Posted in C-Haze, Children, Memories, Music, Nostalgia, Single Mom

Childhood Memories, Nostalgia and The Last Unicorn

I love a good reminder of my childhood.

Last night, while in Wal-Mart with my black-women-In-training, I happened across the $9 movie rack.

Now you know as well as I do that this rack typically consists of nothing that anyone really wants to watch… thus the reason the movies only cost $9.

Last night was different.

I saw 2 movies that I simply had to buy.

Not for their amazing cinematography, but because they were favorites of mine as a kid.

The first being “Labyrinth” and the second, my favorite of all favorites… “The Last Unicorn”.

We watched “Labyrinth” as soon as we got home… and let me just say… it’s horrible.

Seriously- is that David Bowie??

I never made that connection for some reason…

My kids loved it… but for me, even accounting for all the warm-fuzzy feelings of nostalgia it produced, I could barely sit through it.

Horrible.

I waited until today to watch “The Last Unicorn”… mostly because I was scared it would be as awful as “Labyrinth” was, and for the sake of my childhood memories, I just wasn’t sure I could take it if that happened.

It’s animated, but Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges and Angela Lansbury are the voices of the characters.

It’s about a lone unicorn who learns that she is the last one left… or is she?

She goes about trying to find all the other unicorns… and has a lot of adventures along the way.

This movie captivated me as a child.

I’d watch it over and over again… the backdrops, the music, the voices of the characters… I truly could not get enough of it.

I happily learned, after finally seeing it again, it has lost none of its magic.

Not a single drop.

Anything I enjoy watching at 30 as much as I enjoyed watching at 6 has to be a classic!.

I found a short clip of it on youtube.

I hope it takes you on a walk down memory lane as well.

Posted in C-Haze, Memories, Nostalgia

Waterskis, Catfish, The Lake and… Butter

Yesterday after work, my sidekick brother The Hippie Andino (aka Don Pablo) and I high-tailed it out of town…

We headed west forever, and then went north for a while, ultimately landing in my personal little slice of heaven.

Most folks have never heard of this little spot, and that’s how I prefer to keep it. I grew up comin here… this is the town where my grandparents, my aunt, uncle, cousins, sister, nieces and nephew are from.

It’s a tiny place, and doesn’t make it onto most maps.

I learned to waterski on the lake in my grandparents’ backyard, and will never forget zippin’ past their house on those skis, waving at my grandmother, who was watching us from the kitchen window.

I thought she must love the water, the way she always came to that window anytime we were on or near the lake. It wasn’t until years later that I learned she couldn’t swim, and was afraid of the water. She was always full of terror when we went out there… for our sake, she kept a smile on her face but she was ever-vigilant. She didn’t know what she’d be able to do for us, should we find ourselves in any trouble out there, but couldn’t bear to tear her eyes away, even for a second.

I learned to fish on that lake, I swam there in the summers and ice-skated in the winter. We stuffed ourselves on the most amazing country cooking… everything… fried catfish and croppy (catch of the day, no less), fried turkey, roasts, homemade breads, cakes… you name it… all dripping with pounds of real butter.

No place has ever been more relaxing… and nothing says tranquility like taking my uncle’s old boat out on the water and laying down in it in the center of the lake with a good book in hand… drifting off to sleep.

In the evenings my parents and the other adults would gather ’round the kitchen table and play Pinochle. As the night went on, they’d get louder and louder, laughing harder and harder. At some point each evening my mom would get into a tiff with Grandpa… never anything serious… but about that time my dad would come and find us kids, and send us off to bed.

I spent countless Christmases here along with other members of our family. The place would be packed with aunts, uncles, cousins… everybody. Someone made and decorated huge pillowcases to be used each year, and all our presents would be dumped in them. We’d take turns reaching inside our pillowcase, pulling out the next goody- it could be anything- our family is a diverse one. We come from every walk of life, every background, financial status… you name it, seems someone from our clan represented it in some way.

Times have changed…

The cousins have grown up and moved away. Grandma has passed on. Divorce happens, people move away, get married, start their own lives.

The essence is still here though… the personality of my little slice of heaven lives on. The lake hasn’t changed much, though no one from my family has waterski’d on it in years. I still see my grandmother watching me from the kitchen window, though now it is her spirit and not her physical self who looks after me.

To this day, this is still the only place on earth where I will slather everything- or anything, for that matter- with real butter.

Maybe this evening I’ll set some catfish lines… and listen to my grandfather’s stories from back in the day.

Regardless, I know when it’s time to return to my regular life, I’ll be renewed in the way only this place can make me.

Posted in C-Haze, Memories, Nostalgia

The Day I Ran Away

I ran away in 8th grade. It all started when I met a boy named Ryan (we were 14). He liked my southern accent, I liked his jet black hair and blue eyes. He would walk me to and from school. The walk was fairly long, so I actually wound up spending quite a bit of time with him, considering we couldn’t actually date (my parents said I was too young).

One day, Ryan asked me to skip the first period of school with him. At first, I said hell no. Absolutely not. It wasn’t that I was such a goody-goody, but just a year prior, I had gotten in a lot of trouble for skipping school (My First Felony… And The L Word ). I was leary of repeating that mistake, because it had definitely not been worth the consequences.

Unfortunately, as men typically can (and he was no exception), Ryan was able to break me down (it was those damn eyes- I couldn’t say no!), and convince me to do it. He said he knew for a fact that the school wouldn’t call our parents about our being late as long as we got there sometime during 2nd period. Apparently, this was something he did regularly. As long as we physically showed up prior to 3rd period, our parents would never know. That sounded too good to be true, as I’m never that lucky, but I decided to take my chances anyway.

We picked a day, and we went for it. That morning we left our houses like we normally would, but instead of walking to school, we walked to some railroad tracks nearby and sat under a bridge. That’s it. Not very exciting, I know.

I tell you what, if I’d known then how all this would turn out, I certainly would have done something exciting- so that I could at least say it had been worth it! 

We paid close attention to the time, and made sure to sign ourselves in to school before the start of 3rd period. We even signed in at different times, so we wouldn’t raise suspicion.  We thought we were soooo smart!

Except that we weren’t. It was about midway through 3rd period when the principal called me into his office.

He says, “I noticed that both you AND Ryan were late this morning, so I called your parents. Your father said you shouldn’t have been late, and that you left the house on time this morning- he was very upset to learn you didn’t make it to school”.

OH CRAP! He called my dad?!?!

Yep, he sure did. He then went on to tell me that since my father’s reaction to my being late was so “strong”, they felt certain I would be properly disciplined at home. In short, he knew my dad was going to kill me, so he decided to give me a break, and not give me detention for skipping.

What a damn sweetie pie.

All I could think was, “I’m dead. That’s it, my life is OVER”. I explained this to the principal. I told him that his hands are not clean… that the certain death I’m facing when I get home today is all his fault. Seriously, I was going to be killed- for real this time.

I had but one option, because facing my father felt suicidal.

I am running away.

Where will I go? No idea. For how long? Long enough for my parents to worry so much about my safety that they stop being angry with me for skipping class with a boy. No clue how long that will take, but that’s how long I’ll be staying away.

So that’s what I did. After school, I wandered around my neighborhood for a while, but decided that was too risky- someone I knew might see me (not that I’d even been gone long enough for anyone to care yet, but still). I needed somewhere to lay low… but I had no idea where people go to do that. Usually when I want to get out of dodge, I just go to my bedroom and close the door. Clearly, that was not going to work today.

That’s when it came to me- THE LIBRARY! Shows what kind of criminal mind I have, right? I’m so dangerous, when I run away I head to library for some extra-curricular reading!

I hung out there until they closed. Lame, I know. It was about 9PM by this time, and I knew it wasn’t safe to go home. Not yet, anyway. 

I started walking again, just wandering around. I realized I was hungry- hadn’t eaten since lunch. When I was planning this running away thing, I didn’t even consider the fact that I may want to eat. I only had some change on me, so I bought what I could afford- a Three Musketeer. Yum.

Finally, after several hours of aimlessly wandering, I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was getting colder outside, and it was dark and scary. I was still hungry, and quite frankly, had stopped giving a damn hours ago about whether my parents were mad at me anymore. I’d take my licks, just as long as I could lay down in my own bed and sleep. Besides, I was no longer convinced that this was a good idea to begin with. It slowly began to dawn on me- now they have TWO reasons to kill me. One for skipping school, the other for running away. Great.

I didn’t want to walk home- I was too tired, and also a little too scared to just show up. What would I say? “Hellooooo! I’m home! Did ya miss me?” I think not. I decided instead to call a friend, and see if her parents would come and get me. I knew they’d call my parents to give them a heads up that I’d been found, so my hope was that they’d chill out a little before I actually walked in the door. I realize as I’m typing this, my reasoning made absolutely no sense, but hell, I was tired! No one makes sense when they’ve been left to their own defenses in the big bad wild (or in this case, the big bad upper-middle class suburbs of the midwest) for too long! 

I was almost to the payphone when a police officer pulled up, rolled down his window, and addressed me by name. Either this dude was psychic, or my parents had notified the cops that I was missing.

My parents WERE worried. They had called the police. I thought I would be relieved to know they cared that much, because that might mean they weren’t too angry. I wasn’t, though. Instead, I felt horrible…  

The officer told me it was almost 5 AM, and that I could either go with him to the station, or let him drop me off at home. I told him to take me home…

When I got there, I begged the officer to come inside with me. I told him I was gonna die if he didn’t… he asked if my parents were going to physically harm me, and surprised he’d ask such a thing, I told him of course not. They were just going to kill me- you know, ground me to my bedroom with no friends, phone or tv for the rest of my life. They were also going to take turns screaming at me, and worse, LECTURING. The officer didn’t seem too concerned. He left me to deal with my parents on my own. Personally, I think he was too scared to face them- hell, I know I was!

As I expected, my parents were more pissed off than I had ever seen them. Eventually, after they yelled for what felt like 3 days, they let me go to bed. They said I could stay home from school… since I would have needed to leave the house right then in order to make it on time. The catch was, they got me a babysitter, since neither of them would be home during the day. They said they couldn’t trust me to stay at home alone, so my mom called a friend of hers who happened to be home and had her come and watch me.

True to form, my parents did ground me for the rest of my life (well, three months, actually- but jeez, that may as well have been forever!). In addition, for the entire duration of my punishment, I was not allowed to stay home alone, under any circumstances. That was worse than any other part of it. 14 years old with a babysitter?

The absolutely inhumane part of it was that whenever my parents couldn’t find a babysitter for me, they would put my two younger (yes, I said YOUNGER) brothers in charge of me. 

Now THAT is cruel and unusual punishment! And I deserved every minute of it.

Posted in C-Haze, Funny, Humor, Memories, Nostalgia

My First Felony… And The L Word

I was 12 years old, in junior high school. I was in 7th grade, and back then junior high was 7th through 9th grade.

I was the shit because my boyfriend was an older man- a 9th grader (can I just say, as a mother, 12 year olds should never have boyfriends! It ought to be outlawed!).My boyfriend got this great idea- let’s skip school!! I knew my parents would kill me, but so what? I’d been killed before.
At this point, I had been grounded so many times that my sentences were running both concurrently and consecutively. My mother had started to run out of things to ground me from, and recently, out of desperation, had grounded me from my own privacy.
How’d she do that? Well, she removed my bedroom door- took it right off its hinges.
So I’m thinking, what do I have to lose? Let’s do it!

The plan was this- my boyfriend, his best friend (also a 9th grader), his girlfriend and I would skip the last 2 periods of class on Friday. My boyfriend said his house was only a 10 minute walk from the school, so that’s where we decided we’d be going (I’d never been to his house- I said I was the shit for having an older boyfriend- never claimed that I wasn’t a total prude though).

I made it perfectly clear- I HAVE to be back at school in time for the final bell of the day to ring. Little hellion that I was, my mother was picking me up for ballet class that evening. May sound lame to some of you, but I just COULDN’T miss ballet… I’d scored an awesome part in the Nutcracker that year and didn’t want to miss my rehearsal!
So the plan was laid out, and all was set.
Friday finally arrived, and little wimp that she is, the girlfriend of my boyfriend’s best friend (got that?!?!) chickened out on us. Apparently she hadn’t been killed by her parents nearly as often as I had, and she was scared. The 3 of us were not to be deterred, told her to suit herself, and off we went…
We started walking, spirits high… we were walking down a nice residential street, the weather was nice, the trees, plants and flowers in people’s yards were gorgeous… Life was good.
So again, we’re walking. And walking. And walking. And then we walked some more.
Finally, I comment about how as nice as this walk has been, it sure does feel like we’ve been at it for a while! I was assured that we were almost there, and in fact still had plenty of time. I guess my signature Swatch watch was broken because I believed them- no questions asked.

Eventually, after what seems like 10 days, not the promised 10 minutes, we arrive. I’m exhausted, and that air that had seemed so nice a short time before had begun to stifle me. I was sweaty, I was out of breath, and I’m sure I was generally unattractive… but I was too tired to care.

We walked into my boyfriend’s kitchen, I dropped my bookbag on the floor, and I help myself to a glass of water. I’m greedily guzzling my second glass when I happen to glance at the clock on the wall… and drop my glass on the floor in shock.

We had been walking almost 2 hours! I had 10 minutes to get back to the school…

Pure panic set in. I was running around the house yelling at the top of my lungs, “OH MY GOD!! I’M DEAD!! THEY’RE GOING TO KILL ME (THEY, meaning my parents of course- I know you didn’t believe that earlier shit about not being afraid of them killing me- that was just talk. I was only unafraid of them when I felt confident I wouldn’t get caught- clearly, this situation was CODE RED)!!”

My boyfriend, with his lame, unhelpful ass, shrugs his shoulders and says, “I’m really sorry… I thought the walk was a lot shorter. I guess you’re going to have to call them to come get you”.

WHAT?!?! Unacceptable!!

I quickly started trying to come up with a plan… I was running through the house, looking for something- ANYTHING that would help me get out of this situation.

At one point, I seriously considered stabbing myself in the eye. How can my parents be angry with me if I have blood gushing out of my beautiful eyes?

No, that wouldn’t work… my parents are ruthless, man. Blood, schmood. They wouldn’t care, and I’d still be killed by them. I wasn’t even certain they’d wait for me to stop bleeding first, and then where would I be? Dead, with no eyes. They are seriously hardcore.

Finally, I saw it. My saving grace. As soon as I laid eyes on it I knew I was going to get away with this (thank God I didn’t stab myself after all- I wouldn’t have been able to see the thing that was going to save my precious life).

A single key. A beautiful, shiny, silver, single key.

I smiled sweetly, and turned to my boyfriend.

“What’s that key for?”

“Oh that? It’s nothing that will help us today… it’s my mom’s spare key to the Mercedes. It’s in the garage because she’s on a business trip”

Oh sweet Jesus- sweet heavenly Jesus, I am saved.

I grabbed the key and ran out the side door to the garage.

I hop into the car, and stick the key in the ignition. I impatiently wait on my boyfriend and his friend to join me. The big chickens were still in the kitchen, terrified of what I was about to do.

I explained as nicely as possible to my boyfriend that he better get his ass in the car- NOW. I had to get back to the school, and I only had a few short minutes left to get there. He could either get in the care willingly, or I’d have no choice but to drag his butt in there.

You see, he HAD to accompany me. How the heck was the mercedes going to get back to his garage after I got to school?

As he was nervously getting into the car, buckling his seatbelt (at my insistance- no need to be unsafe, right? Riding in a car with no seatbelt is just crazy!), another thought came to me. I couldn’t possibly drive to the school, on account of I was only 12!! That would raise a few eyebrows if I happened to be seen.

I decided to drive myself to the convenient store right up the street from the school, and walk from there to the school itself. With any luck at all, my mom would be a couple minutes late picking me up (like she usually was), and by the time she got there, I’d be sitting there on the front steps waiting for her like the sweet angel I am.

PERFECT!!

I congratulated myself on my brilliant plan, my awesome quick-thinking skills the whole way there. Miraculously, I arrived without crashing the vehicle, thought I gotta tell ya it was kind of close- what with that damn school bus getting my way- it almost got hit.

Finally, I arrived at the convenience store and dropped myself off- only about 15 minutes late. As my boyfriend took over the driver’s side of the Mercedes and pulled off, I started running back towards the school.

I was soooo close… almost there… and shit. I see my mom’s minivan pulling out of the parking lot. Of all days to be on time, she had to pick this one?!?! I pick up my speed, and start waving at the van- “Wait!! I’m here!!”

She sees me and stops, waiting for me to get in.

I know what you’re thinking- I’m caught, right? If you think so, you don’t know me very well…
My mom was definitely annoyed, as she’d been circling around the parking lot looking for me. Seeing me run up the street from the direction of the convenience store, she had a couple of questions. Mainly, “Where the hell were you?” followed by, “Where are your books?”

Shit. I’d left my bookbag at my boyfriend’s house!

I climbed into the minivan, mumbling something about how my locker had jammed, and that’s why I didn’t have my books- doesn’t matter, no homework anyway (or so I claimed). I then made some lame ass excuse up about how my friend wanted me to walk her home from school because walking by herself was too scary (you know, in the big bad suburbs of Charlotte and all). I calmly explained to my mother- “That’s why you saw me running back to school- I had left for a minute to walk my friend home”.

Genius.

My mom didn’t believe me- I could tell by the look on her face that she knew I was full of shit. But hey, she couldn’t prove it, so she didn’t really have cause to kill me. You know, probable cause- it’s my constitutional right.

Off we go to ballet class, where I performed brilliantly, of course. I even had the presence of mind to call my boyfriend during our break and threaten to kill him if he didn’t remember to bring my bookbag to school on Monday.

He was so impressed with my earlier driving demonstration that he even said (GASP) the “L” word- as in, “I love you” for the first time before hanging up. See, that’s how cold I was! I had just threatened the boy’s LIFE and he still felt the need to profess his undying love for me.

Alright, so you wanna know how I got caught?

Remember my boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend (got that?!?!)? Well, she apparently got an attack of conscience. While we were skipping class, she was in the school guidance counselor’s office ratting us out.

Her excuse? “I just had to tell someone… she PROMISED she’d keep it confidential!!”
Well, promise or not, I got my ass hauled to the office first thing Monday morning. The principle told me she was calling my dad at work.

Yep, my parents killed me that day. Apparently, what I had considered Pure Genius was actually called Grand Theft Auto. Additionally, I learned it’s a felony.

Who knew?!?!