October 28th, 2005


More Wetness

Well, that was annoying. Opera crashed. I think that it might have been because, while writing an entry, I was loading content from this web site in another tab. Helen K. Garber is a photographer who does noirish black and whites. I'd like to see them, but her web site is a bit too web-designery, and appears not to approve of Opera. It's like, all murderous.

Anyway (as I was saying when I was so rudely interrupted), it's been raining all night again, and the cat is annoyed. I think she's nagging me to make it stop. She wants out, but goes reluctantly, then wants back in soon, spends a few minutes roaming from one room to another, than nags to go back out again, probably in the mistaken belief that I've had time to fix the leak. Poor kitty. She'll just have to be patient until Saturday, when it is expected to clear. In the meantime, she may be distraught, but I'm not tired of the rain yet, and continue to enjoy it. It's so calming that I haven't even thrown a fit over my lost entry.

5th street los angeles 1905

Mom Standard Time

My mom was in one of her nostalgic moods again this evening, rambling on with semi-coherent tales of her youth, bits and pieces of the story all scattered hither and yon. She's never had much of an inner editor, and thus is the queen of digression, recursion, and just plain maundering. This gives her stories an oddly avant-garde quality, rather like one of those books somebody (was it Burroughs?) used to put together by cutting and pasting. I suspect that a lifetime of listening to her talk (and trying to make some sort of temporal sense of it), as well as some hereditary quirks in the workings of my brain which predispose me to the same sort of rambling, has influenced my style of writing and my compulsive desire to edit on the fly-- which works out with but infrequent success, alas.

But I digress. Tonight, she let loose a tale (or fragments thereof, at least), I'd never heard before, about one of her cousins who became gravid at thirteen (and this was in the 1930s, when such things were supposedly unheard of in respectable middle-class neighborhoods) and was subsequently incarcerated by her father in a Los Angeles orphanage-cum-home for wayward girls operated by an order of Catholic nuns. The cousin escaped, as it turns out. The sisters would take the girls on outings to a nearby city park, and one day, as the group of girls was returning to the home, my mom's cousin gradually fell to the back of the pack and, when the sister bringing up the rear passed through the entrance gate of the orphanage grounds, the cousin dodged past her and ran down the block where, as chance would have it, a touring car loaded with sailors on leave appeared just as she turned the corner of the intersection. The sailors were happy to let her in the car, and hid her on the floor as they drove off, the sister who had been in pursuit having reached the corner only to see the sidewalk empty, her prey vanished.

The cousin ended up marrying one of the sailors some time later (I know, it begins to sound like bad fiction, but this was California, after all, and what is life in California but the manifestation in reality of all the cliches, both sentimental and horrifying, of a dismal popular culture) and never returned to the girls home. Presumably, she was reconciled with the family despite her disgrace, as, in the past, I've heard other mentions of this same cousin, who had eventually settled into a rather ordinary life.

But it's odd that my mother, who has always striven for utter respectability (and who, as one of her friends once said of her, wouldn't say "shit" if her mouth was full of it) should, on occasion, let slip dark family secrets of this sort (this is not the first such revelation.) I guess it's another result of her lack of an inner editor, accompanied by her compulsive desire to ramble about the past. Over my life, I've endured long hours (which probably add up to months) of trying to puzzle out the bits and pieces which she spews while in such moods. At least I get some entertainment out of it now and then. My only complaint is that she takes such a long time to get to no point. And I think maybe I just did the same thing. Oh, well.