Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday Musings, 03 December 2016

Good morning,

Something I saw or heard this week awakened memories curled tight deep in my subconscious.  Was it the car fire that I watched with morbid fascination? The sudden cold snap? Photos of my old high school on a Facebook group page for the parish where any connection to religion shriveled under the unrelenting glare of angry nuns and the insidious leer of a lecherous priest?

The face which rose from the gnarled knot of images has gentle contours.  Rose Novotny.   Google tells me that this is the most common Czech surname.  Rose had a lilting accident.  Lithe and blonde, Rose wore her uniform with a careless grace.  Her hair grazed her shoulders.  Two pale blue eyes flanked a strong nose.  I envied her soft perpetual smile.

Rose lived in the little house on the school grounds.  Her father cleaned the buildings.  Another family occupied that house before or after them; I can't recall the sequence.  In fact, as I write, I question all of this.  It could have been a dream.  Perhaps she did not speak to me with kindness, or help me when I dropped my books on the stairs.  Perhaps her clothes did not sit easy on her shoulders.  But that is how I remember her.
On a cold afternoon the fire drill bell rang.  We filed outside, and formed a line with our classmates.  My bunch stood in front of the little house; its door swung open and Rose's mother stepped outside.  Her hands fell softly on the full white apron as she watched the students jostle one another.  Rose raised her own hand to greet her mother, standing sure and solid on the stoop in her heavy shoes.

Someone snickered.  I felt a flush rise within me and glanced around to see who might have been the one.  A quick whisper whipped through the line.  Faces turned to look at the lady from another country whose husband emptied the trash cans.  I turned to find Rose.  She stood without moving, her eyes locked with her mother's gaze.  Helplessness overcame me as I realized that she knew all too well what others thought of her, of her family, of their strangeness.  I stood apart from all of them and waited while the teachers walked back and forth with their instructions for our future fire drills.

The line fell silent and began its movement towards the building, back to our classrooms and our seats.  I lost sight of Rose.  Turning back, I watched her mother take up a broom and begin to sweep the pavement.

The alarm insists on my attention even though I've been awake for hours. As I cross the room to silence its bleating, my eyes fall on a headline on my tablet, a quote from the German chancellor encouraging her citizens to welcome immigrants.  I stand reading the story for a few moments.  I shake my head; I reach to silence the alarm and in the following quiet, I think again of Rose Novotny, living in that little house, crossing the parking lot every day for school.  I wonder if I've only imagined her and her sweet mother.  Did they exist?  Did they come from Europe to Jennings, Missouri?  And did they dwell on the grounds of my parish?  Did that derisive laughter ripple through a line of crowding children standing in the cold while the teacher counted us?  And if it did, was Rose the victim of that ridicule or was it someone else?

I let the memory fade and go about my morning, no wiser than an hour ago; no more certain.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saturday Musings, 26 November 2016

Good morning,

It seems that I have been writing these Musings forever but it's only been eight and a half years.  So much has happened in that time; so many stages of my life, so many losses and even a few gains.  I cannot decide if I'm in a river swimming against the tide or a bottomless pool struggling to reach the light, resisting a relentless pull downward.

The world pauses for a moment.  Today's early light falls gently on my shoulders as I skitter through the fallen leaves towards the curb with a small bag of trash to add to the larger one already piled there.  I wear my grandmother's house coat flower-side inward, snapped, a folded handkerchief tucked into its bric-a-brac trimmed pockets.  My son sleeps.  This day holds work for him, ten hours of it.  Tomorrow we meet friends for brunch and supper; Monday he returns to Chicago.

The visit has gone quickly.  He came with the intention of being a help to me and he has done that.  He walked the dog, cleaned the house before the arrival of our Thanksgiving guests, drove us around on all our errands, and listened to a friend and me tell stories of courtroom antics.  But he also showed some aspects of his mid-twenties self;  I discovered a lot about my boy.  He runs deep.  He still has little faith in himself, something he learned from me, I'm sad to say.  Yet I have not surrendered my belief in him and I have no intention of dying or relenting.  My mother thought that I could succeed in anything I tried.  Her death at 30 deprived me of my most faithful fan.  Without her encouragement I slid into mediocrity.

Yesterday morning, I watched a little family walk past my house.  Father, mother, sister, brother.  Their daily treks to and from their home began before the birth of either child -- newlyweds hand in hand.  I watched the bulge of pregnancy grow under the woman's clothing.  A baby buggy signaled the happy event.  Later a little toddler pushed that same buggy; and father walked along beside.  I don't know their names, or in which house they live.  I speak only small words to them -- 'good morning', 'happy spring', 'nice weather'.  The man nods or waves.  The woman does  not turn her head towards me, not ever.  She does not break stride.  But the children smile and return my greeting.

I measure my tenure here by the evolution of that family.  I've lived here since before the birth of either child.  I've watched their children grow from babies to scampering grade-schoolers in the uniform of the nearby Catholic parish.  Slightly older than them, my son has gone from a daycare baby to an M.F.A. since we first moved to this neighborhood.  I've married  twice.  I've staggered through the stages of grief for the loss of a brother, my beloved in-laws, and both marriages, both husbands.  I started this blog during the summer of 2008 when my son had gone to Mexico as an exchange student and my husband had decamped for his Ohio girlfriend's arms.  I've tried to be kind; I've tried to be thoughtful; I've tried to avoid the maudlin and the self-absorption that I see in other forums.

A lifetime of stories has fallen from me to these pages, into the little rectangular boxes, driven by the marching cursor.  Faces that I strain to remember dance here.  My little brother lifts me, twirling me around in an airport while my boyfriend stands as an eternal outsider nearby, holding my suitcase.  My mother walks through her front yard, sits beside me on the porch, and listens to my sobbing stories of the failed East Coast experiment.  Doctors, clients, friends, lovers, other people's children -- they all tramp through the paragraphs and pictures that I pour onto these pages.  I hit the "publish" button and hope for the best.  I don't want to embarrass anyone, though I can accept humiliation on the heels of my own candor.  Those who have loved me took that chance.  The gamble of potential revelation.  A roll of the dice.  A bargain:  You give me a few years of your time, and I acknowledge that I might appear in the pages of your life's story.

Except for this:  None of those people understood that whatever else I am, I have always been a writer.  Mediocre, perhaps; unambitious, certainly.  But from this vantage point, looking backward, I see that other than perhaps my father, every person in my life has seen me as something relative to them.  A friend.  Their lawyer.  A short-term employee.  A casual girlfriend.  A troublesome wife.  Mom.  Daughter.

My father though, for all of his terrible burdens and awful actions, understood what no one else acknowledged.  He wanted me to practice law, but he also knew that the writer's gene had gone from his father to him, from him to me.  Neither of them let their lives take that path and nor did I.  My grandfather had a family to support.  He went to law school, started an insurance exchange, and became a gentleman farmer.  The poems which he had written for the journals at Notre Dame give tribute to his literary bent.  My father, on the other hand, went to war and came back a damaged man.  All that exists of his writing gift are a handful of sentimental verses that he wrote about my mother in the five years between her death and his.

I am not much better.  I write these little essays and send a link to them around to a few dozen friends.  My immortality comes only from the annoying fact that nothing on the internet ever quite goes away.  You can do a Google search of my name and find both blogs -- My Year Without Complaining; and these, the Saturday Musings.  Otherwise, there's nothing to show that I lived as a writer, not even a stack of coffee table books in the remainder bin at a failing bookstore.

I tell myself, you're only sixty-one, you're not dead.  More importantly, I scold my son:  Don't do what your mother did.  Don't doubt your talent. Don't throw away your life on a career just to pay the bills, even if you sometimes enjoy it.  Follow your passion.  Believe in yourself.  He shrugs.  He'll make a little face when he reads this but I don't care.  He can be angry with me if he wants.  I'd tell anyone's child the same thing.  I told my stepson.  I tell you all:  Follow your dream.  And: Look inward for your validation; the admiring bog will drift away when a louder frog emerges from the muck.

Now the sun shines full upon the waning year, outside my crooked shades and rain-streaked windows.  The unforgiving blast of daylight reveals the meagerness of what I've garnered from my awkward life.  The fullness of time seems to have won the war.  But maybe not; maybe just the most recent skirmishes.  I take a deep, cleansing breath.  I wait.  And while I wait, I keep writing.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Saturday Musings, 19 November 2016

Good morning,

Here and there the piles of clutter threaten to grow and overwhelm me again.  I sit in a flannel nightgown listening to a distant roar that could be a trash truck except for the day of the week.  The neighborhood resists awakening.  Only my dog barks.  A quieter hum speaks from the basement, of winter nights and the fireplace which must be cleaned if I plan to use it.  It has sat idle for the last few years.  Perhaps finally I will set a match to crumpled paper and kindling again to let its flame roar high.

Now I see the pale glow of sunlight on a brick wall across the street, dappled and daring against the shadows.  A line of stairs marches to the cracked sidewalk on which a cat stalks something in the leaves.  From my window, I watch it all, even the ghosts darting across my yard with their makeshift capes flying from their small shoulders.   A slender woman led by her blue-grey border collie moves noiselessly beyond the pane in front of which I stand.  I see her nearly every day -- narrow frame, razored hair, round black eyeglasses.  She  holds her eyes forward.  She does not know that I am watching; or if she knows, she pays no heed.  We learn this way of walking in our solitary world.

Thanksgivings of my past crowd round, begging to be told.  Cornish hens in a fire-fed pot-belly stove; names pulled from a Christmas-gift hat; chores divided by eight who scurry around the house when the bell rings.  I've talked of them so many times.   Each day of thanks; each turkey; each plate of pumpkin pie.  I shrug them off and keep my vigil.

Now the sun crests the line of houses to the east and sheds a fuller light on the scene outside.  Traffic increases on my little street.  Pale leaves drift through the fragile air, shed from the heavy crown of the maples overhead.  I cross my arms and hold my body motionless.   I stare through the window with its broken sash and sagging shade.  I could not tell you what I think will come. I only know that I still wait.  I still wait.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday Musings, 12 November 2016

Good morning,

At nearly 8:00 a.m., a second pot of coffee simmers on the one-burner.  Breakfast dishes and mugs await the flow of water into the kitchen sink.  The bags of food for the high school's food drive stand on the porch.  Outside, the dog finally falls silent, having vanquished the wind or the crimson leaves drifting to the ground.  I see a stretch of delicate sky in the space between the broken slats of the blind.

My brother's family, or a fragment of it, has already trooped down the front stoop out to their truck and driven away.  I held my cell phone as they left, thinking to snap a photo at least of them.  But I couldn't stop smiling and the moment passed.  The teenagers slipped into the back seat, Frank and Teresa into the front, and off they went to the Swope Park soccer fields.

Many months have faded away since the last time young voices murmured in my home; since the pulling of a cork from a wine bottle after the sun has set and responsibilities have receded with the quieting of the neighborhood.  The grown-ups talked until midnight while the high-schoolers, Mark and Devin, the youngest of my brother's sons, watched flickering screens and savored their team's victory over Rockhurst under the Friday night lights.

As I watched Frank leave this morning, a hundred stories from our childhood clamored to be written.  The time he fell off the back of a pick-up truck at the end of a long line of cars involved in an accident.  His profile, standing in the kitchen, intently explaining to his siblings how you turn a styrofoam cup inside out without the thing imploding.  My mother's anxious vigil over the telephone, waiting the problematic birth of one of Frank's older children.  His wedding; his graduation from St. Louis University High School; the happy noise of Christmas Eve jambalaya.

My favorite memory of Frank involves me, and the terrible menstrual cramps which plagued me in my own teenage years.  I lay on my bed in the coveted front bedroom.  I heard Frank's voice in the kitchen, saying, she doesn't look sick.  My mother's low reply eluded me so I don't know what she said.  But a little while later, Frank brought me a tray with a plate of vanilla wafers, a cup of tea, and the comics section from the evening paper.

When we lost our baby brother, our number tipped from Even-Stephen to eternally odd.  Frank became the youngest living member of the once infinity Corleys.  I think it must be a daunting spot to occupy, holding the banner for four hands, two brothers, the little boys.  But his broad shoulders have borne the burden of raising seven children, standing as one with his college sweetheart.  He's proven himself to be capable, to be honorable, to be the best of what his parents' genes afforded him.

Frank and Teresa intend to come back tomorrow, between soccer games, to get an old desk that I think would look good in their refurbished schoolhouse, their weekend home out in the country lanes of Missouri south of St. Louis.  I bought the thing at auction more than a decade ago, intending to restore it.  I never have.  I think my sister-in-law will make it shine.  I'm hoping that even though they will have just a few minutes in the morning, we'll get a photo of my brother and me.  I'm feeling the fullness of time.  You never know when he will pass this way again, or whether, when he does, I will still be here.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

My nephew Devin tends to a crying doll, the purpose of which is to inspire teens to avoid having children too soon.  Given the example which my brother Frank has set, I expect his sons to be wonderful fathers.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday Musings, 05 November 2016

Good morning,

It's half past five.  The back door stands open.  Little Girl, the old brown dog, wanders around the back yard snuffling the scent of other critters.  A warmed-over mug of coffee rests on the edge of the little table on which my computer sits.  In an hour, I will drive north to a hotel near the airport where I will serve as Sergeant-at-Arms for the 2016 District Conference of District 6040 of the Rotary Club.  I never expected to join anything, not in the south end of my middle-age.  Being a member of the Waldo-Brookside Rotary Club gives me something to which I can look forward, week on week; and crystallizes my life-long yearning to be of service.  I don't quite fit into the mix with other Rotarians, but their kind hearts move aside to accommodate my bumpy contours.

I'm thinking of the letter "J" today -- as in Jay, Jabez, my favorite curmudgeon.  Two years ago today, with the victorious Republican election still shimmering in his ears, Jay slipped from our grasp and went with his waiting Joanna into the divine circle of eternity.  Because I must be north before 8:00 a.m., I will not be able to visit his grave today.  I will take flowers tomorrow; but for today, only the devotion of my heart will give him honor.

As I fell asleep last evening, I thought suddenly of one of many afternoons when I sat by his side.  Into the pureness of our relate, a little barb intruded.  Someone did something nasty, something to hurt me, something small and unwarranted.  Who and what no longer matter, and I will not speak them.  But Jay reached his hand to mine, flustered, almost furious.  I'm so sorry, honey, he said.  Our eyes met and we sat for a few moments. I murmured something, it's okay, I don't mind, and he shook his head.  He understood what I felt.  He had no power to control anything at this time.  His power had waned, except for the hold over me.  I bent over and wrapped my arm around him and said, firmly, louder, It's all right, Jay; please, pay it no attention. I'm all right.  I felt a  wrenching sob and then his frail arms reached around my body and we held one another.

I desperately wished the person who had taken such pains to sting me with their superiority could see that the arrow had missed and plunged into his heart.  But I let it go.  I stood and raised the shade.  I found the book which I had been reading to him, and began the next passage.  His hands arranged themselves on the cover that lay across his legs, and his eyelids lowered.  A smile passed across his face.  Sleep overcame him.  I kept reading.

I only knew my favorite curmudgeon for five years.  As my father-in-law, he showed me a purity of compassion.  He did not approve of much about me -- my politics, my breezy way of relating to my son, my headstrong will, my housekeeping.  But none of that mattered in the end.  From the spring of 2013 when we began a tandem course of care for his wife until her final days, to the dark November of 2014 when he himself passed from the grief and longing for her that had come to consume him, Jay and I forged a bond that in  my own dark hours sustained me like no other gift.  In his last few weeks, I listened as he spoke of his feelings for his children, his grandchildren, his cousin Anne Jones, his nephews Tom and Steve, and most of all, his beloved Joanna.  He lamented his flaws.  He spoke of his mistakes.  He told the same stories, over and over, his body shaking as he laughed in the same places.

Between the memories, he spoke of regret and his unrelenting desire to have been a better man.  He greeted me at the start of every visit with the same questions.  Are you all right, honey?  Do you need anything?  Do you have enough money?    Other questions, more pointed ones of which I will not here speak.  I answered the same each time: yes, yes, yes.  He would urge me to tell him if I needed anything.  I promised that I would.  Neither of us put to words what I might need.  We let that go.

Last night, I hit a parking barrier with the Prius which I drive, the one that used to be Joanna's car, which I got after Jay died.  I didn't hurt it, as far as I know.  Fatigue had overcome me early in the evening.  I hurried from a fundraising benefit, desperate to be home, my eyes wonky, my legs hurting.  I backed off the concrete barrier, tears welling in my eyes.  I've put so many dents in the plastic of this little vehicle which I feel blessed to drive, which inexplicably seems to be my last connection with my favorite curmudgeon.  Sometimes I feel like parking it and wrapping my arms around its funny nose and wailing.

 It's time to go.  I have to shower and feed the dog.  Perhaps the sun will rise before I pull out of the driveway.  I'll see its crimson tinge cresting the horizon and know that I've survived another long and dreary night.  A little nugget of hope will struggle to the surface.  Perhaps I'll find a quarter on the sidewalk.  I'll lift it from the ground and run my finger over its edge, thinking of Jay, wondering if he's trying to tell me something.

I love you, honey.  I love you too, Jay.  I know you do, honey.

His last words to me, before he slipped away.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Jabez Jackson MacLaughlin

To read my Musing from the week of Jay's death, CLICK HERE

To read My Year Without Complaining about carrying out one of Jay's last instructions to me,

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday Musings, 29 October 2016

Good morning,

I can tell the day will confuse me.  I awakened in the dark with the phone's alarm bleating.  I smashed my hand on the virtual button as though it had depth and texture.  I lay with tight chest and aching  legs, grappling with the gloom and trying to figure out why the alarm had sounded later than I intended.

But even so I fell back asleep for an hour, dragging myself downstairs when I heard the dog whining.  I brewed coffee and listened to the latest debate about whether some e-mails prove the Democratic presidential nominee should not hold office and a clip about the Republican nominee's lecherous conduct.  I shook my head and sat in the dining room, surrounded by nearly the same mess that I've been observing since September.  Outside the dog barked into the morning.  At the back door, I watched the tinge of pink spread over the eastern horizon, looking at my clocks, wishing my phone had awakened me as early as I planned. I remained baffled, worried about my competence. The morning had started without me.

Another half hour would pass before I figured out that my devices had re-set themselves to Pacific time.  Wishful thinking has infected everything around me.

A ghost slipped into the house and sat itself down at my table.  It's a woman, with a beaked Syrian nose and liquid brown eyes.  Her bald head rises above the starkness of her gaunt face and bony shoulders.  My mother's frail body barely caused a ripple beneath the sheet after her death.  I want nothing more than to remember how she danced through life.  If she insists on haunting me, I want her ghost to wear blue denim wrap around skirts and short-sleeve colored T-shirts, with a cross-body home-made corduroy bag slung round her plump torso. Instead her emaciated body trembles now, as her ghost surveys the clutter around her, the flotsam and jetsam of my depressed days.  She raises her hairless head to fix her gaze on me.  Her message sears my heart.   I pull my body from the chair and pour another cup of coffee.

During my grad school days, I frequently drove from the city where I lived to my parents' home in Jennings for Sunday dinner.  Those were my hard-core vegetarian days.  I ate what we'd call "vegan" now, no dairy, no eggs.  Eventually I'd settle into a "lacto-ovo" vegetarian phase which opened a lot of culinary doors.  But during those late 1970s, when I strove to cleanse my body of the toxicity of my year in Boston, I consumed fruits, vegetables, beans, and water.

My mother found clever ways to feed me.  While she and Daddy ate fried chicken, I'd munch a black-bean loaf shot through with sunflower seeds and avocado.  I think my Mom read every hippie cookbook that the library offered just to lure me to her table.  Still she'd simmer soup on the stove, hoping to tempt me with fat noodles and stop the downward plunge of my weight.  She mildly suggested that I consider an Orange Freeze from Steak 'n' Shake when my weight dropped below 100.  I shrugged her off.  I dragged out the chapter of my adviser's book which I had been assigned to write, and described my theories and how I intended to articulate them.  I showed her my wait-list letter for the Fletcher School of Diplomacy.  She didn't ask how I'd pay for a D.C. apartment.  She just listened.

Beside my laptop, on the desk in what has become the guest bedroom, the stack of papers from my mad dash to finish my 2015 tax return gather dust.  The top layer has drops of blood from the frenzy when I sank a knife into my left index finger that night.  Twelve days later, the cut has almost entirely closed.  My butterfly job  along with an entire packet of dusty wound sealant staunched the flow of blood.  The top of my laptop still bears the christening sheen of brown powder.  I barely feel the pain any more.  Like so many other wounds, the surface healing covers its malaise.

Now the sun has found its way high into the sky.  The ghosts retreat.  My weeks-on-end of unrelenting work should have abated, but late yesterday afternoon the other side in a settlement reneged.  I'm faced with going unprepared into a trial on Monday, having been fooled by the mediator's certainty that the parties had reached an agreement.  I'm taking one day for myself, to wash a load of clothes and unload the perennial over-crowding in the dishwasher for which I must confess enormous gratitude.  Tomorrow I will rise early and go into the office.  I will do whatever preparation one can do in ten hours, including meeting with my client and his family after their church and Sunday dinner.

But for today, I will heed the fine arch of my  mother's haunting eyebrows.  I will haul the cleaning supplies out and scrub the scum from my lovely fancy upstairs shower.  I will strip the beds of their wrinkled sheets, and throw away the moldy vegetables.  I cannot do much to please my mother now.  But I can clean.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Musings, 22 October 2016

Good morning,

On my walk to the car yesterday, I noticed the mock Rose of Sharon  still bore wild lovely blooms pushing towards the sky.  Untamed, untrimmed, it covers the bathroom window and rises towards the roofline.  I stopped to admire its resilience.  Usually, someone has hacked it to the ground by now.  I know that I need to get the bush pruned, but for another day or two at least, I'll let it be.

As I continued to the end of the driveway, I found myself thinking about the mulberry bushes on Pick-A-Chick, down McLaran Avenue and up Avis Avenue to the deadend.

I couldn't be more than five or six.  Joyce walks ahead, carrying a pail.  I've got a bowl.  I'm wearing an old shirt of my father's, buttoned over my shorts and T-shirt.  The bowl thumps against my legs as I scurry to keep pace with my sister.  She's five years older than I am and walks fast, intent, determined to get to Pick-A-Chick before the birds eat all the mulberries.

When we crest the hill she runs forward, shouting, and a flock of crows rises into the summer sky.  We move into the grove of volunteer bushes.  It sits in a patch of ground which breaks the course of the street.  On the other side, the abandoned truck with pictures of chicks stands at one angle.  Or stood.  It disappeared at some point but in my mind, rusted there forever, giving the spot its nickname.

Soon Joyce has filled her bucket halfway.  I move more slowly, picking one small berry at a time.  My fingers grow stained with the purple juice of the ripe mulberries.  I sneak a few into my mouth til my teeth take on a red tinge and my lips look painted.  The front of my father's shirt has smears of berry.  Joyce half-heartedly scolds me for eating instead of filling my bowl.  She shakes her head.   She knows who will bring home the bulk of our haul.  

And she does.  An hour later I start to whine.  Joyce relents and we begin the walk home, three long blocks carrying our harvest.  When we get to the kitchen, we rinse the berries and store them in a clean bowl in the refrigerator.

Later my mother takes them out and folds them into a batter for muffins.  I stand on the little bench to stir for her, careful not to break the berries.  We put them in cupcake papers in the muffin tins, then Mother holds the door of the oven and slides the pans into the warm cavern.  I bend over and look through the window.  We'll eat the muffins for breakfast after church on Sunday, with fried eggs and bacon.  Mother will take only half of hers, cutting it clean and spreading margarine with care.  She'll eat slowly, and pick up the moist crumbs with the end of her finger.  One of the boys will gobble the other half,  which I know without asking that my mother really does want.  But boys must be fed.

I close my eyes when I take the first bite of mulberry muffin.  It tastes like heaven.  I push away the memory of my friend Sharon taunting me.  "Mulberries are for poor people!"  I don't know why she said that.  I think they are divine.

A lifetime later, I still wonder at the thought that the delicious berries would somehow be worthy of a little girl's contempt.  I suppose her mother had told her that only those poor Corleys had to gather wild mulberries.  I can picture the conversation in their kitchen, Sharon asking if she can go to Pick-A-Chick with Joyce and me, and her mother replying, "We don't need to pick  mulberries on someone else's property, we can afford to buy blackberries at the store."  I can buy berries now, too; but I would give anything to walk back to Avis Avenue, and scramble on the dead-end picking mulberries with my sister, while the crows cawed above us, waiting their turn at the delicious feast.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Here is the Google Map picture of my childhood home.  This was probably taken a while ago, and even so, it's changed from when I lived there.  But seeing it still makes me smile.
I love you, J-Bear.

The Missouri Mugwump™

My photo
I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.