" A ROSE FOR MY MOTHER "        -
My Blog

February 2012

Who Do You Love?

Keep the Love Flowing...
Love flows from the soul with kindness, compassion and loyalty.

Love flows from us when we show patience and understanding. Love flows in the warmth of a smile and an embrace in friendship.
Love flows with words of caring, encouragement and support.
Love flows best in the things YOU DO - not in the things you give!

Paraprosdokians

                         
                              PARAPROSDOKIANS [are figures of speech, in which the later part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected]. Here are a few I think you will enjoy:
 
1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it. 
 2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you; but, it's still on my list. 
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak. 

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong. 
5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public. 
6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left. 
7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it 
in a fruit salad. 
8. They begin the evening news with 'Good Evening,' then proceed to 
tell you why it isn't. 
9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is 
research. 
10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my 
desk is a work station. 
11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks. 
12. In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of 
emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.' 
13. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you. 
14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the 
street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy. 
15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a 
successful man is usually another woman. 
16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory. 
17. You do not need a parachute to skydiver. You only need a parachute to skydiver twice. 
18. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live 
with. 
19. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so 
they can't get away. 
20. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure. 
21. You're never too old to learn something stupid. 
22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you 
hit the target. 
23. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be. 
24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. 
25. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. 
 
 

#7 Chapter Two - A Rose for My Mother

 
 
... When the lunch bell rang, the other kids headed home and I headed to the empty store. When I opened the big, glass door and went in, I saw that it wasn’t really an empty store. There were long tables and chairs in the front of the store. Some men were sitting there, eating the soup they must have bought with their dimes. I went up to the counter near the back wall where a man was standing. He wore a white apron and a baseball cap. I put the dime on the counter and looked up at the man.“What do you want, little girl?”
“Could I buy some soup with this dime?”
“Where’s your mother?”
“She lives with Nanny.”
“Where is your father?”
“He’s working.”
“Sure, little girl, you can have some soup. What’s your name?” The man asked, lifting the visor of his baseball cap.
“My name is Nancy Lee,” I answered, with a smile.
“Well, Nancy Lee, you come back here behind the counter. I’ll get a chair and you can eat your soup here at the counter.”
I thought he was a nice man. I never asked his name. I just called him “Mister.” I ate the soup and went back to school.
After school I came back to the house on Morris Place, walked up the stairs to the second floor flat and knocked on the door. Elmer’s wife opened it and said, “I see you found your way back. That’s good. Did you get the soup?”
“Yes. And, the man was nice to me.”
“Be careful about that,” she said, pointing her finger at me. “Men aren’t nice unless they want something from you.” What did she mean? My father was nice, and that man was nice—they didn’t want anything from me.
As Elmer’s wife, Bobby and I were eating supper two men came into the kitchen. They looked at me, but didn’t say anything. One man sat down at the table and the other took two bottles of beer from the refrigerator, giving one bottle to the man at the table. I guessed they must be Elmer and Howard, but I didn’t know which man was Elmer and which man was Howard until Elmer’s wife said, “That’s Howard,” pointing to one of the men, and “That’s Elmer, he’s my husband,” pointing to the other. I smiled at them, but they didn’t smile back. They just drank their beer from the bottle, puffed on their cigarettes and looked at me. They didn’t look anything like my father. My father was always clean and smelled good, because he splashed his face with after-shave. I thought Elmer and Howard needed a bath and a shave. But, most of all, they needed to comb their long, oily hair.
The next day after school, I knocked on the door and Elmer’s wife opened it, but this time she made me stand in the hall. “Now, you need to be able to come into the house if I’m not here,” she said, handing me a key that was tied on a string. “Take this key, I’m going to close and lock the door. I want you to open it with the key.” I did what she told me, and the door opened. "That’s good. Now, whenever you leave the house, wear this key around your neck. I won’t be here when you get back from school tomorrow, so you’ll have to use the key to let yourself in.”
“Thank you,” I said, feeling real important because she gave me a key.I never had a key to a house before.
“Remember, if you lose it, you’ll have to sit on the steps until I come home, so don’t lose it,” she said, heading into the kitchen to get us something to eat.
As I passed the bedroom on my way to the kitchen, I noticed the old crib where Bobby slept wasn’t in the bedroom. Bobby wasn’t in the house, either. “Where is my brother?”
“He went to live somewhere else,” she said, crushing out her cigarette in the ashtray on the kitchen table. “Where?” I asked. She told me she didn’t know the people.
The next Sunday, when my father came to pay my board, I asked him where Bobby went. “Bobby and Carol Jean are together at my other friend’s house.” My father called everyone his “friend.” I was glad that Carol Jean wasn’t at Aunt Molly’s house anymore. 

#4 Chapter Two - A Rose for My Mother

...On Sunday morning, I awoke and was surprised to find Ruth wasn’t in the bed with me. That night, she slept in bed with her parents. Aunt Molly came into the bedroom, threw off my blanket and told me, “Get up, Nancy Lee. Wash your face and comb your hair, but be quiet about it. I don’t want you waking everyone up. Your father is coming this morning.”
I was still wearing the dress from the day before. I got up and went into the bathroom. As I was looking at my body covered with red welts, there was a loud knock on the kitchen door. “Where is Nancy Lee?” I heard my father ask when Aunt Molly opened the door.
I ran out of the bathroom and threw my arms around my father, but I didn’t cry. “Daddy, I’m glad you’re here,” I said, giving him a big hug. I was happy he was there because, now, I was afraid of Uncle Hank, who was sitting at the kitchen table with his silly grin.
“I know, Nancy Lee,” my father said, as he put his hands on my wrists and looked at my arms. He didn’t say another word, even though he saw the red welts all over my arms and legs. If he had looked under my dress, he would have seen red marks there, too. While my father was still holding my wrists, he gave Uncle Hank a hard stare. Then, he looked at Aunt Molly.
Uncle Hank got up from the kitchen table and hurried down the hall into the bathroom and closed the door. That was the last time that I ever saw Uncle Hank. “Ralph, I was outside the whole time, I didn’t know he was hitting her,” Aunt Molly told my father, as she handed him my jacket and a brown paper bag.
"I’ll deal with this later.” He took the bag and led me by the hand out the kitchen door. I didn’t know I was going to leave with him until he put the bag on the back seat of his car, and said, “Get in Nancy Lee, I’m taking you to my friend’s house.”
I climbed in and sat in the front seat beside him. “Daddy, see what Uncle Hank did to me?”
“I know, I’ll take care of it.” He pursed his lips tight and turned the key in the ignition.
“Daddy, I just wanted to change Carol Jean’s diaper, so I wouldn’t get hollered at.” My father drove us to Morris Place, a street off Seneca Street. As we rode, he told me that his friend’s name was Elmer and he also worked at Socony-Vacuum Company.
My father parked his car and pointed at a two family house. “That’s the house where my friend lives. He lives upstairs with his wife. Your brother, Bobby, is staying with them.”
The lower flat had a front porch, but the upper flat, where Elmer lived, didn’t. The houses and the neighborhood looked old and shabby. Morris Place didn’t look like the two-family houses and neighborhood where Nanny and Grandpa lived.
My father picked up the brown paper bag from the back seat and we headed toward the house. Up the steps and through the opened door, we walked into a dimly lit front hall and went up the stairs. When we got to the top, my father knocked on the door. There was no answer. After a few more knocks, a woman opened the door.
The first thing I noticed was that she didn’t have shoes on.  “Come in Ralph.” Turning to me, in a deep, flat voice, not a soft voice like my mother’s voice, she asked, “You’re Nancy Lee, right?” I didn’t answer. I just smiled and nodded my head.
She was younger than my mother, and sort of pretty. She wore a lot of makeup and I liked her long blonde hair, even though it was kind of messy. I thought her clothes were too small for her. Her black skirt was too short and her red blouse didn’t fit. Two rounds of flesh peeked out from the top of her blouse.
When my father and I walked into the house, the smell of crushed cigarette butts in the ashtrays and the odor of dirty laundry assaulted our nostrils. The flat was a dingy and cheerless place. The floors were covered with linoleum. The wallpaper was a faded pattern of a design that I didn’t recognize. I didn’t like this place, but I didn’t want to go back to live with Uncle Hank.
“Elmer isn’t here, I don’t know when he’ll be back,” she told my father, as we walked into the living room. “Howard, my boarder, is in his bedroom,” she added, indicating a doorway leading off the living room. “We’ll talk in the kitchen, so we don’t disturb him.”
Bobby was sitting on the dirty, white, linoleum floor in the next room, playing with some toys. When he saw us, he got up and ran to my father, who had a big smile on his face. He leaned down and gave him a squeeze. “Daddy, see my truck?” Bobby said.
The flat only had two bedrooms. One was where the boarder slept and the second was where Elmer’s wife slept. Elmer slept on a daybed in what would have been a dining room, but it didn’t have a dining room table and chairs; it had a buffet, a daybed, a big, stuffed chair with a table and a lamp next to it.
As we walked toward the kitchen to the back of the house, Elmer’s wife pointed to the second bedroom and said, “You’ll sleep in this room with me. Put your things into one of the empty dresser drawers.” The room had a double-size bed, an old crib and a dresser. The first drawer I pulled open was empty. I took my clothes out of the brown paper bag, and put them into the drawer. There wasn’t much in the bag but underwear, socks, and two dresses. Where were my pajamas and my Pick-Up Sticks that were in the bag when my father took me to Aunt Molly’s house?
I peeked into the other drawers. One held Bobby’s clothes. Another had fancy underpants and brassieres, some red and some black. I liked the red, silky panties the best. Someday, I’ll have pretty panties, too, I promised myself!
After I finished putting my things away, I went into the kitchen. My father sat at the table holding Bobby on his lap, while he talked with Elmer’s wife. As I walked in, he was giving her some money. Then, I realized Bobby and I weren’t staying there just because Elmer was his friend. Bobby and I were boarders, just like Howard. Dogs were barking from behind the kitchen door.
“Do you have a dog?” I asked.
“Two dogs. They stay in the hall. I don’t let them into the house,” she emphasized, pointing her finger at me.
“But, can I just see them?”
Elmer’s wife got up and opened the door. The dogs wanted to come into the kitchen. Elmer’s wife said, “Sit! Stay!” and they obeyed.
The two dogs looked like Brownie, the German shepherd dog we used to have. But, these dogs didn’t seem friendly. My father sensed that I was a little afraid. “All you have to do is show them you’re not afraid and they won’t bite you.” Standing at the open kitchen door, I reached out and petted them. They licked my hand, and it worked. I wasn’t afraid anymore! I took off my jacket and hung it over the back of the kitchen chair and sat listening to Elmer’s wife and my father finish talking about registering me at school.
My father stood up and put Bobby down. I followed him as he walked toward the living room and the front door. “You’ll be okay, Nancy Lee. You won’t have to stay here too long. I’m working on getting us all back together.”
“Goodbye, Daddy. When will I see you again?” I asked, watching him walk out the door and down the stairs.
“I don’t know, Nancy Lee, I have a lot of things to do—maybe in a few weeks. You be good now.” He walked out onto the porch, closing the door behind him. I hurried to the front window near Howard’s bedroom. His bedroom door was shut, so I knew I wasn’t disturbing him. I stood quietly watching my father get into his car and drive away.
“May I go outside for a walk?” I asked Elmer’s wife when I went back to the kitchen.
“Yeah. Take your brother, I think he’d like a walk, too.” I put on my jacket and Elmer’s wife put a sweater on Bobby. We headed down the front stairs and out into the September afternoon where the weather had changed, bringing a cool relief from the previous week’s last blast of summer heat.