She minces no words.

Dont Mince Words

Cross-country providence? 7

Posted on December 29, 2013 by Marna

If you had warned me a month after escaping California I’d be identifying my mother’s body in a funeral home, I would of laughed.  Life and timing are funny things.

Decades after my birth my mother continued to try to direct my life long-distance with a cocktail in her hand.  After I arrived in California, she had the time difference on her side when it came to drunk dialing.  After one too many, I cut her off and told her never to call me again.  I had no use for her nastiness.  For the last nine years, I have lead a peaceful life and have inspired two other girlfriends to sever ties with their less-loving parents.  We all have enjoyed the born-again sanity.

I hate who my mother became; however, I respect how her upbringing helped form who I am today.  As the oldest of eight kids growing up on a farm in North Carolina, she didn’t have it easy during the Great Depression.  While in high school, she was sent to live with her grandmother because she was malnourished.  Upon graduating, she did what you’d expect her to do – she got the hell out.  Crazy Barbara became a federal employee, fine-tuned her steno and typing skills, and eventually landed a secretarial job with the U.S. Air Attaché.  Cold war Germany Mata Hari-style information gathering.  She eventually returned to the DC area, got set up with my dad and got married.

For 13 years she had a good career for a farm girl with no college degree.  While her friends were getting married and pregnant, she was out doing something different.  She was not your typical 1950’s woman.  In the early 1960’s, she settled down and married a man almost 10 years her senior.  She stopped working, had two kids, and continued to be a card-carrying member of the cocktail generation.  (Every time I hear the Rolling Stones’ Mother’s Little Helper I think of her in the1970’s.)  I can’t help but think this inside-the-beltway suburban life bored her.  When I would come home from school, she would be drinking and watching soap operas.  This was the life she chose.

When I was 13, my parents signed off on my work permit and I got my first job.  This kept me out of the house more and generated a stockpile of cash, in addition to my babysitting money.  I eventually bought a serious stereo system for my bedroom so I could tune out my mother’s ranting. However, one day she shut up and listened.  Bob Marley bridged our relationship.  Then it was ABBA. My brother and I were driven to get out and go to college.  We did.  My mother remained a bored housewife who eventually had to take care of an aging, sick husband. Once free from those duties, she could of had a rebirth.  Instead, she spend the remaining 18 years of her life drinking, with periodic trips to the post office and commissary.

Crazy Barbara did the best she could.  And, hell, who would of thought she’d make it to 80?  She’s my antiheroine.  I have become a better person by knowing what not to do. But Barbara was known for her strong opinions and she did not hold back – and those skills were definitely passed on to me.  I’m happy I got to see her before she went to a better place-I hope she finds happiness in the afterlife. The Peace in rest in peace means so much to me and my brother.

Dead man’s party Comments Off on Dead man’s party

Posted on June 01, 2005 by Marna

I was hit last night by something in my sleep. It’s the tenth anniversary of the death of my father. Since that time, I’ve made several discoveries.

Getting to know him in death has been very interesting. The man who used to make me cry when I couldn’t grasp my math homework was actually a writer. I never knew this about him. Several years ago, his sister sent me some of his essays and letters that were published in the local Ohio paper.

He entered naval service February 27, 1943 and appeared very excited to serve and receive aviation training. “I’m in the Fighting Squadrom Eleven flying the F8F Bearcat, the Navy’s best and fastest propeller-driven fighter. It’s one of the sweetest planes I’ve ever flown,” he detailed in his published letter home.

In his final days, he asked me to take shorthand. He wanted to journal all his Korean War stories. I laughed and came back with a boom box and 90 minute blank cassettes. “Talk all you want dad, I don’t take dictation,” I said giggling. He was very adamant about remembering his military service.

He was also passionate about big band music. His woodshop/get away shed was equipped with too many tools to name and a turntable. He’d spend hours out there tuning out with Benny Goodman. I can’t pinpoint where the following was published, but it truly embodies the music he loved.

Romance in rhythm

This story began on “The Sidewalks of New York.” I was walking down Fifth Avenue when suddenly I saw a very attractive girl. I turned to my friend, whose name was George, and asked him, “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?” He laughed and looked at me in a queer way. I saw her again that night at a night club. Of course it was “Accident’ly on Purpose.”

I said to George, “’I Hear a Rhapsody.’ Do you suppose that girl will dance with

She was alone so I went over and introduced myself and asked her to dance. “I Give You My Word” that’s how the whole mess started.

“It All Comes Back To Me Now.” how we strolled out on the terrace after the second dance.

She said, “Don’t the Moon Look Pretty?”

I was so surprised that all I could say was “I’m at Loss for Words.” And before I knew it I was telling her that “Moments Like This” come once in a lifetime. I went on and gave her “The Same Old Story.” I told her,you’re “All I Desire.” I thought to myself, “There I Go”. We were ito be married in June in the “Chapel in The Valley.”

Some “Wise Old Owl” should have whispered “Keep An Eye on Your Heart.”

But alas, it seems that “Everything Happens To Me”. In May I received notice that I was caught in the draft and I was going to camp in Virginia.

We parted at the railway station. It was a sad day. All I could say was, “Good-bye Dear, I’ll Be Gone a Year.”

When I arrived at camp I wrote back to her that “They’re Makin’ Me All Over in the Army.” I wrote back to her pretty often pub her replies got farther and farther apart. It never occurred to me what was happening.

When my year was up I sent a telegram of “Twenty-five Additional Words or Less” to my fiancée at “Number Ten Lullaby Lane.” I didn’t even get an answer.

George met me at the station and told me that “I Had a Date with a Gate.” She had eloped with a Marine. George almost had to “Carry Me Back To Old Virginny.” I was a pretty “Disillusioned” fellow. All I hope is, “May I Never Love Again.” – Sam Bunger (12)

The other discovery I have made is loss doesn’t get easier over time. People tell you that just to expedite the grief

I cried as the fighter planes flew over yesterday in remembrance of Memorial Day. Today I cry for dad. I am my father’s daughter.

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 377 Posts, 132 Comments

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