Posted in Jeanne Marie

Arrived In Oklahoma

June 1, 1:07 P.M.

I woke up this morning knowing that I could run over to my daughter’s and have a cup of coffee. It was the most incredible feeling in the world. Like waking up on Christmas morning.
So, that is what I did and then we went to Wal-Mart and I bought a gorgeous, pink hibiscus and a couple of plants that she picked out. We also bought three quirky, pineapple glasses for the kids.
When I got back to the travel trailer, I got out my new bag of organic dirt and my plants and I gave them all some love and some water.
I re-potted a few and I replanted Jodie’s for her in cute little pots from my house in New Hampshire.
It was probably 90° and I just loved the healing heat on my skin. It made my aching bones feel loved.
I have been so tired of being cold, even in the summer, and I am loving the heat and the constant sunshine.
When I was done, I went inside and cleaned my little, temporary home.
After that, I took a long, cool shower, did my hair and laid on the bed with my puppies, doing Facebook and looking at WordPress.
I should have been looking at Facebook and doing WordPress, but oh well!
After few hours, I decided to take a nap and I fell asleep feeling blessed. I woke to my daughter texting me, saying, “come outside,” so I did!
She lights up my world and it was so unbelievable to have her outside my door on a whim.
Her friend Kelli, whom I love, was with her and they came in and sat down for a while.
Kelli said she loved my little home and as I looked around, I realized; I had made it a home, even if it was just for a few days. I had put homey touches all through the tiny rooms because today is only the day we have, and I knew that for a few todays, I would be living here.
We visited and when they were leaving, I told my daughter that she lit up my day by dropping by unexpected and I meant it with my whole heart.
Now, my honey is on his way from spending the day with his brother and he is bringing me and the dogs chicken for supper.
It has been a perfect day of physical rest and spiritual rejuvenation. I am grounded. I am home. I am healing.
Tomorrow at noon, we sign the papers on our new home and the hard work starts again, but I’m going to take it slowly, one piece at a time.
All the boxes are going in one bedroom and I’ll deal with them little by little.
God has blessed me so richly that I am overwhelmed and I thank him for this day and for all the wonders that I know he has in store for me with each day that he wakes me.
I wasn’t sure if I’d done the right thing pulling up my roots once more and traipsing across the country in a bouncy RV with everything I owned in a U-Haul behind me, but I knew when my daughter showed up at my door that my world was right and as usual God had led me in the right direction.
My grandson Jonas called me and thanked me for his new glass.
Then, Jodie called me and she told me that the kids said that their drinks tasted sweeter when they were drinking them out of a pineapple glass.
LOL
Amen.
And thank you, Jesus.

Posted in Jeanne Marie

Notes From Moving


My little momma, throwing it together, beautifully as always, even moving a whole house. Super excited Jeanne Marie! I’m blessed beyond measure to have u moving closer. All the healing n growing we’ve done in past few years has filled a void I can never describe. It gives me hope of sharing myself with my own babies one day. Thank u for being my mum n my friend, love u always. Jodie Lynne

I’m so blessed to have you in my life as my daughter and as my friend and I love you to the end of the earth and back. Thank you for always loving me and for building me up…I can’t wait to have coffee with you anytime we want. I love you, Mum

Posted in Jeanne Marie

My Old Pizza Pan

As I stood scrubbing my old pizza pan this morning, I studied the thousands of cuts that ran across it.
I realized that the thousands of cuts equalled thousands of memories from family meals.
As I scrubbed my old pan, I wondered if I would even pick it up at a yard sale.
I thought, well now that I know what all the cuts mean, maybe I would.
It’s not a dirty pan, as it appears to be, it is a much loved family heirloom.
I dried my hands and sat down with my notebook.
I thought about all the times I almost threw this pan away because of the cuts and I thought of how many times my husband had ordered me to throw it away.
I always said, “No, I won’t.”
I had already learned my lesson when he talked me out of my Guardian Service pans because he hated them.
I gave away some of my newer GS pans and he’d bought me a very expensive set of Faber Ware.
Six months later, I sold that set at a yard sale.
I was so grateful that I had at least held on to Mom’s and Nana’s GS pans.
He tried to cut the same deal when he promised that he would buy me a new pizza pan.
I told him that hadn’t worked out very well in the past.
I said, “You can buy me a new one and I’m willing to try it, but if I don’t like it I’m keeping this one.”
Over the years, he tried to bribe me with many new pizza pans and none lived up to the old one.
The day even came when he couldn’t find the old pizza pan and he panicked.
“Where is our good pizza pan?” he shouted from the kitchen as he tossed shiny ones aside.
I let him panic for a few minutes and then, I found it for him. I always keep it in the back of the pan cabinet in case he gets a notion to throw it out when I’m not looking.
As I handed it to him, I asked him if he remembered how many times he’d told me to throw it away.
I’m that kind of woman.
He’d laughed and said, “Just give me the damn pan!”
He’s that kind of man.
Originally, I had two old pizza pans.
When I was moving from Oklahoma to Florida and getting rid of stuff, my daughter Jodie Lynne said, “Mom, give me the pizza pans. Please?”
I looked her right in the eye and said, “You’re going to lose them, so I’ll give you one.”
She couldn’t have been happier if I had given her the moon.
“I won’t lose this!” she promised, and I had the familiar flutter of hope that she would learn to hold on to things that mattered to her.
That was ten years and many heartaches ago.
I know she no longer has the pizza pan and yes, every time I scrub my pizza pan, I’m glad I kept one, etchings and all.
This past summer, I gave her some of my grandmother’s and my mother’s antique Guardian Service pans.
I didn’t give them all to her, even though she had been sober for over a year.
Nope. I told her she has to prove that she can hold onto something before she gets the rest.
After she gave me the finger with her eyes, she laughingly agreed.
Before you judge me, this is my daughter who has repeatedly lost custody of her six kids and her freedom because of drugs and alcohol.
She has lost everything she owned, over and over, including all her baby pictures, the baby books we made for three of her kids, the handmade crocheted blankets that me, my sister and mother made for them and a box full of Christmas decorations that my mother had made through the years.
I’m not materialistic, but I’m obsessive about holding onto pictures, moments and memories.
In fact, I would give away everything I own and walk in rags with bare feet in the snow just to see my daughter stay happy and sober.
And when she is sober, this daughter loves every little bit of the good memory articles that I do and I guess that’s why I give them to her slowly and hopefully.
I’m always hoping, always praying, that this time will be different, that this time she’ll stay sober.
This month, with over a year sober, she quit the job of her dreams, could lose custody of the only child she has left to raise and yesterday, she called to tell us that the car we bought her a year ago, (so she could get back and forth to work) has been impounded.
Given the signs I know so well, my heart is freaking breaking.
I have four boxes in the attic for her.
They are filled with my own special Christmas decorations, knickknacks, doilies and doodads from Nana, Mom and me. Crafts that my daughter made for me when she was growing up.
She gets the stuff either way when I die and I just pray that she doesn’t die before I do because I know I will not be able to handle losing my precious daughter to the family curse. I will burn those damn boxes full of memories.
From washing my old pizza pan to sitting with my notebook, writing, hoping, praying and believing, “Dear Jesus, please save my daughter. Again. Thank you and amen.”
Update: Thank you Jesus, for my daughter’s life, for her strong faith in you and for her renewed dedication to sobriety. 
Posted in Jeanne Marie

I Am My Father’s Daughter

I am my father’s daughter.
He taught me about reality, insanity and how to find crumbs of love beneath the rubble.
I listened to him for so many years, ranting and raving against society, the government and his bosses.
He was a mason.
He wouldn’t build fireplaces if the contractors didn’t build the houses to his standards and he always fought with his bosses until they would fire him or he would quit.
The excitement we all felt as he found each job and the despair we felt when he lost them was a roller coaster ride of emotions. Do we eat hamburgers versus do we eat saltines and peanut butter.
What he said when he was screaming and yelling was not always crazy. He was equally intelligent and creative, such a hard combination to juggle mentally. Very confusing.
When I first went to AA he was there during one of his rare fits of sobriety.
People would insist that I stay away from that man, crazy Bill, and I’d tell them, “I would, but he’s my dad and he’s sober today and I love him.”
He didn’t ever stay sober very long, but when he was sober, he was quiet and soft and gentle.
He taught me to love nature and to appreciate the free beauty in the world.
My daughters loved their grandpa, but they only saw him when he was sober so that was all they knew…
One winter when he was sober, I asked him if he wanted to come inside and live with us, but he chose to sleep outside in his truck because he said he felt safe there.
He would come in my little apartment to shave and shower and wipe away every trace that he had ever been inside.
Every week when he got paid, he would give me thirteen dollars. Ten for me and a dollar for each of the kids.
I still have the note he wrapped the money in the first week. He left it in my mailbox.
I treasure that note because I am my father’s daughter.
He taught me that material possessions meant nothing.
He taught me that by always leaving everything we had behind when we moved, but I learned it.
He taught me that by selling everything he bought my mother in the moneyed days of summer during the cold, bitter days of winter, to buy his beer, but I learned it.
He taught me that money was hard earned. He taught me that by making me beg for a nickel for the ice cream man, but I learned it.
He taught me that women were strong and that they could survive almost anything and get up and go to work the next day because they had to feed the family, pay the rent and put fuel in the furnace.
He taught me that by the way that he treated my mom, screaming at her and calling her a whore all night and I learned from her too.
I watched the way she survived, how she went to work every morning no matter how little sleep she had the night before, and yes, I learned.
My dad was a paranoid, schizophrenic, bipolar, seldom sober alcoholic, but much of what he said was the truth and he was before his time, so I guess he was also a prophet.
He was a prophet who filled prescriptions for Valium and Librium to stay sober. He was a prophet who could not handle the ugliest parts of humanity when he was sober, (including himself) so he drank to forget and would once more become ugly and cruel and then he would get sober again, hating himself so much that he would drink just to forget again.
He taught my brother the craft of brick laying and then he tortured my brother for being his equal.
Yet, when Dad went crazy and tried to kill his mother and father, it was my brother who got him from jail and into a VA hospital, all the while accepting verbal abuse and being disowned for bringing him where he could get help instead of jail time.
One of my best memories of my dad is when at fourteen I asked for a stereo and had it the next day.
One of my brother’s worst memories is when Dad took away his hunting rifle and sold it to buy my stereo. I never even knew until my brother and I were talking after Mom’s funeral.
My dad was a good man and he was a bad man.
He was my father and I hated him and I loved him.
Forty years ago, when he was living on the streets, my sister and I got him a little apartment in our building.
He lived as if he were staying at a campground. Instead of the stove, he used a little propane cooker and instead of the bed we gave him, he slept on the floor in a sleeping bag. He wouldn’t accept any meals we tried to share and he only ate food out of cans to be sure he wasn’t being poisoned.
He walked the streets during the day, wearing sandals and a long white shirt, telling people that he was Jesus. He believed that…
The last time I saw him was in 1983. He was living in a shed on his friend’s farm. His friend had died and the son didn’t want him there anymore. Dad didn’t care.
As I walked up to the shed, he looked out the window.
His first words were, “Has your mother remarried?”
Second thoughts, “What happened to your hair? That’s not your real hair color.”
He wouldn’t come out to talk to me. I asked him to come out several times. He refused and he talked through the screen.
He told me that I had no right to have remarried after my divorce. He would not acknowledge my husband.
I asked him if he’d like to meet my son, his five-year-old grandson, who stood right beside me and he said, “No.”
He told me to never come back or to try to see him again. He said it would be better that way.
He didn’t have much else to say and as he wished, I have never seen him again.
My brother swears that he saw him slip into my mom’s funeral in 2009.
My mother was his one true love, his obsession, his everything; although he nearly destroyed her before she left him after forty-years of hell.
One granddaughter searches for him to this day. I do too. I don’t know why.
We have not found a death certificate, so we believe that he’s still alive. He would be ninety-one.
We were told that he was possibly still living in the VA hospital, but we were also told that he insisted that he had no family, so they couldn’t tell us if he was there.
Many things in life can be overcome, changed, fixed.
I have been sober since I was twenty-three, yet one unchangeable reality stands out to me.
I am my father’s daughter.

Posted in Jeanne Marie

Memory Clutter

I was finally in the mood to start some spring cleaning and I decided to begin with my office.
As  I cleaned, I realized why I held on to so many mementos and gifts from the people I love.
It wasn’t the actual notes or the drawings, it wasn’t the colorful gift bags with ribbons and bows that captivated me.
No, what I was struggling to fit into this small room, aside from computers, printers, writing, books, CDs, tapes and boxes of pictures were the moments when the gifts had been created and given.
I wanted back the happiness and the love in each child’s face when they had handed the gifts to me.
The pride in my mother’s eyes when she handed me her handmade crafts and the warmth of my sisters hugs, the memories remained in the gifts.
After so many years, these items still triggered every emotion imaginable.
The metal sculpture my twenty-five year-old grandson welded for me when he was twelve, a green pipe with a bowl.
It had made my teenage son laugh so hard because he said it looked like a bong.
“Bong?” I’d asked. He’d laughed some more.
The toys from McDonald’s that my grandson loved to give me for presents. The man who spun like a top but could never stand up, the mermaid that he took for me when he could have had a GI Joe, into the Goodwill bag they went, but my hand hovered over a miniature Blue Fairy.
I remembered watching Artificial Intelligence over and over with my grandson and he was so proud when he found me the Blue Fairy.
The movie was about a little robot boy who wanted to be a real boy and he searched for the Blue Fairy to help him.
I couldn’t drop the Blue Fairy in the bag. Four out of five is pretty good, right?
The huge finger paintings with crackling paint. My once tiny granddaughter’s handprints with mine certainly had to stay.
The plastic sunflower my toddler grandson had presented to me…running up to me with his little fist closed tight around a treasure, he had opened his little fingers to present the treasure. “Flower,” he’d said, full of pride. When I saw it was plastic, I knew I’d keep it forever.
The poster created by pain and love that my baby sister presented to me the day after my suicide attempt twenty-eight years ago, that did go into the trash.
I pulled off the pictures, but the memory of that day and how much I’d hurt my family still burned.
Huge envelopes and boxes for each of my four kids and boxes for half of my fifteen grandkids.
What should stay, what should go?
Would they remember the objects and would the objects mean to them what they meant to me?
Would my son and daughter clean out all this junk after I was gone, moaning at my eccentric, hoarding habits? I didn’t know.
I set the bag of donations aside so I could repack it. Another box to be saved.
I just couldn’t part with any of it right now, but I could clean another room tonight.
Who knew spring cleaning could be so emotional?