Posted in Gracie's Glimmer, Poetry From A Woman Who Thinks Too Much

The Princess

The Princess was sitting in her castle and she swore no man would she let woo.

She turned them all away as she said, no, not you, not you, not you, to myself I will be true.

She danced with her butterflies, she twirled in her flower gardens like when she was two.

She whispered to her flowers, confessing, I love you and you and you.

So happy was this woman that she vowed never to wed and then a Knight in dazzling armor appeared at the castle gates, the sun shining on his head.

She was blinded by his beauty, aura like spun gold and this one Knight she invited to her bed, visions of together growing old.

Prince Charming was his name and wow, that man tickled her fancy with his soft kiss and even if he just walked by, she would stumble and a step she would miss.

Well, we all know about no such thing as happy endings and soon the Princess gave up her other loves, like her writing.

She was busy twisting and turning and bending to keep the Prince happy, looking in her mirror-mirror and often sitting there silently for hours.

The Prince started kissing her less and less often and his voice for her…he no longer softened.

Many nights she cried herself to sleep, under so many full moons…she would weep and weep and weep.

Many moons later, she came to her senses, had the guards toss the Prince out and around her old gardens she built stronger fences.

This is a true story and you know it’s true, because I was the Princess and you, you were the Knight I gave my heart too.

Silly Princess, Stupid Boy, hard lessons, me and you.

Posted in Jeanne Marie

The Farm-House

 

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I dreamed of the farm-house again last night.
When I saw the numbers match the numbers on the ticket in my hand at the end of the 10:00 o’clock news, when I learned that I’d won the lottery, before I even had the money in my hand, before I took the tiny slip of paper to the Lotto office to be sure it was really the single winning ticket for the $90 million dollar jackpot, I threw my cigarettes, a tooth-brush and my Master Card into my purse. I ran out to the driveway, tore open the door of my blindingly yellow Dodge Hemi truck, turned the key, felt the thunder as the engine roared to life and I flew out of the driveway.
I sped to the Tulsa airport, disregarding the speed limit because I was rich now. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t thinking that money made me above the law, but I could definitely afford to pay a speeding ticket.
I parked the truck in the long-term parking lot, ran inside the terminal to the first counter I saw and walked away with a ticket for American Airlines Flight 144 to Boston.
After a take-forever walk through security, I raced down the chintzy red carpet, catching the flight attendant’s attention just before he shut the door.
I was going home. My husband always told me that it wasn’t home anymore, that home was where we lived, in our 1986 trailer home set on two acres of Heaven in Owasso, Oklahoma.
I always said, “You’re right, honey.”
But he wasn’t.
As the many plaques will tell you, home is where your heart is and I had left mine on the cold, wet sand of Plum Island, nesting in the sand dunes I had crawled on before I could walk and then when I was older, I’d left more of me on the hot, sandy beaches of Hampton and Salisbury.
The last pieces I can remember seeing were hidden in the tunnels behind the walls of the farm-house, the tunnels where I had stashed my baby sister, playing quietly with her on the dusty floor so dad wouldn’t find us or hiding with Mom when the bill collectors pounded on our door.
When the wheels came down as we flew over the water of Revere Beach, I held my breath. I didn’t breathe again until the plane’s wheels touched the runway.
As the familiar seat belt ding sounded, everyone rushed to their feet.
I grabbed my purse and I pushed along with the crowd of people who also wanted off the plane, now.
I headed straight for the Avis counter and rented a luxury car with no idea of where I wanted to go or why I had flown eighteen hundred miles on the very day the lottery had blessed (or cursed) my life. All I knew for sure was that I was going to kidnap my Mom out of the nursing home and she was coming with me for one wild ride.
The car almost drove it self as I left the Avis parking lot. I think that the auto pilot of my soul was driving.
I sped along Route 93 with my feet driving and my heart dancing.
Suddenly, I knew where I was going! My urges were taking me back to the farm-house on High Street, to the house that my dad had bought for $8,000.00 only to give it back to the bank several years later.
So many times, I had dreamed of that familiar front door opening to me.
The present owner would throw open the solid white, wooden door with red trim, welcoming me home. The dream varied, probably depending on what I ate before I fell asleep.
Sometimes a woman, sometimes a man, but the answer-er always allowed me to wander down the hallowed halls of my dysfunctional, childhood home. Well, one of many, but the first real house with running water, walls, doors and a roof the rain didn’t ping off.
The farm-house that I’d been forced to leave behind when I was still a young girl.
In my memories, the curtains that my mom had sewn on her push pedal Singer sewing machine still hung in the living room windows.
I remembered the day she’d made them. I remembered the scent of the hot, damp cotton as she’d ironed each panel and hung it. I remembered the look of pride on her face as she stood back and smiled at what she had created.
I’d left a shard of me behind when I’d left that farm-house while taking a fragment from the walls. A sharp; yet, comforting splinter and it was still tucked away safely inside my heart’s vault.
A splinter that led me home, if only in my dreams, over and over.
Somehow the wood and the mortar had become entwined with my soul, an intrinsic puzzle I could not solve.
Finally, I could buy that now declared historic house, no matter the cost.
Panic pulsed through my veins and I asked myself, what am I doing?
Did I think that I could move back to the farm-house and did I think that I could start my life over again?
I guess so because I had dreams when my mind went back there, so I figured my body could too.
If I went back to there, could I go back to then and start my life over and change my now?
Could I hide in the secret tunnels and let time remove the stains and the hurts I had gathered in the years since I had left?
These were the questions searing my brain as I drove toward Billerica, doing forty miles over the speed limit.
I had to buy the house before I went to get Mom.
Money could bring my mom back to her house, the house she’d lost so long ago.
I dreamed of the farm-house again last night.

 

Posted in Last Ditch Effort

So Small

My six-foot son hugged me and as he let go of me, he looked down and he said, “Mom, you’re so small. You used to be so much bigger.”
I told him that I was the same height. “You have grown. I haven’t shrunk.”
He said, “No, not that, I don’t mean your height. It’s just that I used to be so much smaller, so you seemed so much bigger.”
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

Happy 64th To Me! (Last August)

A Tulsa Promenade Dillard’s Birthday
Happy 64th To Me!
Every year since I turned 60, I try to do something special for myself on my birthday.
This year, I spent the entire day at Dillard’s where my daughter, Jodie Lynne, works and we shopped during her lunch hour.
Of course, after she went back to work, I continued shopping!
Luckily, I love the clearance racks but a few full price items did sneak into my pile, lol.
After I wore my feet out shopping, Jodie convinced me to walk over and let the Edge Beauty Tulsa women give me a makeover.
She really did have to convince me because for some reason I felt shy about it…so thank you, Jodie Lynne.
It was an incredible experience!
First of all, if you know me, you know I would not want a normal makeover.
I wanted a pink makeover and my makeup artist Kalee delivered to the max.
The look began as a pink makeover but as it evolved, I decided I wanted to be a pink fairy and Kalee just went with the creative flow, giving me quick peeks and playing with the colors…
She was incredible to work with and so intuitive and open to what I wanted.
She didn’t act like she was working at all because she loves doing makeup so much that it was like she was playing, so we both had a blast and I felt like it was girl’s night out with a best friend.
Of course, the makeover ended with a glitter brush splash.
Kalee said I was like a ray of sunshine and that I had made her day. Wow. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since someone said that to me…
You know, I honestly haven’t been doing a lot of shining so the entire mother-daughter, Dillard’s Edge makeover with Kalee, shopping for myself experience brought out the sun-shiny part of me that’s been hiding.
And there’s a really funny thing about age. Sometimes it shows to the max and sometimes my age just seems to drop away and I become just me, just a woman who accepts herself no matter her age or her wrinkles.
By the time Jodie and I got home, I felt high as a pink cloud in the sky.
I put on one of my new outfits and some of Jodie’s very high heels, even though I had to squeeze a crippled foot into one of them. I also wore my awesome pink bracelet, a present from my best friend, Michelle Marie.
Jodie took pictures of me and I took selfies with her and we had a picture party.
Now, I have proof that I still know how to shine.
All I have to do is let go and play.
Huge thanks to all who were involved starting with Athena, who babysat Cole and Jonas, my grandsons and took them to play laser tag and to McDonald’s, freeing me to play.
Triple huge thanks to Jodie Lynne and Kalee.
And I cannot forget to thank all the wonderful people I met at Dillard’s as I flitted through the Cosmetics Department, meeting Jodie’s coworkers and her managers.

I also was blessed to have two grandsons with me to help celebrate that evening.
My ten-year-old grandson Cole had come to visit his Papa and me in NH for the summer.
He came the first week of June and I brought him home to Oklahoma this week.
We almost made our visit last until our birthdays, but we had to celebrate a bit early. Mine is August 11th and his is August 10th.
Usually we split the difference and eat our  carrot cake at midnight on the 10th.
We have spent the last few days at his Aunt Jodie’s and Athena’s house with his cousin Jonas and last night we celebrated three August birthdays.
We bought enough cake for the two non-birthday people (Jodie and Jonas) because it just seemed like the right thing to do.
I’m glad we did that because I ate the leftover chocolate cake this morning!
Cole’s dad picked him up this morning and they hugged forever.
When I got home to New Hampshire, my husband took me out for a seafood dinner, so all in all…
I never plan my birthday, I just let it unfold and this was one of the best and hopefully, I have many more to come.
Posted in Gracie's Glimmer, Poetry From A Woman Who Thinks Too Much

I Unwish The Wish…

My mind is clouded with thoughts
but none that I can speak.
The words have all been spoken and
thoughts disintegrate as I attempt
to form words that I could say.
My mind is burdened with memories
but I have no more sentences for you.
I wish I did.
My words will not make sense to you
as your’s make none to me,
we said everything that we could say
the silence is deafening
as we stare at the damn TV.
I wish…I wish…
I could just show you my heart
and that I could see yours
so that we could understand.
Then I remember how hard we
struggle with each other’s reality
and we don’t have a backup plan.
So I unwish the wish and
I write words that are my truth
over and over again.
Hoping my head will believe
the words that my soul writes.