Santa Fe Post #3 Moving to NM, Gary Pucket and the Union Gap, Cut-Offs, Plastic Curtains   Leave a comment


When I left Chadron, Nebraska for Grand Coulee, Washington in 1971 as an 8th grader, my friends gave me a going-away party. My gift from Kevin Moore and Gary Robbins was an album of Gary Pucket and the Union Gap. Songs that I remember are “This Girl is a Woman Now,” another  is “Will Power.”

Forgetting and remembering? This month it’s the act of moving house that is pulling memories from my past and entering my night and day dreams.“Y

 I remember watching his slender legs in his Levi cut-offs  as he stood across the small room from me.  He would cross one foot over the other with the toe of his sandaled foot down and the heel up, and the muscle in his leg was full and thick. I kept watching him cross and uncross every 10 minutes or so, tan legs slim view with thigh muscle hidden in the straight on-view until he shifted position again. His straight hair covered his ears in a Peter Tork (of The Monkees) way. I watched that leg in 1970 at a body repair shop after just turning down an alley and trying to park my dad’s Buick in a quick right turn. Unfortunately, a large rusted metal pole prevented my smooth parking maneuver. The car was my dad’s first nice car. It would mean big trouble if I didn’t get it repaired before he came home from his long haul trucking job. Luckily, Mick, the car repair guy was young and willing to help the new girl in town, and do it cheaply. My carhop job at the little hamburger place made little money and it would all go to Mick. The guy with the legs hung out just to talk with Mick and me.

Years later, I heard the leg guy had become an alcoholic like his father. The old father who slipped the tongue to the funny little lady named Bobbi who was married to a lawyer in the small town where we all lived. It was New Year’s Eve at the Eagles Hall. The packed dance floor held a lot of drunks and I could feel the upstairs floor shake or maybe it was the whole building bouncing. Anyway the old drunk gave Bobbi a slick lizard-like midnight kiss and grossed her out completely. It was great!

My mind has been taking me to that second year of high school in a very small Nebraska town where my family had just moved. I believed the world ended at the town sign.

This morning another young man came to mind from that 1972 time period.  I’d met him that same sophomore year of high school.  His name was Kirby. We met at a party in the country at an abandoned house. Funny thing was the parents of the girl throwing the party had given their okay, and it seems that they hung out in the living room where people were dancing. Either they chose to ignore the kids drinking in cars or the barn or were oblivious. Kirby asked me to sit in his car with him. He kissed me and then took my hand in his. He was a cute kid about my height 5’10 or maybe a bit shorter, which happened a lot in my dating world. Moccasins were often on my feet in the effort to be as short as I possibly could. Kirby made a remark about my hands being large. My hands are long not thick, but I guess to Kirby, they were larger than the usual girl’s.  It did not sit well with me. I’d felt large all my life even though I was a slender girl. I never saw Kirby again. Both of these young men spent only a few hours with me, so I’m not sure why they have prompted memories. Something about moving again to a new place.

This week  I’m in Santa Fe trying to sort out the rest of this mid to old life. Butterflies live one week to nine months depending on their size, time of year they become a butterfly and all those other chancy things that can happen to a life.  One sleepy night after proposal writing, job and house hunting, we decided to relax in bed and watch a Netflix on my laptop. We picked a movie about John Keats called Bright Star by director Jane Campion(The Piano).  She does great things with trees and the period clothing was fun. Keats was only 25 when he died. One line in the movie was about a three-day life of a butterfly. Keats and Fanny Brawn had a three-year love affair. It’s all relative, the life of a butterfly, the life of a person. What three days of this butterfly life would I choose to live, to re-live?

My mother became the careful practical parent after living with a man who often was without work or drinking the milk money away. I believe her artistic spirit lived beneath that practical side that emerged to feed five children, but there was an explorer underneath who longed to see great art and cultures. She would be worrying about me right now. The older she got the more she worried, and there were many new children to add to that worry. Somehow her matriarchal power formed a web over nearly 40 (give or take a few partners that come and go) children and grandchildren and seemed to keep us safe from most dangers while she lived.

My ex-husband loved metal buildings and always wanted one for the ultimate mechanics shop of his dreams. I dreamt of an old Victorian House and he dreamt of slick ugly metal. I use to joke that he would think it would be fine to make our home from one of these ugly structures taking over this sprawling country? Now in some kind of twisted joke, I’m leaving a charming house to live in a metal building.

We met one landlord and entered the building through a small room with low ceilings that had been the office of the previous tenant, then through a door to a large room with a gray cement floor and a big overhead heater in one corner. The bathroom, just a toilet and a sink, was to our left, and a door at the back of the big room was another room that could be a bedroom. I opened the door from that room and was greeted with a four-foot space from the back door to a wire fence that ran along the back of the building. It would be a space for our two dogs.

I stepped inside the large room again, and my eyes teared. Maybe it was lack of sleep from two days of being up  until 2 a.m. and as usual,  I could not sleep in, or maybe it was the fear of taking this leap of faith that suddenly overwhelmed me. This space would cost twice as much as my house payment, and no one has called me for an interview in my job search.

My house with the hard wood floor we had put in ourselves in the living room with the wood burning stove that we had also installed and enjoyed on those cold Nebraska nights or the nice open kitchen with dog door opening to a huge backyard where my dogs chase each other in play and race along the fence with the neighbor dogs. The flagstone patio we labored to create and fitted stone after stone like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Trading all of this as well as leaving the family members and friends in the area for a metal building with cement floors. Am I on Candid Camera? Is this poetic justice for leaving my husband, or is the challenge I’ve been waiting for? There is fun in making a cold space into a home. I can do it. My mother taught me how to shape any rental house – holes in the wall and dirt yard – and make it feel like home, plastic curtains and all.

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Posted April 27, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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