Front 1977 diary

Reflections from my 1977 brown diary

Monday, July 4, 1977

I helped Mom pick raspberries a little. I called Paul [boyfriend] and Connie [best friend] to see if they couldInside front cover 1977 diary

come to Lake Marion with my brother and me. They could and did. We took them from our place to the lake … We got home around 5:30.

We stopped at the Dairy Queen in Glencoe. Paul treated. When we got home we played pool until Connie had to go. Then Paul’s mom came and I went home with them. I had a hamburger at their place. After a while we went to the foose [foot?] ball game. Afterwards we came back to his place ’cause his mom had to use the car to pick his dad up from work. We watched TV for a while [Code: we made out on the couch]. Then he took me home. Got home 11: 30. In the house 12:25.

Comment: I thought I used more code. This is blatant! I recorded getting in the house 55 minutes after I got home, broadcasting that my boyfriend and I got real frisky in the front seat of his car. That means I was confident that no one was going to find my diary and grill me. It also means I was likely not closely monitored that night. I recall that my mom would switch the porch light on and off a few times to signal, “Get yourself in the house, Laurie Lynn!” Perhaps she did flick the light; I don’t know. Maybe I ignored it. But, oh dear, a lot can happen in 55 minutes, can’t it?heart pendent July 15 1977

Friday, July 15, 1977: … I went with [Paul’s] family to the pizza ranch in Glencoe. We had 3 pizzas. He gave me his class ring and a really pretty necklace. The ring he gave to me in the pizza ranch & the necklace on the way over there… The necklace is heart-shaped & gold colored with a white & black pearl on it… 

Comment: After reading this page I wonder, “Do I still have that pendant? I think so.” I run to look in a tin container in my bedroom that holds bits and pieces from my childhood jewelry box. Gold high school medals for singing, old suitcase locks and orphaned earrings abound. The heart pendant is there. I hold it in my hands and go back to age 15. I was so excited to receive my boyfriend’s class ring and this pendant. After all, we’d been “going out” for almost six months.

Six years later, I gave that ring back to him after we divorced. He wanted to be free. Monogamy turned out to not be his best skill. He played rock guitar much better, or so thought all his groupies. I did keep the wedding ring with the tiny diamond. Seven years later it became a trade-in on my next wedding ring with a marquis diamond. The bigger the ring–the harder the fall. That’s another story, and … another divorce.

But I still have the heart with the black and white pearls.

And I still have my heart, and I still play pool. I’ll find a new chain and wear it for  luck when I play eight-ball down the street.

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A few minutes ago I gave two ladies from my yoga class a ride back to their cars. Here at my apartment, we consumed a bottle of German Gluhwein and chatted for a couple of hours after class. While they were here, I pulled my 1992 diary off the shelf and read a page to them. The surprising quality and sincerity of the words felt like when you put on a jacket and find a forgotten twenty-dollar bill in the pocket. When I returned home, I again picked up the diary and found one piece of yellow legal pad paper in the inside front cover with the date of my 30th birthday on the corner of it and a short entry. I wrote this when I was newly married, living in Massachusetts and mothering my three-month old son. In the corner I sketched a drawing of the Christmas decoration that I’d described on the page. I find it odd that I referred to my then husband as “my husband” and didn’t say his name. It’s as though I was writing it for a larger audience even then. Nonetheless,  below is the transcription.

1/2/1992 [My 30th birthday]

Tonight before my husband went to

Bell sketch

For whom the bell tolls

bed he wound up the musical bell hanging in the dining room doorway. It played “Silent “night” as I nursed my baby . I began to sing along to it in German just as Dad always used to do. As it played it got slower & slower and I wondered if it would end perfectly at the end of the song and have a nice ending rather than being halfway through a verse.

It got very slow and seemed like it would end just right, but then kept on going very very slowly into one last verse and then stopped halfway through, leaving it unfinished. I thought that it was kind of like Dad. He got slower and slower and labored to even breathe breaths slower and slower until finally he just drew one last breath, like the last little chime of the musical bell.

He only lasted halfway through my pregnancy, just like the musical bell only got halfway through “Stille Nacht–Silent Night.” I guess life is like that. Things don’t always come to an end when you want them to; they stop and leave you wishing it could have gone on just a little longer.

4/17/2018

My dad used to sing “Silent Night” in German. I ached over losing him to cancer while I was expecting my first child … a pain I still grapple with. Throughout my teen years, I’d watched him be a wonderful grandpa to my older sibling’s children and I wanted him to take joy in my child too, when my time finally came to have a child. But, melanoma cancer killed him before that could happen. The lesson I’m feeling is to love and enjoy my children while I’m on this earth because I don’t know when a sickness or an accident will take me.

I felt really good when I picked up the mail today and saw that my daughter’s new health insurance card came in the mail. I feel happy that I have a job that allows me to give her health insurance and I’m glad that I’m in the position to help her like that. My son is now past the age when I can cover him, but at least I can be there for my daughter when she needs me. I know my dad would’ve done the same for me.

The parent/child bond is amazing. I can be a writer, painter, or singer, but I’m most happy when I’m being a mom.

 

Last evening as read about another’s struggle to deal with their mentally challenged brother’s injury, I looked up from my phone and cried. Then I softly spoke the ache I’ve always felt for my special sister who was born when I was a year old. Her mind never developed much past eighteen months. September she passed away. But… I get to keep living. This, I guess, is survivor guilt.

I held the gold angel from Kristy’sangel from Krissy casket bouquet and said:

Whatever my sis had

I wanted her to have more.

When she made a sound

I wanted her to talk.

When she smiled

I wanted her to laugh.

When she took a step

I wanted her to dance.

When she breathed her last I wanted her to live on.

And, now she does…

 

 

As I watched and listened to a Verdigris (new ensemble) sing this evening a three-year-old girl happened to sit next to me. The choral group transfixed me with their sneak preview of the “Becoming Alive” a musical narration of the Velveteen Rabbit. But, I was surprised to see that the spoken sections of the story were not nearly as intriguing to this little girl as the singing. That’s a testament to the group’s mesmerizing skill and showmanship.

If the preview is anything like the complete work I’m going to love it! In just the few snippets they sang for about an hour at Interabang Books in Dallas, there was such a unique variety of textures and styles.

Verdigris bunny

“Once you are real, you can’t become unreal again.”

My concert-attending friend, the blonde-haired girl, played with her dinosaur but when the singers beat on their chests to create a rhythm she giggled and tried beating her chest too. Then she put down the activity book they provided and watched and listened intently. So did I! But, well I’m supposed to have a longer attention span, I guess. The Renaissance style section of lined-up harmonies reminiscent of Gregorian chant reverberated, and even though some voices occasionally stuck out a bit louder than others at climaxes the overall sound was a fine and aligned blend. There is a fun moment when a baritone (or tenor?) gets away with involving the audience in a response and then  begrudgingly gives up the limelight when conductor Sam Brukhman chastises him. With rows of books in this lovely new bookstore (open for only a month!) and plenteous carpeting, the singers had their work cut out for them–no acoustic help from that absorptive environment! But they met the task and saturated the room with lovely accapella harmonies, interpretive crescendos and delicate diminuendos. This new group certainly charmed me and it was fun to see a young man the same age as my daughter up there conducting a fine ensemble with vim, vigor and voracity. They have a mission to “inspire audiences through innovative choral programming that engages more than just the ear of the listener.” I would have to say “mission accomplished” this evening.

Their actual concerts are held in churches with assuredly friendlier acoustics. You can email info@verdigrismusic.org for info about upcoming concerts or go to:  https://www.facebook.com/verdigrisensemble

Verdigris Full group

twitter.com/verdigrisensemb

instagram.com/verdigrisensemble

verdigrismusic.org

 

 

 

Buzzbrews June 2017

Not tea for two

Last night I went to a local classical open mic–not the type where people show up and sing badly and no one dares to take the mic away, but one wherein there are trained opera singers, and professional instrumentalists.  This is my fifth year attending it, and this time I took a different approach to selecting my pieces. I thought about what I truly adore singing and also what seems to have the most joyful affect on the listeners. My conclusion: German Lieder would be my music of choice. So many people have said, “Your Italian is nice, and your French is good, but I love it when you sing in German. You really show emotion with each word.”

The other aspect, I’ll admit, of going to this open mic in the past has been that perhaps I’d meet someone who likes this genre of art, classical music, as much as I do, someone I might love, and may love me. Lately I’ve just been thinking I must be the only liberal opera lover in the city of Dallas. So, I pondered. “I must do something different to be happy. Tonight I’m just going to sing, sing well, maybe sketch a bit, but most importantly–turn off my soulmate-seeking radar.” And, I did!

By the time the evening was done I’d sung Mozart’s “Das Veilchen” and told the audience about the clueless violet who hopes to be picked by the maiden and held to her breast and then she stomps on the little flower and kills it. After that came a strophic piece by Schubert called “Seligkeit” which means bliss. One verse affords me the opportunity to wink at the audience (eine Blick). Finally, I ended with my favorite Schumann song, “Du bist wie eine Blume.” This is a song to say my love you are as beautiful as a flower–pure and whole. I adore the words and how the piano and voice play off of each other. And at the end I reveled in staring lovingly at no one at all whilst the pianist had his final say in the last measures.

After all my music-making was done and my chamomile tea was consumed I found that I’d also finished a 5X8 watercolor of the bar in front of me. After the painting dried, the waitress received her $1.00 tip,  I said my goodbyes and then slipped on my backpack. As I drove home listening to the John Duke song that I’ll sing this Sunday called “I carry your heart,” I thought, “I am finally carrying my own heart.” Thank you for the text e.e. cummings.

The whole night I’d done exactly what I’d wanted to do and didn’t go hunting or aim to please anyone else. I was fulfilled. Passersby, loved my painting and several people commented on my songs. I can’t lie and say that the compliments meant nothing to me but the best one was what I gave to myself, permission to please… me.

The notification of a random “like” on my 2016 June-Day blog caused me to reread my thoughts that occurred nearly a year ago. I was job searching. And just like a play within a play that was a day within a day. In that blog I rolled myself back 35 years to when I was 18 by examining an old diary entry.

Tonight I decided to see if ruminating on this day in May as a 16-year-old provides any value to the overDiary stack Read the rest of this entry »

As I sat and wrote a poem to get this feeling of loneliness out of me I kept hearing chatting and laughing in the hallway. I could’ve opened the door and said, “Would you please quiet down” but instead asked, “May I join you?”

Two large kitties stretched on the floor and three younger women sat cross-legged sipping glasses of wine. I sat down on the floor with them and read to them the poem I just wrote. They were sweet and I simply loved chatting with them. If I’d decided to call security about the noise in the hallway it could have ended with such a sour note. Instead my cats met theirs, they saw my little place with my piano, and I have learned quite a bit from this, i.e., be open to what the world offers and embrace people instead of  carefully following all the rules.

And the poem emanated from a desire to “be nice” when saying “no” to a guy asking me out and then the loneliness that crept up and caused me to cry a little:

Nonexistent guy

I wake up in the morning and think about him

I want to text him and he wants to text me back

I compliment him and mean it

he actually sincerely means his compliments to me

they aren’t generic “You’re pretty” words but

ones that show he appreciates my mind

I like the way he smells

I want to kiss him

because he knows how to kiss me

and finds that place on my neck that

drives me crazy

he doesn’t think my opera singing

sounds like a dead cat screaming

he has been outside of the United States

and knows the rest of the world exists

he won’t berate me for my liberal views

and even shares many of them

he doesn’t try to convert me to a particular

religion or tell me to not accept all humans

if I cry about something he lets me

and never tells me to suck it up

he doesn’t mind that I can be messy and

would rather hire a maid if he really needs a clean house

he can cook or go out to eat but doesn’t expect me to be

a Betty Crocker wife with pearls around my neck waiting on him

hand and foot

oh lordy those days are long gone!

if I want to paint for hours he will not keep

asking me if I’m done yet.

he wants to travel and see bits of the world within a reasonable budget

he doesn’t spend himself into debt and is realistic about

what his and my finances can manage

he doesn’t hate my two cats

he likes to be passionate

and have an active sex life, because I

am alive and well in that department

he takes care of his body and doesn’t watch tons of TV

he doesn’t ramble on about sports because I don’t

know two bits about any of that, nor do I want to

he cares about his appearance and doesn’t wear

jeans when a suit is in order

but he will wear jeans or shorts to walk on a nature trail

in fact, he wants to go for walks with me

ah, he, the proverbial he who reads books now and then

and doesn’t think that Shakespeare is a bore

I think that I have not met him yet

and I am 55 and it may not happen

I may not meet that man who is my equal and does not

wish to lead me around by a ring in my nose

I don’t know if I will ever wear a ring on my

finger again. yes, I may be bitter, but at least

I am wise enough to know that having the wrong

warm body in the bed next to me is much worse

than having no body there

the kitties lay next to my pillow

and are warm and soft

and don’t ask me to do their laundry

or wash their dishes

they never watch porn

or pound a hole in the wall when they’re angry

or call me names

or cheat on me

or ask me to give me their freedom back

they just purr

perhaps I need a man that purrs.

Painting on the trail

Pause and paint