father’s voice would come strong across the supper table, “Tell me, what is the
worst sin of all?”
all knew the answer but we had to wait for his rant to work itself out.
you know? Tell me!” he demanded, “The
very worst of all?”
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.
Daddy, 50-60 years later, I have to tell you I’m guilty of your sin. I’m guilty of the very worst.
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.”
worst sin of all?
are my father’s booming words. “Don’t
bother feeling sorry for yourself. That
won’t fix whatever is out there hurting you.”
I hear and I vent my hurt to a stuffed sympathetic gorilla.
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?”
Boy gives me that look that tells me I’m kidding myself, curly hair isn’t the
O.K., Blows have been coming at me straight and strong.
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
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.
doesn’t call for depression. I have a
strange sort of comfort because his love remains warm surrounding me.
using my father’s words, the fickle finger of fate points and chuckles
I finish my tale even my father would say that I had the right to enjoy the dark
seeds of sorrow.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Daddy, I was full of self-pity and I let the world know about it.
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
I came to realize the futility of my outburst.
As we covered the blocks, I talked some sense into my head and the tears
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.”
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
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.
tuned for my Living in Hud Apartment Adventures. There will be more. I will try not to be too painful about it.
was right. Feeling sorry for yourself
isn’t the answer.