Monday, January 31, 2005



And then HE entered my life.

All that summer of '74 it was party after party after party. If not on the Houseboats, then a field party, or a kegger, or a neighborhood party. That is where we met, at the Winchester Apartments. A series of maybe eight small cottages, laid out in a semi circle with a common area in the center. The houses themselves were two small rooms and very coveted. The coolest people lived there. Molly and the Redhead had one along with several other of my friends. A small complex legendary for their big parties.

He had been in a self imposed exile, trying to figure out why a good friend of his had committed suicide. He was reentering, perhaps emerging from a depression, back into the college town social life and ended up at that party, sitting on a stoop, meeting me.

For some inexplicable reason, he fell head over heels for me that night. I spent the rest of the summer trying to avoid him. I did not know how to let him down easily, so I just ran when I saw him.

He left school, left Murray behind and moved to Arizona. One day I received a letter from him. I mentioned it to one of my friends, Jill. She immediately asked to see the letter. As she read it she began to cry. I had no idea she had feelings for him!  It made me ......wonder about him.

Shouldn't life be more like the movies? A crashing crescendo of powerful music announcing the arrival of the most important, most influential person you will ever have in your life?

Wouldn't it make life....easier? 

Friday, January 28, 2005



I think every person had a defining moment in their lives when they realize that things will never be quite the same again. It is as if you are shedding a skin of the person you use to be and emerge into a new life.

That is how it was that summer of 1974. I was able to secure a job working at Ken Lake as a waitress enabling me to stay in Murray for the summer. I moved out of the dorms and began to share my first apartment with a friend. My friend was recently divorced, and a very sad story. Married to one of the "locals" after the summer of our freshman year.  It did not last six months.

I left the campus, and ultimately most of the college students I was so use to hanging out with and entered the realm of the real people of Murray.  Somehow, I magically was able to mix the two "classes" together and that summer of 1974 was to be the most fun and the most memorable of all my time living in west Kentucky.

I spent the entire summer waitressing and enjoying the cash tips, going to concerts, such as seeing Eric Clapton in Memphis (see above), meeting the owners of an up and coming major sun tan lotion business who loved to party, spent endless hours on the beach at the lakes, spinning around on boats, trying to learn to water ski, enjoying house boat parties, meeting the town bootlegger and his entourage, and becoming totally immersed into that crazy crowd of people. The locals.

My most endearing memory occurred late one night, sitting on the banks of the lake, drinking beer and listening to the lull of the water and the sounds of the talk around me. I was fixed up with one of my roommates friends, a local man named Ricky. Ricky also was bruised by love, had built a very successful masonry business and accumulating more money than he knew what to do with. So, he spent it freely on his friends. He decided he really liked me, I was the woman of his dreams and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

This is how he proposed............."Dogs, diamond's...........What's your deal?"

And then waited for an answer. I was dumbfounded. Then I started to laugh. Then he began laughing. Everytime he saw me after that (i.e., sober) he would sing out, "Mary, Mary, marry me. Dog's, diamonds, what's your deal?"

About a year ago I found a journal written by a woman from Murray. I emailed her and we found out we were about the same age and knew many of the same people! It was with great sadness I learned that in the 1980's, Ricky was killed by a police officer at the scene of a crime taking place. Ricky was unarmed. It was a mistake. I cried for him, seeing him as that young man, arms wrapped around himself, rocking back and forth as was his habit singing that verse to me.

"Mary, Mary will you marry me?"

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Redhead, the Redneck and the Tarot



Very near to the end of the second semester of my illustrious career at Murray, several of us thought it would be great fun to have our cards read. The woman who did the reading was a legendary talent with the Tarot.

When it was my turn, I was told I would marry a man with dark hair. What a relief to my 19 year old neurotic self. I, who was secretly concerned that I was totally undesirable and would never find someone to love me, was reassured that someone somewhere sometime would find me. Unfortunately, the man I was crazy about at the time was a red head!

Did I go to college to find a husband? Perhaps it lurked in the back corners of my mind. It is perfectly obvious I did not go to receive an education! Before the Redhead, I never really had what one would call a true boyfriend. There never was a certain someone that I could count on for a standing Saturday night date. Going steady during high school, wearing a boys Senior ring on my finger, wound tight with angora yarn to fit snugly on my finger was not meant to be.

The Redhead was my first bona-fide boyfriend! I met him through his room mate, the Redneck, who was pledging the fraternity of which I was one of the swinging little sisters. Both the Redhead and the Redneck were from Louisville. The south end of Louisville to be exact, renown as the breeding ground of staunch rednecks.

No trucks for these rednecks. The Redhead drove the sweetest 'Cuda. The hottest car on campus. It was solid black with white leather interior. I think I loved that car as much as I liked the Redhead. He also introduced me to the Lake area of western Kentucky.

Way back in the 1940s, the TVA dammed up and flooded a massive area of Kentucky and Tennessee in that corner of the world, creating three of the most beautiful lakes, Lake Barkley, Ken Lake, and the Kentucky Lake. The Redhead's family had a summer cottage on Ken Lake.

Could it get any better? I was riding around in a hot muscle car heading for fun times at a gorgeous lake house!

Our romance lasted through the end of the semester. It could not survive the long summer separation. Upon returning to school in the fall, the Redhead met and fell in love with Molly. Amazingly enough, they were both from Louisville and both had red hair! It is impossible to fight destiny, let alone the Tarot cards.

Alone again, naturally.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I can not remember the first time I went South. I can not begin to count the times I went South. Sometimes, I could not even remember I had been South.

It would begin innocently enough. You would be studying quietly in your dorm room. You had probably just returned from a wonderful wholesome (just like Mom cooked!) meal at the Cafeteria. Someone would come down the hall way, stick their head in your room and ask, "Wanna go South?" I never once said no.

Nine miles directly south of Murray you went through a small town called Hazel that dropped you into Tennessee. Home of the 18 year old legal drinking age. (We're talking the 1970's.)

Of the many bars directly over the border, The Cotton Club was the dive of choice. All the college kids went there. The regular house band was called, Clap hands Here Comes Charlie and was made up of music majors from MSU. They had a horn section and could rock that concrete joint like there was no tomorrow. They played a lot of Chicago, we danced like crazy, on the dance floor, on the table tops, we drank the cheap beer....mainly Busch beer...., we played the pin ball machines, we flirted, we danced some more, and then around 11pm the large bell would be rung announcing last call. We would load up in our cars, and head back up Route 641, praying that tonight would not be the night they would have a road block.

It was THE PLACE to be during the week! Murray was a "suitcase campus". The week end would roll around and the majority of the students would head home. Since I lived so far from Central KY, I rarely went home. The week ends were reserved for Fraternity functions.....the week days were for GOING SOUTH!


Monday, January 24, 2005


ADDICTED TO LOVE   (part six)

I applied to several colleges and Murray State University (a colossal 250 miles to the west) accepted me. That is the only reason that comes to my mind when I try to remember why I chose Murray! I began this journey into adulthood without any buddies with me. I barely knew three people who attended school there. Yet, this worked to my advantage. Rather than trying to cling to what and who I knew as familiar, entire new worlds were open to me.

I majored in having fun, drinking, going wild, shunning sororities, joining a fraternity as a little sister, going "South" every night that I could, and going to as many Hairy Buffalo parties that I could squeeze in (one being pictured above), smoking cigarettes, sleeping late, skipping classes, dating dating and then dating some more, and meeting people from such exotic places as New Jersey!

I blossomed into some wild party animal of the female variety and was having the time of my life. I flunked out in three semesters and was banished home.

I would never be content living under my parents roof again. I longed for The Cotton Club, that smoky dark square concrete bar across the Tennessee border where the legal drinking age was 18. I missed my fraternity brothers and the marathon card games we played. Every time I approached a soda machine, I looked for the Budweiser button. And not finding it was a stark reminder of the predicament I had placed myself into.

I had to go back. I worked my butt off as an operator at GTE 60 hours a week to raise enough money to pay my own tuition. And to return.

My heart was in Murray.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


ADDICTED TO LOVE  (part five)

The distance between the town I lived in and the city I attended High School could be measured in more than just miles. They were two different worlds. My home town being a farm community, and the city....well, Lexington is the cultural center for the central and eastern parts of the state. The kids I went to High School with were mutually exclusive from the kids in my home town. That is just the way it was back then. Before Ma Bell broke up a call to Lexington, 10 miles away, was long distance. I had a foot firmly planted in both worlds.

When school began again, I became absorbed in High School. The Dog was graduated, we were beginning to have wheels under us, we were upper classmen! This year in school things drastically changed for me. I can't tell you why, maybe it had something to do with me picking up the bad habit of smoking cigarettes. The art of smoking cigarettes without getting caught was great sport.

I found myself absorbed into a totally different crowd! The cool kids!

I was not cool. I hung around with the cool kids, but I was not cool. I had pretty low esteem regarding my looks. I was very self conscious by the fact that my left front tooth was broken and a dubious cap was in place waiting for my teeth to be "mature" enough to have a permanent replacement. I had suffered this ego destroying condition since I was 12. I felt I was unattractive for many reasons, the main one being I had no boy friend and it seemed everyone else did! I felt undesirable, unlovable and that the situation would never ever change, as long as I lived.

So many girls, myself included, allowed others to define their self worth. In high school, those "others" usually were immature males and insecure young women. I wanted to look like the models we poured over in magazines, and since I did not in any way resemble them, I felt something was lacking in me.

Look at me! Aren't I hideous?

I needed a good smack to the head back then!


Saturday, January 22, 2005


ADDICTED TO LOVE   (part four)

John Paul and I went out for about a month. Then his ex-girlfriend wanted him back. And back he went. My first dumping! Oh my broken heart! So I did what all red blooded 16 year old girls do, I began to date his best friend, "Moon."

Moon was you quintessential bad boy! Incorrigible, kind of mean, totally out of control, irreverent, and wealthy. He had yet to turn 16. Which one would think was a problem, but not with Moon. Here was the deal............I would spend the night with one of my gal pals. We would wait until the appointed hour, sneak out of the house...........

This deserves a little attention. Sneaking out of the house is not as easy as tiptoeing to the back door and quietly leaving. Oh no! This involved ladders to second story windows. This included, but was not limited to, crawling belly down on roof tops, climbing down trees, camping out in the "guest quarters" with pillow dummies in the sleeping bags, lies, lies and more lies. Typical 16 year old stuff.

Moon would be waiting for us, hidden by the cloak of night, in a car that has been acquired by silently rolling it down his families driveway and then firing it up as it hit the street!

Oh the happiness of the middle of the night joy rides! Drinking PBR beer and Little King Cream Ale. Criss crossing all the back roads of our county. Tossing empty beer bottles at road signs all night long. Then as quietly as possible, creeping back into the house.

Moon was sent away to Reform school..........I mean Prep school several weeks later!

I kept J.P. in the picture, always in the corner of my eye. I saved my life guard money for weeks and bought a cherry red polyester two piece outfit. A mini skirt (as short as my Mom would let me) with a scooped neckline top adorned with tiny feminine buttons down the front. Add a pair of classic white Aigner sandals, that showed off my marvelous lifeguard tan, I headed out to our last swimming meet intent to turn heads.

With one particular head in mind.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sucker for a Pretty Face

ADDICTED TO LOVE    (Part three)

The summer I was sixteen, everything changed. The possession of a drivers license was introduced. The summer was spent in a totally new environment, that of the moving vehicle! This was our new sport. One of us would secure a vehicle from our parents, usually a station wagon or something equally as mundane. The next step was to drive and pick up EVERY ONE of the gang. Then head out to the Main Drag.

You would begin anywhere on Main Street then head north or south. North took you to the Dairy Queen, where you would cruise into the parking lot, loop behind the building and head out the entrance. The purpose, of course,  was to check out who was at Dairy Queen!

Then you would head south,  back through town and arrive at the Convenient Food Store at the other end, make the turn and head back north.

The time spent cruising town was vitally important. Because everyone did it! It was crucial to be seen. Looking back, it was such innocent fun. The town's young teenage population moving at a leisurely, fluid pace. The sport was to honk at those you knew. What a melodious symphony we created those hot summer nights. Young hot blooded men, and sweet southern belles poised on the threshold of womanhood.

That is how I met John Paul. A transplant to our small community from somewhere very foreign from small town USA, Brazil. His father was an American who met his mother while teaching in South America. John Paul was one of four brothers, each one dark, with black hair and beautiful brown eyes.

I fell very hard for John. The pattern was quickly being established for the rest of my life, I was a sucker for a pretty face.

After weeks of flirting with each other communicated with varies types of car honks.... (each type of honk having different meanings....short sharp honk, means "In hurry, headed to 'fill-in-the-blank.' Long, leaning on the steering wheel means, "Look at me, damn it, I want you to pull over!" A couple of quick toots in succession means, "Hey cutie!" and so on and so on.) .....he finally decided to ask me out.

He called my house, the phone line was busy. He called later, the phone line still busy. My Mom always took the phone off the hook when the baby (Omega) was napping during the afternoon! He did not know this since he really did not know me...yet. So he tries again. Line busy.

One of my best friends, Sally, came running up to the back door of our house and came in panting, gasping for breath. She came from her house, on the other side of Broadway, at least 3/4 of a mile to yell at me, "Put your phone on the hook! John is trying to call you!!!!!!!!!"

He had called her house to see if I happened to be over there.

The two of us, with our heads pressed together, answered the phone when it finally rang, and listened to him finally ask me out to the movies!

The saga of John Paul would last a long time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005



(I struggled today with whether I should be posting pictures of people without their permission. (As if it ever stopped me before.) This particular picture is over 30 years old. And, if I were him, I'd be flattered that someone had a crush on me in High School. After all, look at him! ....)

Fast forward to High School. A little background is needed. I went to a Catholic High School located in a city I did not live in. This High School had six elementary schools that fed into it. A total of only 400 students at that time. I knew only two people at the school the first day I set foot across the ugly faded blood red doors that led into the foyer adjacent to the front office. Neither of them were in my class. I was on my own....not for the last time in my life either.

I cannot remember the first time I saw him. If I could remember that moment, I'm sure that I was struck deaf, dumb and blind by his radiant beauty. His golden hair, his penetrating blue eyes, his slightly klutzy manner. He was a god. I referred to him as THE DOG to all my closest friends. They all knew I was severely crazy over him. I worshiped him from afar. I hung around the hallway closest to his homeroom just to catch a glimpse of him. I was so in love with him that I even joined the track team to be close to him.

He was two grades ahead of me and he was my world for two years. No one else mattered. The fact that he never knew I existed did not phase me. If he ever looked at me, which I am certain he did because who cannot notice someone worshipping you all the time for two years, I froze like a deer in headlights.

The strongest memory that has survived occurred at the water fountain outside the gym. My best friend, Karen, rushed over to me during study hall with a DOG alert. Sent to me in the form of a note...."Dog sighting in office." I got excused out of study hall and ran to the water fountain to get a drink waiting for him to walk by. I waited and waited, the water running and running. I was there for what seemed an eternity before giving up.

As I turned, abruptly...he was right behind me waiting to use the water fountain. I came close to knocking him down which thank God I did not. The stream of water I spewed all over him was quite enough.

I thought I was going to die.

Years later at our 20 year reunion, one of my teachers Mrs. W. made the remark to all with in earshot. "That J.S.............I had such a crush on him!"

Et Tu.

Monday, January 17, 2005



Because I have a case of  Blog-blah-blah-itis,  I am going to write about all the men I have been crazy about.  I have had to kiss a lot of frogs to find Zorro.  This is my story.

Several months ago my Mother handed over to me a tan leather book bag.  Inside was a treasure trove of  "Mary" memorabilia  dating back to my first grade report cards and including everything she considered worth saving.  Post cards from camp along with letters from college, pictures, Girl Scout badges and the hat, my first communion book are just a few of the items that greeted me.  There was an electrified quality that pulsated from it.  That was me!….returning from a long journey to introduce myself  to me.  

Memories are mysterious things.  Fragments of a time from long ago.  Mind pictures, as if  I were viewing a mini movie from the back of a very large and dark theater.  The movie starring a very young, impetuous, uncertain child.    Go way back to when I was 12 years old and I had been signed up for diving lessons along with my friend Dottie.  The instructor was the man I had my very first real crush on. I was secretly in love with Kit, the hunky life guard who was the instructor.  Kit did not go to school in our small town, but was attending a military prep school in Tennessee.  He was an older man, 17, and also the head life guard at the local swimming pool, along with being the swim team coach and diver extraordinaire. Plus he was missing the first joint part of his index finger, lost in some mysterious way that only made him more exciting. 

Dottie bailed out on me and for two tortuous weeks I was dropped off at the pool for an hour of diving lessons one on one with Kit.  I was a miserable diver.  Totally no talent.  Yet, I went day after day and suffered the humiliation that only a 12 year old girl can suffer.

The absolute worst was when he decided I was advanced enough to try a back dive off the High Dive.  Over and over  we both went up the twelve steps to the top where he would hold me around my waist while I leaned over backwards until he let go.

Oh the joy of those seconds of being held by him!   Quickly obliterated  by the blue water rushing at me and my legs cascading over me causing a backwards belly flop.   

I can not believe that I climbed back up that ladder for more.  Again and again.  

Oh…..yes I can.  For at 12 years of age I was realizing the truth that would follow me for a long hurts.

Sunday, January 16, 2005



I am amused every time I see this sign. I laugh inside thinking, "Yea right, all the most beautiful Exotic Dancers are beating down the doors to perform there!"  That is why I am submitting it for this weeks challenge.

It was snowing this morning. Early, when everything was still quiet and very peaceful, I ventured out to take this picture. The snow was an added bonus. The small snowfall muffled the morning. Only a handful of people were braving the elements walking about, and only slightly more were driving. I appreciate these moments because they are very rare.

I am totally enamored with the bridges in Northern Kentucky. I could photograph them everyday and always find something new and interesting about them. They seem to offer a gateway to my imagination, a portal, an adventure, new beginnings, lost dreams and starting over.

With the temperatures in the high 20's and the wind chill must have been in the teens because my legs were frozen, I could not drag myself away from the Riverwalk. I wandered around for over an hour in a mini-adventure in the swirling snow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005



I have been on a breather for a couple of weeks.  Now I’m back! 

We have not seen the sun the past several weeks.  Then Sunday! After teasing us with occasional breaks in the clouds.  BAM! Sunshine all day.  It made me yearn for sunny smeared days, palm trees bending and waving in the breezes, tropical locations, cruises.  The sun  packed up and left again.  I am weary of over cast skies and dull dreary days.

I have not been doing much.  Zorro and I went to a place in Newport for New Years Eve called SOUGHTGATE HOUSE where we celebrated with a rowdy Rock -a- Billy band called Straw Boss.  It was a blast.  Even if I did meet the Menace to Society and his waving cigarette!  I escaped unharmed as did my hair and my jacket.  

The lack of sunshine is effecting me and once again has brought a case of the dull drums and lethargic musing about life.  The disaster in Asia  touched me profoundly.  My closest friend is going through a very bad time.   

I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning, emerge from the dream world and for a few comforting moments everything is safe and secure. 

Then you  remember. 

And the waking night mare begins anew.