Friday, February 14, 2014

Wearing Candy Hearts on my Sleeve

I've always found February to be a peculiar month, bursting with contradiction and paradox. 

Here in Indiana, the worst of winter has usually passed; fluffy snow turned to grimy slush, holiday excitement replaced with general malaise as everyone trudges through daily chores, uninspired and bored, waiting for the sweet release of Spring. Or death, for those mired in seasonal depression.

And in the midst if this melancholy comes hearts and flowers and cards and candy. It's all rather ridiculous. People in luuuuuv don't need to be stabbed with Cupid's arrow to know they're in luuuuuv, and people who aren't in luuuuuv don't need a reminder they're not in luuuuv. It's a load of bullshit wrapped in pink and red, but there was a time this holiday left me giddy with anticipation...

1980(ish) Indianapolis, and I was slap in the middle of that dreaded early-pubescent awkward stage when my pimples were bigger than my boobs. Like every other girl in my class, I had a debilitating crush on a totally self-absorbed and unattainable (for me) boy. I'd mention his name, but I think he's a Facebook friend now so I'll just call him Heartbreaker.

So, back in The Day, I begged and pleaded to get the COOLEST boxed cards for the school Valentines Day exchange.

I'd developed a system for distribution, a hierarchy of worthiness where my favorite classmates received the best cards and the little shits who snapped my (training) bra strap got the dregs. 

I remember sitting at the kitchen table, choosing the very BEST little fold-up card for Heartbreaker. As if that's not pathetic enough, I spent an extraordinary amount of time going through a bag of candy hearts and selecting which ones I'd shove inside the envelope. I needed the perfect words to properly convey the depth of my emotion.

CoolBe Mine
Hot Stuff and 
*gasp* LOVE!

I stuffed Heartbreaker's envelope so full of those candy hearts  I had to use a piece of tape on to keep the flap closed.

The big day arrived! About an hour before the end of the school day we had our party. 

To make a humiliating dramatic story short, my true love (as I watched) opened the envelope. dumped my carefully chosen candy hearts into the enormous pile he'd accumulated from other love-struck girls, and tossed my card in the trash!


A defining moment of childhood, for sure. I'm not bitter, and I sincerely hope Heartbreaker went on to have a fabulous career, great car, lovely home and a life with all the bells and whistles. I kinda hope he married a bitch, though.

Happy Valentines Day!

~ Dawn

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Angels Among Us #4

Good Samaritan Doe

This post is ripped from the headlines of  my life, circa 1994. It was a Saturday morning, hubby at work, I'm home in the apartment with our 10 month old son and a small mountain of over-due laundry.

We'd just moved to Indiana, and the cost of relocating left precious little in the bank. I was trying to stretch every penny, and decided to save money by letting our clothes air dry on the tiny patio area outside the back door. That's what I was doing when I smelled smoke and realized I'd left my lunch cooking on the stove.

Too late. The stove and cabinets above were in already in flames, so I grabbed the baby and ran into the hallway, looking for a fire extinguisher. Every building was supposed to have one on each floor, but all I found were empty cases. All stolen, that's what I was told. Who in bloody hell steals fire extinguishers??

This happened before everyone over age five had cell phones, so I started running through halls, banging on doors, pleading for help. It was all quite dramatic, but people ignored me like I was a pregnant virgin on a donkey. I had a horrible moment, terrified my carelessness might've doomed every single person in that building.

Finally- finally - a door opened.

Most of what happened that day is a blur, but I'll never forget the man who allowed a desperate, barefoot. stranger into his home.

Tall, late middle-age, tufts of white hair around the temples. He walked with a cane, and I remember thinking how hard it must've been, living on the third floor of a building without an elevator.

He called the fire department, then waited outside with me until they arrived. He held my son on his lap while I spoke to the police and apartment manager.

This kind and generous Good Samaritan  took the edge off a nightmare, but I was so wrapped up in my own drama, I never even asked his name.

Many years later, I gave him one.