Filler Paper


She did not write it down.  She wrote everything down in that little journal with the boy on the cover holding a chocolate chip cookie with the title “My favorite Things.”  The journal was a gift from her sister-in-law, because if it had actually been from her brother, it would not have been at all.  It would have been a five dollar bill in a card that read, “I don’t know what to get a young lady.”   And she probably would have taken that five dollar bill and gone to Fay’s on a Friday evening with her mother and bought a journal.  So she could write everything down.

She went to Fay’s on a Friday evening with her mother, because while she was smart and had a few friends, those friends did not really do much on a Friday night.  So Fay’s it was.  Just to get out, to avoid boredom, though she was seldom bored, really, because she could always write.  Or read.

Where just a year or so earlier she read “The Incredible Journey” bought through her school’s Weekly Reader pamphlet.  And at the end, the animals running toward home made her cry.  The first time a book made her cry.  And it was like a first orgasm, because she didn’t know it was coming, but there it was and what a surprise.  Astonished, she would walk to the kitchen to report to her mother that she had cried and this was the most wonderful, amazing book she ever read.

But there they were at Fay’s on a Friday night.  It was difficult, you know, when you did not have pierced ears to find cute clip-on earrings that didn’t look like an old lady would wear them.  Fay’s had a jewelry counter with jewelry on clearance.  Her mother liked things on clearance.

Maybe she should just go to Rosenbaum’s some other Friday night and get her ears pierced.  Other girls had done it.  Those other girls were sporting little fourteen karat gold “starter” earrings in what had been perfectly beautiful untouched earlobes.  It seemed to be like starting your period, getting your ears pierced came at just a little different time for each girl.

But there was her mother standing at the clearance jewelry counter at Fay’s, so she ambled to the notebook aisle.  Wide-ruled looseleaf filler paper seemed so much more practical than fourteen karat gold starter earrings, which, once she finally did get her ears pierced a few months later, would cause such a bloody, pus-filled infection a month’s worth of peroxide could barely contain the conflagration.  She should have stuck to filler paper.

In the car, in the Fay’s parking lot, in the dark, her mother would pull out of her purse a pair of little pink flower clip-on earrings.  They were cute and not like something an old lady would wear.  Her mother did not pay for these.  They had no price tag.  Her mother was indignant.  But you can’t just take them.  Guilt kind of hung there in the car, in the Fay’s parking lot, in the dark.  Guilt was, at the very least, the gift held in her hand that took the form of cute pink flower clip-ons that an old lady wouldn’t wear.  So while her mother stayed in the car, she walked back to Fay’s, straight to the clearance jewelry and put back the cute pink flower clip-on earrings that did not look like an old lady would wear them.  Then back out to the car, in the Fay’s parking lot, in the dark.

“Don’t tell your father,” her mother said.

She did not.
And she did not write it down.



Santa Claus Knows Best

Do you know what I wrote on Sunday?  I wrote how my husband makes me smile and feel beautiful.  You know how long I have been married?  29 years.  My husband is kind, sweet, caring, and, yeah, he makes me feel mushy inside.  Do you think our 29 years together have been complete bliss?  Ha!  You bet, but every year right after Thanksgiving an insidious tune slithers into my otherwise delightful existence.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas I am married to 2 men– my legal spouse and Maurice Chevalier.  My otherwise sensible, responsible, trustworthy and analytical man loses his mind over a song about Johnny wanting a pair of skates.

Ron sings, in the worst French accent, with Mr. Chevalier.  “Lean your ear this way.”  Ron sings, in the worst French accent, without Mr. Chevalier.  “Susie wants a sleigh.”  Ron sent me a YouTube video of  “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”, so I would not forget my second, albeit temporary husband, Mr. Chevalier.

To maintain a marriage for the long term, well, you kinda, hafta, need to overlook your partner’s idiosyncrasies.  Now, Ron got lucky.  I have no ill manners or quirky, irritating peculiarities.  But to preserve my stable, loving union, I tolerate Ron’s perpetual allegiance to “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”  My advice to you, dear reader, is if your partner begins singing in an awful French accent, beware, because Maurice Chevalier may soon follow.  It is not so bad if you want skates, a sleigh or a book with yellow, blue and red, because dear Santa Claus knows best.


There Is No Pattern





Do you know what the pattern is?  No, you do not, because there is no pattern.

You graduate from college a semester late.  Your mother angrily advises you not to marry him, but you get married anyway.

The promotions come.  Melbourne, Richmond, Bartlesville, Jackson, Memphis.  Until the closures come.

You never really wanted a baby (gasp), but there she was, all puffy and pink and amazing.

You quit work and threw yourself into motherhood with conviction and desperation to craft every detail perfect, sublime and well groomed.

But here’s the thing.  Your hair is turning white.  That man you should not have married still makes you smile and feel all beautiful inside.  And that amazing baby is a way more awesome young woman.

When you think it is Spring
It snows
Big, beautiful, sparkly flakes float down from Heaven
There is no pattern
All we really get is love.




At Kroger

The store was full of shiny balloons, decadent chocolates and lush bouquets in advance of Valentine’s Day.                           

My pocketbook was flush enough that I bought a plane ticket to visit my crush…of 29 years.

Honestly, it never gets old.

Love is all around
Under the helium
Standing resolutely in a pot
Hoping, expecting, to be chosen















Beauty. Marks.



When I was a girl, maybe 9 or 10 yrs. old, I confided to my grandmother that I liked to wear long sleeved shirts to cover my arms, because I was embarrassed by the many moles dotting my forearms.

“Oh no, those aren’t moles,” she explained. “They are beauty marks, so you must be one of the most beautiful girls at school.”

I still carry the innocence and tenderness of this exchange with me.

And I wear short sleeved shirts.

My grandmother’s wedding
50th wedding anniversary