Tag Archives: Kenosha

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

One of the Smart Things…’Cause Why Tell You the Dumb Stuff?

Importfromcell6272014 489Writing Log

One of the smart things I do occasionally, though not as often as I should, is attend writing events, such as book signings, workshops, and lectures.  At each of these events, I endeavor to follow through on at least one suggestion that strikes me as being easy to accomplish (Did I really say easy? I meant one that I thought to be a practical and intelligent idea).  Smirk.

This past week I attended a lively and informative lecture given by Amy Gail Hansen, former English teacher and author of The Butterfly Sister, her first novel, published in 2013 by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.  She is nearly a local author; she lives in neighboring Illinois, and attended college here in Wisconsin.  In fact, her guest lecture took place at her alma mater, Carthage College, just here in Kenosha, which also happens to be one of the central settings for her novel.  Pretty neat.

In addition to being a lively, personable, humorous speaker, Ms. Hansen, was also generous with sharing writing tips and publishing industry information.  I really can’t say enough nice things about her—just a lovely person.  You can learn more about her at www.amygailhansen.com

The practical and intelligent idea I’ve decided to follow through on from Amy Gail Hansen’s lecture, is this—I’ve decided to begin keeping a Writing Log.  This, not to be confused with a Writing Blog, or a Journal; those are two totally separate things, sort of.  I find that when it comes to writing, everything leaks.  And I think that’s good. As a former writing project colleague says, “If it goes into my head, it goes into my writing.”

I’m not planning to keep the log on the blog (damn, I love rhyme), but I’m thinking if I make the commitment here, I have a better chance of following through.  Writers make lots of promises to themselves.  I will write every day.  I will always have something out there—out in the world—that it would be much easier to keep here, safely tucked away.  I will be brave.  I will finish project A, B, C, and D before beginning Project E.  I will set up a defined and sacred writing schedule…I will not be distracted by news of the day, or Facebook, or those adorable text messages my granddaughter is sending me right now from far away in California…

So, you get the idea.  Some of these promises I actually know I will not keep.  Shocking, right?  Honestly, I know I can do better, though I don’t expect, really not ever, one-hundred percent adherence.   That might stunt my creativity!  And, come on, no grandmother can ignore a text from her growing up too fast and won’t always have time for me granddaughter—that’s just criminal even to think about.

I will, however, keep a Writing Log beginning Monday, August 18, 2014.

The Writing Log shall include:

     Date

     Time

     Progress

     Notes

Wish me luck!  And please, share your ideas.  Comments are most welcome.

Mahalo.  Lori.

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Kenosha, Retirement, Thanksgiving, and Love

Wouldn’t it be magical if Mike and I could go home?  We are trying to get there.  I’m thankful for so many things, and freshly grieving for so many others.  I made pumpkin pie for my grandkids today–couldn’t make the second pumpkin nor the pecan due to crazy poor planning and no pie tins–and I tried to say goodbye to our tiny new grandchild, a boy, never given a breath on this planet.  I celebrated an anniversary yesterday–a Lake Arrowhead marriage that has sustained me and given me new life. And I recently spent time with my husband’s sisters and two of my nieces–gifts to my heart and soul.   There isn’t anything I’ve lived through that wasn’t blessed, though I was for many years blinded to the blessings.  Now I know.  And I give thanks, 

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