Sunday, May 31, 2020

No Title


Not much to report today from here in my bubble in Lloyd. Didn't even leave the property. Hank and Rachel came out and wore their masks the entire socially-distant visit and I appreciate that. Hank, because he's been not only in the hospital but in a doctor's office is being super careful about protecting others. We talked for a long time on the back porch. There's a lot to talk about. Hank and Rachel are both upset that they can't be present at the protests. They are both strong believers in showing up to represent. But it's just too dangerous for Hank now and Rachel can't afford to bring anything home. They are as upset as any of us. They are both the kind of people who see injustice and want to do something about it. I am proud of my children. They are all that way. But perhaps because of Hank being a part of the LGBTQ community, he has always been the most finely attuned to fighting for the rights of all. I remember when he first told me he was gay and I, being afraid for him, said, "I just don't want you to get hurt. You don't have to be too vocal about it," and he said, "I couldn't hide it if I was black."
My kids are my greatest teachers.

I don't know what else there is to say today. I can't watch videos of the violence. It makes me sick. I understand it and where it comes from but I cannot watch it. I did not watch the video of George Floyd's death, either. All I had to see was the picture of that cop with his knee on George Floyd's neck with his hands in his pockets to understand it all. It's just all so crazy. It's like the LA riots and Viet Nam war protests and Selma and all of it all together at the same time combined with a global pandemic. I have seen some strange times. I have witnessed hard things. I have been present at a time when things changed so much that it almost could have been called a revolution. It WAS a revolution. I have seen good changes and bad changes. I have seen a president murdered. I have seen a president shot. I have seen police set dogs on peaceful protesters and I have seen students killed while they were protesting.
All of this via television, of course. We ate our dinner watching Vietcong getting blown to bits, American soldiers coming home in body bags.
But I swear, these may be the craziest times I've ever seen.

Perhaps in a way for my brain to distract me, this morning I woke up thinking about my Granny and Granddaddy's house in Roseland and it occurred to me in my sleepy musings, that I could remember almost every thing in that house. Not everything, but specifically every thing. 
Of course I can't literally remember every item in their little cottage but I swear- I can remember so many of them. It's not that I have a great memory- I do not. It's just that they lived that simply. And they were not poor. They were in their retirement and after they died, my mother still inherited money from them, even after Granny had lived for years in a nursing home. My grandmother never worked and Granddaddy had one job his entire life and sent three kids to college but he saved. They had enough money to buy a good chunk of river-front land in Roseland and donate a part of it to have a community center built which is still there. But their own home and the homes of their friends were incredibly uncluttered and unpretentious. They just didn't keep things around that they didn't need, didn't want. Marie Kondo could have learned from them. They were, in their way, quite Zen. And so each thing in their house had purpose and meaning and I remember everything from the way the enamel cabinets and drawers in their kitchen sounded when they opened and closed to they magical way the little telephone notebook they had magically snapped open when you slid the lever down to the proper part of the alphabet. I remember Granny's hairbrush and comb on her dresser and the picture of her mother she kept there. May has that picture now. I remember the picture she had over her bed that my uncle had painted when he was a boy and which I feel sure my granddaddy made the frame for. It looks like his work, perfect and absolutely simple. I have that picture and it is in my own bedroom. I can remember Granny laying down to take her nap, her glasses with the horrible hearing aids in them laid on her bedside table, her tiny feet crossed at the ankles. She wore one of the three or four dresses that she wore daily, arranged straight as a pin on her small body as she lay on her back on top of her white bedspread, the oscillating fan on from across the room in the afternoon summer Florida heat. I remember Granddaddy's banjo clock on the wall, the rattan couch and chair in the tiny living room, the spices set on the back of the chimney bricks over the stove in the kitchen, the strange and wonderful porcelain piece on the mantel of a boy and a girl, somehow completely too fancy and out of place in this Florida cottage. I loved it.
My mind keeps going back there today, to Granny and Granddaddy's little house. It soothes me. It was the first house I was ever in that made me feel safe and yet, held mysteries and magic even in its small spaces. That porcelain statue, Granddaddy's card shuffler, the iron dog nutcracker that I would insert my finger into its mouth- the cracking part- and raise the tail which caused the mouth to clamp down to test my ability to withstand pain. The cabinet of books, one of which was a National Geographic book on early man which Granddaddy would look at with my brother and me, explaining the pictures as we turned the pages. My favorite picture was one of a group of almost naked men stabbing a mastodon to death. I could not study it endlessly, trying to suss out the agony of the animal, the determination and fear of the men.

Perhaps, like I said, I am thinking of these things as an alternative to thinking about the horrors.

I don't know.
I don't know shit.
I do know I am missing Roseland right now. Even though horrible things happened to me there the eternal beauty of the river and the trees and the plain simplicity of life and the unadorned and unspoken goodness of my grandparents somehow saved me even as it happened.

That's all I can say.

Love...Ms. Moon





35 comments:

  1. I'm not surprised your mind is wandering back to a time when you felt safe cause it's a train wreck out there. I do not understand why the MAGAts want a civil war, why the republicans are silent about what's going on. do they really think there will be any winners if it comes to that? there will be no winners. and the price will be what's left of our democracy.

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    1. I'm at the point where I don't give Republicans enough credit to have masterminded a civil war. I think they just jumped on Trump's coattails and although I'm certain that many of them are now horrified, they're too freaking cowardly to step up and say anything. But whatever the truth is- you're right. There will be no winners.

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  2. It is a heavy and dark day for many today..... I have felt dulled by it all and overwhelmed and just plain sad. Spent the afternoon writing 3 letters to friends....snail mail letters....it just felt good to try to convey my thoughts on paper to cherished people in my life. You have thought of the safe haven of your grandparents home....... same thing- different approach, we are all trying to make it through as best and lovingly as we can
    Susan M

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    1. What a beautiful thing to do- write three real letters to people you know. Another way to try and combat the existential fear and loneliness we're all experiencing. Good for you!

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  3. Too much to wrap my head around but like you, I miss grandparents and great grandparents. I am watchful and heartsick.

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  4. I could see everything you described, so vividly. It makes me happy you had that safe space. Your grands will remember the details of your house differently but the feeling will be as warm, loved and safe.

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    1. Oh, I hope so! I feel like both they and we are missing out on such precious time. Not just the little ones but Owen and Gibson too.

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  5. I wish...
    Here's what I wish:
    Nevermind. I'm out of thinking right now.

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  6. I got distracted. In the middle of reading this my neighbor texted me saying that supposedly our suburb (of St Paul) is being targeted tonight by rioters etc. He said neighbors are leaving outside lights on and some are armed. Truth or just rumor, either way that is fucked up in multiple ways. Sigh

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    1. Oh god. I hope everyone is safe. If people are arming themselves, someone is going to get shot.

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  7. I'm sure your Grands will have sweet recollections of the time spent in your Home, of the Love and the details. I know my Nanna's Home remains fresh in my cherished Memories, even tho' I only spent a brief time there being she lived in North Wales and we lived in America most of the time when Dad wasn't stationed abroad.

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    1. Some places absolutely become a part of us, don't they? I'm glad you had that experience with your Nanna.

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  8. your memory is remarkable to me, I have floated through most of this life in a fog. Foggier now by choice. Love your social distanced chairs, They may have been there for. while- how would I know, FOG!
    Glad the kids stayed out of the fray, though not by choice, sometimes health issues save us, ironically.

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    1. No. I just put that picture up. I wanted a new header and that's a picture I took in Roseland last year and it seemed so appropriate for these days.
      Don't tell anyone but I'm glad Hank and Rachel are safe.

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  9. I love your memories. My Grandmother's house was the only steady home I knew growing up because we moved every two or three years. I loved her and that house more than anything. Thank you for sharing your memories. With life as it is these days I wish we all could go back to whatever special place we knew as children.

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    1. Me too, Bonnie. That we could all go back to that special place. I guess we can in our memories.

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  10. Your description of the address book gave me a sudden clear memory of one. I think my grandmother must have had one too.

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    1. I knew that description would trigger someone's memories. They were quite common in those days and somehow magical to a child.

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  11. I live in Ontario, Canada. I am just so overwhelmed by what is happening in the US. I find your blog a barometer of what sane people are thinking and feeling. My heart is aching with what is going on south of us. I grew up in a rural, all white setting, but learned to feel compassion to every living being. What is going on in this world is just so disturbing. With every fibre of my being I am emanating hope for change. Keep on being the light in this world.

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    1. I read a meme today that said that Canadians feel as if they are living in an apartment over a meth lab right now. I can understand that for sure.
      I am so glad that i grew up in a place where there were people of color and since I've been an adult, I have wanted to live in mixed neighborhoods and have. I don't know that I could live in an all-white area. Of course, none of us can control where we are born and raised but we can all control how we relate to others, even the ones who are different looking than we are. Keep emanating hope for change. I like that expression.

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  12. The cop with his hands casually in his pocket chilled me to the bone. Here in the UK many broke lockdown to protest peacefully outside the American Embassy in London. I protested when l was young. Now am old and decrepit and can only bear witness via TV. Hope Hank and Rachel can do that and feel it is there time to do that right now.Love to you and yours Mary. Maggi xxx

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    1. I think people all over the world are protesting and I think that is wonderful! Love to you and YOURS, Maggi.

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  13. The cop with his hands casually in his pocket chilled me to the bone. Here in the UK many broke lockdown to protest peacefully outside the American Embassy in London. I protested when l was young. Now am old and decrepit and can only bear witness via TV. Hope Hank and Rachel can do that and feel it is there time to do that right now.Love to you and yours Mary. Maggi xxx

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  14. Ah, the snap of the telephone notebook. In my mind's eye, I can still see it sitting on the telephone stand in the hall...remember my teenage self snapping it open and shut while I talked to friends on the phone...laying on the floor, my legs propped up on the stand. Thanks for the memory.

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    1. So you remember too? And how many hours did we spend on the phone when we were teens? SO many.

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  15. Oh, you've said it so beautifully. The paradoxes -- the unbearable and the bearable.

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  16. It says a lot that you think these may be the craziest times you've seen! I'm not sure they top 9/11 when I was living in NYC, but they ARE indeed crazy. It's like we've slipped into an alternate reality.

    I love your descriptions of your grandparents' house. I can see it in my mind's eye, or some version of it, and of course it makes me think of my own grandparents' house, which was similar in a way. I love that your grandmother took a nap. My grandmother napped every day too.

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    1. Oh god. I completely skipped over 911. I guess I've just blocked that. Not completely, of course.
      Of course people had to nap in Florida before AC. I think my granddaddy may have even rested his eyes. He put in a good day's work every day. One of my main memories of him is watching him wipe sweat from his face with his handkerchief.

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  17. The sad thing is that man's murder won't be the last one either will it. It's just so incredibly sad. I love the description of your grandparents' home though - a place you felt safe right? And somehow there's always a clock ticking away in the background isn't there!

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    1. No. It won't. It won't be the last.
      You are so right about that clock. Always, always ticking.

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  18. So much of what you say here resonates with me, even though the stuff we are dealing with is quite different, on the surface. This is so damn weird, everything is so damn weird. I start to remember the way things used to be a few months ago and it feels like a different world.

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