.  I forgive her everything even though time and time again  she broke my heart.

Two days before my mother died, I sent her flowers for her birthday.  When I arrived at her house after she had died, the flowers were still in the box, dried up and dead, just like her.

When I think of my mother today, I cry, and I still wonder if she ever did really love me.

 

Copyright 2012

Marlene

I’ll never forget the day I met my best friend Caroline. We’ve been friends for a long time now, but it wasn’t easy to get her to like me, not at first anyway.

Outside the snow was falling gently and it was bitterly cold. First I heard the tinkle of the little bell above the door as it opened slowly. I watched the two of them rush in and shake off the cold. The mother was first, holding her daughter’s hand in her own white-gloved one. She was a beautiful woman and wore a scarlet hat with a peek-a-boo black veil down to her nose. Behind the mysterious veil two big blue eyes looked all around, searching for something. The daughter was very pretty, like her mother. She wore a beautiful cream-colored hat which tied beneath her chin in a bow of matching satin ribbon. Her eyes were blue too and her cheeks were all red like apples after being in the frosty air. But she didn’t smile like her mother, she didn’t smile at all.

“Caroline, do you see anything you like?”

“No, mother,” she answered dutifully, “not really, but I’ll keep looking if you don’t mind.”

“How polite,” I said to myself and thought about the boring day I’d been having until they showed up. I’d been hoping to find a new friend today. This little girl looked like she could use a friend. I marched right up to her and extended my right hand.

“Hi, my name is Marlene,” I said.

She tilted her head to the left and then to the right. Her long blonde ringlets bouncing back and forth. I wondered if she heard me. I repeated myself.

“Hi, my name is Marlene, what’s yours?”

“My name is Caroline.”

“Do you want to play?” I asked.

“No, not really. I’m looking for a present. It’s my birthday.”

“Happy birthday to you,” I began to sing.

“Stop, you’re embarrassing me,” she cried.

I stopped right away. I had heard that word before and knew its meaning well. Her mother was now coming in our direction.

“Oh Caroline, how sweet. Is this going to be your new friend?” She bent down and picked me up.  I felt that if I was as polite as her daughter, maybe I could find that new friend today.

“Hi, my name is Marlene,” I smiled and blinked my eyes.

“You’re adorable,” she gushed all over me. I expected her to plant a big kiss on me with her Chinese red lips. Thank goodness she didn’t. I would have died.

“Caroline,” it’s getting late, “would you like to invite Marlene home for your birthday party tonight?”

“I guess so,” the birthday girl replied sullenly. I could see I would have to really work at this friendship.

We left, Caroline holding me by the hand, half pulling, half dragging me. I was having a lot of trouble keeping up, no matter how hard I tried.

I couldn’t believe how beautiful her room was. It looked like the room of a royal princess. The walls were papered with velvet butterflies of all shapes, sizes and colors imaginable, and there was a big canopy bed with bunches of pink ruffles on the top and bottom. Caroline placed me down at the vanity table covered with big and small bottles of perfume, most of which had names I couldn’t pronounce or remember.

I sat right next to her at the table and was served a big piece of birthday cake which she insisted on feeding me. I had more of it on my face than anywhere else.

I knew we would be best friends forever because that night we slept side-by-side and when I woke up during the night, I found her arm hugging me close to her heart.

Many years have gone by; we stuck together through the bad and the good. Oh, there were a couple of times our friendship was put on the shelf, but now she’s all grown up, married and has a little girl of her own, Elizabeth, who looks just like her.  Now she’s my best friend. Not that her mother and I are no longer friends, it’s just that time moves on and we must grow up. Of course, growing up doesn’t mean forgetting. If anything, it means memories, it means sharing tender moments.

“Elizabeth,” Caroline called, “are you ready?”

“Yes mama,” she answered, “I’m just putting a new dress on Marlene.”

“Oh yes, I forgot.” Caroline remembered the first day she had seen her. “Remember to leave the old one on my bed,” she shouted up to her daughter, “I want to put it in with all of my other treasures from my childhood.”

Elizabeth ran downstairs, dragging Marlene by the hand.

Caroline remembered the snowflakes falling as she dragged the very same doll home on her birthday a long time ago.

 

Copyright 1987

When we meet again

When we meet again

You will be whole

With no cancer eating away

At your insides and outsides,

Where we can travel

Anywhere we want

As we have always planned.

When we meet again

I, too, will be whole,

Free of all of these ailments

You have left me to deal with

On my own.

When we meet again

The pain will finally be over

And I will embrace you

As I have never done so before

Gloriously and deliriously happy

To just see your beautiful face

And hold your hands in mine.

When we meet again

Peace will be the only option

And those I will have left behind

Will not grieve long knowing

I have found you, still waiting for me,

After all this time.

When we meet again

Our grandchildren will be grown

And have fond memories

And their parents’ love

To ease them through their pain

Of losing the one of us

Whose time it actually was

To leave.

 

Copyright 2012