Category Archives: reunion

More thoughts and a tale from my misspent youth

Something I do a lot of right now.
As I watch, feel, and notice my body heal from a pretty brutal surgery… I reflect back on my life.
What is so amazing to me is that I have such a wonderful group of people here in my life now. 
A husband who waited on me through the surgery, held my hand, brought me food, made me eat when I did not want to, bought me more thermometers than he should have had to purchase for me as I lay in bed vomiting with fever and chills and consistently losing them to the depths of my mattress and covers, who rinsed the vomit bowl so I could have a clean bowl for the next round, massaged my neck that was sore from throwing up, is waiting patiently for my body to heal, fed me, clothed me, monitored me while I showered in case I passed out… crap, the list of things he did [is doing] for me is too long to even recall… I just know that I could not have gotten through the last few months without him. 
Then there are the folks that helped arrange food deliveries, delivered food, send cards, visited, called, sent a text… I am humbled by all of these things. 
An aunt who fought against her ingrained instincts and took care of me as best she knew how when my husband couldn’t stay with me.
My mom, who took time off and flew to be with me and watched her first baby sick and vomiting and trying to recover; held her hand, rubbed her brow, made me smile and provided those moments that induced healing that only a mom who loves to mother and nurture can give.
Friends who made sure I felt loved and fed, acquaintances who sent notes and some who even made sure I was fed… they came out like a force field and I was unprepared for the support.
I did not expect any of that, support that is… from anyone outside my immediate family. 
I am not sure why. I tend to keep to myself… I have been deeply burned by some people I thought were friends, so I tend to keep to myself and not talk to many folks. So, when I got the “NEWS” I had to let go, I needed help, I need a group of people to have my back (and not throw me under a bus without a chance to tell my story) and they came out of the woodwork, and I was touched, and am still touched, humbled.. tears are in my eyes now, as I write.
Even friends who I exchanged superficial texts with stepped out and were present to me. Near strangers offering so much more than good wishes.
The world is truly a magical place filled with so much good. I can’t wait until I am free to frolic (without pain) and pass on that kind of goodness… for now, I heal, and am blanketed in gratitude that I have a tribe whose large size I didn’t know.
~ ~ ~
I was driving and reflecting on what good things have happened to me in my life over the years and  in a brief flash of mental inner dialog that occurs in seconds I noticed that I drove by a building that once housed a flower shop in the 80’s when I was in high school and which was made famous by a stop by then president Reagan who went to buy flowers for his mother-in-law who lived up in some super fancy “estates” near my house.
I remember that visit, he was new to office and it was a stop that made the local news. The other funny thing is that night some friends and I went to visit a friend that lived in those “estates” and was a neighbor of Nancy’s mom… how do I know,, because of the plethora of secret service who hung out in the neighborhood. I remember a group of us running to the car from my friends house and the agents getting a little “jumpy” – but those were different days. Now we would probably be shot, then we just got stopped on the way past and told to behave by men in dark suits that wore sunglasses at night. 
I smiled at this memory as I drove away from that building that once housed the famous flower shop; I loved high school. I had friends whose company I enjoyed. I had good times… I was a little bit of a rebel, but I had a heart of gold, and the naivete of a child.

A slow and beautiful viewing of the world by car, plane and foot

I suppose it was a vacation, my last two weeks traipsing off to Austria to collect my Squink and bring him home and thus bringing back a sense of peace of having him in my close proximity.

It was an adventure, from my departure,  to my week with my in-laws (sans their son), the flight back to the EEUU (that is USA, for Spanish speakers) to a week with my mother in a state located in Americas heartland.

Living without your young child for more than one month is a strangely shocking thing, there is the idea that free time will occur, but the truth is, no such luck… if anything there were more demands for my time often coupled with phrases like “… since your son’ isn’t here…”

But, being busy was good, because the truth is that I missed my Squink sooooo much! And the freedom to trot off with friends who are not kid friendly or a wine with friends kind of thing was just not satisfying enough to make up for not having his insight into my daily life.

He came back speaking beautiful German, and considering that I last spoke the language at about his age, I feel like he has been able to bring back some of those skills for me… though I still have to make some pretty amazingly creative sentences to try to communicate with him… I am a bit pleased that speaking with him has brought back some of it, a good thing considering I have not spoken German in about 35 years.

I am also so very fortunate that I trust my mother-in-law enough to trust her with my son for such an extended period of time, though I try not to feel bad that she misses him so much not that he has returned home.

“In the first place, you can’t see anything from a car.” ~ ed abbey (my personal edit: you can, if you must)

As I was heading back, en route to visit my mother on a long trans-Atlantic flight I thought about my upcoming week with my mother… I glanced at the clouds outside and way below the window of the plane, smiling at Squink’s comment that we were flying way above the cloud line… I had noticed that as a very young girl, mentioning that we were visiting my grandparents in Heaven. My mother realized I had noticed this cloud thing and that I had made some connection… what is interesting, though, is that I actually thought Arizona was Heaven… and considering that I visited in Summer… I must have had a broad understanding that Heaven did not necessarily mean reasonable temperatures… and that the living were capable of visiting. I must have been a curiously interesting child.

Anyway, with inner peace restored by the mere physical presence of Squink back in my life, I smiled at that. Squink is rather religious so I wondered if he would have thought the same thing had we traveled as much as I did as a kid.

And there was something so perfect about going to see my mother on the trek back home, there was a ritual aspect to it on some levels; giving him the gift of time with both of his adoring grandmothers.

As such, I took pictures of the journey that Squink and I made, and will have to get those on here for the gentle tale of our pilgrimage home.

“As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow.” ~ A. C. Benson

Very foolish and too terrified to be curious – part 1 14/40

This gentle story started me thinking about people in my past that became formative, that altered, I believe, the path  I walk along in life, and many of whom are still a part of my life.

Someone who has a formative role and yet has stayed around is a dear friend by the name of Antonio Vasco*. 

Meeting him was a teenage tale full of teenage drama. He was the boyfriend of my then best friend, Jovanna*, a petite Argentinian with curly hair and really huge breasts. He seemed to adore her and they were indeed what I would have said to her then “cute together”. He was unbelievably handsome in a devilishly swarthy way. I don’t think he had any idea about what a smile he directed at a girl could do to them, it was disarming, at least in those raging hormone halcyon days. For some reason, and I will assume it was because Jovanna was somewhat batshit crazy (though I didn’t know it yet), they broke up and I did not see him as much. A few weeks later, I was walking down the main hall of my high school with Jovanna and she seemed preoccupied. She said, “Antonio wants to take you to his Junior Prom. I am OK with is, here is his number.

I was a sophomore, and felt like and completely believed myself to be an ugly and gangly duckling. I did not believe her, but took the slip of paper with his phone number on it. Hoping that she would save me some embarrassment in feeling like I should call him I turned to her and asked her if she was really OK with it, and she said “Yeah, I am“. Disappointed that I did have that as an out, I nodded and put the slip of paper in my green trapper keeper, and we headed off to class.

This is a less swarthy version and less handsome example
 of what Antonio looked like to me then…
This is of a young Ernest Hemingway.
When I got home I pulled out that piece of paper and set it on my dresser… the truth was, I never could believe that a boy as handsome as I found Antonio to be would ever find me, ME, attractive enough to want to take to a prom. And it stayed on my dresser, I did not call him.

A few days later, one of my acquaintances at school, Keith Schlecht* stopped me and asked why I hadn’t called Antonio. I was a bit taken back… “You mean that was real?” I asked. He raised an eyebrow and smirked. His friend, and debate partner, Grayson Rigby*, told me to give him my number and said, “Yes, its real“.

So, I received a phone-call later that night. It was Antonio. My brother answered, and yelled… “Blair, pick up your phone, it’s a boy” and laughed hysterically as he waited for me to pick up my phone (remember when having a phone in your room was a big deal?).
This is the one I had, loved it!
I took a deep breath, more-than-half of me anticipating that this was actually a crank-call. 

Hello” I said in a voice that I am sure sounded full of dread.

Uhm, Blair?” said the voice on the other end.

This is she“, I replied using a formal tone my grandmother had instilled in me regarding proper telephone etiquette.

“This is Antonio”.

I am sure that my breathing stopped and that I said nothing.


“Yes.” I said, completely incapable of uttering anything other than monosyllables.

By now my heart was beating fast… never had a boy, much less a handsome boy, expressed any interest in me. This was uncharted territory.

Antonio is Spanish and Mexican, a magnificent hybrid of a male. He carries both of his ancestries in his build and in his demeanor. In those days he seemed mature, very mature. And as I have mentioned before, he was very handsome. 

“Blair, I was wondering if you would be interested in going to my Junior prom?” he asked, his formal tone somewhat familiar. 

“Uh… When is it?” I managed to squeak out

He gave me the date. and I informed him that I would have to ask my mother.

My mother said she would want to meet him first, but that she thought it might be OK.

So, I got back on the phone and informed him of my mothers reply.

“Of course” He said sounding incredibly gallant 

And he mentioned that he would stop by my home over the weekend.

I said that would be great and I looked forward to seeing him and hung up as quickly as I could.

That Saturday, he came by with Keith, Grayson and their friend, Tommy*. They all came in and met my mother, who can be a bit formidable with her intense intellect. They asked if they could take me with them for the afternoon. These four young men were very straight-laced, Keith was president of the young Republicans club and with Grayson was one of the top debate teams in the state, Tommy was in band. All had the air of being boy scouts, and so my mother let me go with them. 

I sat in back smashed between Grayson and Antonio. Grayson was one of those boys who everyone wanted to cuddle with, he has an engaging smile and a quick wit that complemented his keen mind. And since I knew him from school he was my comfort zone… Antonio made me nervous… all of my prior experience with him had been as a gawky third wheel on his outings with Jovanna… though most of those had always also included Keith, Grayson and Tommy as well as some of Jovanna’s, and perhaps mine, other female friends.

This was new territory. I had no clue as to how I should behave… I was not 100% sure his intentions were straightforward… after all, he was handsome and I was a total goofball. My 15 year old self was in between two cute boys in the back seat of a station wagon and I was so out of my comfort zone.  This, it seems, was the start of my very first date.

First love is a little foolish and a lot of curiosity. 
~George Bernard Shaw
…to be continued.
* = not a real name

The reflection on the strange incidence of parallel lives in a third world country in the 70’s

I have had the absolutely delightful opportunity to get to spend time with a young woman with whom I had been friends with in my youth. These glory days of growing up as the foreign born kids of expatriates in a gentle country.

It was such a sigh of relief to be able to speak to someone who can understand how real the fear of being kidnapped was, that understands just how wonderful the earthy smell of the soil we grew up on is, who gets as excited about a manicho as I do… some individualized subtleties mixed in with a certain kinship of a shared environment for our experiences.

Experiences which include our parents divorces. Scandalous and painful. Moving to the American Southwest, albeit ending up in neighboring states.
The conversations felt like family; from being held accountable to my sons table manners to laughing at shared experiences of our own expatriation to the land of our parents…
A shared commitment to write short vignettes about our lives in relationship to where we are from and what those years created within us.
Some of those experiences are hard, learning to move past the hurt and anger at our fathers for choices they made that ripped us from our roots and the gentleness of our youth… not to mention how to manage the women they chose. Others are gentle, the love for the mountains, the familiar tastes of things like chochos memories of our youth that are both innocent and intoxicating, recollections from those days and how bewildered we were when broken glass no longer adorned the walls surrounding our homes.. Growing up with strong mothers and the hard sunshine of the Southwest creating thicker skins on us than we could have ever imagined.
How marvelously lucky to be able to share these similar rites of passage, to have walked away from the chaos of an uprooted youth into our futures and now to so marvelously be able to know someone who would understand what that feels like… when the pull of our mountains calls out to us.

Cotopaxi and Rumiñahui as seen from top of volcano Corazón,
Gerd Breitenbach 2003, public domain

And for being given this opportunity alone do I love “The Facebook”

Life redux

Last night was spent with some friends… reacquaintances… no, friends sounds more apropos… discussing unusually small appendages, high school frivolity and insanity and one unanswered question that I promised I would ask and only made one of them do a spit take… and unfortunately not the one it was intended for…

Could I have served too much wine?

Of course, I was a little freaked out when the one who is a counselor suggested I was overly obsessed with small appendage person… of course I am, because never before has one human been so worthy of my obsession with their “beingness” as a source of my intellectual curiosity.

I had a good time, and it is always an interesting process to spend time with people whose source for inter-relations is a shared past… but bringing that past and shared or similar experiences into the present can be a fun journey.. I learned a lot about them, Things I hope I get the chance to discover more about.

It is nice to know that the world does have lovely people, plus how often do you get to meet a like minded soul who loves Latin mass and abhors the hootenanny and liturgical dance gracing the “stages” of churches these days (I say “stages” for that is what their inclusion makes the front of the church). That was cool. Heck, the whole evening was enjoyable, and I hope it is not the last of them.