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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What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 

6/15/2024

Argh! I have a new phone because the old one stopped staying charged plus a few more foibles. My phone cost $400 five years ago so it makes sense that it stopped working reliably, right? If an appliance worked like this we would burn that manufacturer to the ground.

Swan Story

6/3/2024 

I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s writing lately and I have decided there is too much to read. Much of it is very good but there is JUST TOO MUCH!

So my goal going forward is to write shorter posts, more often, that might remind you of the glory, power, and goofiness of your life as well as mine.

So, let me say again what’s always very true. Thank you for reading what I write.

..

About My Memorial Day Story

5/25/2024

Today my story ‘Memorial Day’ is posted at Substack. Read it here. 

Courage, Big & Little

5/22/2024

Courage.

I’m writing fiction this week. I started a story in December that, along the way, turned into a Memorial Day story. It will be my Substack story this Saturday.

This morning I looked for an old newspaper column to rerun and found this one about a time when one of our kids needed to have four teeth pulled.

Cholesterol Numbers & Squirrels

 5/15/2024

Years ago I was out to dinner with friends. We were all just entering our 40’s and thus were all beginning to get the fun medical tests about this and that and cholesterol. I said, to a friend next to me, that I’d started eating oatmeal everyday for breakfast and my cholesterol had dropped …..

The room went silent.

Everyone heard “cholesterol dropped” and stopped speaking. Everyone wanted to hear how much it had dropped – which was about 8 points. In our twenties the conversation stopper was gossip about sex. Now the secret sauce was HDL and LDL

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