A Little Flash to the Past

Some conveniences are ones I really don’t need during certain times of the year. I prefer line-drying my clothes in the spring and summer…My grandmother did it and my clothes seem to feel cleaner and smell fresh that way.  Many days I spent at her house when she was hanging clothes out to dry and it was time I got to spend with her.  Now in the winter it’s a different story, but when I hang things out here, I think of her and those times.

I remember the Sunday dinners where “the horde” came to eat–and I’m referring to 30 + people. We’d watch football or music shows depending on what was on TV.   On Saturday Night it was usually “Hee Haw“, “The Grande Old Opry”, “The Happy Goodmans” or some other music show the grand parents watched.  My grandfather didn’t care if it was religious or if it was a Mariachi band on TV, he’d watch it anyway.  To my knowledge, he wasn’t particularly religious either.

We used to ride to Mann’s Grocery with him in the old truck.  He’d buy me a Pepsi or Dr. Pepper…One of the favorite drinks was Nu-Grape on a hot day too.  He had his own little silver flask behind the seat of the truck.  On one particular day he pulled that out and said, “This is Grandpa‘s soda water but don’t tell  your Granny I have it!”  I just kind of blew that off.  Well my brother went and told Granny about it and she came UNGLUED!  She was really mad that he drove us in the truck and drank at all.

She knew the dangers of drinking and driving, but back in those days it wasn’t uncommon for people to drink their alcohol behind the wheel.  This was around 1970 this happened. I remember it because I wasn’t in Omaha, NE yet…We went there in ”71-72.

Anyway Grandpa thought I TOLD her and yelled at me. I started to cry and Granny came out and yelled, “And she ain’t the one that told me either, Ira! It was Jamie!”  That would be my older brother.   Grandpa said he was sorry but chewed my brother out later!  Needless to say, he never drank out of the flask when we were with him after that.

I can remember the times my uncles acted up at the table too.  She raised 5 boys and a girl (my mom) and I don’t know how on Earth she handled my uncles! They were a trip!  One day I’ll share some of those stories too–but my youngest son Kevin reminds me of a combination of a couple of them…However he got my Granny’s knack for cooking!!! Thank God someone did! I certainly didn’t–and I’m not good at gardening either.  My mom and my Granny could do anything like that!

WE NEVER Seem to Notice What is WORTH Noticing, Do We?

This is a post unlike any I have ever done, but I think it took someone else to describe what it is I tend to look for…Deeds…Not personalities…Actions do speak louder than words, don’t they?  We spend most of our youth being programmed into what others want us to be, but when do we become ourselves?

I learned early on that life for me was one cage evolving into another. I spent most of my life watching shows and movies looking for heroes to save me from the hell I called my life from the time I was a child.  Then I came to a harsh realization.  No hero was coming.  No one was hearing me crying from the time I was 11 to the time I was grown–except me, a mouse named Brutus (at one point) and the air.

Until anyone can tell me what it is like to be so scared to leave one’s own room that they crouch over a hole in the floor to piss under the house rather than risk sneaking to the bathroom, then nobody can tell me what fear really is.  I learned early on what it is, but I never learned how to do anything but to mentally escape from those awful memories.

One of the movies I love the most now is called “The Shawshank Redemption“. When I watched that, it was the day I realized I had escaped and I felt very empowered by the fact.

When I watch movies, I look for things that CAN play out in life.  Because I knew there were no heroes, I hated the Marvel comics and such my brother loved.   I hated cartoons like Johnny Quest and such because, again, they weren’t real.  It was the musicians that caught my attention then. Many sang about things I wanted to feel.  If there  was anything I wanted to feel it was to feel loved for the person I was inside….

Most of those same cartoons depicted good winning over evil, but in my home it seemed that it was the evil winning. It was eating at the heart of my family like a cancer.  I endured a lot and survived.  I truly did live in a war zone.  Any step I took could result in all hell being unleashed.

As a result I grew weary of Hollywood and all the fake heroes being put out–but I still had a thing for “Fast Times at Ridgmont High” and (as I have discussed before)  “The Breakfast Club“.  I can also assure you that the tale of each kid in that latter movie in some way mimicked my life–except for Claire’s. I related most to Ally Sheedy‘s character who (she says) was ignored.  Nobody really knows what went through her head…

However by then, for the most part I stopped  spending  money on movie tickets because I realized that much of what was coming out was hype more than substance. The one movie I SHOULD have went to see was “Chariots of Fire”.  At least the two main characters were real and did exist.  Ian Charleson and Ben Cross brought the two men to life for me in that film when I finally saw it a few years ago.  In hindsight, not many will dispute the idea that Ben Cross should have gotten an Oscar (or at least the nod) for how he brought Abrahams to life in that movie, but for whatever reason, that did not happen for him.

He played a bigger role a few years before that and very few people took note of this during an interview he did–but they damned well should have.  The man stood up for what he felt was right and that, in my book is more worthy of being book material and/or put on celluloid than this bloody trash Hollywood keeps throwing at us as of late…Ben put himself on the line and could have ended up in a Russian prison for it years ago.  I hope he writes that story soon.  That is the type of story we need out there…Not this Depp/Burton “Dark Shadows”  fiasco  or the “Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” crap!

If you’re interested in knowing what the hell I am talking about, I will refer you to an interview he did in 1982–the year my son Eric was born.  Had I read this interview then, the man’s picture  would have been right up on my wall next to John Lennon’s for having the guts to stand up for what he believed was right in a time when the political turmoil was immense.  That is a person worth looking up to.  Too bad I never knew about this until YESTERDAY because to me, THIS  is what heroes are really made of. If actions do indeed speak louder than words, then the words he spoke in this interview should have resulted in his actions screaming at an entire generation or two.

I remember going to NYC in 1981 and seeing Russian subs off of the coast so I know if I had seen this, I’d have done a double take!

Mr. Cross, you can be as humble as you want to be, but this is one story that does need to be shared. I am glad the interview was still available…

Here is the link:

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20081839,00.html

I know the action he took to help a Russian couple trying to leave Communist Russia (which was a prison cage in itself) screamed at me quite loudly–and while he has such a knack for bringing these characters he plays to life, it is this time that should be shared with the world because there is a message in it worth hearing and seeing–and it is real.

Sometimes it takes conscience and a bit of unbridled individualism to do the right thing.  He certainly did so, and for that he has my utmost respect.  Right now he plays a villain called “Mr. Rabbit” on the Cinemax show, “Banshee” and he is doing an excellent job.  I hope this opens many doors for him to come, as he certainly deserves that after all these years.

Yeah…I’m talking about the same guy who played Harold Abrahams in “Chariots of Fire”! This guy is probably one of the bravest people I have NEVER met!

And here is a link to a performance the Galina and Valery Panov did after their defection…They were so marvelous!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMMbdG6eB-8

The Facebook Page that turned me around…

The weekend is coming and I know a big change is coming for me as well.  I can’t say “what” or “how” I know–but this feeling is never wrong!  I started working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 2006.  I went there because I wanted to make a difference and since I have left it, I’ve been told that I have, so leaving it made me feel a  lot better about my decision to leave it.  When I became a supervisor it wasn’t long before I saw problems with the pecking order on my unit.  Therefore, I have no regrets. 

When I was younger, I hid in my room a lot.  I didn’t go out as a teenager much (if at all) and when in college, I wasn’t that much of a social creature either.  What made me that way is a long story which I won’t go into, but I avoided theaters and concerts for the most part.  I did watch old movies with my father or my mom…To me those films represented an era that I could only ever dream of being a part of.  My childhood was a rather turbulent one, which I won’t detail here–but it led to my attitude.

I was keeping company with my teachers more than my peers because, quite frankly,  kids my age drove me nuts.  I could not see the logic in some of the stuff that went on as far as my peers go.  Besides I hated cliques with a purple passion.  Therefore, I kept few friends and I trusted very few people.  I don’t get invitations to class reunions either because I became more free with my opinions. I do not think anyone is better than anyone else, but I detested how they formed cliques and treated others who weren’t “pretty” or “athletic”–and was quick to let them know it…  

I was also bullied quite a few times.  Once by a coach who made a comment about how women don’t “usually go around shooting themselves because they don’t want to mess up their looks”.  The whole class waited for my reaction since I had just come back after missing school due to my stepmother committing suicide when I was 14.  I damned near quit school then.  Had my dad been less stubborn about wanting me to finish, I would have quit rather than deal with anymore BS. They said this coach was out-of-town and such so he just wasn’t informed,  but he worked for DPS in a neighboring county–where her body was found–so I find it hard to believe to this day sometimes.  However, me being me, I dropped it and took the high road–literally.  I picked up my pen and furiously created more worlds and killed more bullies there than anyone would ever want to know about.  I also ended up in the counselor’s office for things I’d pull or write…

I goto picked on all through school and took the high road. One day a boy in the Junior class saw me writing furiously and asked me “Who are you going to kill today?”  Look at this pic below…I swear it’s how I looked only I had black eyeliner on too…I simply looked at him rather coldly and said, “I dunno…Maybe you.”  Five minutes later I was in the counselor’s office again.  He laughed because he knew I made that kid sweat bullets.  He also saw through my front and knew it was my way of telling them all to screw off.  Anyway here’s the pic:

Now picture this: JET BLACK hair, dark red lipstick, black eyeliner and eyebrows--and the Uma Thurman "I'm gonna kick your ass look" and you'll have my look from 1980 when my Dad wasn't watching...

 

And people I grew up with  wonder WHY he didn’t like for me to go around ANYWHERE when payday hit!  In 1981, he wouldn’t even let me go see “Chariots of Fire” so like a bonehead, I sneaked out at 8 o’clock–when he  passed out…I went to the mall of Abilene and blew my paycheck on clothes and he never noticed.  I stayed pissed for three years because he wouldn’t let me go see the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” or “The Sex Pistols” too…AC/DC was definitely out of the question…To him, they were all devil worshippers…Hmm…I was a devil myself when I got mad back then.  Read the bullying blogs about what a few girls and I had to deal with and how we stopped that problem for us…

I wasn’t a violent kid, but I knew when and how to fight back.  I stayed reclusive for years.  I went to church and went home.  I didn’t go to theaters or anything for a very long time after graduation.  I may have went once or twice in the 80’s and once in the 90’s.  I hated “Star Wars” but loved “The Wrath of Khan“.  In fact I think in the late 80’s or early 90’s I saw “Pet Cemetary” at the insistence of my ex.  I never went again after that unless nagged and for those I slept through them and pissed my sister off.  I love her but I hated theaters.  They are just too damned loud most of the time.  Now I carry cotton to put in my ears.  I can hear it in normal mode then…Here are a couple of stills from the best damned movies from the 70’s that I did go to AND liked:

You can't say crap about the 1970's without mentioning "Billy Jack"...This trilogy had a lot to do with my outlook later on...He STOOD for something good!

                                                                                    

And this one was simply FREAKING FUNNY!

 

Well as I said, I skipped Chariots of Fire in 1981–the year I graduated from High School.  I went to college and marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City that year.  It was also when I got to go to Radio City Music Hall and see what was behind the Christmas pageant backstage–live animals and such.  I then realized that the trip was for the sponsors and not us…We were told that we had to go to some other attraction.  I said, “Screw that! I’ve been up since 3 a.m., marched that parade route in 18 degree weather twice and have been out all damned day! I’m going back to the hotel first chance I get!”  I ducked away from my group near the hotel and started to double back.  I bought a pretzel and asked a woman where I could find a place where it was nice and quiet.  She pointed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I promise you I stayed in that slice of Heaven for an hour.  I missed my hiding place on the roof of the garage where I could stare up at the stars and just simply wind down.  I was also very, very tired.

I went to the hotel and went to my room and crashed.  None of the chaperones or the band director realized I wasn’t there.  😀  I got back home 3 days later and was relieved to be there.  Shopping at Macy’s and such was fun, but I just wanted to go home.  My birthday was November 25 and I wasn’t home for that either.  After that–I went right back to recluse mode.  One might think I’d have enjoyed that experience being out in “the world” for once, but I still feared dealing with crowds and such–and made myself go.  I was pressured to sing in choir too and hated that.  I don’t know why, because they liked it, but not me.  I almost ran off that year to California  to join a punk rock band. 

Instead I went through 2 bad marriages, had 3 kids, got a degree, etc…I also became worse when it came to being reclusive.  I trusted no one–especially NON family members.   In 2006 I went to work at a prison…Strangely enough, I felt “safe” there.  Why I do not know.  I had a knack for calming offenders down and dealing with some BS.  But I realized after becoming a sergeant and a failed relationship that I was slipping back into my recluse mode.  I wouldn’t even go home when I was off.  I hated being around people. I still have trouble with it.  My sister and my mother can’t understand it, but my Grandmother did. I told her EVERYTHING…Now she was gone. 

Anyway I got bored to shit one night.  I was going bat shit crazy at 3 a.m.–working out and such.  I got to thinking about things I used to watch when I was a kid and started surfing the internet.  I came across hulu.com and Adam-12…I got a kick out of watching that.  Then I started playing around looking for more shows I watched when I was a kid.  I saw “Dark Shadows” on there.  I didn’t realize I’d clicked on a remake, and almost started to surf again, until I realized the first episode was a movie.   I couldn’t freaking believe it!  This show was DAMNED good!  Then I started paying attention to the cast in it…I noticed an actor named “Ben Cross”. 

I talked to an old classmate on Facebook and asked her if she ever heard of this guy–like a dumbass.  She said, “That’s the guy in “Chariots of Fire”–you know, that movie our group went to see at graduation and your dad wouldn’t let you go so you decided to be a shithead and go to Abilene without us?”  My first response was “The What of the What?” because I called her while I was half-awake.

“Oh…Yeah…I remember now.”  I told her.  I only preferred older movies until I saw this.  I felt–and still feel it was well acted and such and it reminded me of other stuff I would watch–even though I wanted to kick Angelique’s ass–and always did–even when I watched the original in kindergarten.  I viewed her as a bully. I still do.  Ben made Barnabas bad ass!  As much as I loved Jonathan Frid as a kid–I really liked how he made his version of the vampire a bit more realistic. 

From there a chain reaction began.  I later found his Facebook page.  Then I saw a link to a site on his page that said “flaurena” and started getting jewelry from there.  It didn’t click that this was his daughter at first, but she made pieces (custom pieces) for me that reminded me of where I came from.  I began looking into my family tree and my Native American heritage as a result.  Hell I think she probably knows more about what I’m thinking than I do when I get her to make pieces for me!  Here is picture of one of them:

Well I can't rotate it, but take note of the circle and the feathers...Then the colors. I wear this when I go to the mountain to meditate a lot too...

I promise you it is much prettier in life than in pictures.  Sorry I can’t rotate the thing!
 
I quit my job at the prison as I said earlier and returned to teaching in 2010, but I also buy a lot of  Ben’s work.  The brat pack really didn’t do much for me, but I know if I had gone to COF then, I would have liked it.  I have a much more positive view of the world now–and am much better for it.  I also found my purpose.  If it had not been for finding that link on hulu.com, I would still be in recluse mode–shutting out the world.  I get out more now and explore things now.  It’s as if I am enjoying a life now I couldn’t seem to get when I was younger–but I am much better for it.  I am also a lot wiser. 
 
More importantly, I picked up a pen again–but I am not using it to escape from the world and kill off the bullies, I am using it to try to make a difference as these small things have made in my life.  I am grateful that they are around, and I am grateful to my teachers because they have been in my corner all these years and I never realized it until I began talking to them.  They gave to me.  It’s time for me to give back.   And these two people were the ones that helped me get my head out of my ass after all these years and start doing something different with my life.  If you are in a rut now, I hope you find your way out too…Have a great weekend!
 
I really am grateful to have come across them…Sometimes I call them the “father-daughter tag team”…LOL 
 
 

That father-daughter tag team I get a kick out of!

 
 
My next goal is to get to Peru or Costa Rica–whichever I can get to first!