Archive for June, 2012
I’m doing my Christmas Shopping early this year. I’m getting everyone I know a pair of sox with shoes printed on them. This is to sell over the Internet on a big scale basis; wait; Oh no…news flash. It’s been done. really?
Then, I don’t have to do that yet. What a relief. I want to tell you all a story about when I was a child, that does not involve any infernal or internal plot twists or horrible, idiotic threats of going public on these stupid stories or ideas of mine. Cause, there comes a time when you have got to give that up: And just start to verbally describe the situation; now is a good time to start.
I was on a road trip with my family, in our 1952 Ford Station wagon, that had not yet turned to dust, from the Salt Spray, or anything: Let’s say I was 10. That’s a good age. I was scheduled to go into ‘town’ with my mother and my infamous and flamboyant Aunt Caroline, and view some big town exclusive, comparatively so, shopping situations, and perhaps attend the “Dime store”, which was always my favorite place. It was my destiny and became the reason to exist, because in those days there were many an event, in which my existence was not a given. And although that does sound like a childish exaggeration, this particular year was a busy one for my family,a year in which I contracted a near death case of what turned out to be infectious Hepatitis,after having been diagnosed as having the flu. And we were stationed at a very dangerous base, where the early testing of military ICBM’s (many often had to be destroyed as they headed back our way failing to reach near orbital distance.) This sort of a childhood makes for a room full of sarcastic people, determined but frustrated by the slow process needed for a successful launch. These people were often at home with the slow, steady, & beautifully-planned trial and error that is the basis of the scientific developmental process, but this was not really ever understood by a child, and yet watching things progress and change is probably what prepared me for some of the hard hits I took as an adult and beyond. But back to our road trip.
So we three females of our family then, (sans my grandmother who was doing something worth while like reading a book, or making a floral display for the living room table. She really was a smart lady. Also, she knew when to bow out and let those who needed the exercise take to the streets) . My Aunt drove her new Cadillac, with her white gloves on and a small hat with a veil to keep the sun from her face, I guess it had a purpose (however, in Florida we were much more casually dressed and in general took on a more low profile of a fashion image, but even so, at that time, I thought fashion wise both fancy upper-class ladies were putting on the “dog” ( as we would have said here in the south) and the whole car load seemed a tad of a study in old fashioned snobbery—but that is just me and what do I know about formal shopping trips anyway?) However, I had white kid gloves that my father got from one of the islands down range, which I had brought with me, just in case. They were brand new and clean and wrapped in tissue paper to wear, a light blue summer dress with a Sailor collar, as nothing was funnier to the Air Force Kid’s than to dress up like Sailors. No offense meant, yawl, it was just the way it was. It was a “female women of the opposite sex type of situation”, as my Dad in his prime used to call such activities, and we were visiting Texas from Florida where we lived, So we female women hit the road for our adventure, while my brother and cousin, were playing chess or some such pointless activity (ha.), and my Dad and my Uncle were working on some building project they cooked up and would not let me be involved in any way, shape, or form.
So,we ladies three went as though headed for Europe, we three models of relatively the same person, in alternate time zones, one small, one medium and one medium Texan.
That would be my Aunt. She was my God Mother and I Loved her dearly and still do, even though she has matriculated into the next world. My mother struggled with perfection all of her life and it always was a horrible problem to the rest of the family. I never for one minute thought it was or would be a problem for me, a problem that I would have to face later in my life, however having found myself lacking in many a personal skill as the years went by, I realise I should have paid close attention to her quest with great concentration, and learned to understand her way of thinking much more that I did. I might have avoided allot of pain and learned to gain the trust and respect of the rest of my family, instead of just “doing what I thought was my job”, of going to school, studying such an ‘out there’ subject” as art forms, and instead paid more intention to the unique experience of getting to be one of the few children of a father involved in an incredible effort like man’s introduction to space travel. Many friends and acquaintances were children of other important developers of this intricate and complex world that was that group of families always changing, and always having to take things in with a low profile and incredible cool., But, I do not get that 2nd chance. No one did. And that’s a direct hit from the arm chair umpire, here in the middle of the night, a completely different person now, as though that never happened, and I have reached the time when my body seems too fragile to me tonight, at that surly point when you know you have to strain just to keep up with breathing and you simply want to get this done with, and out of one’s mind, so it becomes something I can continue to live with.Take me back to that back seat.
I rode alone in the back seat, and my mother was in the passenger side, I noticed how Spanish and exotic and beautiful she looked that day and how very elegant she was then. And my Aunt drove on,she too was so gorgeous with such a confidant attitude through the streets of this strange, hot, town in Texas, back then. It seemed very visually interesting if not too well structured of a small town, Austin, TX., the summer of 1957 and the drone of the road sang with the whistling of my slightly opened back window so as to breathe in the fresh air, both sisters smoked like factories in the north. We were on the road for a while curving with the small country roads, when, out of my own self conscious meditation or Golden silence came what was a heretofore unheard of voice from the front seat, exclaiming the word “Shit!” loud as a Bus horn, or a small explosion. I looked to see what accidental problem we met, but nothing seemed wrong to me. My aunt, had simply made a wrong turn or something like that, as she and her sister (also my mother) conversed at 75 words a minute in a 40 words a minute zone. And I had been so pampered and sheltered from such words back in that time as to be highly amused and totally entertained by the concept of such a lady looking so fancy and acting so sophisticated uttering a gutter word with such little regard. It was not that big of a deal, but you could tell these two were in the mist of some sort of sibling rivalry for Alpha status, or some such. However, till this day I think of how I smiled back at my God mother, Aunt Caroline back then as I met her eyes in the rear view mirror from the back seat of that car, and how in that secretly shared moment when she checked my expression, we instantly recognized how important we would be to each other in the future. Which is how I always felt about my inclusion in family drill situations, and she always checked that I wasn’t being ignored or mistreated, which she did until the day she died…
My hands hurt. Can you believe that? I am very clearly not ten years old anymore. I really need to trust my husband to fix this tribute to my dear God Mother, may she rest in Peace; and here in Texas, it is peach season. It’s a good chance that I will do that too one of these days. Just not too soon.
As Always, Kay Buena aka Caroline Abbitt Sauer,