Nine years ago on the eve of St. Paddy’s Day, a blizzard battered our old farmhouse, and rattled the windows. Harley and I bundled up, climbed into our cold car and drove slowly - barely able to see the road. We were going to meet our family in the Mumsey’s hospital room.
My Mumsey told me that this happened to her in Liverpool England—
“One time when I was riding on the bus, I sat across the aisle from a worried looking mother clutching the shoulders of her young boy. I couldn’t believe it—his head and whole body were completely covered by a dirty wool blanket, but I could see his feet kicking like mad and hear him crying. The other passengers and I tried not to stare—but we couldn’t help it.
For my fiftieth birthday (many years ago), my dear friend Judy gave me an intriguing present - a session with a fortuneteller who lived in Groton NY. The thirty-mile drive on icy roads to her trailer made me quite nervous.
About ten years ago, still recovering but cancer free, I sat in a hot muggy little bar, whacking my snare drum during a gig with our band Toivo. We were playing a lively Tex-Mex tune, but I felt faint. I jumped up, wobbled to the bar and desperately called the busy bartender for some ice water. On the way back to my seat, I noticed that he had put a nice big slice of lemon in my extra big glass. The band had already started the next tune when I returned to my seat.
Because I was a brat and my parents couldn’t take my nonsense anymore, I was sent away in the middle of eleventh grade to the Cambridge School of Weston, a co-ed boarding school near Boston Massachusetts. We parted lovingly, and I didn’t mind being sent off. It seemed like it was going to be an adventure, and it was.
My Mumsey was a strange mix – very proper, a bit of a snob, smart, extremely liberal, outrageous, funny, annoying, kind, silly, generous, and great at telling dirty jokes that often made her laugh so hard, she peed in her pants. Everyone in our family and many of her friends knew we had successfully told a funny story if it made her pee, which we all LOVED to do, and luckily she loved laughing more than she minded peeing.
Around ten years ago, I became extremely weak and coughed so hard for months that it felt like I might turn inside out. I thought I had pneumonia. My doctor thought I had cancer. It turned out I had both, pneumonia and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was terrified of chemotherapy treatments, so I decided to cure myself. I had read that eating meat causes some cancers to grow, so I became a vegetarian.
I was in ninth grade, age fourteen, and I got in a silly argument with my Mumsey. So, I tried out the latest obnoxious thing I had learned from some older kids. I called her a douche bag. My father heard it and immediately walked over to me with a stern look on his face, and said, “Do you know what a douche bag is?” “No,” I mumbled.
This is the first time in my life I will be posting a Blog. My Blog will be an introduction to my art and my writing. I was told I should write a Blog to let people know about my new illustrated memoir of my wild years - covering age eighteen to thirty five. Groan, I thought, I hate the idea of having to write a Blog and deal with social media, but I reluctantly started and found that I actually enjoy looking at other peoples social media pages so much, I have to be careful not to spend hours doing that instead of the things I want or need to get done.