Lefty Parent

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Circle of equals

Posts Tagged ‘human development’

Two Inch Heels Part 6 – Rivers

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

It was Wednesday October 10 1973 and I was headed to Mainz to take a boat up the Rhine river. I was thinking “up” because the boat would head north, but north was the direction of the river flow to the ocean so I guess it was technically “down” the river. I was due to meet my mom’s friend Giselle in Paris in six days and I decided in the interest of time that I would pass on exploring the Black Forest for now. My new plan was to spend a few days touring the great historic river, which separated France from Germany. The river that Patton’s army breached in World War II with my dad as an artillery platoon leader, and that I had done a report on in sixth grade with ample assistance from my dad. A couple of my fellow young backpackers that I had spent the night with in the Bern train station had suggested that the sightseeing boat rides on the Rhine and then the Moselle were spectacular.

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Two Inch Heels Part 5 – Angelica & Helmut

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

Egyptian soldiers crossing the Suez Canal

It was Thursday October 4 when I debarked the train from Bern Switzerland in Munich Germany, fifty pound (or should I say 22 kilo) pack on my back, bleary from lack of sleep, but happy to recognize Angelica and Helmut on the train platform smiling and scanning the numerous people exiting the train. I on the other hand looked much different than the five foot six inch shorter haired fifteen-year-old kid they had met three years ago. Now I had a long curly mop of hair, surrounding my head in what they called a “natural” on a white person or an “afro” on a black person. I was now six feet, and even taller wearing my two-inch-heeled shoes. When Angelica figured out by process of elimination who I was she started waving vigorously and her face lit up. Helmut followed her lead and waved as well, though more sedately, and put on his best charming smile.

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Two Inch Heels Part 4 – Rail Pass

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Andermatt Switzerland

It was Wednesday October 3 when I awoke in the chilly male bunkroom of the youth hostel in Chur. I was the only one still in the bunkroom, not wanting to surrender yesterday by getting up and facing today. Ensconced in my toasty sleeping bag, my consciousness was still processing the profound events of the past couple days: the tears, the fears, but mostly the joys. By the time I finally exited my cocoon to acknowledge that yes, life goes on, I was the only one left in the bunkroom.
I put on my clothes, and debated trying to wear my hiking boots again. But since I was doing so well in my heels, and there didn’t seem to be a sign of rain that might mess them up, I’d wear them again instead. For the third day in a row I decided not to take a cold shower, and used a wet slightly soapy washcloth on some key body parts instead. I entered the main room, and as I figured, my erstwhile travel partner Jack, and my more recent comrades, David, Bublil, Peter and particularly Ashild, had already departed.

I ate my stash of Granola and yogurt, the latter having stayed nicely cool in the unheated dormitory room, and pondered the state of my heart and my soul. I thought of Ashild, who with her calm and caring demeanor, her good energy, had made the effort to really connect with me. She had even asked to and written thoughtful words in my journal, like she really cared about me and wanted me to remember her. We had shared moments of real intimacy together, walking back from the tavern together two nights ago, and with her big soft warm rear end on my lap yesterday, neither of us uncomfortable touching in that way.

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Two Inch Heels Part 3 – Chur

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

It was Friday morning September 28. As we had agreed, my new travel companion Jack and I left Munich, Oktoberfest, and our army brat hosts, and hitchhiked south. Our plan was to travel together for a week in Switzerland and then return to Munich, hopefully for me to finally hook up with Angelica and Helmet.

Knowing that we’d probably be doing a lot of walking, and the blisters on my feet were still healing, I wore my two-inch heels, and hung my hiking boots from the top of my pack frame. Despite those blisters, I had done fine walking about Oktoberfest in Munich in my heels, and my feet hardly hurt at all.

This was my first time actually trying to hitchhike in Europe. I had cut my teeth on this means of transportation the previous year, in the States, for the 100 mile journey home from school in Kalamazoo to Ann Arbor. It had worked out pretty well and seemed a fairly dependable way to get home, particularly if there was basically only one highway to traverse to get to the destination, and it usually ended up taking about the same amount of time as taking the bus or the train, and certainly the price the right. Several times one of my rides was another young student type like me, who offered up all or part of a joint to smoke together.

But here and now leaving Munich, rides came slowly, maybe half an hour to an hour wait before someone pulled over, a lot more waiting with your thumb out than I was used to back home. But the weather was pleasant and Jack and I enjoyed talking about our time in Munich and travel plans going forward.

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Two Inch Heels Part 1 – Angie

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

[This is a rewrite of the second half of part 1 of my original backpacking thru Europe memoir]

It was late afternoon Monday September 17 when her mom drove Angie and me and our big full backpacks the thirty some miles to Metropolitan Airport outside Detroit. I felt an unnatural calm, akin to the reverse stage fright I would get before going out on stage in a theatrical performance. I was once again throwing myself in the deep end of the metaphorical pool of life experience. Like when I had first decided three years earlier to perform on stage, particularly my first big lead part singing and dancing in the musical Oklahoma. It was how shy, reticent me conducted my development, resisting and procrastinating until the fear of being a total chickenshit overwhelmed the fear of the leap into the abyss.

If Angie was having any second thoughts about our trip at this point, I did not notice. I was so deep within myself. She was quiet as well, sitting next to me in the backseat, probably going through her own version of something like a pre stage performance routine. Her mom seemed uncomfortable with our silence and kept trying to make conversation. All she got was short answers from both of us.

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Two Inch Heels Part 0 – The Endeavor

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Me as “Peabody” in The Flahooley Incident

[This is a rewrite of the first half of part 1 of my original backpacking thru Europe memoir]

It was Monday September 2nd 1973. Labor Day actually, though if I still had my “house boy” job at the Briarwood Hilton, I probably would have worked that day to get the time-and-a-half holiday pay. I was walking down the sidewalk on the north side of Wells across from Burns Park returning home from Angie’s house. Now turned September, it had still been a summery Ann Arbor day, but now a breeze had come up out of the north with that first real fall chill in it.

“Impending doom” is probably too strong a phrase, but a sense of some dread engulfed me. For the past twelve straight years that first chill had meant that I would shortly, always grudgingly, be reporting back to school. That institution my parents and other adults of their cohort imagined would allow me and mine to learn the skills to eventually take our place as successors to the civilization they were now responsible for. A civilization, from my point of view, whose history was a litany of wars, genocides, slavery, colonization, racial oppression and the subjugation of women.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 14 – Cider

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

Molly was excited when she came over to get me. I was going with her and her mom and dad to the Dexter Cider Mill. It was a cold, cloudy, windy day, and I almost forgot to bring my jacket, but my mom reminded me. Molly and I walked across the street together, looking both ways like our parents had told us.

Molly’s mom and dad were coming out of their front door and Molly’s mom called out to her, “Molly, you and Coop can sit in the way back if you want!”

Their car was called a “station wagon”, because it had more seats than a regular car. A regular car had a front and back seats. But a station wagon had another seat behind the back seat. Molly called it the “way back”, because her parents had told her it was the seat “way in the back” of the car. Molly and I both liked the way back seat because it was far away from the adults in the front seat. Also because it was different, when you sat in it you were looking out the back window of the car. You could not see the adults driving, so it was easier to pretend you were driving, even though the car was going behind you not in front of you.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 13 – Tom Swift

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Dad read books and sang songs to me when it was bedtime. He told me it was the favorite part of his day, to sit in the wood rocking chair across from my bed and together get “lost in a good story”, and then “raise our voices in song”.

We finally finished reading the Tom Sawyer book. I was sad when it was done, because I liked hearing about all the things that Tom did. I did my best to keep pretending I was Tom sometimes down in the basement or out in the backyard. I knew that Tom was special because his life was an adventure that was in a book.

“So Coop”, dad asked as he sat in the rocking chair, “What should we read tonight?”

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Clubius Incarnate Part 12 – Television

Friday, March 29th, 2019

My mom had shown me that you could “divide” things into four “quarters” by drawing an “imaginary” line across the middle and another one up and down the middle. Where those two lines crossed was the “center”. She said it worked for things that were square or round. She liked doing things like that, thinking with lines and numbers, and writing them on a piece of paper.

So it worked for square things like the basement. When you walked down the stairs to the bottom and turned left, that was my quarter. It was perfect for me because I was left handed and liked to go that way anyway. It had my toys and the shelves my mom and dad made out of bricks and boards to put the toys when I wasn’t playing with them. They never did anything in that part of the basement. I could always play there whenever I wanted to. They called it “Cloob’s area”, though now they were calling it “Coop’s area” because of my new nickname.

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Coopster Created Part 11 – Mister Jim

Friday, March 15th, 2019

It was a cold, gray, windy Monday on the planet Ann Arbor. Monday February 11th 1974 to be exact. Though now that I was no longer soldiering through Europe with my pack on my back, I wasn’t keeping a journal and writing down the dates. Overnight, the blowing snow had covered the outside of my one small basement window, the one I could see from my mattress on the floor. I had been out earlier in the cold wind shoveling the snow away from the window, and the rest of the driveway, per the list of chores my mom had left me, that I was determined not to get behind on and risk getting a negative comment from her.

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