Purple Shocks

honeymoon in Laguna Beach, CAI wanted to believe it wouldn’t matter that I hadn’t turned out special, perfect
He’d remember us and love me anyway (again, still) –
But we were both so different,
28 years ago we were still young and fresh.
I remember his arms feeling big and strong around me and loving as they caressed, so softly all the rolling curves of my body.
He would hop and skip as we walked almost as if in a state of delight.
Arm over my shoulder – me just a little shy of tucking comfortably under his arm pit.
Very often we would pull each other close and turn slightly in to kiss and hug –
hardly able to stand the space between us.
We floated up steep inclines at Laguna Beach for the few days that we stayed there
The adrenaline of love flowing so freely that no effort caused any struggle.
Our honeymoon, I’d recall it later as.
Eating at wonderful restaurants
Starring into each other’s faces
Yakking and yakking about everything, nothing under the sun.

Here he was again knocking on my door –
So to speak –
Asking me if he could come in again –
No knowing for how long –
Telling me all about his life and Kay, now Kate he called her
And all their children together.
Life had gone on –
They all continued to know him –
To have him –
I had had to let go.
I hadn’t wanted to.
But I guess all things work out as they should –
It seems.
It can seem altogether too hard then suddenly make perfect sense and all the pain melt into an explanation of why it had to have been as it was.

Purple shocks
He mocked them
Purple socks
They were my purple socks, but they went with his new, slightly purple slacks and he was trying to become more attuned to fashion
And be adventurous
Be free to be

purple shocks, purple socksI hemmed his new pants as we talked, and yakked in the room at the Surf and Sand Motel
The waves relentlessly rushing in amid our sentences

Laguna Beach, CA, Surf and Sand MotelGoing to dinner, we were getting dressed up so we would feel the essence of our specialness
Wearing our new things, hemming our new things, together, for each other.
Learning to temper infatuation with reality, trying to fathom the possibility of this new passion lasting,

Going to dinner, we were getting dressed up so we would feel the essence of our specialnessIt would take 14 years for me to get on with anything like a semblance of life

Fourteen years of trying to find myself without him.
We would only manage to fight for 3 or 4 years and then drag the thread of our narrative  out to span the time of 6 or 7 years thereafter.
First it would be 6 weeks.
Then 2 months.
A year would go by,
A call in the night.
The familiar gruffness of his voice would lure me into his spell for another year to pass again with just a night together in between…
Then 2 years..
Then 3…
Then I lost track
of when he came again.

Because I had met a new man,
a tall, dark, curly-haired devil.
I am still trying to find the essence of me without thinking it would be better with him now.
But in between this new man and another 15 years
The gruff voice called me and wondered if we could spend a day or two together.

And then there he was at my door. I saw him as he got out of his rented car.
I said to myself, “oh no, that is not him”. And wondered if I could get through 2 days.

It can seem altogether too hard then suddenly make perfect sense and all the pain melt into an explanation of why it had to have been as it was.

I had been in love with the life, the style of life, the solitude we had living in a trailer at the top of the hill at his motorcycle park.
I loved sweeping the floors while he ran the tractor and I could look out the window to see his dog following him up the steep hill chasing a rabbit while he took the moguls out of the dirt or put them in.
I loved the sound of the train in the distance and the plans I would make in my head of a vegetable garden.
And the sound of the rain tapping the tin roof and of us making love,
And his soft blue eyes
Looking at me as if I was a princess.

a princessWe spent 2 days and I think he had as much trouble getting through it as I did.
Then we said goodbye.
It was a very sad goodby. It was goodbye to a dream. I think it was sadder for me. He had never really felt the same way about it as I had.
It was gone. It was finally over.

Now I just found a picture of the newer man in among the things that I was trying to organize, get rid of or put in their proper places.
I put it in a plastic cover and hung it with a paper clip over the label holder of my file cabinet.
It is staring at me regularly now so I can turn and look at it and dream of a new
vegetable garden.
I have known him now for 15 years and it has been the same. A few wonderful moments between long hours and years.
I guess that is the way I am.

I have 2 dogs and no children. I have 2 cats and 5 canaries. They all keep me pretty happy.
I get dressed up now to go to the grocery store. I take them in the car with me because they want to go.
Just the dogs.
I wish it were different.
I wish I were in love and he loved me too.
I wish I had a man who made me feel like I was a princess just because he was so happy to be with me and that he would put up with my little things.
Like how much I love purple. Like that I still have those purple shocks
Like how I analyze everything and want to talk and the dogs sleep on the bed
And my hair is gray when not a bottle blonde.
Love is blind. Holding hands the electricity creates a static that keeps us together.
Now comes the call I can hear his smile and we talk and talk about nothing and everything.
He is writing a story about Sardichi the Coyote.
And he wants to know if I think he should just call it Sardichi or Sardichi the Coyote.
I said “Sardichi” and I look forward to hearing his smile on the phone.
More so than any other smile.
He’s my favorite voice, next to Debbie.
Maybe even more than Debbie now. I think he will be more favorite than Debbie if he finally comes and stays
And helps me plant the vegetable garden.
No disrespect to you Debbie.

I guess it is about time to meet a new man.
Maybe if the old new man with the nice phone smile would come to see me I could finally say, “Oh no, that is not him”, and I would realize again that
It can seem altogether too hard then suddenly make perfect sense and all the pain melt into an explanation of why it had to have been as it was.

It is important to keep the dream.
The vegetable garden
Purple shocks
Tin roofs
Making Love
Hugs and Kisses
A nice phone smile.

Come to me again you curly-haired devil
And bring Sardichi the Coyote
But this time, plan to spend a little while.
I’m through with running..how about you?
Come sing to me like a chick monk when we speed the recorder up.
I’ll sweep the floors while you run the tractor
This time it will be because I love you and not just the dream.
15 years and counting.
Don’t make me look for a new man. As if. As if I could.
It may seem altogether too hard then suddenly make perfect sense.


Springing From The Hem

photo courtesy: Forest & Kim Starr

One year, young Ms. SpoolTeacher planted a packet of zinnia seeds in the little border patch under the window of her mother’s south facing bedroom window. She would look for any little patch of dirt to dig and dilly dally in, trying her hand at seeing what she could magically make appear. Sowing/Sewing

Whenever she has a day without alterations or sewing for someone else, she goes to her room full of fabrics and do dads and wills herself to do something with something. (It isn’t hard to make herself because that is exactly what she really wants to do anyway)

This day she found a border print that had been forcing itself to the top of the heap for some time. She cut it in half width wise thinking she might just be able to make one to keep and one to sell. It was a little on the skimpy side for the fullness factor (minimum 2.5%), but she knew she could come up with some kind of creative amendment if need be.

The next maneuver was to determine what length she would want. She used her metal yardstick and marked the measurements across the width with her blue chalk. (Measure Twice Cut Once!)

What to add, what to not.

Sewing is very improvisational. Thinking on your feet is a great skill to have. She decided to line it with the same pink she had used on her Red Gingham Dress.

Red Gingham Dress

Should the seam be pressed up, down, open? It makes a difference.

As it turned out, several trims would be added right at the seam and over it; so, it wouldn’t show, so to speak, anyway.

Now for how to gather at the waist.

It struck her that a pocket for a belt or tie to traverse through might be a novel idea. Something different, then the fullness could be adjusted for a smaller or larger waist size. And why not in a small version of the red gingham, especially since she had a wrap of it in her binding collection. Easy, peasy!


In her mother’s garden, to her delight the packet of zinnia seeds filed the plot to capacity, reaching ever closer to the sun each day with their brilliant multicolors. She felt thrilled by the lust the little seeds had to spring forth. Nothing she could do seemed to thwart their intent. They were hardy and low maintenance and seemed to love the placement she had chosen for them. They seemed to last forever that summer, reaching, reaching, holding the color intensity in their perfectly formed flowers onward and onward throughout the summer months.

springing from the hem

She learned patience and a little about longevity that summer. A little, too, about hope and expectation.

Ms. SpoolTeacher loves that she has lots of dirt to dig in of her own now. She’s a little frustrated that it is in a desert, where the summer sun is so intense, things only seem to want to grow under filtered tree light. Winters offer freezing just enough to threaten anything that can survive the summer’s scorching blare.

She saves all her table scraps and leaf debris, weeds that haven’t gone to seed and makes messy piles wherever it is convenient. Someday she hopes to have patches of better soil.

She has a garden of sorts inside the house where all the “seeds” of her imagination are sitting on shelves, in drawers, hanging on hangers or half put together into a vision of her own delight. Some things have to wait for the right amendment to come along, just as the grounds around her house are waiting for the leaves and food scraps to amount to enough to amend the composition of nature.

Be sure to put scraps in compost

Sometimes nature does whatever it wants to. Actually it always does.

Compost Heaps out in Ms. SpoolTeacher's yard

volunteer gardening

“Volunteer Garden” … happy, happy, joy, joy!

Anyone want to volunteer to be on Ms. SpoolTeacher’s table for dinner?

How about that!