Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cornering Memories

Here I am in the middle of the night in the music room/turned sunroom, sitting in my barber's chair looking out on a corner from my childhood. Insomnia is a demon and sometimes a friend. The strongest memory I have of this corner is how my friends and I reenacted the last scene from West Side Story out in the middle of the street. We were thirteen and very dramatic. We would take turns being Tony and Maria running towards each other. Tony would get shot and Maria would kneel over him sobbing. Then we'd sing "There's a Place For Us."  I'm sure if my mother had known we were doing this out in the middle of the street, she would have had a fit.

You would think my strongest memory would be seeing a woman get hit by a car here, walking in the crosswalk because the driver of the car had the sun in his eyes. I had just completed a First Aid course at the University of Utah and ran to her with a rolled up blanket to stabilize her head. She wanted to get up and kept saying, "My head hurts so. My head hurts so." My mom had called 911 and I sat with the woman, holding her hand and trying to comfort her. She stayed conscious, so I thought the prognosis was good. Wrong. A couple of days later, her obituary was in the newspaper.

This corner was a source of aggravation for my parents because they were forced to have their property extended out into the street because of this accident (and others). The city added bushes, lawn and more sprinklers, forcing my parents to pay for the considerable maintenance of property they would not own.

As I sit here, overlooking what I call 'my manor,' I'm filled with nostalgia. Is it lack of sleep, my age or the fact that I chose to inhabit my childhood home? When my mom was dying, she kept talking about wanting me to take her home. When I mentioned this house, she said, "Oh no, silly. Tenth East." That was her childhood home. My uncle died a month before Mom and he talked of going there too.

When I'm dying, will I want to go back to 11th Avenue - a home filled with intense, loving memories? A home where my sisters and I roamed the neighborhood freely, playing Kick the Can and other childhood games?  A home where my father would scoop me up by the bottom with his huge hands to show me this was not the best way to pick up our cat?

This is a picture of my sisters and I in our backyard - so happy and free of concerns.

...and on the right, is, of course, the very dress I was wearing -
still in my possession, like the memories.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ida Lupino

The two pictures to the left are varnished to the side of a bookcase, along with a lot of early chalk drawings I did years ago. For a long time, any woman I drew slightly resembled Ida Lupino. I think it was because the length of her philtrum and the way the width of it met the cupid's bow of her upper lip were etched in my memory of how beautiful I thought she was and how involved I was with her relationship to Howard Duff. I was in elementary school when I became aware of Ida and Howard. I was at an age when I watched TV Divorce Court reenactments and thought if the judge would just have them kiss, certainly they would get back together. Howard and Ida separated and got back together a lot and as a highly emotional girl, it tore me up. I always thought she was more than "a poor man's Betty Davis." She was on a par with Lauren Bacall.

She was born on this day, as Kirk mentions in his post, in 1918. She was estranged from her daughter, Bridgette, but due to her advancing colon cancer, got to try to reconcile about twenty years of problems over the course of two weeks. For clips of her movies and more information, see Kirk's post.