Category Archives: Bein a kid

Midway Swimming

Starlings sing over sparkling chlorinated waters.

Quarters plop and bubble to the bottom of the pool.

Her oversized goggles assist in tales of water monsters.

Scattered flies entangled in her hair are the only obstacles.

Yet diving for silver becomes more important than hygiene.

 

Peels of laughter echo off the concrete resort,

Giving competition to the cries of hungry birds.

Slappy, soggy feet give away your stealthy mind

In a bout of hide and seek.

 

New friends are made in imagination and buoyant warm waters.

Common goals keep you all bound together.

Find the quarter first and the prize is

Getting to do it all over again.

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True story …

“I can’t believe you don’t have a tattoo!” Shelly said

“I’m only 18.”  I retorted.

“Seriously, I had one by the time I was 16.”

I think part of the problem was I didn’t know which one to get, let alone where to put it on my virgin skin.  Tattoos were forever and that far away.

I was sea sick from the sway of her Suzuki racing through rush hour traffic as we made our way to the tattoo parlor.  Sitting in the passenger seat, listening to Eminem prophesize his hate for women, I couldn’t help but think I was doing something illegal.  Though my parents were open-minded people, we’d never really talked about tattoos.  What would they think of my new addition of rebel?

“Are you scared?”  Shelly asked.

“No!  Why would I be scared?”

“Because getting tattoos fucking hurts.”

“It can’t be that bad.”  I said.

“Have you ever been to a tattoo parlor?”

“No.”

“You should be scared then.”  Shelly laughed.

I just stared out the window, not really noticing that the car had stopped and was now parked in the lot of the tattoo shop.

Shelly bounced out of her car; she was high on the thought of the pain of some new artwork.  I lumbered out of the car, not really sure what to expect.

Once inside, the low hums of tattoo guns were filling my ear with fear.  The needles were furiously working there way through epidermis after epidermis, as if it were warding off crime.  Being petrified of needles was making me rethink my decision.

“So what you gonna get today?”  The burly tattoo artist asked.

“I’m going to get a lion on my back,” Shelly answered.

“How about you?”

“I’m not really sure.”  I said.

“She new?”  He asked Shelly

“Yep!  You’re going to de-virginize her!”

“Awesome.”

Oh good!  The man who will “deflower” my body is speaking to my friend as if I wasn’t in the room.

“Well, you have some time to figure it out while I start on your friend,” he told me.

Sitting down, picking up the tattoo design books, I noticed immediately all the pictures of skeletons, dragons and other death type tattoos.  Why so gloomy?  Why did having a tattoo have to be so badass?  I just wanted a simple dog.  I knew immediately I’d be the laughing stock of the tattoo shop if I wanted my dog tattooed on my flank.  I quickly scanned the book for animals.  If a dragon engulfed in flames is considered an “animal” I was screwed.  Flipping furiously to get inspiration, other than death, I found a wolf.  Ok, this might work.  It was decided; a wolf would prowl upon this virginal land.

“Marcy,” the receptionist called.

I stood up.

“Follow me,” she said.

She took me to a room with a chair, and a silver table (similar to one you’d find in an operating room) that had instruments, wrapped in celephane, on it.

“Go ahead and take a seat.”

I wanted to run.  That needle was staring me down.  It was telling me we were going to fight and he’d win.  But my ego superseded my logic.  The artist had drawn the wolf and was placing the outline on my back.  His belly kept hitting my back, as it seemed to jut out further than his arms.  His long black hair seemed to stick to everything, as if he’d rubbed it with a balloon before making his entrance.  He smelled like a mixture of Tabasco sauce and spilt beer.  But, many patrons had assured me Sergio was the best.

“You ready?”

I didn’t say anything.  Sergio laughed and started the engine to the tattoo gun.

“How bad does it hurt?”  I asked as the needle approached my skin.

“I’ll tell you a secret.”  Sergio leaned in closer to my face.  “Tattoo’s hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.  One of the worse pains you’ll have is this tattoo, but Marcy, you’ll get addicted to it.  So instead you should be asking yourself, am I ready of a life of ink and pain.”

I sat silent.

“So how about it, you ready for this addiction?”  Sergio asked.

“Fuck it!  Let’s do it!”

PS – I now am a proud owner of 12 tattoos, Sergio wasn’t lying.

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Sonny Ricks

“What’s so new about Mexico”?

That is the question Sonny posed to me while driving down Washington Blvd.  Though I was no geography expert, at 16 I knew the states pretty well.  I was laughing, assuming he was making a joke.  When I turned to look at him he was staring at me seriously.  “Are you being serious?”  I said laughing.  “Yes!  What the hell is so new about Mexico?”  I couldn’t breath I was laughing so hard.  “Sonny, it’s a state!”  I replied.  “No it’s not.”  Sonny was two years my senior and definitely a smart guy.  Why this failed to make sense to him still has me laughing today.  He didn’t believe that New Mexico was a state until I went home (to my parents house) and looked it up in the set of encyclopedias my parents owned.  Even then he thought it was some conspiracy against him.

Or the time he came home from the police academy and was complaining of his calf hurting.  We looked and he had two small red marks on his calf.  Sonny looked at me with all sincerity and said, “I think a snake bit me.”  I started to roll around on the carpet in laughter and said, “You didn’t get bit by a snake.”  Sonny’s retorted, “You DON’T KNOW, you’ve never been bitten by a snake!!”  I was in tears from laughter and said, “…Neither have you!”

Sonny always had the ability to make me laugh.  His sense of humor was off the wall and his wit was quick.  We spent so many hours just driving around and talking about what we were going to be when we grew up.  We’d listen to police scanners, knowing that this would help us learn the 10 codes, and just dream of the day we’d become cops.  For me it was a way to show every teacher that said I couldn’t be a cop I could, but for Sonny it was a way to help those less fortunate.

When Sonny was finally hired on as Salt Lake City Police it was one of his most proud moments.  Unfortunately it would be our marriages downfall.

I met him when I was 13, married when I was 21 and divorced when I was 22.  Those 9 years were pivotal in shaping who am I today.  We both taught each other so much about life and though he couldn’t take the strain of living anymore, I’ll always remember him as the “Dr. Pepper” guy.  It wasn’t until our divorce that Sonny turned to alcohol to medicate his emotional traumas.

In our numerous conversations in the last few years I would encourage him to get help.  Hell, I even wrote to the TV show Intervention hoping they could give him the help the rest of us couldn’t.  But in true Sonny fashion he refused help and bull headedly claimed he was doing fine.  But those of us that really knew him where aware this was a lie.  Knowing the pains he suffered as a child, the pain of our divorce, the suicide of his wife clearly led me to believe that Sonny, yet again, was suffering.

I’d take his calls at 2am and listen to his woes.  I’d listen to him speak about work, the meaning of life, the downfall of people in general.  In all of this I’d know, and tell Sonny, that he was hurting.  On numerous occasions I told him that he was acting tough when he just wanted to be weak.  Most times he’d mock me for saying such things, but I stood strong in my opinion and usually, he’d concede that he was lost.

He’d ask me over and over why I loved life.  I’d try to explain that it’s the people, groups we involve ourselves in and passion for anything that keeps people going.  I tried explaining that his love of animals could be a passion.  I told him to volunteer to anything he liked, but he just didn’t seem ready to involve himself in anything.

We spoke frankly about Aimee (his wife who committed suicide) and on most occasions he’d try to down play this traumatic event.  Well downplay isn’t the word, he’d try to act as though he were ok with it.  We all knew better.

 

On Dec. 16th I got a text from a friend that grew up with us asking if I’d heard about Sonny.  Immediately I knew.  I knew that the burden of living was just too much for Sonny and that he had taken his own life.  When it was confirmed that he was dead I didn’t even need to ask how, I knew.  I’d known for years that Sonny wasn’t meant to remain here with all the trauma he’d endured in his short life.  But even knowing this, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d done everything I could for him.  Could I have called more often?  Could I have had him over at the house more?  Could I have text him each day to make sure he was ok?

And then reality hit me.  It wouldn’t have mattered.  None of those things would have helped Sonny.  Those things would have helped me cope better.  Only Sonny could help Sonny and he was tired of trying.  And truly, who am I to judge another person and their decisions?  Who am I to say this was the wrong decision for him?  Selfishly I wish he would have chosen some other way to cope, but that’s not for me to decide right?  Selfishly I want to get more phone calls from Sonny (even the annoying early morning ones).  Selfishly I wish I could have had the perfect words to change Sonny’s life.  But none of us have this power.

So with tears in my eyes I will say goodbye to you.  I still have every single letter we ever exchanged, and when I won’t become a slobbering mess, I’ll go through them and think of you when you were happy.  I have a lock of your hair, and I’ll touch it remembering how safe you used to feel.  I still have a motorcycle key from the accident, and I’ll remember how endearing and protecting you were when tragedy struck.  I still have every picture from every high school dance and I’ll protect and preserve them for the remainder of my days.  But most of all, I have 9 years of incredible memories from when we were kids to becoming adults.  I had ALL my firsts with you.  First road trip, first dinners out, first date, first hand holding, and my first sexual experiences.  You’re an amazing man Sonny and my life would never have been the same without you.  Thank you for loving me.  I consider myself lucky that I had the chance to love you back!

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Becki Woldberg Hadley

Truly, where do I begin?  My first memories of my life include you.  I can remember you were a constant in my youth.  I think I was one when we met and I can’t remember a time running through the neighborhood without you and Kelli.

One of my favorite memories was climbing up your mom’s linen closet to the little hide out/kid playroom stashed behind all the towels.  If I remember correctly you had a small table and chairs and a light with a string attached too it.  It smelled like mothballs and dust, but it was filled with giggles and plans of trouble (you know, big trouble like devising a plan to ride our bikes when it was dark out.)

I remember hide and seek, ding dong ditching and jump rope.  I remember your sister reading me Edgar Allan Poe when I was nine and since that time I’ve read him with an obsession!  I remember you playing mamba at our house and whipping your head so fast that you hit the corner of our piano chair with your forehead.

And who can forget the big wheel races in the basement?  Hitting the brakes so quickly it would whip us around in a 360!  And the big ass queen bed that we would all snuggle into when our parents were shit faced!

With all sincerity those were some of the best times of my life!  That carefree attitude with friends is what we still crave in our adult lives.

I still try to understand why it all fell apart when Kelli died.  Perhaps our parents’ seeing each other was just too much of a reminder of the past.  Perhaps we didn’t know what to say.  Perhaps it’s just a part of life to fall away from one another, but I know that you will always have a piece of me, and I’ll have a piece of you … my god, we were practically sisters!  Though it’s been ages since I’ve seen you, you truly are a part of me I carry and think about everyday!

Thank you Becki for being such a huge part of my life growing up and helping shape me into who I am today!

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Pancakes

Yep, those golden circles of goodness.  Though most people have had the opportunity to have pancakes in their lives, I was lucky enough for it to be a huge event in my life.  My dad, in typical Sunday fashion, would have my sister in I, in our nightgowns, lifted up to the counter and help make a slew of them every Sunday.

I would typically Bogart the stirring in of the eggs, watching the batter turn a yellow while folding the eggs in.  We ALWAYS used a wooden spoon to do our stirring.  I can remember my dad, with his towel draped across his shoulder, giving us words of encouragement and making the whole ordeal exciting.  I would watch him take his ladle and dip it gently into the batter.  He would pour the batter on to the hot griddle and I can remember the sizzle sound it would make.  It was a science and my dad had perfected it.  I loved sitting cross-legged on that counter watching my dad.  It made me feel special … HE made me feel special.

When my parents, after my sister and I had longed moved out, gutted the kitchen to install a new more modern kitchen I couldn’t help be sad when the old yellow counters were removed.  The majority of my life was spent sitting on or at that counter with years of conversations, laughter, and at times conflict.  Though I knew rationally that many more memories would be made in the new kitchen, emotional Marcy just longed to be a little girl for a few more days of making pancakes with my dad.

For father’s day we headed over to my parents house for … you guessed it… pancakes.  As I came around the corner of the kitchen I was humbled to see my little Cheyenne mixing the flour and getting the batter ready with my dad.  And though she is too big to sit on the counter cross-legged, she was watching my dad like I used to when I was little.  She sat with the spatula in her hands while my dad coaching her on when to flip them.  It brought tears to my eyes.

You see, in all reality, it’s the small things your parents give you that you cherish the most.  It’s not the washer and dryers (though I’m hugely thankful for those gifts and so are my friends) but it’s the times teaching each other while having fun.  It’s the moments, as an adult myself, hearing myself telling stories like my parents.  It’s catching myself, whenever I cook, with a towel draped across my shoulder.  It’s those moments that I stop what I’m doing and think about how much I truly love my parents.  I love them!  More than they will ever know

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I didn’t raise a rock thrower. .

No really.  That is the theme of the day at our house.  One of the kids was playing and threw a rock at one of the other adults.  Rizzi LOST HER MIND, rightfully so I might add.  Funny thing is. . you know you remember those nasty little kids that used to throw rocks at your head.  We’ve all known one.  Mine was a little girl that had satan written all over her skinny ass.  I can remember day dreaming of taking her down like a gazelle on the Serengeti!!  I would imagine that Bruce Lee taught me secret moves and Pro Wrestlers were my best friends.  I’d sneak up, unsuspected like, and tackle/kung foo her to a high amount of pain.  Of course this never happened, as I was the skinniest kid in my neighborhood, but fortunately for me I have always had a mouth that could get me in and out of so many situations.

I promised myself when I was young that I wouldn’t allow my kids to throw rocks.  And guess what, we have the best kids in the world.  Though one of them threw a rock today I know, deep in my core, that I’m not raising rock throwers.  Each one of them is highly intelligent, have manners as if raised in the White House. . . err wait not sure that’s a good thing…. as if raised in your grandmother’s house, and have a true compassion for people.  I guess I look back at the skinny ass rock thrower in my childhood and feel bad for her.  Where were her parents when she was throwing rocks?  Where was their compassion and opportunity to help her understand?  Poor girl. . she just needed a parent to lose their mind on her so she’d know that they cared enough to teach her the proper manners.

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Thunder and lightening…

The light flashed through my eyelids that were shut with slumber.  The Tylenol PM made it hard to open my eyes, but I struggled to open them to ensure that it was indeed lightening.  Again the darkness was pierced with the quick white light…..the sound rumbled the old house.  It was quite.  She lied in bed, undisturbed by the force of nature making her presence known.  After much negotiations with my eyes, they were fully opened and my legs were swung off the side of the bed.  Lucky, the trusty pitbull,  who happens to be my partner in crime, was sound asleep to the storm.  Excitement filled my entire body.  I went first to the bathroom window, as it has the best view of the mountains to the East.  Quick white flashes, but no view of the lightening rods.  I crept quietly to the front of the house.  This home is equipped with the best storm watching porch you could ask for.  It is covered, but not so much that the earths heartfelt emotions could quickly splash your body with her tears.  I hunched down, lit a smoke and began to watch the most amazing fireworks show the weather has to offer. 

 As I began watching I couldn’t help but think of past places, persons and things.  I was quickly brought back to my parents home as a child.  I was cuddled up in a blanket with my sister.  Steaming hot choclate by our sides and my mom sitting with us.  Since I could remember, this is how my mom introduced us to mother nature and her power.  Without fail, when the dark clouds began to form my mother’s excitement was contagious.  The tea kettle would be filled with water and placed on the stove in anticipation of the great storm brewing.  I swear the whistle of the tea kettle was the signal for the rain, wind, lightening and thunder to begin.  We’d quickly stir our cocoa and shuffle our way to the porch, mom in tow with blankets.  We’d bundle up in cozy fluffy blankets and ohhhh and ahhhhed our way through the day.  No words were spoken, as the skies would tell us the story.  It is one of my best memories of my childhood.  The loud strike of thunder brought me back to today, but my sister was right there with me.  My arm across her shoulder and her holding my hand keeping one another safe.   

As I smiled and felt the warmth of the past fill my body, I was again reminded of another time in my life spent in storms.  Diane…she is amazing.  She came to Utah from Ohio in the military.  This womans dimples spread joy.  It was a chance meeting.  Me with my son sitting watching two people playing soccer.  My son, who is still the biggest flirt, began gooing and gaaaing his way into this soccer players heart.  It was May…good soccer weather I suppose.  Diane and I have been inseperable since.  She is my bestfriend….soul sisters more like.  We shared so many experiences together.  We lived in the same apartment complex, our doors facing one another through a small courtyard.  In early August of that year a storm came through in the early morning hours.  Like all storms, I crept out of bed, wrapped up in a blanket and headed to the front stoop.  As I was in awe of this incredible storm I could hear giggling.  I thought I had finally crossed the line of plain weird to crazy.  I began looking around and saw Diane on her stoop as well.  I called for her to come over.  She called for me to come over.  Truth be known, though I love storms and take any chance to watch them, I wasn’t  to excited about running through a courtyard of trees.  We were at a stalemate.  Laughing like mad women, she compromised and ran, like a track star I might add, to my stoop.  I pulled her out a blanket and left to make us coffee.  She was so comfortable to me.  She was an old soul at a young age, 6 years younger than me.  She felt like home, warm, true, safe and enduring.  With coffee in hand, we snuggled close to one another and began watching.  No words, again, were necessary.  The dark night skies that would momentarily show us their brillance were etching memories never to be forgotten.  Knowing it would only be a few hours until we’d see each other again, she slept on the couch and I in my bed.  Though she has left this state and moved to Ohio, this night I was with her again, she was right there with me on my porch, silently telling our story again.

In a new home with two small kids.  The signatures on the divorce decree were fresh.  The freedom of doing it on my own was still sweet on my lips.  The light slipped through all slits in this manmade structure.  My eyes fly open.  This will be the first storm on my own.  I run into Wyatt and Cheyenne’s rooms, waking them.  Without doubt they believe I’ve gone mad.  I tell them to follow me, slowly and with sleepies in their eyes, they slowly make their way down the staircase.  I fill the tea kettle.  I turn around expecting to see crazy excitement and am greeted my one little girl on the floor wrapped up in blues clues and a little boy, with blanket in hand, rubbing his tired eyes.  I approach the sleepy monsters, sit myself on the floor and explain to them that we will get to watch the earth tell us a story.    The whistle of the kettle is our signal.  Stirring the hot cocoa is quick and messy.  I scoop up my little girl, hold my little mans hands and take them to the front porch.  With myself in the middle, surrounded by all that is love and precious, I quietly explain that our story is begining.  My kids cling to me in the begining, believing that I can save them from something unexplainable.  But as the storm intensifies my kids begin to relax, knowing in their souls that the storm is a connection to mother earth.  In silence we sit and enjoy each other.  Many kisses and hugs and ahhhh and ohhhh’s are enjoyed amongst us.  Cheyenne is the first to fall back asleep.  I carry her into the house, dropping Wyatt off to the couch.  I tuck her in, bathed in quick flashes and loud thunder.  I go back downstairs and pick up my little monkey.  As I carry him he tells me, “thanks momma.”  I kiss him tenderly and tell him “anytime.”  I tuck him tight under his covers.  He looks at me, deeply, warmly and lovingly and says he’s not afraid of thunder and lightening anymore.  I still felt their warm little bodies pressed against mine when I am brought back from memory.  The smell of cocoa and rain lingered in my nose.  To this day we all take the opportunity to sit on the porch and enjoy the story.

As I drift back to this night, I am filled with so much love, hope and dreams.  So many memories of mine can be attributed to these storms.  I slowly pull myself up knowing in a few short hours I will be waking up to go to work.  As I enter the house I am suddenly aware of a slow sadness creeping in.  He’s not there.  The one that always needed my reassurance that the storms are not meant for him.  He was put to sleep in October due to cancer and this is the first storm without him.  Tears burn the brim of my eyes.  I think about the night that he stood panting by my side of the bed.  Frustration would usually creep in because Alicia and I would have to wake up early and the storm usually signaled a long night with AJ.  On numerous nights I’d walk my scared friend downstairs, away from the kids and Alicia, and take him to the front room.  I would lay down blankets on the floor and lie with him, petting him, telling him it wasn’t meant for him, that he was safe with me.  Without fail my old friend would lay beside me and listen to my stories of times past with old friends and family who had enjoyed these feirce storms.  His breathing would slow, panting would stop and my old friend would sleep with me, as the white light intruded through the window.  The thunder no longer threw my friend into a frenzy, he slept close to me.  He was an old soul as well.  For old time sake, I lied on the couch.  I told my old friend that I missed him, missed taking care of him in his fear and thanked him for listening to tales of thunder and lightening.  My soul was once again filled with hope, love and understanding, as this memory made him alive and will until the day I take my last breath and meet him, and all the others, on rainbow bridge.

I crept back into bed, knowing she would be there still undisturbed.  I pulled the covers over my exhilerated body.  One last bright burst of light and a low rumble of thunder and the storm tucked itself into bed as well.  I saw her face in the last light and was filled with so much love for her and where my life had taken me.  I pushed myself into her and felt my own thunder and lightening.

May the storms write more stories for me and my family, and I hope that the next time a storm rolls in you take the time to make your own.

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