Wednesday, June 9, 2021

An Acknowlegement

It may well be Aunt Zoe’s fault. My little family used to visit her in Laguna Beach, California back when people could still afford to live there. She was my father’s father’s sister… a fervent Protestant Republican school teacher who never married. She scared me because she was loud and opinionated. She had rules and brooked no transgressions, but her affection was as voluminous as her anatomy. Everyone loved her. Neighbors, students, church members, strangers at the grocery store … all who fell within her orbit stayed within her orbit, smiling. 
    One day, returning from an afternoon at the beach, I sat at her desk and wrote about the waves marching to the shore in endless synchronicity. Aunt Zoe said it was brilliant and that I would obviously become a great writer. And I, who was barely seven at the time, believed her. Thereafter, I turned to writing whenever I found myself in new or uncomfortable territory. 
    When we moved from southern California to eastern Ohio, I forged a niche in my new world by writing for the junior high paper, then the high school paper, then, later for the college paper. Then, after graduation, for an actual newspaper. 
     When my marriage became untenable, I wrote a collection of poems and verse that became a program I presented to women’s groups. That helped. For a while. After divorce, I found a job … writing. When my employer decided to move to its offices from Chicago to Tampa, I found another writing job in the Chicago area– one that eventually gave me the opportunity to travel to other countries [Canada, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, England, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Australia, Republic of China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, The People’s Republic of China, Switzerland, and France. When that job fizzled, I quit and got another job … writing… that took me to South Africa (and Zimbabwe and Namibia]. And when that job disappeared, I quit and moved to Colorado to work on writing for myself. So far, two books.     
    I am working on a modest collection of essays but not with the discipline Aunt Zoe would have preferred. She was a great believer in discipline (and honesty and temperance). Actually, there might be much about my life that would generate her disapproval. Still, I know that nothing makes me feel more alive than when I am sitting in front of my computer letting the words accumulate in a fashion that makes some kind of sense, or point. Or both. Every time my dad pulled up in front of Aunt Zoe’s house, he would comment on the state of the hibiscus plant by her front door. I have my own garden now (in Colorado). Recently, I planted my own hibiscus. The flowers are my private memorial to Aunt Zoe in gratitude for her encouragement in a craft that has sustained me my whole life. And pulled me around the world.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Gertrude's Bras

Two or three years ago, buying bras was a big deal for Gertrude. After initial trials and errors, she finally found a store and sales attendant that could measure then find the particular brand of lingerie that could sustain her profile.

No more.

First, she broke her left wrist. Before that particular catastrophe, Gertrude had donned her bras with the usual struggles and contortions that enabled her to get the little hooks into the little metallic circles, reinforcing her profile. This maneuver was impossible with just one functioning hand. It was (oddly) her accountant who advised her: fasten it first then just slip in on over your head. It worked.

Then came the pandemic. The store with the wonderful sales attendant closed. Indeed, many things closed and [although she never tested the premise] Gertrude assumed that going to any store, working with any sales attendant, and trying things on would [if not illegal] risk serious contagion and/or death.

Time sagged. Gertrude sagged.

One day while sorting through the usual avalanche of mostly junk mail, Gertrude saw a catalog for female underwear. Guessing which might be the right size and variety, she placed an order.

Ten days later, the catalog bra arrived {ironically, in a padded envelope]. She unwrapped the item, fastened the hooks, and slipped it over her head and shoulders and yanked it down to the appropriate latitude. It worked. Or at least worked well enough.

So, hooray! Gertrude’s spirits and anatomy were lifted.


 It has been a VERY long time since I posted a blog.

There was so much other stuff to deal with, I just let it slide.

I have still been writing: mostly short, mildly amusing essays about an aging woman named Gertrude. Not so coincidentally, I am an aging woman. 

I have no idea why I didn't post those little essays on my blog. Perhaps it was a form of hibernation. But enough already. It is time to re-enter this particular area of cyberspace. This is your fair warning. Mim's blogs are coming back.