I’m trying to make this a coherent story. It’s difficult putting in excerpts. Bear with me! This is a continuation of last weeks–the post just above. Thanks Thom for the words!
I wasn’t a neat person. I couldn’t make my bed perfectly. There was always a bulge somewhere. My clothes weren’t arranged by color or in any order. I had too many clothes, from Loehmann’s, from my parents stores, from Paraphernalia the coolest store in the world or New York, from my family visit to London the previous spring. We had gone to Carnaby Street and I even had a brown velvet smoking jacket with a white lace collar and sleeves.
Most of my clothes ended on the floor of the closet. My bureaus weren’t organized. I didn’t have an underpants drawer for my too many pairs of underpants or a socks draw or anything resembling order. I had no idea how to order anything. My side of the room was a mess.
This is where you think that my parents failed at raising me. No, they did everything possible to teach me organization. My mother had begun working part time a few years earlier. We had a cleaning woman, three days a week, who wasn’t allowed in my room unless it was already clean and the bed was made. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t order or clean things.
My Dad was a CPA. He lived for precision. But he loved me more than he loved order and that was almost smothering. My Mom tried to balance him. But you can’t stop a force of nature.
Our fights were fast, fierce and furious. My sister and I had always related to Danny Williams (Danny Thomas) in Make Room for Daddy because he had dark hair, a big nose,a great sense of humor, and an obvious career that he went to at odd hours. Mostly he yelled at his kids, Linda and Rusty. It might have felt that he yelled more than he did because it was so good to see an imperfect father who would walk the plank if he had to for his kids.
My father had told me the summer before I began college that he was glad I was rebelling against him. For if I didn’t I would rebel against the world. Take the fun out of it, Max, why didn’t you? But Freshman year was going to test our boundaries and relationship even more than Senior Year at High School had.
And my mother had found an ounce of pot in my room a week or so after I graduated high school. I could have lied and said it was oregano but the thought never occurred to me. She didn’t usually look in my closet but the night before my friend and I had gone in a “strange man’s” car and came home too soon. This was very suspicious behavior. Roofers were putting in a new roof. My mother thought that if the roofers began a fire and the Jericho Volunteer Fire Department had to come, they would go into the house through my room and hammer my closet down–it being so neat and all.
My mother was a very intelligent, rational woman. Even I knew this wasn’t intelligent rational thinking. My high school boyfriend had been a 27 year old hippie East Village living, Mack truck driver. They had let me date him so I wouldn’t sneak out or hate them when I was 30.
My mother uttered many words as she gave me bus fare to my aunt and uncle’s house in Connecticut. My Aunt was a hippie artist who was to become a Buddhist. My Uncle was a former radio announcer now businessman. In the 40’s, they had been friends with The Weavers and other folk singers. My mother felt that I would be safe with them as she told my father what she had found.
After I arrived at my Aunt’s she asked if it was sex or drugs that had brought me to her house. I looked at her. “Honestly?” I said as I played with my hair for a second or two too long. “It could be either. I had an older boyfriend I just broke up with. His friend raped me.”
What can I say? It was the summer of 1968. I was a strange girl saved from total oddness by looks and something in my personality that attracted many people. And repelled others. By the time I got to college I was used to this weird dichotomy that was me. I was fearful. I only spoke to people who spoke to me first. Fortunately many people spoke to me first.
I certainly repelled my college roommate Melanie and the Resident Assistant, Lois. As I went about my life meeting more and more boys, they hatched a plan to bust me.
Now, I wasn’t a big drug user. I dabbled. But I had a spaced out look that made me seem as if I were a heavy user.
I wasn’t neat. Melanie and Lois didn’t understand that this was a problem in me. That inside me was a girl who wanted to be the neatest girl in the world but I couldn’t be. I didn’t know how. They couldn’t understand how a girl who had such nice and nice looking parents could be so sloppy.
My mother wore mini dresses. She had great legs, and had always taught me to show off my assets so she showed off hers. I made fun of her in that daughterly way, or maybe I was envious because in 1968, breasts and waists didn’t count. It was legs, only legs that mattered.
I was too young, too self absorbed to understand that legs were what mattered to girls. Boys they liked legs and other things. I had the other things.
Every day boys would give me little presents like sparklers, incense, candles. I thought many boys who all had long neat dark hair, large dark eyes, big nice noses, long tall bodies clad in cords and tees were giving me presents.
We never really talked. I went around with JohnnyB who had come up to me and began talking the first day of college. We made arrangements to go to the first dance of the year together. It was called The End of the World Dance and the group that was playing was, I swear, called God.
One day a boy gave me a present and I realized that Noah was the only boy to have been giving me presents. We began talking. It turned out that he had been kicked out school the year before. Supposedly for hanging out with drug users and I guess dealing. Even his parents believed the school. In reality he had convinced many people to the 67 Moratorium. I was impressed as he wasn’t the usual anti war nerd but a genuinely good looking funny boy who made me laugh. But I wouldn’t date him because he wasn’t a college student. Aside from that he was everything I had ever dreamed of in a boy.