2.28.2006

Little Boy Lost

This article was actually my post in The Daily Irish News last Friday. The situation is still haunting me so I'm choosing to also post it here.




I have started to write this piece about 100 times over the course of the past 7 days. These are the first actual words I’ve been able to type, so here goes.

I don’t read my local newspaper, if you can even call it a newspaper, it doesn’t warrant the cost. Local news is mostly full of old men’s club guff and the world news is virtually non-existent. So I usually get wind of anything out of the ordinary locally from my gossipy neighbor, my son or I get belted with it in the face by the TV news.

Last Thursday morning I got belted and it stung, a lot. They ran a very brief report on a drive-by shooting in Marlow, a town just north of Keene. Mind you this is still Keene, NH and while Manchester & Nashua have gang related things of this nature we do not.

Seems someone fired four shots from a moving car at a house. It was early evening and there were three people at home at the time. Two of the four bullets entered the house. One made it across the house and came to rest in the side of the fridge and another was found in the bedpost of one of the beds.

Thankfully no one was hurt.

The news brief stated that they had someone in custody. That was all. No name, no age, nothing but I already knew who it was.

I kept within earshot of the TV all day but each time the information they gave was the same and so I waited.

My son came home and we did our usual routine. He brings in the mail and we go through it and talk about his day. Sometimes I start the conversation, mostly I do actually, but today he led with; “Pat sealed his fate.”

Sometimes I hate being right and this was one of them.

Pat is a friend of The Boy Wonder and has been for the past two years. This is a kid who has spent a lot of time in my house and with the one thing that keeps me tethered to this earth, my son. He is also the first of my son’s friends that I wanted to not be his friend.

Pat is a year older though you wouldn’t know it to look at him. He’s about 5’4” and weighs maybe 90 pounds wet. He had jet-black hair cut asymmetrically that came down in shards across the right side of his face. I say had because he recently shaved his head. He would usually be wearing red or green plaid skinny pants that had an abundance of zippers; buckles and hardware that served no real purpose, funky short military style plaid jackets, black tee shirts and his arms were weighted down with leather straps full of metal studs.

But that isn’t what worried me. I loved his style - it suited him completely. I admired that he had such a great sense of himself and the balls to embrace it here in this little Podunk town full of old New England wasps.
What bothered me was a couple of the other kids that Pat sometimes hung with. Kids The Boy Wonder wanted no part of because they were in your face trouble. I also knew that Pat did drugs and drank when he was with these other kids. I know it’s what kids do, but not my kid for as long as I can help it.

I didn’t stop The Boy Wonder from hanging with Pat because he separated himself from Pat when the other kids were involved and Pat was okay with that. He would come in and out of lives and he was a good normal kid when he was here. It was like he wanted the normalcy. The Boy Wonder said Pat would really talk to him during those times and that’s why The Boy Wonder let him in and out.

Those times when he was hanging with his other friends he would end up getting caught and in trouble of some sort. There were a couple of school expulsions in the spring last year.

Pat isn’t a bad kid. When you look into his eyes, there is mischief but not evil intent. That’s why I let him in and out.

Pat hasn’t been around since sometime this past summer.

Back in October, he was arrested. He was driving his friends around and they were shooting BB’s out the windows at cars and buildings. He eventually lost his license due to repeated vehicular violations.

He hasn’t been around since then and The Boy Wonder hasn’t spoken about him but last Thursday I still knew it was Pat.

They announced in school that a senior had been arrested in connection with the shooting on Thursday. They didn’t give a name but The Boy Wonder knew it was Pat. A couple quick phone calls confirmed it for him.

I asked where Pat would’ve gotten a handgun. The Boy Wonder said when Pat wanted something he’d do whatever he had to in order to get it. Scary.

Scarier still, he had brought the gun to school with him. That’s how they finally caught him. Kids finally stepped forward and started talking. Meanwhile he was in school with a handgun for how long?

By Friday they had more details on the news and there was Pat’s mug shot and name on the screen even though he’s only 17 his prior arrests have stripped him of his minor rights and protections. He still doesn’t look evil. He looks lost. I wish I could say he looked scared but he didn’t. Just lost. They had narrowed the motive down to three choices; grudge against the current residents, grudge against the former residents or random incident.


The Boy Wonder has his money on random. “It’s how he does things like this Mom. Randomly.”

And he’s right. Pat would be going a long in a “normal” phase and suddenly he would snap and go all self-destructive and angry.

What surprised me in all of this was how angry I became. Not at Pat. I want 5 minutes with his mother. His mother, the lawyer, who got him off easy in prior instances. Who manipulated the school to drop the expulsions and take him back. Put him back into the same school as my son and he was carrying a handgun instead of books.

His mother who ignored his ever-increasing cries for help and attention and put band-aids on his gaping wounds and shoved him back out the door and pretended that everything was okay.

I had tried to get close to him when he was around and while he was never rude or disrespectful he kept his distance and me out.

I still don’t believe that he’s a bad kid. I think that this is just another symptom of whatever is eating this kid from the inside out and that makes me sad all over again.

But it also makes me so very thankful that I stay up in The Boy Wonder’s business and still supply the boundaries in which he moves. Those boundaries are as wide as the trust and communication is between us. There are plenty of years ahead of him that he’ll have to rely on his own senses. For now it’s still my job.





©2006 Dawn Marie Kelly, all rights reserved.

I know my posts have been a bit darker and bleak lately and frankly, it's getting tiresome for me too. Let's all look forward to a more Angel-esque post for Thursday!
posted by Angel @ 12:21 PM | 7 comments

2.22.2006

Generational Bridges Gapped


When I was 14 I accompanied my mother to a funeral for a relative I had never met. My mother was newly single and not ready to brave an event like that alone so she asked me to go along.

The funeral home was in an old part of the city and was once a Victorian home. I remember the high ceilings, huge expanses of gorgeous woodwork and moldings and how each corridor and room was more gracious than the next. The lighting was dim and the streetlights cast a glow outside the seven-foot tall windows.

The gathering room was crowded and smelled of too many differing perfumes and colognes and I remember I could feel the nervousness radiating from my mother and thinking about how hard this obligation was for her at this time of her life.

My mother made me get rid of the ever present stick of Juicy Fruit gum that I was chewing but that was okay because the taste was gone about 2 minutes after the chewing began anyway.

She introduced me to distant family and friends as we made our way to the viewing room. Once there we took our place in line and waited our turn. With each passing moment my mother was getting more and more tense as we drew closer to the casket and her ancient great aunty and so I did what I still do today when someone is stressed and I want to help. I insist on trying to make them laugh.

There were just three people in front of us and I leaned into my mother’s ear and said, “You will introduce me to him before I pretend to cry over his body won’t you?” My poor mother was horrified but could not hold back the laughter. And my mother’s laughter was legendarily loud and raucous.

She squeezed my hand to within an inch of it’s life as she introduced me to her now scowling ancient aunty and recent widow, and explained that the laughter came from my reminding her about; and she launched into an old family story that aunty was privy to as well. Aunty’s scowl turned into a melancholy smile and proceeded to tell my mother how blessed she was to have such a comfort as myself at times like these.

Disaster averted and I would be allowed to live another day. Or at the very least, a lecture of extraordinary proportions all the way home had been avoided.

My mother was not far from laughter the rest of the night and I remember thinking that that was how all these people should see her, glowing and radiant, not meek and beaten.

It’s how I remember her still.


posted by Angel @ 11:08 PM | 11 comments

2.20.2006

Princess Dreams


Whenever the situation warranted she’d slip away to her dreaming place. The older she became, the more the situation warranted.

Being a princess isn’t all glitz and glamour. There are obligations a princess is born to fulfill.

But what good is it being a princess if your life isn’t yours to control?

That’s why she had created her dreaming place. It was hers alone. She could do as she pleased. Or not. She wasn’t the princess, just a young girl. Here that young girl’s life did not include certain obligations.

The dreaming always got her through. Made things bearable as she waited for yet another obligation to end.

“You alright princess?”

Called back to reality, she opened her eyes as he removed himself from her. “Yes daddy.”

“That’s my good little princess.”

She smiled sweetly as her stomach turned against the stench of stale beer on his breath.

She returned to her dreams as he returned to her mother’s bed.
posted by Angel @ 10:54 PM | 4 comments

2.16.2006

WORDS ~ what are they good for?



Words can empower us, explain things and free our minds of years of pent up pains.

Words can also threaten, belittle, instill and impose fear into the hearts and minds of others.

Over all these years of developing and using the spoken and written word, still, we mere mortals underestimate the effect it can have on the people we are speaking/writing to under the guise of communication.

Considering that words can lift a person’s spirits or cut them to the quick, we throw them around, words that is, willy nilly, happily reveling in the sound of our own voices.

Concentrating on our next verbal strike and score without paying mind to whether the last verbal onslaught has furthered understanding or confusion, built a bridge or blew one up.

I have learned that asking questions in differing ways can result in differing results.

For instance, with my son, I learned a long time ago that asking, “How was school today?” gets me an answer of, “Fine.” However, if I asked, “What was the funniest part of your day today?” got me what can lead to a 40 minute animated discussion of all sorts with him.

Mind you, he’s now 16 and with each new growth and change, you have to change the questions up.

Now a question like, “What or who pissed you off at school today?” produces that same animated discussion period.

Can you also see how changing, “What were you thinking?” to, “Can you explain to me why you thought that was okay?” or, “How can you…” to “Why do you…” might actually elicit an explanation from someone rather than a defensive counter attack?

So that although at the end of the day you may still disagree, you may also have a greater understanding and appreciation for why and how someone thinks and believes what they do.

Here’s something to think about, eliminate the word, but, from your conversations.

Why?

As soon as you use it, you disqualify everything that you just said before it.

It has a totally different effect when you put a period where the, but, would be and start a new sentence.

As an example;

“You did a really great job of clearing up the garage, but couldn’t you also tidy up the recycling area?”

Becomes;

“You did a really great job clearing up the garage. Could you also tidy up the recycling area?”

See the difference?

Of course in order to do so requires some thought and effort on the part of the speaker. It forces you to stop think and take a breath.


Ah, that is a problem isn’t it?

We have grown use to projectile vomiting our opinions and thoughts out there before someone else has a chance to speak, stepping on someone else’s words, becoming loud and abusive as if having the last word, makes us somehow right and, mistakenly, more important.

Easier to lash out at what seems like someone’s attack of you rather than take the time to question whether or not that was indeed what it was in the first place.

Otherwise you wouldn’t have enough time to turn around and verbally bitch slap the next person in line.

To hell with understanding and respect for a differing point of view, it’s all about I’m right, you’re wrong, making points and keeping score.

We cover aggression and ignorance with, “I tell it like it is, if you can’t handle that…” and other such crap.

Physical bullies have evolved into verbal bullies.

Bullies all the same.


posted by Angel @ 2:40 AM | 24 comments

2.13.2006

Wild Thing



Sometimes the people who shape our lives do so without meaning to and sometimes without us even realizing it.

I had just such a revelation this past weekend. It happened somewhere between the lobsters and the lamb chops and I don’t recall how I happened upon her. She was all of a sudden in the middle of our dinner.

Aunt Boo. She was one of my father’s aunts so that made her a great aunt to me. I honestly only remember being around her a couple of times but she apparently left quite an impression on my 5 or 6 year old little brain.

I should also add that being 5 or 6; my memory might be mixed with my imagination of that time. I spent so much time in my head, which was usually a lot safer than what was going on around me. Not that anyone noticed. I was a quiet, adorable little piece of blonde fluff with enormous, blinking blue eyes that was easily and often overlooked.

Quiet yes, but I was always paying attention. That in itself taught me a valuable lesson that carries over today. There are worse things than being an overlooked piece of blonde fluff. This fluff has been privy to things that would’ve otherwise gotten me swept from the room if I was thought to have half a brain behind these big blue eyes.

I guess it’s a part of the process of getting older all these revelations I seem to have regarding my mother. Oh yes, this is also tied to her. Maybe because I feel robbed of what our relationship could’ve grown into that I dissect the hell out of the one we had up until she died.

I’m not entirely sure but somewhere between knowing that my mother and I are more different than the same Aunt Boo came bursting into the room.

My most vivid memory of her is just that. Aunt Boo, bursting into that apartment on the second floor of the duplex on Central Avenue in Albany, NY.

The duplex was a white building that my father’s parents and his grandmother lived in at the time, 1966-ish.

I didn’t always like my time spent there. Always felt dumped off rather than dropped but I have lots of memories anyway. Of the ally that ran down the side from front to back and the metal gates you had to go through on the way to the back yard. The parking lot beyond the fenced in yard that seemed to go on forever, honestly, that lot is a black hole in my memory. The wonderful smell of Grandma Nelson’s chicken and biscuits cooking in the kitchen, filling the house. The porch that you went out of a French door off a funny little side room adjacent to the living room so like the one my oldest brother called his bedroom off the living room in our duplex.

I spent one whole afternoon singing: I’m Henry the Eighth, by Herman’s Hermits, in rocking chairs on that porch with my cousin Jenny from Long Island till the entire city was ready to throw us both over the side.

But back to Aunt Boo who had short-cropped hair which was blondish, there was not an ounce of fat on her slim frame, a trait she shared with her mother, my great grandma Nelson. Wiry, spunky and a party ready to happen she was. I was immediately drawn to her like a moth to a flame. From afar, but drawn.

She wasn’t loud but when she was talking the whole world listened and watched as she punctuated everything with sweeping gestures. She smoked and in my head those cigarettes became cigars and Aunt Boo became Annie Oakley or Bonnie Parker. She was pure magic. She didn’t have a man she was attached to and somehow my very immature little girl head knew she didn’t need one. She was complete all on her own. She wore dresses that neither flattered nor detracted from her and yet I knew she turned heads regardless. She had an energy that was palatable and when she left the room was somehow colder and less bright.

I have no idea what ever became of her.

But there she was on Saturday night somewhere between the lamb chops and the lobster of the Hubster’s and my Valentine’s dinner that I had prepared.

And as she bubbled out of me I realized that although she played a brief moment or two in the life of a 5 or 6-year-old little blonde piece of fluff, she left an indelible imprint behind those blinking blue eyes.

The awareness that a woman is more than the sum of the men in her life or the food and people that she nurtures. She is a force all her own and one to be reckoned with.

The wild woman in me raises a glass to the wild woman in you and reminds you to embrace her. The world is waiting.
posted by Angel @ 9:58 PM | 12 comments

2.08.2006

Conspiratorial Lies

This didn't get posted yesterday as Blogger was apparently doing some maintinance which caused my page to be buggy most of the day. Thanks to all who came faithfully looking for a post.

This is actually reworked from a piece of an early post ~ trying something diff, let me know what you think.

In a world gone fitness crazy I have been left behind. To be truthful, it’s more that I’ve taken the liberty of sitting out. In fact there’s a bit of a joke in my family that I indeed believe sitting is a sport and if it ever becomes an Olympic event there is a gold medal with my name on it.

Oh that was then and this is now. I have reached that special time in my life where I have acquired grace, wisdom and a fat arse. So I have been forced to join the fitness quest in order that I may still enjoy my sitting. Having to wedge one’s fat bottom into the seat diminishes some of the joy of the sport. As does that popping noise when extracting your bottom from said seat.

Not so bad though if you consider that taking up some sort of fitness routine usually requires the accumulation of the paraphernalia associated with the activity. Which requires shopping so how awful can this fitness thing be?

So I begin by trying to figure out what kind of exercise is right for me. I make the mistake of asking a couple people their opinions and they strongly suggested running. They way they went on about it I thought it was going to be a religious experience with harps, flowers and fluffy clouds.

I’m sold. I go out buy a pair of running shoes that cost as much as a good used car, but it’s worth it, I’m talking change of my life here and I look so damn cute in them. I then buy up every pink and purple bit of spandex running apparel I can find. Of course you can’t run without the proper jog-bra and sweat-wicking panties too. Who knew that there are special socks just for running?

I’m a firm believer that you can’t get the job done right without the appropriate tools and so buying all this stuff was only going to lead to my shining success. In fact I am sure that I will be running marathons along side Diddy and Oprah very soon.

I am off and running.

And sweating. And wheezing and it’s not invigorating, exhilarating or any of that line of crap they sold me.

They Lied.

Still, I’m confused and convinced that there’s something wrong with me. Maybe I’m not doing it right.

Come on. It’s running. I’ve been capable of doing it since I was two. Albeit out of practice, but still.

Maybe I didn’t do it long enough. Two excruciating weeks later, it still sucks.

So I go out to see how other people do it. They’re not hard to find.

I study their form. Technique. Start noting what brand shoes they are wearing, their gear. Camel pack or water bottle? With a partner or without?

That must be it. A rookie mistake. I bought the wrong stuff. So I go and buy more stuff. All the stuff I can find.

Two more weeks of pain while I try out all the new stuff in every imaginable combination to find the magic formula and still no harps, flowers or fluffy clouds.

What am I missing?!?

Then it hits me. Square in the face. Not mine, THEIRS!

I stopped looking down at all that running paraphernalia and looked up at their faces.

They looked as miserable as I felt. All of them. Not a one had a smile, a look of inner peace or joy. They all looked like someone just stole their cookies and punched them in the gut.

They lied.

It’s just another bloody conspiracy like marriage and babies. People get suckered into it and instead of admitting how miserable it’s making them they try to take you down too.

Well I’m having none of it. I will be dropping all that running gear into the goodwill bin on my way to buy me some yoga stuff, organic cotton yoga wear, a mat……
posted by Angel @ 11:22 AM | 16 comments

2.02.2006

Hello, hello.......is there anybody IN there. Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?


The rodent lied. Spring is coming early the birdies tell me so.

Okay so I know I’m in a funk, but where is everyone else? I’m not just referring to my commenters—though I do miss you all and have begun showering regularly in an attempt to woo you back but the lurkers as well. (That includes you brother dearest—where are you?)

The blogging world seems to hold tumbleweeds and white noise lately. Is everyone okay? Should I be concerned? Should I take off my clothes?

Good goddess I’m resorting to threats of the most inhumane kind!

I feel like there is a big party going on somewhere like the, Bloggers Banquet and Ball, Pia would like to throw someday. Did my invite get lost in the blogosphere? Is MQ in LA pitching up a storm? Teri might have made the Poker finals without telling me, I know the Diva’s, (still awaiting my goodie bag), are tasteful bag high in fashion week, Tanisha has left the building and Neil is still on his quest for love, sex and boobies. (Not necessarily in order of importance.) Mrs M is busy inducing labor, QoS has more important things to attend to like whoohas and flappy boy bits and Ruben is allowed to come and go as he pleases—he’s earned it dammit! And Dan, I would give Dan 3 weeks in Ireland if I could, there’s no better place to hibernate IMHO.

And then there’s me---in a funk, (established), cracking under the pressure of several writing commitments that I know are good for me and coming to terms with my newly diagnosed chubby virus. (Pop 2 cupcakes and call me in the morning.)

So now what?

It would not be very practical for me to go and actually check up on all of you.

Here are just a few of the places I would have to travel to:

• Parma, Italy
• Barcelona, Spain
• Reston, VA
• Albany, NY
• St Louis, MO
• Oklahoma City, OK
• London, England
• Springfield, MA
• Ft Lauderdale, FL
• LA, CA
• Atlanta, GA
• Valencia, CA
• Stockton, CA
• San Antonio, TX
• Seoul, Korea
• Boston, MA
• Modesto, CA –(where’s Scott Peterson being held?)

Travelocity does not have the capacity on their site to sort out that many connecting flights. Do they?

Okay, so you get the idea.

Hello?

Can you hear me now?!


"And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
you shout and no one seems to hear
and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon" ~ Pink Floyd
posted by Angel @ 1:39 PM | 27 comments