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FROM THE ARCHIVES
14 March 2017
As I have said many times, I am easily distractible, which is why this "straightening up" project is not happening. Yesterday I was going to Get Serious about it. But thefirst thing I picked up was a folder in which are a copies of letters I wrote to my friend Phil Dethlefsen in May and June of 1979 I don't have a clue why only those two months.
Phil's partner was the Lamplighters leading tenor during those days and Phil and I got to be friends because he had a lot of health problems and it seemed like he was forever hospitalized, so I started writing to him. It evolved into my writing to him every day, sometimes more than once a day. Somewhere I probably have a big folder of many, many letters over the years, but this is just a handful of them.
Phil is dead now, as is his partner. The friendship died in 1986. Well, Phil's partner killed it the week Gilbert died. Phil, whose last words to me were "don't worry about him. I'll take care of it" was never heard from again an I suspect that they even changed their phone number (but I never tried to call it). It was ugly...ugly...ugly (at one point Phil's partner sent a message via a mutual friend that I shoud go f**k myself) and the most hateful thing that had ever happened to me until Peggy came along. But I digress.
It was interesting reading through these old letters and gives a good picture of all the kids during that time. Jeri would have been 13 when I was writing, which would make Ned 12 and on down to David, who would have been 7. Here are some of the things that kept me reading and not cleaning up.
Ned is indeed a challenge but the one advantage of dealing with him over, say, dealing with Jeri is that with Ned there is never any question about when he is feeling upset, what he is feeling upset about, or whether or not you are getting through to him. With Jeri, she is so closed that you never know even IF she is unhappy about something. But Ned's whole body scream it loud and clear and even if he shuts you out completely (as he did yesterday when I wouldn't take his side in the pitching debate) you can still pretty accurately read his needs. Or a least it seems that way to me--I suppose I have to wait until he grows up to know for sure if I'm right .....
Ned and I just had our daily argument. This one even sillier than the others that we have. David and Tom are talking abut having a Kool-Aid stand this afternoon. David told Ned that he would have to buy Kool-aide and that they wouldn't give him any. Ned came to me and said that it wasn't fair because when he had a cool aide stand, he gave some to tom and David and they didn't have to buy any. I told Ned that I wouldn't talk abut it now because if we argued about it, which we would certainly do, we'd just have to argue abut it again when/if the stand became a reality and I didn't want two arguments in one day--and that it was silly to argue about something that might not even happen. This was the basis for the argument which ended with his=me storming upstairs to go fold laundry and Ned slamming out of the house in a huff. I don't know why we set each other so vehemently and so constantly....Now that I think of it, Jeri and Seymour (our dog) are a lot alike. I was thinking of some way to compare Jeri to something and Seymour came to mind immediately. I watched my father yesterday. He was bound and determined to make friends with Seymour. Well, you just don't do that to Seymour. You can't talk to her, chirp at her, coo and cajole and expect her to warm up to you. You have to leave her alone and let her make her advances in her own time. Jeri is just the same. We very seldom have any physical affection between us--Jeri just doesn't like it. But I stopped attempting it long ago and that has had its rewards. Last night she was so terribly upset about the play being over and she came downstairs and sat in m lap for about 15 minutes crying and talking it out. She almost never does this, but when she does it's very special--and if you try to approach her on something like that, you just don't get anywhere and you spoil the somewhat delicate balance that your relationship hangs upon.
Strange how different kids are. There is quiet, reserved Jeri. Then we have volatile, bombastic Ned. Paul, Tom and David all fall in between, with David closer to Ned than anyone else. Tom requires a lot of love, a lot of physical affection and likes more than anything else to just sit here talking to me all afternoon. Paul neither requires nor shuns affection. It's just something which happens or not, depending on the situation Of all the kids, he and I probably think the most alike and we have a nice chummy relationship. I wonder what they are all going to be like when they grow up.
Well, I have the answer to that finally. Jeri is much more affectionate the approachable than when she was 13 Ned is still as bombastic and we still have our regular arguments, though maybe fewer now that I let things go and he seems to be making an effort too.
I wonder what David and Paul would have been like in their 40s. We'll never know, but at the time of his death, Paul and I were still very close and the day he died he called on the phone, like he did every day, and asked me "do you think it's weird that I call my mother every day?". I guess the one who has changed the most is Tom, who is too busy to sit and chat all afternoon, though he is still very physically affectionate and a real good guy. I watch him as a father and it makes me feel like I must have done something right because he's the father I wish I had had.
I had lunch at Atria today. We had "avocado stuffed shrimp" ...
What is circled is about 1 Tbsp of smashed avocado...that's all the avocado in the dish; hardly "avocado-stuffed." Then for dessert we had "banana cream pie."
This "pie" is a cake with what looks like a lot of banana pudding piled on top of it, with two slices of banana and then faux whipped cream. The topping all slid off the cake before we could eat it. It was tasty, but it was not my idea of "pie" at all.
Gourmet meals at Atria.
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