Feisty G.

Feisty G….the letters on the vanity plate of her car fit her perfectly.  Ginny…short for Virginia.  Trust me, when she used the long version of her name, it was a signal to back-off and say nothing.  Not that she would allow you to get a word in edgewise.

She never hesitated to let someone know what she thought of them, good, bad or indifferent.  Hell, she let me have it through the 40-plus years that we were family and I cannot say that her remarks at any given time weren’t well-deserved, not that I ever passed-up an opportunity to let her have it in return.

A little family background here:  my husband’s mother and sister married two brothers; the unions produced three boys who were more like brothers than cousins.  Somehow, my late mother-in-law envisioned that same closeness between Ginny, my sister-in-law and myself when we came into the family, always hoping that we would become like three sisters; sadly, that was never to be. 

Personality conflicts, misunderstandings and just plain stupidity drove a wedge into what should have been a close family relationship.   Ginny tried to always be Switzerland in between two warring sides and I know how much it pained her to not see everyone get along.  Often she would step out of the neutral zone and speak her mind, not that it did much to chip-away at the walls which so many years of familial indifference created. 

She could be a capatosta, to an extreme, when she wanted her own way.  I recall a stand-off where Ginny went to her husband’s job and sat down, refusing to move until he agreed to let her have a new washing machine.  No exaggeration here folks.  Just ask my husband.  Really.

No one had a bigger heart and was loved more than she was by everyone especially her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  Ginny was the Pied Piper of relatives when it came to kids.  If a parent said no, Ginny quickly overruled that action with lavish permissiveness, creating an unbreakable bond between herself and that child of the moment.  She was a cousin by marriage yet a most precious Aunt to my three children and later to my four grandchildren.

Yes, the words which I’m laboring to put down are in the past tense.  At 6:30 this very night, our collective hearts started breaking with the ringing of phones.  Right now, I’m struggling to recall special memories and I feel someone looking over my shoulder,  whispering,  you’re such a bitch!

I know she’s there and I’m angry at her for leaving all of us, for not walking, no running, away from what ended up destroying her.  I want to scream out…Damn you, Ginny!  Damn you for allowing cigarettes to become more important than those of us who loved you so, who wanted you to live for many years to come.  You left this huge void, this empty space in our lives that will never be filled.  You are one more person in my life who left…without saying good-bye.  Damn you. 

And, I hear her yelling back at me, in her raspy voice, scolding me for breaking a promise I made a few months ago when I last saw her.. You will be the one to take care of me, I know that; you will be there when I need you, she said and… I quickly agreed.  Somehow, foolishly, I thought she would be here forever, refusing to think she was so very ill.  I failed her.

Now, I sit here and wish for that step back in time, a chance to be crushed by one more of her best hugs, a chance to say…I love you, we all love you and…I’m sorry!   I sense that she knows all this for I can see her smile through my tears as if she’s saying…it’s okay.  At least that’s what I’d like to think as I watch her join all those who have been waiting.   

I say good-bye but not before yelling out…Hey Gin,  Shirley Temple just came through the Pearly Gates.  Order Chinese, invite her to sit down, and get her autograph.   Be nice!

She turns and gives me that million dollar grin, one last time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflections…

When the waves are round me breaking,
As I pace the deck alone,
And my eye in vain is seeking
Some green leaf to rest upon;
What would not I give to wander
Where my old companions dwell?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder,
Isle of Beauty, fare thee well!

 

Much like John Milton, alone is where I’ve been lately, at least with my thoughts.  With the holiday commotion now a distant memory, it’s time to get back to what many of us vow to accomplish in the months ahead.  Whether it is just one resolution, or many, for this new year, we also spend a great deal of time reflecting on the time that has passed. 

At least I do.

My last posting involved a high school reunion which will take place in just a few months.  A big one, at that.  Oddly enough, after sharing my thoughts, I had the pleasure of communicating with several classmates who I never did more than exchange smiles with years ago.  We’re learning about each other, our families and the roads our lives have travelled in the past (gulp) fifty years since graduation.  I sit and wonder if, without the social media highway, would many of us be enjoying these opportunities to reconnect?  Now, the idea of walking into our reunion venue later this year is becoming more exciting with each passing day.  And, this upcoming event provided me with a much-needed jolt of inspiration to write, something I haven’t been doing much of lately.

Call it The Blogger’s Flu. 

Every time I turn around, another of my blog-friends seems to have fallen victim to this same malady.  It happens to the best of us and, sadly, each year finds the loss of one more great writer in the blogosphere.   Chalk it up to life taking precedence.  Then, there are too many wrong turns which impact our collective creative muses.  As far as I’m concerned, the urge to sound-off about a particular subject (which I often do) hasn’t had flames shooting out of my fingers on their way to the keyboard in a very long time.  Just not feeling it, you know?

Give me time!

Inevitably, someone or something will light my fire and I’ll share my thoughts and feelings on that subject.  Trust me, there are a multitude of post-drafts waiting in the wings, collecting cobwebs, urging me to hit “Publish” but I’m not yet ready to set them free.  Some need fine tuning, others well…the less said the better so I might keep them to myself.  In the meantime, I’ll reflect a bit, back to a year that seemed to end as quickly as we welcomed its arrival.  Back to lost friendships, passing lives, political turmoil, the faint glimmer of economic recovery and unrealized dreams.  For now at least,  I’ll sit alone and think what it might be like to go back in time to wander through all that was once familiar, avoiding painful memories along the way. 

For now,  I share the thoughts of Anaïs Nin.  They fit me perfectly.

“I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.”

 

 

 

 

 

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A chosen few…

The big one is coming.

Nope, not a birthday, I stopped counting those when I hit, ahhh, well, a few years ago.

Not an anniversary either and I’m not talking Armageddon or anything political which, at this point in time,  is a hot topic.

It’s one of those, often anticipated, much dreaded, high school reunions.  My 50th, in fact.

 

The New Rochelle High School Class of 1964 held it’s twenty-fifth celebration back in 1989 and I attended, gingerly clutching my yearbook in an attempt to match faces from years before.  The women looked great (a lot of cosmetic enhancements) and the men…a long story.  A sobering part of the gathering was a memory board with photos of those who had passed, some while serving our country in Vietnam, others from illnesses or different circumstances.  There were lots of hugs along with blank stares as classmates struggled to remember faces they had only passed in the hall way back when.  The preppies, tech students, sorority sisters and brothers and those of us who merely stood on the outside…looking in at those chosen few.  Now I think how fitting the song  “At Seventeen” would have been when I was in high school; Janis Ian’s timeless words still speak volumes for the pain of those who never really find their niche, even feel that they belong, during the formative years of education.

Thanks to social media, reunion groups flourish and, of course, I’m a part of one, sitting more as an observer than a real part of my graduating class.  Just the other day, someone who had been a friend from high school posted about making up name tags for the gathering next year.   I replied that it was a fabulous idea with no response other than this woman telling someone else that she sent them a friend request, never acknowledging my supportive comment. 

Really.

Chalk it up to the advancing years of my former classmates, possibly a little memory loss setting-in,  but it made me stop dead in my have to go to this reunion tracks.  What would be the point?  I can see it now.  People grabbing their eyeglasses,  (in some cases, magnifying glasses) to read name tags and share an obligatory smile,  moving on to someone more familiar, more comfortable.  Then there are those who will profess their need-to-know just everything about your life (while telling about theirs) and then…move on to someone…yup…more familiar and much more successful.

It is what it is.  This isn’t a case of sour grapes for I’m fairly grounded with who I am and where my life has taken me so far.   Certainly, I could attend, going on and on to anyone giving me five minutes of their time about my writing and still un-published book.  Of course, I would sing endless praises about my children and incredible grandchildren.  I’d toss-out my dedication involved with the rights of children and animals along with my desire to get all the trashy housewives of anywhere shows off television.  Sure, I would impress anyone leaning over to read my name tag.

 

Mostly, I will remain on page 105 of some worn and yellowing yearbook with long-ago friends and parting wishes.

 

 

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