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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where you going?

I'm going crazy....you wanna come?

And so it went....the many questions my children would ask me and the answers I would give. When the kids were little, their questions seemed endless. After hearing that response many times, crazy became my only destination---as far as they were concerned. "You going to crazy again mommy? Can I come too?" Toni's little voice would call out to me as I walked towards the door. Every once in awhile, I took her to crazy. Sometimes, especially if I was only on the way to the bathroom, I'd tell her "No, mommy is going crazy alone this time..." These days, Toni knows her mother is going crazy and she happily comes along. She doesn't bother to ask. She always knows it will be worth the trip.

When I was little, I'd ask my mother where she was going and she would say "Up Mike's and down Jake's". I was always quite confused as to why my mother was forever going up to Mike Waslyk's house and I had no idea who the heck Jake was and why she would visit him so much. All I knew was that my mother was always visiting Mike and Jake. She had a secret life....with Mike and Jake. As silly as it sounds, I would imagine that my mother would visit Mike and drink orange juice with him (because that's what they gave out for Halloween) and go and play cards with Jake (whoever he was). To this day...I still think of my mom drinking orange juice with Mike Waslyk and playing cards with that stranger Jake. When I was growing up, my father always blamed everything on a person named Little Mergatroid Pecunis. If something was out of place or someone did something wrong in the house, my father always commented that Little Mergatroid did it. I wasn't quite sure who this guy was or how he got into the house. All I knew was that he must have been short...considering my father always called him Little Mergatroid. And, he must have been awfully disobedient and mischevious. Sometimes my father would get mixed up and call my sister Denise Little Mergatroid when she was misbehaving. Which was quite often. There are times when I think that she was (and still is) Little Mergatroid.

One time when Vince was very little, I took him to visit an old work friend in Moon Township who had retired several years before. He patiently sat in his car seat as I struggled to make some sense of the directions I had hastily written down days earlier. After quite awhile, he asked "where are we mommy?" Not wanting to scare him, I told him we were on "Lost Avenue which is right off of Who Knows Lane" After that, if a car ride got too long he would ask in his sing-songy voice "are we on Lost Avenue and Who Knows Lane again?" To be quite honest---he was usually right. I've never been too good with directions. A human GPS system I am not. It strikes me kind of funny these days that a major part of Vince's PhD research has to do with computerized dashboards and rear view mirrors with location detectors. Makes me wonder if his life's work was fueled by a childhood visiting Lost Avenue and Who Knows Lane.

When I was young, I spent quite a bit of time with my deaf mute Aunt Carmy. When it was time to clean up after dinner--especially after a Sunday or holiday meal--she would motion to me that we should just wrap everything up in the table cloth--with all the dirty dishes and food and trash inside it, tie it in a knot, open the window and pitch it out into the yard. I can still see her motions and facial expressions telling me her plan. Knowing the work that was ahead of us, I always thought it was very smart and wondered why we just didn't go ahead and do it. It made complete sense to me. Even then, I liked the idea of short cuts and making work easier! Funny thing--Aunt Carmy was way ahead of her time. Little did she know that an entire lucrative, critical-to-life business would come from it...throw away table covers, paper plates and plastic utensils. Some of my favorite (although not so green) inventions! I think of my beloved Aunt Carmy each and every time I make life simpler by bundling up a table cloth filled with the remnants of a big meal and throwing it in the trash!

It seems like some of the most ordinary, daily things in our lives become the things that stay with us, change us or somehow teach us. The not-so-grand gestures, the little things, the silly things and even the absurd things are the pieces of our past and our present that somehow stick inside our brains. At times they guide us, other times they make us smile and still other times we hear ourselves saying or doing the very same thing! Each and every day we say and do things within earshot and within the site of others. Thus, becoming a nugget of their life and adding to their memory banks. It's not necessarily the big things or the amazing things that we do and say that have staying power. Most times its the inconsequential things that build our stories and give us moments like right now--when visits to crazy, clandestine meetings with Mike and Jake, drives on Lost Avenue and Who Knows Lane, misdeeds by Little Mergatroid Pecunis and pitching garbage wrapped in table clothes out the window--become important. It all becomes part of who I am. Where I was before this. Who I left a piece of myself with. And who shared a piece of themselves with me. The wonder that was fueled inside of me. The wonder that I fueled inside others. It's all part of the legacy that is me....Judi. The building blocks of my new attitude....

Where is Judi going?
Thata Way.....




And, if Thata Way is a short cut to crazy.....do you want to come along?

3 comments:

Daffodil Hill said...

Absolutely! Little Mergatroid and I will be right on over, assuming we don't find ourselves on Lost Avenue which is a distinct possibility. I'm not so good with directions either. It will be a miracle if I find my way to my new home in MI. :)

Eileen, Founder, Organizer, Mayor and Chief Cook And Bottle Washer of the Anger Management Girls. said...

Why do I always find a short cut to Crazy Street?

My grandmother and mother used to always say they were busier than "Kate Stoup with the triplets"
A few weeks ago I saw a death notice for a Stoup and laughed to myself wondering if it was one of the triplets.
My great-grandmother was an invalid. When we had family dinners my grandmother would always slip away from the table to "Feed Nan." And lay down with her to take a little nap. When ever any of us wants to get out of doing dishes, we always say "I am going to feed Nan".
One of my projects I want to do is copy all my mothers receipes into a book for my whole family.(I am going to scan them so they are in her own writing) But in the beginning I am going to have a page of all the "Harrietisms" I can think of. THere are hundreds.
(Moms name was Harriet)
Isn't it funny what comes flying out of our mouths? Stuff we didn't even know we remembered.

Debbie said...

When we would ask my Mom what was for dinner she would reply," bread and stretch it". You can imagine how I pictured a loaf of wonder bread being stretched across the kitchen. Such good memories you stir up.