16 June 2007

The Seven Salty Secrets of Doris Rose MacBean

The Seven Salty Secrets of Doris Rose MacBean

Evidently, I have thrown down the proverbial gauntlet and it therefore falls to me to; pick it up, shoulder to the wheel, nose to be grindstone, back into it and all that tommy-rot.
1. As alluded to yesterday, I was a dreadful student. I got through school, because of my memory and a lot of luck. I never studied; if I didn't pick it up in class, it wasn't there. The work that I had to submit--in retrospect--was simply a lick and a promise. I say that now, because I know that I'm capable of much better. And I'm truly sorry for the years I spent goofing off instead of filling my brain with useful information. On graduation day, I marched across the stage -- one of a thousand happy graduates-- and received a handshake and an empty envelope (plainly empty to all and sundry). I continued, six more weeks of summer school and passed US history. In order to actually receive my diploma.
2. For my 12th birthday, my mother planned a surprise birthday party. It was not only a surprise to me, but also for the eight friends she invited. She called their mothers and arranged the whole thing. And while I slept, drove all over town, picking them up-- and waking them up-- one by one. She had to make two trips to get them all and assemble them quietly in our living room, while also planning breakfast. At a designated hour she trooped them upstairs to surround my bed and yell surprise. I was mortified, and refused to get out of bed. It was only then that I understood why- on a Friday night,of all times- she wanted me to clean up my room, wear cute pajamas and put rollers in my hair(?)-- all of which was completely out of character. We had a fabulous time, and hung around my house until early afternoon (we even marched our adolescent, butts down to the village in our pajamas.)
3. Oakwood Lodge was part of our summer vacation ritual, nestled on the north shore of Green Lake it was the first stop on our way "Up north". It was also the scene for one of my favorite memories of my mother. My brother and I swimming in our orange life jackets in the cold deep waters of Green Lake with Mom standing on the pier playing lifeguard. Eventually she would come down in the water to cool off. And I would swim over and hang on to her to rest and to get warm. Her skin was hot and smelled of Coppertone lotion and warm elastic.
4. After my first year in college, my friend Rick and I-- with our mother's blessings-- drove to California where he was going to produce a movie and I was going to help. We had a very gracious producer (wink), but basically lived hand to mouth in a one-room apartment near Hollywood and Vine. I remember collecting pop bottles to redeem for enough money ($.13) to buy a taco. It was one of the greatest adventures of my life until Rick left to go back to school. And I stayed in Hollywood to become a star. Needless to say, my great talent, went unnoticed even though I starred in a wonderful production of "And the Walls Came Tumbling down."
5.1966 I endured a long cold winter in Old Town- Chicago, living above a restaurant on Wells, in a very cold apartment with no electricity in the bathroom with stucco walls (rather dangerous.) I signed a lease with a gal I knew from the office, where we both worked. Just before the money was due, she became pregnant and bailed on me. I was stuck with the lease and the rent, and not enough money. I used electric space heater's, electric blanket, and still snow blew in the bedroom windows. I often lacked food money and when I was able to get food, my dog Lupo used to hide his under the stove( afraid there was no more).That was a very hard time.
6. After my parents died, enrolled in nursing school, through sheer brazen effort and some miracle of luck and eventually graduated with honors. To begin a real live grown-up career at the age of 30.
7. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a great old house in a very affluent suburb and attend some great schools. I think now, do we really couldn't afford the life we had, but we wanted for nothing and grew up with values, integrity and the ability to survive for which I am very grateful.
There you have it, I hope this does not fall into the category of navel gazing. I am digging deep, to see what memories I can put my hands on-while I still can.


MOI said...

I'm fascinated by your struggling salad days. What bravery – just taking off to CA like that. What adenture. And you're still taking great risks! I have such interesting friends . . .

Wicked Thistle said...

No navel-gazing there, or if so, in the best of ways. These are the bricks that laid your foundation, my dear, and each one is so interesting and surprising. And like a good builder, you just keep adding more...

Dizzy said...

When I turned 12, I had a slumber party with 7-8 girlfriends. Around 1 o'clock in the morning my dad appeared wearing his fighter pilot face mask, breathing heavy and moving from window to window. We screamed and clamored. It's one of my favorite childhood memories.

I love your story!

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