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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WHITE CAKE!

The picture is our wedding cake, made by my friend Karen, who drove it from Indiana to Chicago on the hottest day of that year. It was in the back seat so their two little boys had to ride in front (remember when kids could ride in front?). They got lost in the city but I didn't know that for years because Karen and her husband start early and had time to get lost and then figure it out. Sometimes wedded bliss is a lot of work. 

The following story and recipe is not about the wedding cake, but it is the photo I have...

...

6/30/2022

How Do We Remember What We Remember?

6/30/2022

The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

Our Terrible Canoe Adventure

The eagle photo was taken by Len - but not on this trip! 

6/23/2022

We are fine but I have a tale to tell.

American Successes / American Failures

Did you ever have to tell the truth when it was hard? Did you ever lie to avoid a hard situation?  Did you ever know a hard, wrong thing but you told no one because it was going to be complicated and some people wouldn’t believe you and you might end up disrespected or worse for “telling on” someone else?

Most people work hard at learning truth-telling when they are 4 and 5-years old.

Molecule Moving

6/8/2022     

I didn’t know a Panoply of Dental Moments was coming my way this week, but such is life with teeth. One can brush, floss, slosh, and swish - but if one’s teeth want to crumble, they do. Yesterday I had my six-month cleaning. The hygienist said several times that I brush and floss beautifully. I was proud and thinking maybe I would give myself a “well-done” sticker when I got home. Then the dentist came in to do the check-up and said two fillings had cracks around them and needed to be replaced.

Rough Stories, Tough Week

6/1/2022 

Last Friday evening on PBS Tonight David Brooks said something like this. “I am afraid for all of us. The news just pummels us.”

There are as many tough stories as there are fingers on a closed fist. The shooting in Uvalde. The shooting in Buffalo. The corrupt power of the NRA and other obscene wealth-mongers that are destroying our society from the inside of elected reps’ pockets outwards. Ukraine. Global climate mayhem. Oh, and covid is everywhere. Less traumatic for most; long covid for some. So that’s six fingers on that pugilistic fist.

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