APRIL SUNSET AND MAY THOUGHTS 1975

1975 APRIL THOUGHTS, A SETTING SUN, AND INTO MAY
April 27, 1975
At Prom Park on a cold, showery Opening Weekend. Miss Jo, having accepted the night shift, is ensconced in the bedroom where she’s staying for the season. We’re also working on Paige’s prom dress. I cut it out Friday night and Jo’s started on it already! I’ll make the jacket later in the week.
Driving home last night, I was treated to one of the loveliest sunset I’ve ever seen. Every turn of the road brought a new perspective. The panoramic cloudscape with its subtle coloration would have delighted Constable. The pale blue sky hosted clouds ranging from dark to purest white—the lightest gradually suffused with a glowing peach, while the underside of the heavier ones were edged with palest orchid. As I followed the line of the reservoir, a golden path of light plated the water. At the highway’s end, I felt caught up in a strange sort of exaltation, as though I was suspended in a vortex of creation, inhaling the very breath of life. The silhouette of the forested hills only accentuated the saffron glow of sunset, while the descending sun illuminated each cloud with a unique color, shape, and meaning. This vision was a masterpiece not to be duplicated—and, as I realized the brief span of the marvel before me, it was straightway enhanced—and I sensed the crust of eternity, which is the hem of God. What a marvelous feeling—to be permeated with joy and the sureness that Truth, Beauty, and the Almighty—the eternal questing of Life, was absolute, free of mortal doubt and filled with an assurance that all that we desire, pray, and hope for—that the pinnacle of our finest ideals and hours are but shadows of the wonder that casts them upon our consciousness!
April 28, 1975
Gray overcast this Monday morning in contrast to Saturday’s splendor. Paige went to school and I put the zipper in her prom dress and hand-sewed the inner waist band. Now I have only to hem it. Jo has taken over on the jacket. Will treat her to dinner at the Blarney Castle one day to say thanks.
Joey has a big lump on his head where the boat hook fell on him yesterday. A man pushed it aside as it fell or he surely would have been killed or seriously injured. I tremble at the vulnerability of my children. If only I could put an invisible shield around each one to keep them safe from harm.
May 8, 1975
Would you believe it? The sun is shining down from an unobstructed blue sky! My emotional barometer rises accordingly, and optimism pushes darkness into the background.
Finished Havelock Ellis’s The New Spirit after weeks of pecking away at it, and have come to the “Conclusion.” In this last chapter read, in essence, what I have thought and written in a previous journal concerning the meaning of art and music. Of course, he says it more clearly and with a beauty beyond my own daily scribbles; so I must quote part of it, regarding music.
“That is why no other art smites us with so powerfully religious an appeal as music, no other art tells us such old forgotten secrets about ourselves.
“Oh what is this that knows the road I came? It is in the mightiest of all instincts, the primitive tradition of the races before man was, that music is rooted.”
And now that I am about it, with the hurry of the day upon me, will copy a quotation from Huysmans that is included. It struck a note in me, providing a vivid, visual picture as well as the weight of intuitional understanding and sadness:
“Take pity, O Lord, on the Christian who doubts, on the skeptic who desires to believe, on the convict of life who embarks alone, in the night, beneath a sky no longer lit by the consoling beacons of ancient faith.”
Mother’s Day: May 11, 1975
Alone on a friendly stump by my roses under warm gray skies that open now and again to show their blue satin petticoats. Nushka is with me, and I have paid tribute to Chip’s grave with tears and remembrance, for it was his death a year ago that brought me Nush. And there is grief for my mother who is gone, and for myself who am alone.
All I know is that I have got to keep going for the children, whatever the cost or labor and if I survive, I pray there will come a time of peace.
May 16, 1975
Weariness covers me like a cloak that seeps into my bones, but I accept it, vaguely hopeful of its passing. How shall I manage work tomorrow? Must overcome this lethargy and get up and dress, wash dishes etc. and then trundle out to the garden like a good little mama.
Suddenly a swift, wicked thought—a wild stab of a vision! Nush and I off in the woods—me, dozing on the sweet grass of a small meadow while the birds queue up in the trees to serenade us, and all my thoughts go slow and deep…. Oh, could I but shake that nagging sense of duty…but if I don’t get my work done, it won’t be done at all—and it must. Pray God, the fastness of the wood will keep for me, and I will lie in that vast embrace….senseless, doddering, ancient with dust, encrusted with wounds, and yet, rising to bask in the light of its healing love.

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Published in: on February 17, 2019 at 9:54 am  Comments (6)  

JOURNAL JOTTINGS APRIL 1975

JOURNAL 1975 APRIL
April 1, 1975
April Fools Day. Wish I was still in bed, but that wish is not to be granted.
Business still slow at Hook.
Read to Joe all evening and finished “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The Two Towers comes next. Increased my afghan by only one row of new stitches.
The daffodils and hyacinths are blooming in the porch planter. They look so lovely, and spring timey.
April 3, 1975
Thursday finally. Didn’t go to bed until after 12—frustrating evening. Began work on the afghan and found I was 3 stitches short! Had to unravel 50 rows (a hundred really since each row is a double line) to catch the error! Over half of all that work down the drain!
Then big sister Phyllis called to scold me for being distant and not visiting often enough.
Tuesday, April 8, 1975
Answered only one letter so still have that particular sword poised over my shrinking neck.
Ev’s son very sick with mumps so spent a whole afternoon with her, trying to help where I could.
Finished the center section background of the afghan and began a side panel last night. Read to Joey for about an hour. Nushka is in love with a bitch on River Road and broke his chain again. Pete brought him home in the pickup. I bathed the smelly creature last night after work but am fearful he will have rolled in another dead fish or worse—such aggravation!
April 10, 1975
Sunshine at 9:15 a.m. I ought to be upstairs readying for work, but will take time to write a few more lines. Took Nush out on a leash yesterday between the end of work and PJ’s 5 o’clock ballgame. (They lost, though PJ hit the only RBI with a double). Ran Nush up across the bridge into the woods and saw the trilliums were in bloom! As were drifts of blue gorse—how lovely and pure their petals are—without blemish, their texture crisp, firm, and sharp-edged. It seems they cannot fade, ever.
In bed last night, I thought of Mama. I should be less surprised to “see” her than to “hear” her! When I brought her to mind, I could almost hear her voice, and the suddenness of it, the familiar timbre and inflections brought her to physical life so acutely that I was shaken. Perhaps we are so visually oriented and accustomed to photographic likenesses that the faces of our dear ones become unreal and one-dimensional. But the voice, the sound of them, and the heart is riven as if by earthquake!
April 12, 1975
Saturday—a blue and gold day! Must hurry as I’m to meet Phyllis in Portland. Intend to buy tapestry yarn to do the pattern on the afghan and this particular shop closes at noon today! Beautiful weather yesterday. The sun brought out the perfume of the hyacinths while I was occupied entirely in household chores.

April 24, 1975
Rain still falling so Opening Week-End will be wet as tradition demands.
Joey says a new girl came to school yesterday and he “almost died”—she is the prettiest girl he’s ever seen. He washed his hair this morning and donned white cords and a nice shirt to begin his campaign. The fact she’s an 8th grader doesn’t intimidate him!
Once again my trip to Salt Lake hangs in the breeze of financial fortunes. But! A wild currant is in rosy-red bloom—a seedling that’s come up by the house among the rhododendrons. Hurrah!
Making good progress on the afghan. Still reading The Trilogy aloud—now to both Joe and Paige! For myself, Turgenev’s FATHERS AND SONS, and quite enjoying it, as I do most Russian writers. Their descriptions are full of fascinating details. Their work is like needlepoint compared to American quilt making.

Published in: on February 10, 2019 at 11:59 am  Comments (6)  

JOURNAL END OF MARCH 1975

JOURNAL END OF MARCH 1975
March 28, 1975
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar,
I love not man the less, but Nature more….”
The above must be credited to Lord Byron, but God gets full marks for the woods and the sky over me. Nushka and I are back at McIver, and the sense of unease experienced on our last trek has evaporated. I drove to McIver from the top road and parked in a blocked drive—end of a trail we once hiked extensively before tourism claimed the area. The valley fell away before us as we drove down the entrance road—fingers of timber, palms of grass and ribbons of silver water to mark the river. Mt. Hood dominated the horizon, cool and crisply white against the sky, a tongue of white cloud atop her peak for mystery.
The breeze is chilly, but the sun leans warm on my back. Many catkins are out and I hear an owl and a towhee. Spring seems slow this year somehow, though, looking down, I see salt and pepper abloom.
Dad sent me a check for $100!! Intended for the family at Easter. Will give the boys each $10 toward their skis and Paige toward car repair. The rest will probably go for bills.
Began the 1875 pattern afghan with a white horse in the middle and roses in the corners. Am quite hooked on it if you will forgive the play on words. Want to go full speed and get it done so I’m unencumbered when I begin the book.
Have been reading the Tolkien Trilogy aloud to Joey. (Read it to Paige several years ago) We are about to begin the last section of the first book—“The Ring Goes South,” so that is another demand on my time and eyes.
Well, shall press on into the hinterlands
We are now in the “swamp bowl”—Nush laps the clear shallow water in the dappled sunlight. There are hundreds of hellebores, their tapering veined leaves illuminated in a delightful pattern of green symmetry. The broad marsh grasses are cropped short, probably by deer or the farmer’s cows—or both.
A tender flowering woodland shrub is all a’leaf everywhere it grows. Blue gorse flowers blossom in secret drifts. I saw one delicate spray of lavender spring beauties. A song sparrow serenades me.
March 31, 1975
A gray Monday to end the month. Rain fell in the night and the road is still wet. Have progressed on the afghan and am a little more than half through with the center section background. Watched the second half of The Ten Commandments on TV last night and all through my dreams, Charlton Heston strode in his robe of Levis–!!
I wake each morning and say—only x number of days to go. Counting days until Friday and the weekend. I don’t really dislike working so much. It’s the rush in the morning and the things not done at home. The yard is going to demand time—the housework, of course, is eternal—then there are the letters, other studies, and perhaps time for a dream or two…. The empty shape of longing.
We live in such tumultuous times. Drugs everywhere and the world in turmoil. Will I ever understand the things that occur in this strange world of 1975? I have believed that though times change, people do not—but perhaps they do. And not always for the good.
Cambodia’s president flees and refugees clog the thoroughfares of South Viet Nam, and here the recession and inflation continue. Never before have I considered the resentment that must consume people in every age, when wars and governments have stolen and disrupted their lives. I sense it in myself at times though I have not been truly or lastly thwarted. But I suspect its ultimate arrival.
The questions and paradoxes of this generation appear to reject so much of our heritage, and in so doing, overturn a previously sought balance between progress and tradition. But how can one person or even two, affect a society teetering on a razor’s edge? Shouldn’t there should be a wedding between the old and the new, a union between the best of both and not the worst? Where is the wisdom or power to choose? Expediency seems to rule the day and Wisdom is an outcast that few seek or honor.

Published in: on February 3, 2019 at 9:52 am  Comments (6)  

MORE OF MARCH, 1975

March 10. 1975
Monday morning and the dawn sky is as blue as the wings of a butterfly. My song sparrow is singing joy in the morning, but there’s light frost on the cars. Have the grapefruit sectioned for the boys and the animals fed. Now must scramble eggs for French toast. And call my lazy sons one more time. My feathered songster is a veritable star and sings the most complicated routines with ease.
March 13, 1975
Think the new bank loan is squared away after all, so will have to go with Pete about 9 a.m. tomorrow to sign the papers. Then we can pay the damn taxes up to date!
Last night Sherri called, wondering if I’d heard the latest news flash—which I hadn’t. [clipping pasted on this page] This item in today’s paper explains what late reports revealed last night. Two children were found shot to death in a remote part of McIver Park; each shot 3 times but no trace of their mother. I had a case of the ‘willies’ reading this because I’d hiked in McIver Sunday and the report said the children had been dead about 3 days! I wonder if my thoughts and uneasiness that day were dim ESP blips, especially as I recalled the man I saw walking through the brush. These events cast a shadow on that fair piece of land, though don’t believe it was anywhere too near my favorite haunts. Doubly glad for Nushka and the fact he is rarely out of my sight during our hikes.
Theories abound, as the mother had taken the children from their father for a day’s outing and sometimes, horrible as it is, parents will murder their own children in order to punish their spouses. Of course, there’s also the rumor that a nut case could have disposed of all three.
Whatever the truth of the matter, it’s a sad, uncomfortable feeling. On the brighter side, a “brand new” fossil was discovered in Texas. [news clipping pasted on the page]
“The flying creature has been dubbed the Texas pterosaur and is the largest flying creature now known. The fossil remains indicate the creature which lived more than 60 million years ago had a wingspan of 15.5 meters or 51 feet, larger than the 38 foot wingspan of an F4 fighter jet and about double that of the largest such creatures (known) up to now.” [article by Brian Sullivan]
Very exciting! Perhaps there will be new discoveries to fill in the evoluntionary gaps between Leakey’s prehistoric humans and other branches of our species.
Later in the day: “It’s not a matter of risking failure; it’s giving triumph a chance.” H. Wheldon on Bill Moyer’s Journal—Channel 10. Isn’t that a marvelous way to see that old dichotomy freshly?!

March 15, 1975
Persistent rain today. Very gray. The search continues for the mother of the dead children at McIver. And yet daffodils and crocus are splashes of pure gold. Peach trees burst with pink popcorn blossoms, and I see that the sweet young braids of the weeping willows are green and graceful again. Spring goes on despite human tragedy.
Thus I gaze upon my winter aconite. Their tiny yellow blossoms are opening, and I must soon take a hand with Nushka to keep the villain from making mischief with my plants. I am in constant anxiety that he will lie down on the burgeoning tips of my peonies and break them off!
March 17, 1975
St. Patrick’s Day, Begorra, and another week socked in with rain. Such a hunger to write today—to stay home and listen to the talk of wind in the trees. I’m drenched with the kind of feeling I had when writing Volunteer—Oh, damn work!!
Later: At home, sitting by the kitchen heater watching rain scrub down so hard the world seems wrapped in a gray veil. Smoke puffs rising from the chimney add to the blue-gray exterior.
March 19, 1975
“Heredity deals the cards, and environment plays the hand.”
March 21, 1975
If ‘one swallow does not a summer make’, will the date on a calendar suffice for spring? Gray with the promise of continued rain marks this equinox.
March 22, 1975
Have been glancing over an old, incomplete manuscript, “The Fall of the Year” and am both appalled and encouraged. The writing in so much of it, especially the earliest pages, is so trite and immature that I wonder how I considered it worth adding to, but the fact that I so clearly see its flaws surely indicates an improvement of some sort. Can I ever progress so far beyond my present state that TCH and even VFG will be embarrassing to revisit? An exhilarating thought on the one hand, though I wince at the potential damage to Volunteer. Oh, God, how I wish I could begin my new novel now!
*TCH: The Carriage House, my first novel, unpublished
*VFG: Volunteer for Glory, my second novel, published, still in print

Published in: on January 27, 2019 at 1:02 pm  Comments (4)  

MARCH BEGINS 1975 JOURNAL

JOURNAL – MARCH 1975
March 2, 1975
March coming in, half lion and half lamb. Sunshine in bright bursts while fluffy sheep clouds and wind roar, playing through the tree tops. I would love to feel energetic enough to go to the woods. But if I do, I’ll be too tired to start the week at Hook, so better lay low. I’ve got to get over this damn virus that drags on even when the acute stage is past.
But I can see all the fresh grass and new branched leaves in my mind, and smell the wet damp scent of growth beginning. But I must change the boys’ bed linen. Guess I’ll bake a Bundt cake for tonight’s dessert.
Just remembered I promised Dad I’d write today. He called last night so I’m committed. He’s as full of blandishments as an April morning in Ireland! So, must do as promised.
Have slept in gloriously for two mornings! What luxury. But bad dreams. Meeting evil forces and false religions, having to challenge and counter-challenge the enemy. Not so much frightening as exhausting.
Must get at those beds now! And dress. Write Dad, bake, and start dinner. It’s already 2 p.m. Oh damn! And we have daffodils in bloom!
March 3, 1975
A wet gray morning and the last thing I want to do is go to work. But Duty calls. Why, oh why is Duty so often unattractive? Guess it is too often at variance with one’s personal needs or desires. Was it Emerson who said he ‘envied not the beast of the field in any clime’ or something similar? Well, I wouldn’t seriously change places, but those ‘beasts’ have something most humans lack—the right to sleep when sleepy, eat when hungry, and play when playful. We humans are ever at odds with ourselves. We work when we’re tired or sick—go to bed when we want to stay up, and remain in occupations any self-respecting animal would have abandoned when boredom or pain first struck. Now I must finish that letter to Dad, hurry through the chores and get to work. If I didn’t have these three days off, I think I’d drop dead.
The bridal wreath has tiny leaves of pale green, and the crocus are purple, white and yellow.
March 4, `975
A song sparrow is singing outside in the pale blue morning. PJ plays with Nush while waiting for the school bus and Joey hovers by the heater until he’s called.
Another upsetting day yesterday with Pete. Money trouble as usual and misunderstandings. [I won’t describe them here]
I hope today will be better and so on—if only we can reach a place where these financial crises are past. Well, had best get to work. Another day and hopefully a few more dollars.
March 5, 1975
Another blue dawn after fog, but a golden half-moon hangs over the black-lined trees. The song sparrows are warbling, and Nush barks.
Later: starting breakfast for Pete and me…nine o’clock advances on running feet. I have goosebumps even though I’m by the heater. Fog drifts in and out. The sun has now chased the moon down or at least out of sight. I can see frost on the ground. Water-color blue skies make me want to stay home. Then I could wash the windows and clean house and maybe do some poking in the yard. Picked a bouquet of daffodils and Lenten roses for the table yesterday. So lovely. I now believe in Spring!
March 6, 1975
Dental appointment at 10 this morning! Shaking in my boots—hope my most fantastic fears are unfounded.
Played a little tennis after dinner with Joe, but not much. Rotten headache.
Clear today but still nippy.
Have to record a quote from Ted Mahar’s column in the paper. “Whether a diary is interesting, of course, depends on one or both of two things: who wrote it and what they did and saw. If the writer is an intelligent, witty or insightful person, unspectacular events can seem interesting. Even a dull writer can be worth reading if, say, he or she watched the Sack of Rome or arrival of the millennium.”
I’d better be one of the three mentioned, or this journal is doomed to be an exercise in trivia.
Well, off to the wars!

Published in: on January 20, 2019 at 11:01 am  Comments (5)  

MARCH 1975 ROMANCE AND REALITY

Marching on with March 1975
Exhausted but with a nice sense of virtue. Cleaned house thoroughly and it rewards me with the shining, well-cared-for glow of a loved child. Stew is stewing and the only things left to do are folding towels and baking apple pies for Margret and Diana’s visit tomorrow.
A Strauss record is spinning romantic waltzes, and I find myself succumbing to a pleasurable melancholia like the ones suffered in adolescence. Ah, the pain of unrequited love! In those far off teen days I prayed for romance—I, whose outstanding mental characteristic is a need to analyze and understand. No, I longed then to be submerged in that delightful frenzy called romantic love. No crudities, please—only strong, despairing passion. Does everyone experience such infatuations? The melting desire called up by the curve of a mouth, the vulnerable nape of the beloved’s neck—a look of laughter or weariness.
I tell myself I’m glad to be done with such nonsense. But sitting by the fire I let Strauss revive old feelings. Me, 37 years old, and still susceptible to dreams. And stubborn fantasy colors my exquisite ball gown, as a handsome stranger whirls me around the dance floor. There is magic in his ardent eyes and smiling lips.
Of course, there would be danger in this scenario, a tragedy, for after all, our affair would be the stuff of Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard!
How silly that sounds now. But at 17, the future glimmered with possibilities. Here there is no future. Only the present that extends to the grave. Still, the naivete of these dreams does not dim them. Bright as the first snow, piercing as the cry of the first robin, they remain, jeweled as the dew drops in the heart of a rose.
Such is the power of first love, the feeling that one is part of something larger than oneself. Perhaps it also explains the core of sadness in all love—because, like the rose, its glory will fade.
So I muse that realists may be the fortunate ones. Do they not see life clearly, without undue expectation? Able to accept what comes to them, they are not easily dashed by life’s offerings. “Well,” they may ask the dejected romantic, “what did you expect?”
Yet I wouldn’t trade the heights for that pedestrian path. No, even though I plummet again and again, like Icarus into the sea. I’ll regrow my singed wings, because I fully expect to love again and go soaring upward to touch the sun!
Later: My romantic fit over, I look at the clock. One. Pete and the boys are taking off, leaving the coast clear for girl talk. Glad he didn’t back out at the last minute—but at least I feel more like the house might be half mine—equal rights and all. Paige just came home, whipping into the driveway like Mario Andretti, the race car driver!

March 9, 1975
Sitting atop a huge eroded stump overlooking the ruffled shirt of the green-blue Clackamas River. Nush and I came down to River Mill Dam in the pick-up this afternoon. The partially sunny day was too potent to resist but I didn’t want to squander my returning energy walking down River Road. As it was, I’m glad we didn’t, for we saw a lot of people and their dogs congregating about the newly occupied, but still tumble-down cabins. Where went the solitary lane of seven years ago?
Still, the shore here is the same. I see the “writing rock” from my perch and remember how Paige and I pushed Chip into the river from it. He thought we were wretches and wouldn’t come near us for most of the return hike.
As I thought about this, I noticed a crackling in the brush. Nush looks inquiringly in that direction. I catch a glimpse of a man rather aimlessly walking back toward the cabin trail. Nush growls warningly, and I place my hand on his collar. I shouldn’t feel so possessive about this little patch of wilderness, but I do—it’s where I can feel alone.
Above a white mountain of cloud, the sky is intensely blue, and the sound of running water is musical, rather like thin silver bracelets softly clashing together. We’ll go back up into the park and head for the Preserve area.
Later: In a grassy little inlet on a deer path. An owl flew lazily off to another tree as we approached, and I can still see him if I stand up. Blue gorse flowers bloom in the feathery green-gold moss at my feet. The Oregon Grape is studded with tightly curled blossom buds, while the leaves are polished as though with wax. Glancing up, I see that the sun has dropped a little closer toward the horizon, and clouds with bellies full of rain are gathering, driven by a westerly wind. Time to head for home.

Published in: on January 13, 2019 at 10:30 am  Comments (5)  

Glorious Snow 1948

Winter Memories….
Excerpted from January 25, 1974
The year is hurrying by again, cut into snippets by weekends and chores. Whatever happens to one’s perspective of time? When I was a child, summer stretched before me like an ocean, vast and uncharted. I swam in faith, like Columbus. Eventually, of course, the warm land of summer would give way to rain and wind, rubber boots, and school bells.
But there was always Christmas, when the Sears catalog people might bring riches to our doorstep. Or failing that, unknown aunts and uncles, ancient relatives forgotten or believed dead, would clog the mail with packages for our delight. This could be the year!
Of course, it wasn’t, as such expectations are dashed by the iron boot of reason. But there was one magical season. Not Christmas, but New Year’s.
It began on a cold, dark day when I accompanied my father and stepmother to a New Year’s Eve party. The bells rang at midnight, and everyone ran outside, banging pans, and blowing whistles. I didn’t join them but searched the sky.
“Don’t be silly,” my father said as I explained myself. “It isn’t going to snow.”
“Yes, it is. It is! See, there’s one! There’s more! Oh, yes! It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” I spun around, arms outstretched in welcome.
And snow it did. It was 1948, the year of the Big Snow! In fact, it snowed so much Daddy was barely able to drive me home to Mama. All through the valley, schools were closed! How wonderful! An extra two weeks of vacation. My neighborhood pals and I were delirious with joy. Snow forts were constructed and snow balls stockpiled for red-cheeked combat. We ran and slid on the tracks left by automobiles. Those who owned sleds generously shared with the less fortunate.
We scorned plowed roads for travel, opting instead to lurch in and out of huge snowdrifts that were at least 4 feet deep. It took us an hour to go two blocks—red-faced, breathless with laughter, and the effort of pulling each other out of holes. But we triumphed, picking up Nature’s gauntlet while older folks, who’d forgotten what life was all about, grumbled, and walked on scraped, flat sidewalks.
We played at night, racing over the white fairyland, making snow angels, creeping about woodpiles transformed into mountains—drunk with laughter and running. Each night, to the last child, we prayed for more snow. We couldn’t get enough of it!
But, inevitably, the thaw came. A gloomy drip of eaves marked the change, sending icicles and spirits plummeting. Adults wore superior smiles, remarking that the bad spell was done, the cold snap over! Things would get back to normal. Ha Ha, you kids will go back to school.
We lay in our beds, somberly viewing the future. Once again we would be confined to the classroom, tied to dull arithmetic and sleepy geography. Desperate prayers wafted heavenward, promising good behavior. And lo, in the morning the world was encased in a glittering glass coffin. Trees groaned and split, branches crashed fracturing the icy sheathing below. The sun sent splinters of light and color into the dullest eye, penetrating even the adult mind with a sense of wonder.
Electrical wires were transformed into ropes of crystal. Walking was hazardous but not to be avoided. Our boots made jagged trails that crushed the snow beneath. One could have made a case for monsters roaming through the neighborhood. The ice held for two days, but at last our resolution grew weak. Ice was not as pleasant as snow—it might not be so bad to go back to school and play jacks and jump rope—and escape to the Saturday matinees on weekends. Spring would bring baseball, croquet and roller skating—along with biking for rich kids who had wheels. So, as the ice melted, our wills weakened. It was the news that school might be extended at the end of the year that broke us completely. We gave up. Our wonderland was reduced to winter’s familiar gray rains. But satisfaction still lingers as I recall that wonderful season.
Here in my kitchen, I wonder. Where did they all go? Those dreams and memories that sped away into unknown galaxies? Ah. The day’s half gone, and an inner dragon bites my conscience. Yes, I must get busy. But someday, I’ll reclaim the jeweled nights and golden days that filled my childhood imagination, and go sailing through time just like Christopher Columbus!

Published in: on January 6, 2019 at 11:47 am  Comments (4)  

FEBRUARY THOUGHTS 1975

February 9, 1975
Sunday. I’ve been up for two hours now. From my window I see damp gray air and gold plated clouds. My eyes feel good. I’m almost well now. It’s as though I’ve escaped from prison or the hospital. Nushka lies on the gravel drive as though it was soft as a bed. His plushy gray fur has a beige tinge—he needs a bath although after a day outdoors, he’d need another.
Need to type new labels for the fishing tackle at Prom when it re-opens. Went to see Jo’s kitchen. Her remodeling and redecorating have made it a show piece. It’s done in blue, but not at all cold as blues can sometimes be.
We had a pleasant day yesterday until the boys came home from skiing. Joey had a sprained thumb, just like mine, but not as bad. My poor old digit is not completely healed yet.
I wonder about this particular volume of journals. I have recorded a lot of frustration, anger, and disgust. Now I question the judgment of letting it fall into the keeping of the children one day. I don’t want to damage their opinion of their father, but my bitterness is too plain to be mistaken. This is the nature of ambivalence. I vow myself to silence, and then burst out. It seems the honest thing for inwardly I’m crying, by god, I shan’t bear it any longer, hear that, world?! Then comes the desire to erase whatever mars a temporary euphoria. But I can’t erase the hurts, the fears, the upheavals. I wear them like a rosary of resentment.
Well these journals reveal my real emotions. Can you understand it, you who read this? I hope so. Because you can love and hate someone – admire and censure them—support and destroy them. We humans are capricious, ephemeral creatures whose moral yardstick is probably the most unforgiving measure ever devised. It stands like a rock in a sea of change. But if we can’t let go from time to time when overwhelmed by the inevitable storms of life, will we not perish? Yet, we must not lose sight of that rock, lest we drown in our excesses.
February 15, 1975 Wednesday
The flu returned with full force on Saturday. Don’t remember ever being so miserable. At least four days into it, I’m beginning to feel tolerable. Enough to tackle some household chores. It has rained almost all day and the wood pile’s getting low. We ought to order some more.
February 17, 1975
At the orthodontist’s, waiting for Joe to have his braces removed. He wasn’t well last night but after medication, improved, thank goodness. PJ and pal George have come along with us. No school as it’s Washington’s birthday.
There was snow in Springwater this morning. Otherwise damp and cool at our elevation. Nushka was wild and full of energy and the cats raced through the front room, rattling all the bric-a-brac. Spring must be a strong premonition.
Want to finish this journal today as it’s almost used up—then I can begin a new one. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could start whole new segments of life so easily—fresh and clean—at Day One!
Joey came out of the “inner sanctum” flashing a brilliant white smile!
End of this volume!

Published in: on December 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm  Comments (2)  

JANUARY WOES 1974

January 23, 1975
My frightful lungs, throat, and sinus still bad, though felt better yesterday. That is until evening. Woke up about 3 and just lay there listening to my sinuses drain, trying not to cough.
Have now restarted the fire and washed all the snack dishes from last night. Hear Paige coughing too.
Put Nush in the over-night ward at the Clinic where he’ll be x-rayed this morning. Maybe we’ll discover why it’s so painful for him to move. Need to take PJ to the orthodontist to pick up his new retainer. The cut he received from a rock while skiing is healing, thank goodness. Joe’s braces come off on February 17th.
Feeling grim physically but might as well scribble in my journal as to sit doing nothing. So irksome not being able to sleep when I seem to never get enough.
January 24, 1975
What a gray Friday to be home. Pete got the boys up yesterday, but waved me back to bed when I ran downstairs in a panic because of oversleeping. He even made an appointment with the doctor for Paige and me. The cause was laid to a virus, but got some prescriptions filled.
Nushka home from the vet’s. That diagnosis worse than ours; a fractured pelvis. Vet says it’s painful but not serious; takes about 3 weeks to heal. Meanwhile keep him warm and “abed” as much as possible.
As for me, reading by the fire, though I have stripped the boys’ beds and put on fresh linens. Laundry going and ironing done. But nothing else, except for hoisting Nush up and out when the time comes.
January 25, 1975 4:15 a.m.
Another wee hour entry before the sun is up. Outside black night covers all and the rain sluices down in great silver rivulets. No, I’m not sick as I was two mornings ago; at least the medication is helping.
Pickwick, rain jeweled, crouches at his food dish and Nush pants, trying to muster the courage to lie down.
Well, he wanted out –so after a full evacuation, came in for a bit of sustenance; milk and puppy chow. He’s ready to lay down while I have a cup of tea.
I see dark circles under my eyes in the window’s reflection. My skin is pale, so they show like bruises.
I was bitchy this afternoon. Nush wet the rug, but I kept cool because it wasn’t his fault. I hadn’t carried him out earlier. But later when I tried, he kept yipping and snapping at me until I actually gave his nose a swat. Not hard, but an unworthy act. Naturally, he began to wet again, so I had to carry him out despite his protests. Then I had to clean the floor and bring him back inside. Was not in a good mood.
I wonder if my medication is too strong. My ears ring and I feel stopped up, only slightly improved. I was tired after laundry, ironing, bed-making, dish washing and dog carrying and clean up. I’m writing this to show that I’m aware of being a person with a lot of faults. I don’t suppose to know them all, but maybe if everyone knew all their faults, it would crush them too far down.
January 31, 1975
A queer buttermilk gray sky. The fir trees are wuthering in a high wind. Patchy snow still frozen over the ground and sun deck.
Thank God it’s Friday and my day off. Felt poor yesterday afternoon again and slept for about an hour before fixing dinner. Back in bed at nine and read scarcely a half hour before closing my book. I then prayed until falling asleep. God, if He’s a Person, must hate it when I’m sick because when I feel ultra grim, I pray monotonously. It’s the only thing that keeps me from outright dying. Or so it seems.

Published in: on December 16, 2018 at 12:52 pm  Comments (1)  

JANUARY DOLDRUMS 1975

January 10, 1975
The snow has been melted, absorbed into the earth. A still gray day outside my kitchen window. My mind races at breakneck speed over all I’d like to accomplish today, but know I won’t. Wrote Margret yesterday but still have 3 letters to go.
January 14, 1975
Fine rain floating like cobwebs over the road and trees this morning. Another day of waitressing at Hook coming up in an hour and fifteen minutes and here I am with coffee, breakfast dishes, and still not dressed.
More letters to write and laundry to finish. Felt a bit more energetic yesterday as compared to my 3 month slump. Hope I recover my zeal for action one of these days.
Everyone in an uproar yesterday at Hook. $70 missing from the till. How do these things happen?
January 15, 1975
Silvery light outside the kitchen window. Crystal drops from an almost invisible drizzle outline the little evergreens and decorate the Mt. Laurel. Yesterday was very busy. Worked two hours but made almost $2.00 in tips! Stopped at the store for a few items and saw that a quart of mayonnaise, once 59 cents, is now 91 cents. Prices keep climbing.
Cleaned the fireplace while PJ chopped kindling. Got the fire going, did laundry, put towels from Hook to soak, and made the boys’ beds. Then cooked a quick lunch for the kids and their friends and afterwards, took George home, a seven mile trip.
Wrote something for Paige on the Civil War, then slept for an hour.
Hate this feeling as though every day is a dragon to be slain.
[much of the following entries have been passed over as too depressing and repetitive in the foibles, fits, and frustrations of my life at this period of time.]
January 17, 1975
A dreadful day yet nothing really outstanding. Constant bickering and unrest both at home and at Hook.
Saturday, and a faint sunbeam splashes over my hands and face, a mild patina of light. If the weather holds, I may take Nushka to the woods tomorrow. Too late for today—too many chores to do and dinner to fix for hungry skiers.
January 19, 1975
A foggy Sunday. E. says she’s going to quit. I’m afraid it will be the same old story, Pete versus all my friends. Felt pretty low about everything. Went to Jo’s—we walked to Metzler Park through the fog and had a fine visit. Coming back it was dark and the fog felt like wet gray wool.
Yesterday the boys came home from skiing. PJ with a cut in his head from a tumble on the slopes, and Mike T. with a broken leg. Some three days!
But the crocus and hyacinths are coming up in the front bed by the planters. A cheery note in a dark world.
January 21, 1975
God, what a frightful several days. Nushka was hit by a car. The dodo went up onto the highway. Sherry and Chuck saw the whole thing and called. Nush came howling down the hill. We got him into the car and to the vet. No bones broken, but he screams when he tries to move. He hasn’t gone to the bathroom or eaten since and the vet is gone today! Very worried and upset. Took PJ to the orthodontist because he lost his retainer on the mountain.
January 22, 1975
Not as cold as last night but still nippy. Coaxed Nush to eat and drink but he still screams when he tries to move. Stood him up outside last night twice so he could wheedle. Which he did, thank goodness.
This morning, though he seems better in his appearance, he screamed frightfully when I tried to help him stand up. Thought he’d be a lot better. I can’t bear to think of losing him. I don’t know how I’d get on. I’ve become less willing to risk my heart as time goes on. I despise this trend but seem unable to change it. Maybe true nobility (or humility) is the heart that goes on loving all it can, no matter how often it’s broken.
Must take Nush to the vet before going to work. Struck by sore throat and infected bronchial tubes. Better today after taking Vitamin C last night. Have letters to write again this week. I wonder if people write letters in the after-life. I devoutly hope not! Just send thoughts direct.

Published in: on December 9, 2018 at 12:01 pm  Comments (4)