Tuesday, March 18, 2014


My father’s voice would come strong across the supper table, “Tell me, what is the worst sin of all?”
We all knew the answer but we had to wait for his rant to work itself out. 
“Do you know?  Tell me!” he demanded, “The very worst of all?”
He had a family surrounding him, a wife and children who had heard this before.  We realized that something in his day had brought a disagreeable situation.  As a child, as a teen-ager, as a grown woman I have listened to his routine and let it slide from me without bothering to understand.
Well, Daddy, 50-60 years later, I have to tell you I’m guilty of your sin.  I’m guilty of the very worst. 
Today the response comes in an old lady’s voice.   Sometimes 86 is considered ancient but it is the child giving the required answer.  “No, Daddy, tell us the worst sin of all.”
The worst sin of all?
Here are my father’s booming words.  “Don’t bother feeling sorry for yourself.  That won’t fix whatever is out there hurting you.”
Today I hear and I vent my hurt to a stuffed sympathetic gorilla. 
“Oh, Sunny Boy,” I tell my sympathetic gorilla, “Just look at my hair.  It’s straight out.  Why can’t I ever get it to wave and curl like my friend Urssy’s hair?”
Sunny Boy gives me that look that tells me I’m kidding myself, curly hair isn’t the problem.
O.K., O.K., Blows have been coming at me straight and strong. 
My love left me a month ago today.  Even as I type the forbidden tears break away and come to fill my eyes. He left me so peacefully, carrying my heart with him, gliding away in the light of the full moon.
The hollow he left will never be filled but I try as he wanted me to.  I will turn our apartment into a cozy cave for one.  I will be accepted back into the world of friends and family.
This doesn’t call for depression.  I have a strange sort of comfort because his love remains warm surrounding me. 
However, using my father’s words, the fickle finger of fate points and chuckles maliciously. 
When I finish my tale even my father would say that I had the right to enjoy the dark seeds of sorrow.
I live in HUD housing.  This helps with finances but also imposes restrictions.  As a low income resident I can accept those restrictions or go find someplace else to place my bed. 
All residents were advised that bathroom plumbing in every apartment would be replaced.  This inconvenience would be handled by furnishing the resident with another apartment for the time of repair. 
On March 5th I received notice that my “stack” (one apt stacked on top on each floor) would be next.  My bed & TV would be moved on March 10th.  The resident packs up anything else wanted and takes it over.  Everything must be removed from bathroom so pipe men can tear up the plumbing. 
To add another complication my sister Nancy had planned their visit from Texas at this time.  Let’s see what is now on my plate.  (1) Rearrange my apartment, dispose of older furniture, obtain a smaller set.  (2)  Visit with sister and meet her new boyfriend.    (3) and now – pow – plan on stopping all household projects, pack away all that might get in the way and move to an unknown apartment for probably four  weeks.
The only lemonade I can make out of these lemons:  My visitors can help their ancient decrepit sister move. 
M-Day.  Moving day.  Boxes are stacked and bathroom has been cleared.  Early on Monday morning, I head for the office to ask for new apartment number.  I sit in chair at the desk of assistant manager.  She says:  “There has been a postponement until we move you.  The plumbers haven’t finished up on another project yet.” 

There was only one avenue open.  There was only one thing that a red-blooded old lady could do.  I did it.  I began bawling.  These weren’t lady-like tears rolling gently down silken cheeks.  My howls of anguish were heard around the lobby.  An old lady had been jabbed one too many times and there was no way to protest quietly.  The world was out to get me. 
Sorry, Daddy, I was full of self-pity and I let the world know about it. 
My sister came to the rescue.  She entered the front door just as I let out my first howl, handed me tissues to wipe my nose and gently removed me from the office to outdoors.  Ah, sunshine, I need you.  We walked, me still sobbing, only now more gently.
Gradually I came to realize the futility of my outburst.  As we covered the blocks, I talked some sense into my head and the tears disappeared.
I wanted to talk to Ed, my sweetheart, my sturdy bear, my love.  Only he wasn’t here.  He was sitting someplace up on a cloud, and laughing, saying “Aren’t you glad I missed this.” 
Yes, my special sweetie pie, you wouldn’t have been able to live in this upset world that has been handed to me and I am glad you left before these ridiculous weeks take place.
Packed boxes remain waiting to trip me, waiting to find out where and when they are going someplace.  I am backing away from the greatest sin of all – feeling sorry for myself – and will write my stories and exercise and try not to overeat in compensation.
Stay tuned for my Living in Hud Apartment Adventures.  There will be more.  I will try not to be too painful about it.
Daddy was right.  Feeling sorry for yourself isn’t the answer. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Selfie and Sunny

The Adventures of an Old Lady

Next Chapter:  The Worst Sin 

or Why my father would be ashamed of me.

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