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On This Day: Your History

Started by claws, November 10, 2022, 07:29:22 AM

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ER

March 30, 2022 The man in Austin, whose already-dying marriage I may have unintentionally brought to an expedited end a number of years ago, unexpectedly called me and said: "I'm in town, would you like to have lunch?"

We were going to sit outside a café but the wind was too strong, so we talked in his car. Since the early 2000s when we'd been close---and while some people didn't believe it, especially his wife, our relationship was platonic---he'd changed in many ways, and though we were only a few months apart in age, he had risen so high within our employers that it could be said he was someone with power, which made our once more or less equal standing very uneven in 2022.

He said he missed what we'd had for five years, the confidences, all of it, and most of all missed me. He told me he was happy with his second wife and his children, but he also didn't have anyone who represented what I had been to him twenty years earlier; if nothing else, someone who simply understood the madness of the job. He asked how I'd feel about being in each other's lives again.

It was like being handed a beautiful venomous serpent you know you should flinch away from, but you find yourself reaching for it anyway.

In the year since I agreed to what he asked I've only heard from him twice, and those have been "how are you" check-ins. I'm good with that, it's probably safer, but I do wonder why he changed his mind.
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

FatFreddysCat

One year ago today I went to see Judas Priest (for the 5th time) and Queensryche (for the 4th) together at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Fantastic show!
Hey, HEY, kids! Check out my way-cool Music and Movie Review blog on HubPages!
http://hubpages.com/@fatfreddyscat

ER

March 31, 1994 Because we were off school til after Holy Weekend---in your face, publics---I was allowed to stay up late, so I invested that freedom in talking long-distance for three hours with my favorite college student up in Michigan. I began by asking him, "Hey, Brian, know how to join the Sylvia Plath Baking Club?"

"How, FLN?"

"Head first!"

He told me he was going to ditch school in Michigan (generally a good idea if you're from Ohio) and go locally in the fall, something that made me happy to hear, since the heart wants what it wants, even if the brain tells the heart it has little chance of getting its possibly unwise desires.

He was getting sleepy toward the end of our call and said, "Evelyn, do you know what's the strangest thing in my life right now?" I thought he was going to say it was his interaction with me, but he said, "The fact I am living off Raman noodles and have seven dollars in my wallet to last the next four days, but there's thousands of dollars sitting in my bank account that I won't touch because my dad put it there, and I want to earn my own way."

He was so determined to support himself that when he came home that summer he gave his dad back all his money.
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

ER

April 1, 1994 It was Good Friday, and also April Fool's Day, and as my mom and grandma and aunt and I walked up the tall hillside with its long flights of steps leading to the Immaculata Church atop Mount Adams, that old local tradition, I kept thinking back to the day before, when  my quip about Jesus pulling off the first April Fool's Day prank didn't go over well with my mom, and how I tried to redeem myself in her lovely green eyes by going to confession.

Inside the ornate 1800s confessional I told the priest I almost never confessed anymore, and he asked why and I said I just didn't. Then he asked how old I was, and I said fifteen, and he asked if I believed he had the power to forgive sins, to which I said I didn't know if I did or not. He said, "Well, I do have that power whether you accept the truth of it or not, since after all, a tree does not have to believe in photosynthesis to experience it."

Hmmm, this man had less sense of the ironic than my mother. He continued, "As long as you admit you do wrong in your life and are sorry for it, your sins can be forgiven, even if you lack perfect faith."

Since I was there and my mom was out in the church, I went ahead and made an unenthusiastic confession of some topical things like fibbing, self-centeredness, pride, annoyance with my parents and various peers, and my increasingly recurring outlook of condescension toward confession. He told me my sins were just venial and he hoped I kept them that way, because only a fool would not be afraid of going to Hell, a topic mentioned by Jesus at least seventy times.

It felt like a challenge to be told my sins were 'just venial,' so hoping to impress him I found myself saying, "Well there was something else...."

That was how an anonymous priest on Holy Thursday became the first person I ever told about the nameless thing the summer before that had constituted my one and only shared quasi-carnal act, but the priest failed to be impressed, just assigned me Hail Marys before dismissing me with my ego so bruised I wanted to huff and tell him: that does so count as something!

I walked away from that suckfest of a confession so fast my mom leaped from off a kneeler and chased after me going, "Wait, don't you have to say some penance?"

"Yes," I called back, "but I'll do it later."

I don't think I ever did.

On the night of Good Friday, Gina slept over for Holy Saturday, and I told her about the trauma of that confession, and how the object of your love pulling you tightly against him in his car while you're wearing a dress, and him holding onto you while your legs are on either side of him and a definite stirring on his part went on beneath you, separated by merest millimeters of clothing that was your underwear and his pants, was definitely something a priest should've take disapproving note, unlike that jerk.

Gina simply said, "Maybe you shouldn't use confession as a chance to brag, El." Then she added, "He's too old for you."

Et tu, girlfriend?
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

Alex

1st of April 2015.

I made a Facebook post announcing that I'd been offered a promotion again. 3 months later people were still asking me about this even though multiple times it had come up that it had been an April Fools prank. It was the last one I'd pull, small as it was and compared to some of the previous years quite a damp squib.

1st of April 1995.

It had taken months of planning, but finally, we were ready. Uniforms had been snuck out of the laundry, fake IDs had been made and we were ready. On the big day, we transported our special surprise the 17 miles to its destination, got dressed in our borrowed gear and snuck inside.

The Aprils Fools joke this year had been decided as taking dinner to the local hospital ward for the addicts and alcoholics wing. While this might not seem like much of a prank initially, it was cold Turkey they were served. The whole thing went off perfectly as planned as provided much amusement to our local lord of mischief. It was the first time we'd all worked together on a project like this, rather than trying to one-up each other.

1st of April 1990.

As it was a Sunday and I had nothing else better to do I took a walk into Saltcoats. Most of the shops would still be closed. The remaining influence of the church that prevented anyone from doing anything useful or fun on that day still prevailed, although anyone could see its hold was weakening against the commercial appeal. Still, the TV was full of legally mandated religious programs that were as dull as ditchwater and no one really watched, even if it was on the screen.  It was one of those cold, but bright days. On a whim, while walking along I noticed a bill poster outside a newsagent, declaring "Armed Robbers Wanted!". I couldn't help myself and walked over to it, adding beneath it "Apply within." Later that day I mentioned it to some of my friends who decided that the next year we'd have to have a contest to see who could pull off the best joke. Over the years this would grow to involve japes that would take months of planning and in some cases have repercussions that would last even longer. Still, on this day I had no idea how this one simple spur of the moment joke would spiral upwards and take wings.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness

indianasmith

April 1, 2019  The senior class, for their annual prank, transformed my room into a haunted house/graveyard, complete with headstones for all the students who had left their class prior to graduation, and an extra large one for our headmaster, Mr. Bowers, who was stepping down at the end of the year (they said he was "graduating with them"!).  They also put a full-sized black coffin in the middle of my room, which was left with me as a gift in honor of my famous Halloween story "The Black Coffin."  The coffin is still propped up in the corner of my room today.
"I shall smite you in the nostrils with a rod of iron, and wax your spleen with Efferdent!!"

ER

April 2, 2007 Went to Major League Baseball's Opening Day, which always kicks off downtown in honor of the Reds being the first professional baseball team. Landon's father's connection to TV news scored us a media pass that let us into some cool places at the stadium, and on my late grandpa's behalf, as a proxy, I got to shake Pete Rose's hand, something I had also done twenty years before when my grandpa got us into another meet 'n greet. (I don't think Pete Rose remembered me!) That evening I picked up my mom and we saw Celtic Woman in concert, which was better than it might sound. My mom's boss/close friend had been in a serious car accident in March, and she'd been spending a lot of time helping his boyfriend take care of him during his recovery, so I was hoping to give her a night out to enjoy herself. I drove home to the loveliest moonrise, golden, full, huge and close to the horizon, inspiring me to pull over and get out just to stare at it. Truthfully life can be filled with Zen moments, if you look for them.
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

ER

#217
April 3, 1984 It was the tenth anniversary of the largest tornado outbreak in the history of the world, and our city had been right in the center of it. Maybe as many as a hundred-fifty tornadoes hit the Midwest and upper South that day, one of them west of downtown (shown on live TV) was rated F-5 the strongest twister on the Fujita scale.

Before Doppler radar, a tornado's intensity was typically identified by the damage left behind, and with some of the most severe F-5 tornadoes, the horrifying fact was they left little wreckage and debris behind like lesser tornadoes did, their path was often simply swept clean. Nothingness. People couldn't even find where their houses were in devastated subdivisions, it was all one big empty zone of total barrenness, with paved streets and cement sidewalks sometimes lifted and taken away, and the ground left as bare dirt, since the grass got ripped up by its roots. We're talking erasure of a landscape here.

The mile-wide monster that barely missed downtown was so mighty that as it passed over the river separating Kentucky and Ohio, the bottom was momentarily visible. A thirty-foot deep, furlong-wide river, countless tons of flowing water, and the tornado sucked it away to expose the river's floor. The water also turned the tornado eerily white for a moment, until it spun off the river water, flinging it in all directions at nearly 300 MPH, hard enough to leave bullet-like indentations in the concrete pillars of I-75's Brent Spence Bridge, visible to this day.

So needless to say everyone who lived in the city on April 3, 1974  had a story about that nightmare of a day, and in 1984, amid the news marking the occasion, I remember listening to my dad and grandma and aunt tell my horrified mom about their experiences, how the storm approached as a wall of jade-hued blackness, and my dad still wasn't home from his senior year in high school, and my aunt and grandma stood out front in those pre-cell phone days and nervously hoped he'd hurry. Finally with the boiling sky overhead lowering into fjord-like clouds, my dad drove up, mostly curious and slightly unaware of the magnitude of the danger around him, and he wanted to stay out front and watch, but my five-foot-five grandma grabbed my six-two dad by the ear and pulled him to the basement minutes before everything burst loose outside in gale-force out-drafts, uprooting trees and slamming down spiked, softball-size hailstones.

The only injury among them was my dad's bruised ear, but just to the northwest a small tornado crossed the circle expressway and stayed on the ground for several minutes, damaging structures and pushing a telephone pole off center. (It's tilted to this day.)

An hour later it was all over, since the front hustled past at seventy miles an hour, and the skies turned partly sunny, and my dad went and played basketball that evening with his friends in a school gym that had no electricity for lights, so people held flashlights on the hoops.

That afternoon in 1984 when I was hearing about all this as a curious five-year-old, my dad turned to me and asked if I knew what the moral to that day in 1974 was.

"No matter how beautiful it can be," he said, "you can ever completely trust the sky."  

(When I would tell this caution to my friend Mark another ten years in the future, he'd add: "Or trust girls.")
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

ER

April 4, 1995 Dana called me with shocking news, telling me she got this impulse to visit our comatose grandma at her care center, and when she got there she found Grandma's door locked from inside, so she knocked, but it was at least ten seconds before the door was opened by our twenty-three year old cousin Adam, who had a guilty look on his face. He had been in the room alone with our grandmother, and her head was resting strangely, with one of her pillows sideways under her neck, like it had been pushed back under her fast, and Dana was overcome by the strongest suspicion that Adam had been preparing to smother her.

Dana said Adam walked by her fast, straight to the parking lot, so after glancing in at our grandma she went after him and asked what he'd been doing, and of all things for him to say, he asked if she realized how much money our grandfather was spending keeping our grandma alive.

Dana said this revolted her and she asked, "Is that what this is about, he's spending your inheritance?"

He didn't answer, just got in his car, and Dana reached in and punched him as hard as she could, then called the police, who said there was no proof any crime had been committed in the room but that Adam could file charges against her for hitting him. He would always maintain he hadn't done anything that night except go see his own grandma, but Dana to this day believes otherwise.
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

Alex

4th April 2016.

Discussed with a workmate how well Vladamir Putin would fit into the WWE as a comedy heel character.

Nothing has changed there then. Still a cartoon villain.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness

ER

April 5:
1991: Watched The Exorcist and cried for the old priest, who was sick but still went to help another person. Twelve year old girls can be empathetic creatures.
1994: Read The Bell Jar while I went with Gina's family to her brother Mark's baseball game, which his team won 23-0.
1997: To St. Xavier's Church downtown and free-associated about life with a patient Jesuit named Father Huber, who often told me I had "scrupulosity" and worried too much.
2004: My co-worker in Austin asked if I'd read The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and I quoted: "In the Occident, where death is much feared, the art of dying is little practiced." Then he admitted his wife was shifting blame for their dying marriage onto me, and when I told him she had to know we were just close friends, he said, "But we're not, are we?" I said I should give them space, and he said, "Please don't, I'll fix this." (It was soon a mess.)
2005: Saw Little Shop of Horrors on stage.
2013: To Shabbat services with Edie and her family, a mixture of formal and informal, scholarly and comfortable, the past and the eternal now. Once again I envied Jewish men their yarmulkes.
2019: Almost seven-year-old Trinity, who's never known a shy moment in her life, put on a dance show in our living room. She planned it, printed up tickets, charged us a quarter each, then wore her "dance outfit" and headband, and twirled and pranced and leaped and stopped mid-show after announcing, "So thirsty!" before drinking juice and finishing her second half. Best concert money I ever spent.
2021 I went out that morning and leaned over the balcony, and below me was the most beautiful, scintillating dewdrop. It radiated a bronze hue into many eyelash-fine strands of light, and as I changed my perspective, it shone in green and blue and golden rays. I vowed to remember that moment. 
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

ER

April 6, 1994 Dana picked me up so I could gawk while she got her belly button pierced. She selected a 14K gold US-made ring because she said Chinese jewelry could make you sick, and though she was nervous, she laid still as a statue til it was done, then bled like crazy while the area swelled. I asked if it hurt much, and she said yes, even high on adrenaline. Then she drove to Arby's, where she got a large jamocha shake and a huge wedge-shaped cherry turnover, saying, "f**k calories, I need sugar after using so much adrenaline." I watched her eat without getting anything myself, which she said was bad manners and griped, "You're making me feel like a pig for eating in front of you."  She then, for the first time, called me "Fallen Saint" her nickname for at least a year til it lost its savor on her tongue, so I told her, "If you don't shut up with that, I'll pull out your piercing." She threw a curly fry in my hair and said she liked it when I was assertive, so in the spirit of assertiveness I ate the curly fry even though it had been defiled.
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

ER

April 7:
1989: Took a school field trip to the factory where Airheads candy was made.
2005: Paid an eyewitness to a death a thousand dollars to tell me what he saw.
2016: Listened appalled as my dad told me a major reason he was divorcing his second wife was he was bored with her.
2017: My husband informed me he had been visiting a terminally ill woman with whom he used to be in love in the '90s, and who was on a heart transplant list. Soon our daughter would begin visiting her too...
2018: Took my two youngest to a firefighters' museum.
2020: Read a shocking/humorous declassified Cold War file that showed in the event of war, the KGB would immediately target Walter Cronkite, believing his death would disrupt the dissemination of US "wartime propaganda." In response to the KGB's plans, the CIA was instead to immediately take Cronkite into custody in the event of hostilities, and place him in a safe location, where he could broadcast....US wartime propaganda.
2021 Tired this night as I worked far from home, I found myself alone and writing a dialogue that felt like communicating with another person. I'd read about automatic writing, which apparently is documented as a psychological phenomenon, just never expected to experience it, and still don't know what to make of it.
What does not kill me makes me stranger.

Alex

7th April 2015.

I visited my FLGS (friendly local games store) in Glasgow, which was no longer local. Not that it was overly friendly either. I mean I liked Tom, but the word for him would have been odd. If Nylarthotep had a human avatar, it would have been Tom. Still I liked him and he always gave me a 10% discount. I'd been buying games from him since my first RPG (WFRP 1st edition). He wouldn't be closing his doors until May (my birthday no less) and we already had another trip planned down to Glasgow before he was due to shut, so I told him I'd be back to spent too much money one more time. I felt sad about his closing like little else.

7th April 2009.

Having spent the day clearing out the possessions of a dead man who I had never met before and whose name I didn't know. The whole thing was done in complete silence, not a word exchanged between myself and the other guy I was doing the job with. I'd have paid good money to have some music on or something to break the atmosphere.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness

Alex

8th April 2013.

It was announced that ex-prime minister Maggie Thatcher had died. "Hey, Ho the witch is dead" went straight to number one on the download charts. Someone interrupted my celebrations on her death to point out she had been a person with a still-living family. I replied so were all the people she put out of jobs and the lives she ruined still had to go on. I had no doubt her children (one is a journalist and the other an arms dealer who was involved in a plot to overthrow an African country) would survive and be fine. Many of her policies (not all of which were bad), still have ramifications echoing through today, but the longest-lasting ones have had powerfully effective negative traits, even the ones that I agree with.

As it was approaching our two-month anniversary, but we were still having to live in different countries, I booked Kristi for an online date. We both put on The Princess Bride and watched it as together as it was possible on different continents with an ocean between us. We each had a picnic and made the best of our circumstances. Although we weren't expecting to be reunited for another 4 months, we'd get a surprise when her visa was approved much more quickly than the 6-months we'd been told we'd have to wait. Still we didn't know that this night and it was a magical evening together.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness