Friday, May 4, 2012

shades of 1979

I had three kids in 3.3 years and I'm not kidding.  I didn't taste hot food for months. When I brought my last infant home I laid him in the bassinet and said, "I'll get to you when I can, kid," and I swear he winked at me.  I am not trying to illicit sympathy, these were good days, but goddamn I was hungry and skinny. Early family pictures show me as a skeletal figure displaying and posing small children for the camera.

My life revolved around underfoot toys, baby shit and little faces and bodies that never stayed clean. And then at some exhausting point I decided to retire the washcloth.  It seemed wherever I went I was carrying the damn thing and the children would run when they saw me. I was a vigorous scrubber. My mother made comments like, "why does his hair smell funny?" and "come over here and see what's in his ear," but her statements went unheeded. I didn't see the point, I was tired.

Our first house was in a scary but low cost neighborhood. My kids wore home-made duds in wild and psychedelic colors, thanks to my kind but colorblind mother-in-law who frequented garage sales.  To save money I bought one huge box of Tide laundry detergent and used it for all cleaning projects from dishes to toilets.  And then someone I had known before my current impoverished lifestyle came to visit. She had made it big in real estate in Chicago, listed in Forbes magazine, one of forty youthful entrepreneurs predicted to be millionaires before age 40. She arrived at my door wearing a floor-length mink coat and it was late September.  Her Mercedes-Benz was parked out on my scary street and I decided not to share my concerns with her on that subject.

 She saw the big box of Tide and I explained my cleaning process to her."Really?" she sniffed. "I thought only poor people did that."

Later I was rehashing the visit with my mother. When I got to the coat and the car part she said, "why is she friends with you?"  This woman had a radar sharp ability to get directly to the point, ouch.  I don't believe it was her intent to be insulting, she just didn't want to waste any time on unnecessary words.

And then I told her about the Tide box discussion. She looked at me for a long time and then asked, "why are you friends with her?"  Zing-a-ling, Marie, zing-a-ling . . .

1 comment:

AmySueRose said...

If the woman who was draped in some poor animal's hide is who I think it is, well, would you ever want to switch lives with her? Hell no. She probably has one of those melted plastic surgery jobs and as for what probably goes thru her mind is, "I wish I could have been like Dawn who truly appreciates the best things in life. She has three beautiful children, what could be better than that, and to top it all off thinks deeply and truly cares for her her fellow man/ woman." Well, maybe not, but she would if she actually had the capacity to perceive truth.