Mary Beth Writes

4/8/2022

Franc and I had a conversation about men who won’t or don’t explore their feelings over in yesterday’s comments section. If you want to chime in that topic is still wide open like a swanky whale swimming through swales and swells, swilling for krill. (I don’t know where that came from either. Follow the muse.)

Also, I suggested that if you have photos of Spring where you live to send them to me and I will post them. David sent this from Raleigh, NC. Drying puddle. Yellow aura of pollen. Yup, it’s Spring.

You can send photos to me at:   MB at MaryBethDanielson dot com.  

Chicago Story - 

I moved into Chicago late summer of 1974. Hedy was already my friend (Hi, Hedy!) and she was living with Sharon in a rambling 3rd floor walk-up at 713 S. Loomis. (How do I remember my address from back then? Minds are weird.) That's a current photo of the building, at the top. 

Hedy and Sharon were nursing students at University of Illinois at Chicago / Circle campus. Their 3rd roommate moved out that summer which made room for me. I’d graduated from college in June and had already had enough mis-starts and mishaps to mar any average young woman’s life for years. (I can tell you, if you want to know, about picking up the lock-picking hitchhiker who shipped marijuana via Greyhound as his career and who wanted to re-upholster my car’s interior in a leopard skin leatherette. He knew where to get it.)

It seemed to me that moving in with two rather Christian women of my own age might make my life safer and saner. This was not to be true, but that was the plan.

The thing is, in a conventional story one doesn’t spend a lot of time describing how the main character gets from one place to another. But in real life, that’s a big deal, right? Why, just today Len got a ticket for turning at a place we have turned the entire seven years we have lived here, but just this week they decided it is now a construction zone and so drama ensued.

I drove into Chicago by myself. My car was a gold 1969 Pontiac Tempest that my mom gave me when she bought a new car for herself because my sister told her she had to. My sister knew how things should be and often my mom and I obeyed her. (My mom obeyed Karen way more than I did.) Her daughter is reading this now and probably smiling.

So it was late in the afternoon of a very hot summer day. The car had no air conditioning because cars didn’t back then. Everything I owned was in my car, including my cat Buick (four on the floor). I was also a smoker and I was smoking so I had to have the window open, but not too much because I was always worried Buick would jump out. (He was a scaredy cat and he would not have done that, but I was his person and my god I loved him.) I had been driving four hours. It was a s-l-o-w rush hour coming into Chicago on I-94; I was on the Steel Bridge.

I was looking down at the floor of the car, trying to figure out where Buick had disappeared to in the 90-degree car. I was driving very slowly, but, you guessed it, I bumped into the car in front of me.

Traffic was so slow he stopped and I stopped. He got out to look at his back bumper and I just sat with tears running down my face. I wanted my mom but that wasn’t going to happen.

A giant black Chicago guy in work pants and a dirty white t-shirt walked to my window. I rolled it down halfway. “I’m sorry but I have my cat in here and I’m afraid to open the door because he might jump out. I don’t know what to do.”

You know, that man could have been awful but he wasn’t.

“There is a little bumper damage on my car. Nothing on yours. I will settle for $20.”

“I don’t have that much cash. I can write you a check except I’m moving into Chicago today and I don’t have a bank yet.”

He shook his head from side to side. He didn’t yell. He went back to his car, wrote down his address, gave it to me. “I’m counting on you to send me a check for $20. Please do that.”

He went back to his car, traffic resumed, an hour later I was carrying everything I owned up three flights to my new room in my very first apartment in Chicago.

The next day I went to a bank in the neighborhood and opened a checking account. They gave me starter checks. I wrote a check for $20 and sent it to that man and neve heard from him again.

Thus began my life in Chicago.

In the early 1990’s Len came to me one day after spending some time on our computer. “Do you know you have unclaimed cash at this bank I never heard of on the near west side?”

I had never used that bank again; and so forgot that money. I applied for it and not long after we moved out of Chicago to Wisconsin.

  

 

 

 

 

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Wait for your postings....Thanks

How do we send you photos? I'm not able to find a way to attach them.
Mary Beth's picture

Yeah, I should have said. I will put this up in the body of this post also. You can send photos directly to me at MB at MaryBethDanielson dot com.

I love the name "Buick" for your cat. Glad you gave up smoking!

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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