Tag Archives: “growing up”

hey, dad

My father was a peddler at heart. He made his living (and ours) as a captain in the merchant marines, but he would buy all kinds of things (clocks, beer mugs, straw hats, even a pontoon once) and bring them home with the idea of selling them. They always ended in our garage or on shelves in the kitchen. One time he bought a truckload of local watermelons and set himself up as a one-man roadside stand on the highway between our home and another town. My mother was embarrassed. My father was sunburned and didn’t sell any. He was always picking up excess lumber and building materials as he drove around town. Then he’d drop them off at whatever child lived nearest. He had grown up on a farm, and a spring garden was in our back yard every year, as well as as many fruit trees as he could plant. (Since he merchant marined for a living, our mother was the farm hand.) He’s been gone a long time out on that eternal sea. I wouldn’t mind him driving up, walking into my house in his long-legged, restless stride, and then showing me what was in the back of his truck just once more.

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ancient myth

Long ago on a galaxy far, far away……..

Before 7th grade, she’d been her own exuberant maiden; she’d written plays, loved boys, bossed them, fought them. She’d always been full speed ahead. She’d been a leader. It’s in junior high that Hades rears up out of his dark palace and takes her to an underworld of inferiority, not enough, a place where she can’t match the ideal of femininity in the mid 1960s. She runs for class president. Friends tell her they can’t or won’t vote for her because she’s a girl. Her body betrays her. A lithe androgyny changes to busty, hippy, plump, womanly. The cool girls are slimly, primly ripe. She doesn’t have enough confidence to play Marilyn Monroe, to use the body to manipulate. But later that’s a saving grace.

She can’t go steady. Her mother and the religion they practice won’t allow it. It seems like everywhere she turns in those years there are walls around her, walls she runs into and bloodies herself upon. Her mother is secretly pleased at her failures, her mother who can really do anything, but has only been allowed the roles of wife and mother and who has married into a family of broken men, harsh, handsome men, who order women about as if they’re nothing. She loves learning, the academic piece. It’s a place where she’s allowed to achieve without disapproval. But she doesn’t have a boyfriend. She has boys who like her, but they’re not the boys she yearns for…the heroes. She wants a hero…an outer hero to reflect the inner hero she’s had to suppress.

She is years coming out of Hades. There are no Hecates around with advice. Persephone is searching for her, but she doesn’t hear her voice for a very long time.