Senior Prom

17 Aug 2015

8/8/15
Senior Prom

John and I were “going out” at the time of our senior prom. Going out was that nebulous term that meant a boy and girl were mutually interested in each other, walked to class together (and maybe he carried her books), talked on the phone, and acknowledged to everyone else that they were a couple. It did not in any way mean they went anywhere outside of school.
He was a shy boy, very uncomfortable with girls and being a boyfriend, and in some ways, with himself. He was sweet in his innocence.
As prom approached I hoped he would ask me to go with him. A prom at that time was a girl’s coming out party, so to speak. It was the one time she got to dress up in all her glory and show the world who she might be when she became woman. We all dreamed of going to the prom with the perfect date.
But John didn’t ask me. He, instead, took a girl his parents chose for him: a nice Greek girl to meet their standards and their culture. He tried to explain to me but he didn’t have the words yet. On some level I understood because my mother was still controlling my life to a large extent as well. You didn’t and couldn’t refuse your parents. Just the same, I was disappointed and sad. Part of me wanted him to stand up to his parents and say, “I have a girlfriend and I want to take her.” Part of me wanted so badly to go to that magical dance that I’d have gone with anyone who asked! No one did. So, come prom night, I sat at home.
I attended many proms later as a high school teacher. I loved to see my students acting like the adults they would grow to be, in their tuxes and evening gowns, and on their best behavior. But for me, that senior prom in 1968 always felt like something I had been denied, a lost opportunity.

BAMorris

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Summer Suitor

17 Aug 2015

8/7/15
Summer Suitor

He would come midmorning, and plant himself at the table for the day. I would resume my work as if he wasn’t there. Often I would forget he was. But he was the rock in the shoe that made life uncomfortable, a rock that caused me to limp. With his brown eyes glued to me as if I were the puppet master and they my puppet, he’d sit unspeaking and watch me. Under those eyes I could not sing to my favorite songs on the radio as if I were the performer at a rock concert. I could not dance wildly, seductively, to the music. I could not lay down for a nap in the hot, sticky afternoon if I finished my chores. I could not be me with him there.
Once, peeved by the heat and humidity of the weather, and the steam of water-sprinkled shirts rising from under the hot iron, I asked him, “Why don’t you say something? It’s creepy you sitting there all day watching me and not talking!”
“What do you want me to say?” he had replied.
In truth, there was nothing I did want him to say. I knew he had a crush on me and I certainly didn’t want to hear him say anything about his feeling for me!
I should have known from my own experiences how it felt to be drawn to an unattainable lover, like a moth to a light. But unlike my silent suitor, I had never wanted to be sucked into the orbit of my fixation. I had been content to gaze from a far, and dream of could-have-been, might-have-been meetings. Doug wanted to be the moon to my earth. So silently that summer, he sat in my kitchen and drank in my actions, while I tried to ignore he even existed.

BAMorris

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Thank you, Cheryl!

17 Aug 2015

8/17/15
Thank You, Cheryl!

On Saturday I met someone who told me she reads my blog whenever I let Face book know there are new posts. I was surprised, and pleased. I want to thank her for being a part of my writer’s journey. And I want to thank all others out in Facebookland who also may read my postings and never let me know. Thank you for doing that! I hope you find joy in a post; stop to think with a post; and will continue to visit BAMorrisblog.

BAMorris

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Glories

14 Aug 2015

8/11/15

Glories

Purple morning glories
climb up the string ladders
I made for them. Wave at
me in the morning breeze.
Blue morning glories, hide
close to the ground. Shy and
still afraid to commit
themselves to climbing heights.
Pink morning glories, yet
unborn. They wait until
the end of the season
to blush into their bloom.

BAMorris

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Quick Shower

14 Aug 2015

8/13/15

Quick Shower

Gently, a pitter patter
On tree leaves. Then the sound
Becomes louder, insistent.
Rain falling steadily in
A watery curtain.
Sliding down tree trunks; washing
Flower petals and dusty leaves.
Quenching thirsty Mother Earth.
Soaking into her parched skin.
Cooling, rejuvenating.
Then slowly, simply, the rain
Lightens, calms, and tapers off.
Until only moisture on
The grass is left shimmering.

BAMorris

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Transition

08 Aug 2015

8/8/15

Transition

The light creeps in
Like a stray cat;
Slinking softly.
All is black, then,
You realize
The dark has forms:
Suddenly see
A house, a tree.
The gray recedes.
The day comes forth.
Shadowy shapes
Become clearer
Until it is
No longer night.

BAMorris

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Rainy Day

08 Aug 2015

8/7/15

Rainy Day

The rain feels refreshing after the heat of the last week. It quenches some thirst of the skin so that I stand in the front yard, my arms outstretched. Its fall is gentle like a lover’s fingers trailing down my arm. I breathe in the moisture, feeling the mist of the air caress my nose and throat, and slip into my lungs on air that is more H2O than pure O. I stand a child of Mother Earth and spread my limbs like a tree to glory in the rain.

BAMorris

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Predators

08 Aug 2015

8/6/15

Predators

Predators look like ordinary people: your neighbor, your doctor, your uncle. They start their predation with acts that can be explained away as being misunderstood. They draw their victims in and use their normalcy to often turn their victims into partners in their crimes.
I’ve known a few pedophiles. To the world they present themselves as nice men. No one would ever have guessed the dark demonic desires that bloomed in their souls. They were like a rich ruby red apple, beautiful until you bite into it to find a nasty worm at the core.
Mostly I have known their victims. One was an 11 years old who was in a foster care girl’s home for acting out behaviors. No one knew the why of her behaviors. It was only when she was given a new night gown to take home with her on a home visit, that after two years of unproductive counseling, her truth came out. At age six her mother had given her a new night gown and then presented her as a gift to her father. This child assumed every girl had that experience, therefore it was normal. When her foster mother gave her the new night gown, the child thought her foster mother, someone she had come to trust, was preparing to give her to the foster father. The tantrum she threw and the words she used about the new night gown allowed her therapist, and then the authorities, to unlock the hell that her life had been for each visit home.
Other victims had been teens by the time I came to know them. But their stories were similar in that abuse started early with someone they trusted (father, step-father, mother’s boyfriend, uncle, neighbor) and continued with new predators throughout their growing up years. It was almost like childhood victims ingested some unseen radioactive shame that could be read by predators as an invisible tattoo or in pheromones from their skin. They all thought it was somehow their fault they were abused over and over, and they all were clueless how to prevent it from happening again.
One adult woman I met in a therapeutic seminar was still luring in men who wielded their power over her and used her as their tool. She wanted it to end; recognized the patterns in her life; but did not know how to stop being a victim. I can only hope that her recognition of the patterns and the acknowledgement that she was no way at fault, was the beginning of her taking back her power and her body.

BAMorris

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No Shoes

08 Aug 2015

8/6/15

No Shoes

The man who had no shoes thought his life was bleak, until he met a man with no feet.

My mother knew her family life was bleak. There was her father’s neglect of his wife and children. There was his physical abuse of them. There were her mother’s efforts to keep body and soul together through all the years of her husband’s tumbleweed ways. Mom finally left home to work so she could attend high school and have a better chance at life.
Then she met my father. He had no family. For some reason, when his parents divorced, the court gave custody of his brother and my father (ages 4 and 5) to their father: another tumbleweed man. My grandfather wasted no time in renting his sons out to farm families as laborers. That is how my father grew up: estranged from his mother and hating his father, who was only present to collect any wages my father might have earned. That tie was severed when my father was old enough to do a man’s labor and tell his father he would collect his own wages from now on.
My mother’s view of her situation changed when she met a man who had no place to call home, no ties to family, and no education to speak of. Suddenly shoes weren’t as important.
I don’t know how he wooed her: that was lost in the desertion and subsequent divorce that eventually came. See, my father had a bit of the tumbleweed in him, too.

BAMorris

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That’s Absurd!

05 Aug 2015

8/4/15

That’s Absurd!

Sometimes the absurdity of life makes me shake my head.
Years ago I had a high school student. He lived with his mother and stepfather. They were a tight family. I’ll call the boy Thomas and the parents Mr. and Mrs. Jones, for clarity’s sake.
Mrs. Jones became ill, and died quickly as a result of her illness. Both Thomas and Mr. Jones were devastated by their loss. But they had been close as father and son, so they leaned on each other to get through their grief.
Enter the absurdity of the law. Mr. Jones went with his son to get his learner’s permit, only to be told he could not sign any of the papers because he was not Thomas’ legal guardian. Never mind that Mr. Jones was the only father Thomas had known, as his mother married Mr. Jones when Thomas was just a toddler. Never mind that they had lived ad father and son for a decade and a half. Never mind that Thomas had no other living relatives. Mr. Jones was the same as a stranger to Thomas as far as the law was concerned.
When Mr. Jones tried to find a way to make his relationship with Thomas legal, Social Services got involved. Should Thomas be removed from the home and placed in foster care for his protection? Should Mr. Jones be charged with breaking the law for having an under aged minor with no familial relationship live in his home?
Thus started a long and very painful period of month, where Mr. Jones had to prove he was fit to be the father to a child. He had to apply to adopt his own stepson. He had to undergo a child study of his home. His background was reviewed to make sure he was not a criminal. Thomas’ physical and emotional states were examined for abuse and neglect.
Finally in a burst of brilliant insight, a judge ruled that Thomas could continue to live at the home while the adoption process was carried out. Eventually that judge was able to look at all the paperwork that half a dozen agencies had complied, and award Mr. Jones the title of “father” of Thomas Jones. Everyone who knew Thomas celebrated when that happened.
I ask: how absurd was it that a man and his son, who were suffering together the loss of the woman they both loved and who had bound them together, had to jump through hoops, pay thousands of dollars, and suffer so many months of unsureness about their fate?

BAMorris

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