Strength be thy victory while perseverance be thy pride.
Anger has us bottled up inside. While words carry out our messages of knowledge and necessity.
Revenge to the taker of our coveted land. Hostility for the blood that was shed.
Enter the villain known as the “Grim Reaper.” He casts a shadow over your hand. “Memories” he says, “of a dutiful man.”
The trouble lay within the soul…of one who would not be taken. “Can I be spared a little longer – please can I have more time?” The dying man begged as a cold stiffness began to straighten his body.
“You have been paying for your exit for many a year,” said he to this poor dear. It was customary for those that were touched…to misunderstand. The guided blessings they had been given, along the way.
“Love has surrounded you every turn of the corner.” He began to explain. “You walked right through it and then cried when it slipped away.”
One must cherish what it is that you have. But let it go, once it has learned how to fly. When it has been held back by force, it will most surely die.
It is not just what you love that is in front of you, but what exists that holds you where you are.
The earth, which has allowed you to grow.
The air, which has given you the breath of life.
The fire, which has warmed you on a cold winters night.
The water, which you have drank to quench your thirst.
There are those who grace this planet, different ones who have created the universe. It was meant to be this way to give you depth and color.
We are all one of another, a woman, who gave birth to us and nursed us to sleep. The mother is the blessed creator of our universe, for she has given us the babies who learn to be human.
The children who are forever with us, within us, surrounding us with their white lights. They are born into a magical kingdom of fairies and goblins, that are swooped away without attention as we grow up through the time.
Do you see these things but only with your eyes? No, it must be a conscious vigil in your mind. To continue to walk with what you have been given, I must have a reason why. To keep going backwards will get you nowhere.
It is simple, it is easy, if only you will try.
Loosen the bricks which you have carried over the years. Put down your sorrows and pick up your gait. Knowledge is wisdom but courage is faith.
Embrace yourself, embrace the light. Be comforted by the warmth it brings to you inside.
“I am no being,” he finally said to the man. “My journey is forever ending and soon yours may be too. Shall you join me or will you turn away?”
The man thought and thought until he turned to say, “If it is time, it is time, for I am so weak. I have gotten used to my burdens and the voices I carry.”
Suddenly as the Grim Reaper bent down to take his hand, the man looked up and saw his son, who had passed only a few years before.
The man backed away but into the light. His backpack was unfastened as he began to saunter around the room. Then, out of nowhere came a little giggle.
Just then the sun began to rise for the dawn of a new day and the man walked out of his home to enjoy his land. His wife and family gathered round, to be by his side. Then they danced and they sang until all hours of the night.
The man went on to much happier moments, soon realizing that he was living for the first time in his life.
Written in 1995 but then published in my memoir “Absent Hearts, Missing Pieces” which I believe came out in 2003. This was given to my father before he died. He didn’t understand it, as many men don’t understand me when I write.
She taps her little feet on the ground though she’d rather be “en pointe.” Graceful arms stretched high up gliding to and fro, as if they were a kite. A pink, puffy, tutu floating in the air as she lifts up and then down.
Horses without saddles, tied up outside, she is lying in wait; watching the clouds roll by. Cows sighing heavy sighs, chewing on their cud. Impatience was born here.
Watching the baby, taking in his beautiful scent. Squeezing his squishy body. Kissing him all over the face. He hates it when she does this but the touch of his skin is new to her and she is young. A miracle that was brought into her life twice. This time she is older and can be the little momma. This time she is conscious of another. She wants him to be hers but she knows he is not. What would she do anyway but dress him up like a doll and watch him grow like a plant.
Growing is not easy when you have to be good. She is not always good because her mind is full of ideas and wonder about the world around her. Questions get smacks, always have to be put in line. Little girls are meant to be polite, keep quiet and sit up straight. Rulers and belts, wooden spoons and hands. Always those hands that came out of nowhere when you thought you were doing alright.
Why is life this way she thinks and why do I have to listen?
How will I know the answers if I can’t pose a question?
The fog continues to roll in and she creeps into this space, it is a place to hide and not be seen, though they can see but realize she is not there. Shake your head like a globe when you want to return, and watch as the snow falls on the city and the world re-appears.
She feels like a robot now. Doing whatever they want, whenever they want as if she does not exist. Sleeping at night, her body held tight, the awareness that she is hardening up inside and becoming solid as a rock. She tries to move but can’t seem to unwind; she is scared and cries to moisten the skin. This is not a nightmare it is the reality she is in.
Cutting to feel alive. A hanger scratches the surface, you feel pain but it is okay because it is louder than the thoughts inside. She wants to scream but if she does they will run in and shut her up. If she is silent in her room, with the lilacs on the wall, she can feel herself and wonder about dying. What is there to stay for?
Sex seems fun but confusing she thinks. Why do I have to do this anyway? If that is what he wants, I guess. Out pops a baby but it is not like the little boy she raised. He is fraught with a life that was just like before. One she doesn’t want to go through again. Threats and violence, he is choking her and she can’t breathe. She kicks him between the legs and patronizes him for relief. He fights with her over and over and it makes her sick inside as she remembers that this has been her life for so many years. How much more can she take? And then he picks up the baby to run away, more threats but she is smarter than he. She picks up the glass and slashes her wrists; blood falling from her arms like that waterfall she had wanted to see. Dish towels and doctors offices, the light is fading. She is going in and out. Could this finally be death and an answer for a prayer? Just as darkness sets in all the way, a moment of courage as she rises up, takes one last chance and blurts out her story to the M.D. He stitches her up and sends her home to put the baby back on her knee.
Lots of lies, dirty filthy lies, lots of money that she didn’t have, loss of child her only son, and then plenty of games. One big circle and then all the way back, starting over out on the track. No money, no place to go, not sure what happens next. Living day by day in that fog. Where is help, when will this end, how can she do this, how can she mend?
Daddy once said that she was too prissy, too girl, he named her Miss America as a joke that was true. Finding solace in the books, writing from her heart. The robe made of glass, the gown of steel, the crown of hope. She was climbing that mountain, no matter how tall. No matter that she meant nothing and without a map or someone to call.
The little girl had grown up without a visit inside, no pills to placate her, but plenty who would numb the pain.
All that was left now would be plenty to gain.
My strong woman is alone because she is strong and he does not want her to be strong. If she is it might make him seem weak as he is not able to be so strong. Or is he? Maybe she has got it all wrong.
Though she wonders if she will ever be loved, does she have a right to be loved, when she is so strong? They say she does not deserve to be loved, she does not need it because she is so strong. Leave her alone since she wants to be strong and let her live alone, like all the other women, who are so strong.
Maria Callas was a strong woman who sings arias that are blasting from her stereo, so that she feels her heart leap from her chest. She listens to the passion of a strong woman and feels validated for being strong.
And she weeps silent tears so that she can stay strong and she is so strong that the water has dried up in her eyes, so long ago because crying doesn’t change anything; it only ruins the mascara. And if you ruin that, then they will know, that you have cried and you are weak.
So you stay strong and push the limits because you know that you are right. But you are dancing alone while they stand around you staring and pointing fingers to say that you are wrong.
They don’t care what is really right – if it didn’t come from them then you should keep your big mouth shut tight. Very tight so that no on can hear you in the light.
Fuck them she says, I am a strong woman and if I pretend than I can’t save a life!
She sings Patsy Cline who whines about strife, the kind she relates to that cuts through her with a knife.
She breathes only when she is alone and takes the time to think and when she thinks her nostril flares wide and her skin crawls and her bowels won’t move.
The injustice of being a strong woman in and entitled world, of staying true to yourself, all by yourself, because they want you to join in on the play.
But you can’t act because you are real and even when you try to fake it, they know it is a lie.
Strong women stay strong because they know no other way. Since they were a child and were beaten and robbed of every passing day. No ability to play and make up games because someone would end up taking it all away.
So you grew with a chip on your shoulder and a song in your heart. You wanted to sing but every time you sang someone would slap you down and you’d get up with your nose running; blood dripping all over the place.
And the story continued year after year as you became stronger from fighting and no one to lend an ear. Or a hand, or a hug, or stick around and fight for you, because you were strong and they said you didn’t need anyone because you kept becoming more strong.
The longer you lived the stronger you got. Did you have a choice when they had all forgot?
You walk in the room like the head of the class and people allow you to pass because they see you are strong and they wait to see how you will lead the way.You are strong and you can. But as a result your strength keeps the others at bay.
Frida Kahlo stares at her from the painting on the wall and sees this strong woman in all her pain. She whispers, it will be okay, to not give up or run away.
You are old and tired now and look back at your life. You’ve become so strong, so brave, so exhausted from all this might. You want to rest and take a break; retire from the scene, let someone else take over.
But once again the stage is set and you are stuck. They need you but don’t want you. They plead for you and beg for you. They listen and then tell you, you don’t understand. You suffer the humility and let it go, because you are so strong.
And you suffer in silence.
And they suffer along.
The struggle in life is that we let our ego have its way.
When we pause and focus within, life alters itself.
Do we love the struggle because it fulfills us or because we enjoy the pain?
But no, we are here to grow.
After all, can we spend every day in bliss?
A life with nothing but happiness, what would we learn?
How could we appreciate?
We would be nothing but privileged fools drinking champagne and dancing at elegant parties.
A continuous picnic not realizing that we are sitting on the grass.
I could not go without a walk in nature to feel the ground beneath me.
My arms wrapped around the tree, hands grasping at the bark rubbing my skin raw.
Jumping in a cool lake, feeling the water devour my body.
Staring up at the sky as the Gods look down upon me.
What lurks beyond the trees, what animals will I see?
Happiness is but a moment in time and then it rains.
The energy of the universe pushes our limits until we are able to fly.
Just as we begin to develop wings they are clipped and we are off balance once more.
We are alone in this tragedy, yet we are all facing our own battles.
It is a dance on the same floor but each body hears different tunes.
Our interpretations of the rhythm as its waves go across the room.
Sadness loves company and it enjoys sticking around.
If you would make love to it, the feeling will linger as long as you wish it to stay.
It is a horny teen with pimples who sees a prostitute for the first time.
How he begins to grow, when he sits next to a woman and sees her smile.
What a burden when he realizes that the door is locked and there is no key.
At some point he must come up for air. But will he?
The key is there and has always been right within reach.
If only we would open our eyes and see that it is sitting on our table right next to us where we sleep.
Yes, answers are only a step away when you take the time to breathe.
But why breathe when the phone is ringing and the child is crying and the dishes need to be done?
Breathing is for sleeping, when we lay down at night.
It is for the doctor to find out if everything is going to be all right.
Read me the tarot and let me see so I don’t have to smell the air.
I’ll play the lottery and take the risk that I will win the bundle.
Tomorrow is another day and it will be much better.
Today is over and who will care, when I am all alone.
And when we become so desperate that we can’t see our way anymore,
Suddenly we believe.
The key becomes a way to majickly unlock that door.
To step inside the abyss, one foot at a time.
It is the most uncomfortable feeling and you feel sick inside.
You know there is no turning back and you haven’t an idea of what lies ahead.
So you keep walking and telling yourself everything will be okay.
A shift in consciousness rips away all that you thought was once right.
You are no longer yourself and no longer want to be.
Yet you are blind because you have sand in your eyes, from all that sleeping you have done for so many years.
The walk forward is unsteady as you begin to feel your way.
A gentle nudge pushes you and it feels as if everything will be alright.
As you look back you see nothing but ugliness and despair, a fading silhouette crawls down the wall.
A shadow of your former self.
You see the key lying there on the table and wonder why you had not seen it before.
Has it really been there all these years?
You want to be angry for wasting so much precious time.
But a voice from above tells you “All that matters is right now.”
You are here and you hear and you have finally seen. No regrets, no sorrows.
And then she calls out to you and says “Run, so you won’t be late!”
And you run…
You have opened the doors to my soul and I feel naked and exposed in the light.
Timing is what makes everything right.
The Gods are crazy to test us with so many obstacles at once.
Yet I trust that what is happening is what is meant to be.
Hurdles are for jumping over and landing firmly on the ground. And even if you struggle when you fall, you are still over that bar.
Limitations and Boundaries create respect and strengthen your resolve.
I listened to my inner voice and did what I was led to do.
Sometimes it seems rather odd when I get instructions from above. I don’t often understand them.
This time I knew. I had seen. I had felt. I believed.
Patience is taking me through this though I feel strangled by it and want to scream.
Sleeping takes me to another world and spits me out too soon.
Tossing and turning, remembering and loving every thought that comes across my mind.
You took me to the heavens and back, on a journey I only imagined existed.
I still shudder at the thought with a smile on my lips, yearning to go there again one day.
Why did you appear before you were ready and why did I ask for you to come?
We push for answers and try to take them, and when we force them, we are stuck with the realization that we have what we want, only we can’t have it right now.
Always there are barriers to my progress, never can it be said that everything came in order in my life.
Abnormally uplifted and stretched to the limits, can I eat any less though I am so hungry for more.
How can I say this, did I say it, in a way that made it any less painful?
I don’t want to hurt, I just want to love, to be loved; can’t you see that I don’t ever want to say goodbye?
Mirrors are staring back at me, telling me to shut up and sit still and wait. I want to smash them and go forward in time. I want today to be tomorrow. I want yesterday to be today.
But tomorrow is forever if I wait just one more day. And I can because I am strong.
You are too and I know you will get through this, because you have before. It offers a new shade of darkness but soon you will see the light coming through.
If you are put on a path that has been directed by the Gods, it is perfect and natural and soon you will know exactly why.
No matter how odd, how unwell it makes you feel, as you step through each crack along the way, the labyrinth opens up to a beautiful new day.
Throw a kiss at the moon, when you are alone at night and I will feel it when it falls and warms me up inside.
I will hold you in my heart with every breath I take and make wishes on the stars for your pain to go away.
As I sit here and think about nothing but time, I will remember that I am doing what I was told to do, trust and have faith.
May 24, 1987, was a day I would come to hate. It was the last day that we made love, though I would not know it at the time. Such a promising romance, love; we were the 80’s, we were fun. After that moment I felt as if I would be happy forever, such a young thing I was. Not a care in the world, life was not precious but wild and filled with adventures and cravings to take it all on. I drove to my store and danced through the building, telling everyone I was in love and feeling on top of it all. They had never seen me like this before and so the day began in love, in awe, in such magnificent freedom that everything I had ever wanted would be about to happen.
The phone rang a few hours later and a clerk motioned me over to her stall. She had a long line of weary customers and I knew to make it short. I rushed over, not even taking the time to get into her booth, and so I leaned over, cradled the receiver under my neck and beckoned to the caller with impatience. It was my good friend, my ex-lover, who I had left for the other. Our partnership had grown stale as we did not have a lot in common, I had hurt him but he continued to be there for me, no matter what. And so he told me about a boy who was killed in an accident. A tragic car crash on a very fine, very beautiful night. It had happened the evening before, on the way to a Memorial Day concert. My mother had contacted him because I had not given her my new number yet. As the phone call began to sink in, my body collapsed at the thought of my baby brother’s fatality; taken from me, from us and I fell onto a display of VHS video tapes. The customers leered at the sight of the manager of this company on top of a pile of what now seemed to be a chair, what became a circle of comfort at that moment in time. I stared out into the room, around me and what had been my dance floor only hours before. I looked at all the people on a typical day, routinely doing what they had planned to do as if nothing had happened. But for me it had. Having realized I was in a state, on the other end of the line, he asked if I should be picked up and taken home. “Yes,” I recall responding and then suddenly having a strange feeling that I was going home and would have a short day at the office. How odd to feel happy to leave a place that I loved.
I got home to his house and then called my lover to tell him what had happened and where I was. He asked if I wanted him to go with me, back to Ohio, to the funeral, to that place where I would bury the child I had helped to raise. Expectations clung to my throat and anger rose through my face, as I stared out into the abyss of this house that was not mine. Why isn’t he telling me that he will drop everything and be there for me? Why is he asking me for my permission? I’ve just lost a child, I need him to be there for me. I need him to hold me and tell me everything will be okay. Where is the man who’s bed I left this morning, who told me that he loved me? “No,” I said with the words sputtering from my lips as dryly as if crackers were filled in my mouth, “that’s okay, I have someone getting tickets for me and I am getting a ride to the airport.” The voice on the other end sounded relieved, as far as I could tell. Suddenly I couldn’t tell anything anymore, I just knew I had to be strong, I had to get through this. I am the eldest, I have to go back and be there for the others. So I gave up at that moment and determined to put my anger on the back burner. My anger at myself, which I would not realize till years later. My anger for not asking for what I wanted, in a moment that would decide my fate with his forever. That moment when I had lost my child, my little brother, the one whom I had loved and as a result ended a beginning of the rest of my life.
My ex-boyfriend took me to the plane, I cried so hard and he held on to me as the other was meant to do. I was confused and wondering about how I must look, always conscious from the way I was raised to be worried about appearances, even when it is okay. Such a woman thing, always needing to be concerned for others. So shallow, so ridiculous but a part of who I am. I don’t think I stopped crying until I got to Ohio. I am really not sure as I don’t even remember the flight. I remember landing and coming upon a familiar woman waiting for me at the gate. A friend of the family had been dispatched to pick me up. We drove straight to the funeral home and I began to see just how amazingly popular my young brother had been. School busses were at the home and when I walked in the door, I saw young teenagers gathered around, holding onto each other as they wept. I did not recognize anyone until I went into the main room. And there I saw my family. They had collapsed into a world of their own and out of habit, since I no longer lived here, had learned how to cope without the eldest. I knew immediately that I had to be more courageous than I had ever been before, no matter how much I wanted to weep, no matter that I felt ready to collapse at this now obvious moment. I did not just yet, I went up and met with each and held them in my arms. Than I walked up to the casket and saw it was closed. My heart sunk. I knew it was worse than I had expected. There were pictures on top of the casket to show everyone whom he once was. This sixteen year old boy. My God, what happened to you?
After everyone had left, the casket was opened so that my family and I could view this child once more. My mother kindly warned me that he would not look as he once did. She explained that the make-up had been put on in such a way as to make him look presentable. And so I saw my baby brother for the last time as an oddly made up mannequin that resembled him. I knew he was no longer there but I had to see for myself that this was not a lie. I had to know that it was really true that I would never see that boy once more. There was his body, the leftovers of what had once been this young man. I recalled the argument we had had the week before. I felt ashamed that this had been my last words with him. I recalled his tears on my shoulder, only a year prior, my last time to see him in person, on a Christmas visit home. He had told me of his troubles, of the pain that he had endured, listening to the arguments of two people who did not belong together. Of people he had to live with day after day. I begged him to come to California and stay with me. I offered him my home and asked him to join me the following summer. He had just needed to cry. He had just needed to show his pain. When someone leaves you, it is really amazing how every breath they took, every moment in time that you had with them is replayed in your mind.
That night I went home with my family, to the farm, where we would all prepare for the next day, the final day. My other brother took me for a ride to show me the place, where our youngest had met with fate. It was a deserted area used for farming, the crops were not quite out of the ground. A tree stump, which had been the culprit, was still there, undamaged. Debris lay on the ground but most of it had been taken away. I looked and searched for something. Maybe there was a message, a clue, why I don’t know, there would have been no time to write, but my head searched for answers as my brother told me about the events of that night, only a few days past now. The driver of the car he was in, and their friend sat on the passenger side. My little brother was in the back, unbuckled, and lying down on the seat. The tree stump had sent him flying, on the cruelest flight he could ever have imagined. It is so ironic that the last movie he had seen was “The Boy Who Could Fly,” perhaps with some foreshadowing he had known on some level that the time had come. This brother then drove me to the gas station, the place they had taken the car. If anyone could imagine what it is like to see a car, from a fatal accident, knowing from the accordion shape it was in, seeing how it could have been impossible to be ejected without thinking of what this would have meant. I can only hope that the soul departed before the impact. It is said that he tried to speak some last words from the ground before he shut his eyes. I imagine this is a fantasy that the friends – who were in front – and lived, concocted to warm the hearts of troubled minds.
That night I tried to sleep but could not. Somewhere in the background, in my brother’s room came the song “With or Without You,” by U2. Our other brother had spent the night in his room. He had put the record on and when it ended put the needle back to the front and played it again. For some reason though, the only words I heard were the lyrics from the one. I felt it significant because I felt chained and in despair. I felt a sense of loss as if he had been my own. Could I live with or without him? Could I now go on with my life as if it had never happened? What would I do now? How would I go on?
The next day happened as it was meant to do. The bells rang from the church when our car pulled up to the front entrance. My mother screamed loudly as she knew it was beckoning her to bury her son, her final child. We entered slowly, taking the steps as if they were never trod on before. You might have thought we had never been to this building and had not known every square inch of the property. There in the front was the casket once more. There at the pulpit was the minister delivering his eulogy; bi-lingual, as many of those in attendance did not speak English. I sat there as if I were a character in a short story by Poe. I listened to the message of the man at the altar, I heard the wailing all around me, the sniffling, the sadness, the energy of that room. Toward the end I could take it no more and I got up to move forward. My body went to the coffin and looked down at the sight, as if I had never seen such a thing before. And then I bent over and grabbed it with all my might and held it not wanting to let go. If I could have I would have gone with him. At that moment, I did not want to leave him. But suddenly my father was beside me, grabbing my arms. I spit out the words “the baby, not the baby.”
The graveyard appeared next and we were there. I still had lost a sense of reality, lost my grounding. I did not know where I was, only that there was that box again, only now it lay in an oblong space, that had been dug out quite neatly for it to slowly settle in. The force of nature whisked me up once more and I lay myself over the coffin. What could I do? This was my last chance to make sure he would not go. Once more I was picked up, not by my father but his best friend. He took me away from this place, down to our car. I kept turning around but he pushed me forward. At that time, I would not know but it was the last moment I would spend with him as well. Two years later he would pass. Ten years later, so would my father. And I would go on, holding on to this moment in time. I would continue forward, suffering, year after year, as the memory of this day would re-appear.
Back in California, my boyfriend, my lover, whom I had needed so desperately to stand next to me, to be with me, at this tragic time, guided me home from the airport. He had no idea until then, he had not seen me before now, so he would not know, could not imagine how I had become, in just a week’s time, another woman. He took me to eat, I sat there staring into space. I was not there, nor was he. I heard his words but I could not comprehend. I knew he wanted me. That he needed to hold me and tell me that he would be there for me once again. We went home, or he took me to my home, I can’t even recall, not even now twenty-six years later. I know that the man he once was, I had quite forgotten. I did not remember that last night we were together. I did not remember that once when I had gone out of town, he had driven down there to bring me red roses and stay with me for the night. I did not remember how sweet he had been, such a gentleman, always looking out for me. How we had loved each other with such wild enthusiasm, embracing each other so tightly as if the night would never end. I did not remember him then as I remember him now. I only knew that I could not love ever again.
I did not realize the tragedy of making a decision and then forgetting I had made it and then continuing down life’s path. The Gods never forget though, they never let you break a promise, until you finally realize it is time to go forward. Coming home, going full circle, consequences from another tragedy told me it was time to finally stay east. When I returned a couple of years ago, I saw the past once more. I saw a place that once was, and now was no more. I saw changes I didn’t like and did not want to see. I saw people who had evolved and embraced me once more. The hawks sent me a message, as they continued to follow me everywhere I went. I knew it was symbolic of enlightenment, of change. The man from the past contacted me and we talked. I explained what had happened and we lifted the barriers I had set up so many years ago. I unveiled the mask and took it off and told the Gods that I was finished with this task. I unleashed my pain, my struggles, and my burdens and walked forward in a new way.
Last evening at the historic Drexel Theater in Bexley, Ohio, I had the opportunity to meet both the Director, Mark Norfolk and the Main Actor (s), Jeffery Kissoon of this movie, “Ham and the Piper.” Both have a background in the theater and so it is not surprising that the movie would give you the feeling that you were watching someone perform live on stage. The themes in this movie are extremely controversial, which is probably why Ohioans were afraid to come out. Even my own movie group shied away. But since I am a foreign film fan and have a passion for films that push the limits, I found it intoxicating and provocative.
As would be expected from the Brits, the film’s director and actor gave us their humble show of appreciation to the five people who appeared in the audience. Not daunted by the lack of participation, they seemed rather glad that someone came at all. Jeffrey Kissoon, apparently had been seen for the last several months, here at the Southern Theater, in the role of Julius Caesar. This was told to me by another theater goer who had just seen one of his final performances. Having learned this, he was delighted to have someone there who had become a new fan.
Ahh, the themes. I was getting to this. You won’t imagine what comes up from this trailer and so I will try to keep a low profile on this. The curse of Ham evidently is an African-American vs. the Christians parable that I did not know anything about. I was afraid to even show my ignorance but luckily the Director was kind enough to tell the all but one White audience at the end. I was aware of the racial tension between Jewish and African-Americans and this film wasn’t afraid of making this known from both sides. However, a much richer theme that dominated the film was the dilemma of a man who appears to be going insane. A few weeks ago and we would have thought nothing about how his violent rage manifests but now I think many people would be traumatized. I found myself going “Ouch” a few times throughout the movie wondering what others would be saying if they had arrived. Considering Bexley has quite an overwhelming majority of Jewish people, with several temples dotting the landscape. Yet, for me, I think it is important to be honest. Ruthlessly so because how do we learn unless we explore our feelings? This is exactly what is happening to the main actor in this film. His shadow is represented, or you could also say his ego, pushing him to get out of his denial that this man has lived with his whole life.
The ending is a surprise and that is all I will say. It makes you wish that more people would have such a reflection on their life. It makes you think how different life would be if people were more conscious of those around them. Unfortunately too many are walking around this Earth in a daze. Completely oblivious to the signs that the universe puts in front of them that tell them which way to turn. And so many people delve into their shadow and get lost to the point that there is no turning back. The topic of power and what we do with it. You always have a choice.
- The Curse of Ham: A Justification for Slavery (slaveryinthebible.wordpress.com)
- Last reel: A movie projectionist’s view from the booth in the waning days of film (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Small-town movie theaters threatened by shift to digital cinema (latimes.com)
- NEW YORK REVIEW: Julius Caesar (uktheatrenet.wordpress.com)
Antal Végh, (May 15, 1937 to October 15, 1996) was a refugee from Hungary, 1956. Born in Hajdúszoboszló in the Hajdu-Bihar region. He and two of his buddies decided to leave when the revolution met its demise and they ended up in Wheeling, WV. Eventually they came to Columbus, he met my mother and her two daughters and thus we became a family.
In Ohio he was known as Tony or Tonybacsi to the kids. He was not an easy father to grow up with but if you were someone else’s kids or eventually his grandchildren, you would never have known. To them they seemed like he was the greatest guy in the world. Since he has passed, going on 17 years, the past is behind me and thoughts of the good times re-surface and spend more time in my mind. Last night I went to see a Hungarian Quartet and it brought so many memories flooding back.
To say he was a classy dresser is an understatement. Most men at that time dressed like Don Draper. They had manners, were well-groomed, spoke politely in public and were responsible for their children (even the ones who were brought into their marriage). Men of European descent had an edge on most other men though. They spoke two languages and had a worldly air about them. They had traveled, whereas most Americans had never stepped foot outside their own city, much less their state. This wasn’t something people did at that time, except those who were wealthy. We were not wealthy and the concept of escaping one’s country seemed exotic to most.
My dad raised me from the time I was five. He adopted me at nine because my birth father was not paying child support. I did not wish this, because I didn’t think it was right but I had no choice. It doesn’t matter now, it is just a fact of what happened.
What I think of and miss is his sense of authenticity. He spoke his mind, though he was not educated and often stuck in world views that were popular for the time. He wanted to acculturate to his new home, though he never left his past behind. He had this smile; one for his thoughts, the smirk when he’d see his friends, and the open-faced version when he was about to laugh, which always included a
nod of the head. His laughter was short and brief. He was a stubborn Taurus and very rigid. Letting go with a full belly laugh rarely happened and when it did, he tried to bring everyone in on the joke. The only problem is his sense of humor was not always one others got. His sarcasm was varied but not really meant to harm. He called me Miss America because I didn’t like to do yard work. Sometimes he would just say we were lazy but this is why we are all hard workers to this day. I don’t recommend it but I do see his point when I look at most
juveniles to this day.
When he smoked his cigarettes, L&M filtered in the red pack, he would bend over with his hand on his hip and stare out into the world. He was passionate about having the American dream and always wished he could have provided more. Five acres and a house with a farm and a huge garden that encompassed 1/2 acre, wasn’t too shabby but he always wanted bigger and better. It is probably why nothing is really good enough for me either.
The most beautiful part of my father was dancing with him in the summer at the Hungarian Picnic. Every woman in the room wanted to dance with him because he was so handsome and one of the best on the floor. This was the one place where he really shined. He knew how to lead and make you look like the best couple in the room. Of course we did the csardas as no Hungarian event would be complete without this. The song will not be satisfied unless you are stomping the floor like a bunch of horses on the hortobágy. Sometimes you might have heard some yips floating in the air, from the musicians or the dancers. The legs twirling around each other, with steps created to boost up this traditional waltz style and make it less repetitive. Normally it is two steps to the right and one back again. Then the more advanced of us add some turns and footwork to give it a fancier twist. It is fun to watch though I have a hard time sitting still when the gypsies are playing. I do now though because my dad is not here. I don’t like to dance with partners who have no rhythm. Not many men have a flair for movement like they did back then. Men seem to have put dancing out of their mind after the 60′s. It is sad because it is a very intimate way to be with a woman. When people are in love, their movements are so much more seductive to watch. You almost feel ashamed to view them, like you have become a voyeur.
My favorite dance however was the Virginia Reel (I think this was the name?). It was so much fun even though it was the easiest dance in the world. Anyone could do it, even a first timer. First, you gathered in a circle. Almost everyone in the room wanted to do this dance which made it hilarious. Your dresses would always end up smashing into each other when you twirled, so you were always laughing if you got in the way. After gathering in a circle, the men’s arms would reach up and back to grab the woman’s. So your arms were joined in the air with your hands clasped. Again it was two steps up and two steps back. Then you would do the hokey pokey and twist to the right and then to the left and then the woman would be twirled around. As simple as that. You might get around the room once before the musicians pulled it to a close. I haven’t seen this since I was a teenager in high school, as I had been in California for thirty some years. I miss it like I miss him.
At the end of the festival, when the gypsy band was meant to go home, my father did his annual habit of collecting money so they would stay. He grabbed an old man’s hat and went up to everyone in the room and this provided a nice tip and a good reason for the band to stay on until midnight. By then you had digested several cabbage rolls, some sausages with good Vienna bread and the men had had a few Hi-balls to wet their whistle. After the band left, and the men were left to clean up the site, they gathered around to sing folk tunes, arm and arm in national harmony. It wasn’t as if they were drunk, I never once saw my father behave irresponsibly with the drink. They were just tipsy and exhausted from the day. Europeans seem to have a better sense about the bottle anyway. It is for social gatherings and not to be done alone at night. So when they sang, it was loud and strong. They were songs he had not taught us so we did not know the words. These were ballads reserved for special moments. The ones that brought closure to the end of a long day for the Magyars in America.
Most of these people died of cancer and are no longer with us to this day. The memories are faded and the picnic is a far cry from what it once had been. I have found that the thought of even being around the Hungarians brings too much pain for some, who now live without their father’s, grandparents and brothers. It brings pain to me too, but the kind of pain I am willing to bear. Sometimes I think I will have a good cry when I am there, it doesn’t happen though as it gets stuck in my throat. It is the fear of being seen in public with so much emotion and knowing that no one can possibly understand. A young woman who complained so much about her father’s abuse. Who fought with him all the time because his beliefs were so ignorant and inappropriate. No one can understand because today we think everyone has always been politically correct. We pretend the past never existed and we shun the attitudes of yesterday because we forget that life was not always as we once knew it.
I want to cry because there are things now that would have made my father ashamed to see. The way people behave in public. Their blatant disregard for others and lack of values or decency. How men have no pride and dress with no style or self -respect. What would have bothered him most though was the way I am treated amongst Hungarians locally. Many don’t know him anymore because they are new. Those who did know him disgust me with their irreverence for respect. The things that I hear when I am around them, he would not have tolerated. He told people I was his daughter and that I was Hungarian as well. We all knew it was a joke and it was just his way of saying that his step/adopted children belonged in his circle of friends. Now though many people are quick to point out what I lack. This makes me sad. It reminds me that I am not really a part of their culture and never have been. It strips away everything that ever was as if it never happened but in a dream.