My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Jailbait #ThrowbackThursday [memoir]

Throwing it back to the Summer of 1970

We were living on Tenth Street in Santa Monica, California when I turned seventeen in 1970, my friend Trixie was visiting from Canada, and boys were on our minds. It's #12 of the On the Street Where I Live stories. I was a 17 year old high school senior, he was a 23 year old Vietnam Vet.


Delaney & Bonnie (and Friends)
Jailbait
We were sitting on the sand watching the water when they walked by the first time; three long-haired guys who could just as easily be rockers, roadies or bad ass bikers, smiling up at us from the shoreline. The one in the middle - I'd already decided he was mine -  looked like Cat Stevens or the guy from Delaney and Bonnie or really, any of those musicians who had a beard, mustache and dark wavy hair skimming their shoulders. From behind my sunglasses I followed his faded green baggies as they disappeared in the shadows under the pier. Just before they faded to black completely he turned and blew a kiss in our direction. Busted! We cracked up, the three of us girls sitting on the sand, laughing in spite of ourselves. 

It wasn't our usual spot. Too many tourists and families with kids all hopped up from inhaling cotton candy on the pier, running around chasing the seagulls, spraying sand in their wake and squealing at a crazy high decibel level to match the squawking of the birds swooping down to steal their potato chips. Usually Laura and I preferred to walk the ten blocks or so down Arizona to Ocean where urine-soaked stairs and an overpass lead us across the Pacific Coast Highway to the wide swathe of sand that made up our quiet bit of beach.

[Read the rest of the story ...]

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