Monthly Archives: January 2016

Yellow Submarine

A few months in the life–part of an in-progress memoir. Lori PohlmanFallWinter2015Mostly 079

The duplex days were numbered, and surprisingly sweet. Billy and I had to go to a different school, but I walked in the first day, and every day, with my new best friend. She was a quiet girl, but obviously respected among the kids and teachers there. She did, indeed, sleep in a very small bed in her mother’s room, but it wasn’t a crib.

“My three brothers are in the other bedroom,” Cheryl said, indicating her tiny wooden “youth bed” at the foot of her mom’s bed.  “This is my bed.”  Her eyebrows raised, disappearing under her bangs. “Bed,” she repeated.

“Yeah, it’s a bed.” I wasn’t about to argue with her, even though I’d never seen a “youth bed” before. It didn’t have really high rails on the side like baby cribs had, so I decided it was just some special privilege she had, being so small, I mean. A special bed just her size.

She gave me a knowing look, “I’m sure not gonna sleep in my brothers’ room.”

I didn’t know what to say. On my side of the duplex, my mom had her own room and I shared the other one with my brother. She seemed to sense my discomfort.

“I don’t mean it’s weird you share a room with your brother,” she said.  “He’s not that old and he’s just one boy.”

I nodded. “He’s not that bad,” I said.

Cheryl put a hand on my shoulder. “I believe you,” she said, her large blue eyes solemn. “Over here though, there are three brothers. Great, big, loud, smelly teenagers,” she said, “Ugh.”

They seemed pretty cool to me. I could hear their laughter, their deep voices, one of them strumming a guitar, a record playing I’d never heard before. They played a lot of Beatles music.

At school, no one gave me any trouble. I barely remember the place, to be honest, which probably means I had already entered my “amnesia” period. Huge chunks of time that I can’t remember or account for. The school year ended quickly, leaving us kids with long, largely unsupervised, summer days. I remember making holes in the dirt, paths for the clear and colored glass marbles-the cat’s eyes, the pearlies, and the steelies that we flicked expertly with our thumbs and forefingers. On a good day we could earn enough pennies to buy ourselves a bag of French fries at the Chat-n-Chew drive-in restaurant.

With Billy and his new friends, we explored the open concrete tunnel that ran the length of the property and beyond, always daring one another to go in just a little bit farther. We played Monopoly, a game I hated, and Billy would reach over and openly take all of Cheryl’s winnings, prodding her to talk to him. But she never would. When it came to him, she was mute.

“He took my money,” she’d whisper in my ear.

I was always ready to do battle for her, and in fact, enjoyed fighting with my brother. It was probably the only time I felt any power, though I always lost. Even so, I could fight, and he wouldn’t really hurt me back too bad, and was never mad at me afterward.

We kids began to settle in to this new life, and I suppose imagined that when summer ended we would go back to Curtis Strange School and become, rather than faceless new kids, kids who belonged.

But our dad had other ideas

.FallWinter2015Mostly 059We left Wisconsin before summer’s end.

 

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Filed under childhood, Divorce, Loss, Relationship, School

A Tale About Me, My Coworkers, and Margaret Atwood

Ah, Margaret Atwood. This is a great library blog and a particularly nice piece about one of my favorite authors. Enjoy.

Eleventh Stack

As a fairly recent newcomer to Pittsburgh (four years last month, which might as well be four minutes when talking with native yinzers), our city’s vibrant and exciting literary scene is something that continuously impresses and surprises me.

The novelty of this should be worn off by now, given that my employer is one of the organizations that contributes mightily to this bookish culture of awesomeness that we have going on in the ‘Burgh.

But maybe it’s because I work for the Library that I revel in this so much.

We’re incredibly lucky to have access to so many prominent writers who regularly visit Pittsburgh. We work closely with our friends at Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, who offer events such as the Monday Night Lecture Series, PA&L Kids and Teens and Authors on Tour, a new collaborative initiative between our two organizations that presents authors who are…

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Wenching in the New Year

If you haven’t heard about America’s Great Loop or followed my friends on their journey, you need to check it out! The writing is wonderful and the trip true. This is good stuff, and you will laugh.

Dead Reckoning

The weather finally changed last Sunday night, the wind howling in from the north and bringing with it a fifteen degree drop in the temperature. From the way the locals here in Key West are dressed you’d think we’d gone below zero — people wearing stocking caps and gloves and some even wrapping themselves in insulated vests and coats. It’s seventy degrees for Godsakes! Jan and I are running around in our shorts and tee shirts, acting like it’s May in Minnesota. Great sleeping weather and for the first time since we arrived we feel like we aren’t going to melt with any sort of outside activity. It was simply too hot down here.

We had a busy holiday season. First, Jan’s sister Hurricane Mary blew in from Salt Lake City and set things a-whirling aboard old Mitzvah; Yoga, Tai-Chi and long bike rides fueled by granola and tofu. And…

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