Memories From a Little Girl in a Plymouth Duster

We traveled home late one night down Southbound US-23. I sat next to Mom in our mustard yellow Plymouth Duster, and did my best to try and sleep. The black sky was spitting snow at the headlights while the heat vents blew warm stale air onto my face and chest. It was warm enough in the car, but I used my long winter coat as a blanket. Sis was asleep in the backseat and I envied the ease in which she could sleep just about anywhere.

I could feel the thick, hard vinyl of the mustard yellow seat as I shifted my weight and tried to drift off. The seat was anything but comfortable, but I liked riding up front with Mom.  The radio was playing low and the AM dial glowed in the dark. Mom listened to the late night news on WJR which I have to admit even at an early age, scared the heck out of me. Maybe it was the staccato rhythm of the announcers voice or the sound of the teletype and the occasional beeping that signaled the end of one segment and the beginning of another. It seemed that the news was always bad.

There was a murderer on the loose in another state that I was convinced was going to show up at our front door. There was disaster somewhere in the world and my mind would race with thoughts of could it happen here in my state, or the city I lived in. The stories of missing children, of wars in other lands, of leaders that would kill their own people. Even at the young age of eight, I felt that the world would never be safe for me. Maybe it was because my parents were divorced and my daddy wasn’t there to protect all of us, I don’t know.

Mom’s family was located on the west side of the state. When she married my father she pulled up stakes and moved away, but our homes were always pretty close to the highway. She loved my dad, but not in a traditionally romantic way. Dad wasn’t her Prince Charming, he was her best friend. He offered security and unconditional love and the escape from the abuse she had experienced her entire life. I don’t ever remember living with my dad, which is kind of sad.

Maybe the anxiety that I experienced at such an early age wouldn’t have been so devastating if Dad had been there to fight the monsters in the closet, or under the bed. Maybe he could have quelled my fears from the horrible news stories I heard on the radio and t.v., but maybe not.

After all these years of dealing with a backwards fight/flight response, I’ve come to realize that it’s pretty much how I’m wired. Therapy and a good anti-depressant/anxiety medication have made my life better, but there’s the little girl in me that still wishes for my dad. My parents’ divorce wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I’m sad it happened all the same.

Sometimes, I wish I could take the knowledge I have now, and go back to being that little girl trying to sleep on that crappy colored vinyl front seat, and tell myself not to fear life. To not fear the unknown sounds in the walls, and not fear the darkness of my bedroom, to not fear whether or not I will be liked or loved, and to not fear being alone. There are so many things in the world to fear, but there is so much more to be experienced and enjoyed.

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Friday Fictioneers-A Winter Wedding on Smathers Beach

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the using my photo. I’m tickled to death about it! It was taken at public beach post 10 on Smathers Beach on the beautiful island of Key West. The bridge served as the wedding aisle for my Meggie and Chris on their big day.

Genre: Memoir

copyright-renee-homan-heath

Meggie holds Daddy’s hand. Guitar music floats in the ocean air.  Mom stands at the end of the bridge that serves as the wedding aisle. Dressed in white, daughter smiles at Daddy says, “we better get moving.” He shakes his head and grins. He squeezes her close and starts the short walk to her husband-to-be. Sand in toes; waves lap the shore. Lemon-yellow, morning sun. Chris looks at his bride-to-be with adoration and love. Meggie takes his hand. Pledges of life and love are made. Dad slips his hand in Mom’s and whispers, “this is perfect. Everything is perfect.”

The Locket

 

A woman wears her tears like jewelry.  ~Author Unknown

Mom placed the locket around my neck. I hadn’t worn it since I was 17 years old. She and I opened it. We looked at the sepia toned photos inside. Grandpa Howard, a man I never met and Grandma Mable, a woman that I will never forget. Grandpa drowned before I was born and Grandma, she died in her late 80’s after walking the Mackinaw Bridge on Labor Day.

Whenever I visit Mom at her home Up North, I ask her for a piece of jewelery. Most of the time I’m joking. I know she doesn’t want to part with any of the pieces in her collection. She has some beautiful antique jewelry that belonged to many women in my family. I know the pieces mean a lot to her. The home that she lived in a few years ago had been broken into at least twice during the 20 years that she lived there. Of course the thieves always took the jewelry first.

Her collection had been hit hard by those robberies. A few years ago my Grandma Bobbie died. Mom has slowly but surely acquired my grandmother’s prized jewelry. Family issues have made it hard for her to obtain all of the items that she should have. It isn’t fair that she doesn’t have all them. But then death makes some people act peculiarly about the possessions of the deceased.

Today my mother and I were getting ready for the day and of course I jokingly asked for a piece of her jewelry. I don’t know why I always ask such a silly question. I don’t really want any of it because it belongs to her. However, we rummaged through a box and she brought out my Grandma Bobbie’s locket. She placed it around my neck and said that it now belonged to me. I hugged her, gave her a kiss and told her thank you. Then I told her I loved her.

It is now my prized possession. I will treasure it always. Until it is my time to pass it on to one of my children.