Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Thinker

My daughter says I think too much.
She says that because of that, I'm reluctant to post.
Even when there are things I want to, need to, write about.

What should I say?
Does this sound silly?
Did I use the correct grammar?
Is this too personal?
Will anyone be offended?
Should I?
Dare I?

She's right, you know.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bad Boys and Good Memories

I found out some bad news today. Through a random search for old friends, I discovered that one of my old boyfriends passed away last year. That just sounds so much better than died. He was the first boy I ever kissed and I can still remember when and where it happened. We had just graduated from eighth grade and were at a back yard party. Back yard parties were popular in those days. Music and dancing and swatting mosquitoes. Cheap and fun entertainment.
I'm surprised at how sad this makes me feel. He moved away in 10th grade, but by that time we were no longer a "couple". Whatever that meant in the 1960's. I remember that he was cute and had curly hair. He was a "bad boy" and my father didn't care much for him, even though his family background was much more impressive than my own. I remember that he always had a cigarette tucked behind his ear, more for effect than anything else. He also had a motor scooter which he would use to visit me but I was forbidden to ride. I actually never did. We had gone to separate K-8 schools, but then went to the same high school. I think we lasted through part of 9th grade, but I was more focused on schoolwork than he, and having a boyfriend who was always in trouble just got to be too much after a while.
I talked to him once many years ago. By that time I was married and living in Los Angeles, he divorced and living in Mobile. It was a pleasant conversation and I remember him asking about many of our former mutual friends. I later saw a photograph of him. He was holding a cigarette and looked like he lived a hard life.
From reading his obituary, I see he left behind a wife, a daughter,  three granddaughters, and a great-granddaughter, as well as a brother and a cadre of nieces, nephews and cousins to mourn his loss. He also left a lot more friends than he realized.
I hope he lived a happy life. I'd like to think that maybe he thought of me once or twice and remembered that kiss.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Flying High

I'm getting my clothes together for a trip to LA next week, and I got to thinking about my first airplane trip. I was seventeen. My mother and my three sisters and I boarded a plane from Atlanta to New York. Then we flew from New York to Ghana to Liberia where we joined my father who had just taken a job there. (But that's fodder for another post.)
The year was 1964. I had a brand new set of top-of-the-line Samsonite luggage. Red. I think the commercial showed a gorilla tossing the luggage around to show how much abuse it could take and still look like new. It was some mighty fine luggage and I kept it for years.
I wore a pink dress. It was made out of a new kind of fabric that was wrinkle resistant which was a really big deal then.  I also wore low-heeled pumps AND stockings (not pantyhose). We were all dressed up in our Sunday best, because that's how people traveled in 1964. Comfort be damned! My family stood out - not because of how we were dressed - but because there were few, if any, other Black people flying. Even to Africa.
When I board the plane next week, I'll wear denim capris, a t-shirt, and flip flops. (I roll with the changes of time, baby!) I won't stand out because of how I'm dressed or what color my skin is. And that's a good thing.
Some things remain constant, though. My luggage is still red, but it's soft-sided and it's definitely not Samsonite.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


My mother wears pantyhose. She calls them stockings. Not that she goes anywhere, mind you. She just wears stockings everyday. She'll be ninety next month, so that's not liable to change. Ever. Not just any stockings though. They must have reinforced toes but no control top. The color doesn't much matter - as long as it's nude or suntone. Oh, and you can only buy them at Kmart.
My mother lives in another state and I have three sisters that live within shouting distance of her, but apparently I'm the only one who can get her said stockings. The problem is, Kmarts are few and far between, and well, folks just don't wear stockings that much anymore. Especially that kind. Whenever I stumble upon a Kmart, wherever I happen to be (like driving to Florida for a vacation) I always turn into the parking lot and enter said store in search of the elusive pantyhose. Sometimes I get lucky. A couple of years ago, I sent her eight boxes. At three to a box, well, you can do the math.
She called me yesterday and said that she was "running low on stockings". That means, send more. Fortunately, I just happened to have four boxes that I bought somewhere between here and Panama City Beach last year so they are already packaged and ready to be mailed.
I used to wonder whether there were any stores near where she and my sisters live and if I'm the only one who's capable of buying stockings. Maybe it's the price I pay for never living close by. I left home when I was eighteen, eventually settling in California where I lived for thirty-five years before moving to Georgia.
Now I tell myself how fortunate I am to still have a mother who tells me exactly what she wants and needs and is still able to care for herself and put on her own damn stockings.