Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Continuation of: Letter to “Frenchie’s” Wife in Portland, Maine …

Mouse writing Animation(Why this mouse?  (1995) “One of our cats caught one. Brought the poor trembling thing home and I had the cat drop it and it scrambled for safety and probably to write of the close -call to his relatives.” It was written in this letter and I just (2009) searched for an animated running mouse and found this one and followed it with a paragraph from the letter.  Apropos?  I think so).

   … Thursday, Oct.12, 10:30 A.M. Hello, again, dear aunt Alice:

It's another lovely day. The geese have calmed down since their blatant attempt to scare away a shaky and sweaty meter-reader man. The unwary fellow had advanced on them after getting out of his truck perhaps to chase them away but that's like chasing a plague. Damien (my gentle, Merle Great Dane who just stood by and barked)  as I rescued him. Poor, misguided, meter-reader thought he could scat them away  but with our schizoid Snow geese , chasing them would be as chasing the black plague! I felt unsettled, not because I had to literally sweep the crazy birds away but by the man’s profuse ‘Thank you’s” that spewed from his mouth as he rushed back to the company truck without reading my meter!

When I told my youngest son about this incident, he snapped back: “Mom, I keep telling you, why don’t you get ride of them!  “Why don’t you stuff  and shove them in the oven!”

“Oh, Joe, they’re not so bad. Remember when they tried to save me from Nella, our goat?”

I think you’re making that up, Mom!”

"Well, it was something like that. Besides, your father likes them as much as I do. Maybe more.”

“Mom …  Roast, fry, bake, boil, steam, call ASPCA, Shaw’s, Hannaford’s … Call a veterinarian for a mercy killing, call a priest! But, get rid of them. They attack everyone!” 

“Maybe we can fence them in.”

“They fly, Mom!”

Aunt Alice, I acted upon your suggestion and did contact  my ‘unofficial’ aunt Agnes.  She was taken aback hearing from such an unexpected person who just dug herself up from buried and forgotten family secrets  yet, listened attentively as I explained the impetus for the phone call: Would she be willing to look at some copies of my maternal family photos and, to the best of her recollections, providing it wasn’t upsetting to her, address some questions had been stored in the neurons of my brain about my family and hers, in particular, a brother. Our nervous breaths intermingled over the phone-wires during a prolonged pause in our conversation.

I detected a slight defensive reaction, like a twitching at the corners of her mouth that might of sounded like slowly crushed cellophane paper, and I became extra cautious  in how I expressed my rationale for calling. What as the trigger for her guardedness? My maiden name? Still, she graciously consented to see me.

Saturday noontime, Sept.30, Woody and I visited Agnes and her petite and talented daughter, Alice Irene, my 1st cousin and three years older. I understand that Alice was named after her mother's sister who had gotten the name from a boat her father, Bartley, particularly admired. He had worked as a longshoreman on the Portland docks for many years. Most likely the boat had been anchored at the pier where he worked unloading cargo and might of been the Schooner, ‘Alice S. Wentworth’ as was mentioned by Agnes during our visit.

The ultra neat home on Broadway Street, South Portland, is a handsome place. Not a speck of dust to be found, hardwood floors and furniture glow from deep polishing. Alice and Agnes must be determined cleaners as nothing looks like it's had much wear though many pieces look antique. Each room laid-out and decorated in almost mathematically precise order and color harmonized. Two beautiful oil paintings by Alice (two of many) compliment the walls as do her intricate needle-point work compliment several pieces of furniture.

Alice is a creative woman with a beautiful voice for operettas that has sung often in local musicals at respected theatres. I sense, however, that this sweetly devoted daughter has never been able to fully evolve into her true self because of stronger forces that  has circumstantially bound her to her mother and to God and the principles of her faith which has sustained her. She appears resigned and satisfied to be what she is – a  Catholic, a devoted daughter, an artist, a singer, an aunt. Still, I sense an incompleteness as if a painting was missing an important component and has been left on the easel for later, for too long. The subdued adventures in her life and those younger exciting day-dreams that uplift the spirit like a deeply inhaled breath of ocean air, are now but the subdued longings of a silenced heart and of this impression I am certain of.

Now, Agnes, another Irish aunt but from a rockier coastline, strikes me as a woman of a tougher nature that’s kept sheathed within the suede leather of a capturing Irish spirit.

She's as tiny as the second hand on a gilded mantle clock but I had the distinct feeling she could become a forceful personality to reckon with if taken to task. And this time without any pause, this rock of Erin, more granite and sandstone, took to task my probing into family affairs like a fierce Leprechaun would in guarding his pot of pyrite gold!

We had gone through all the photos I had surprisingly been able to coax out of her from a box of loose pictures and one album, and still had turned up nothing that could have yielded me an opportunity to directly ask her my question which was the reason I was there. I felt her Irish coastline, not too different than mine, Aunt Alice, and, despite my discouragement, was more grateful for her time than disappointed. It was then, motivated by Woody's obvious nodding of his head, that I brought up my alleged father, Frank J., for it is his name that is on my birth records. It is his name that you and aunt Exilda finally had revealed to me, the name morally owed to me from my mother and never given.

A loud no, no, no!" careened from Agnes’ drawn lips. The rock had struck!

"Your mother’s family tried to blame my brother, Frank, but it wasn't him! Frank told me so! He swore to my mother, to all of us, that he had nothing to do with your  mother! Why would he lie? He went to church - He belonged to the Knights of Columbus. No, he’s not your father!”

  … In the background, from the dinning room, I could hear a clock ticking … First in measured rhythm then in less and less movement as if time was coming to a stop, turning, and backing up … A handsome policeman had come to our door; the house was on the busy corner of High and York streets and I was very little. In this policeman’s hand was a gift wrapped in pretty paper and with a bow so outstanding as to forbid touching though my eyes caressed it’s every fold and flow of ribbon. I gasped as my stern grandmother sent him away, with his gift. Twice, after that incident he visited again but only when I had been outdoors on the steps playing and both times crouched down to my height and embraced me. His words were in English; I knew only French yet, somehow, I felt a sadness from him along with a lovingness that felt real but confusing. I never saw him again until viewing Agnes’ scattering of pictures. Years, later, following our last encounter, I learned, as you know, that he was the first law enforcer of father’s brothers, the one the newspapers referred to as, “the singing policeman’ …

Woody quickly stepped in to set her at ease and assure her that it really didn't matter as the reason I was there for was to inquire about  my bloodline and that all I wanted was information; not confrontation.

She softened and from that point on, was very cooperative and gracious although she did manage to repeat  and insist that neither Frank, or officer Bill had ever been associated with my mother. How was that possible? My mother’s brother was the husband of Agnes and father of her two children (Alice Irene and Joe, jr.) and when Joe and Agnes would go out to a movie, to shop  or attend a function, it was my mother who would be asked to babysit. Downstairs, resided Agnes’ mother and Frank, who was 31 years old; my mother had turned 19 and still very timid, dared not tell her family of his seduction and her resulting pregnancy - least of all, her brother, Michael Joe! 

… Hate me not for the breath of my unwitting sin -               For responsibility denied by an unsolicited lover who cursed me to bear this new life scorned and chagrined -

Too bad; so sad, “What can one do with this mademoiselle”?        Said he, Raise the child or give it away –                          It’s not my doing – Not my concern for her dismay -              Ask my family, I’m a good man so I’ll just be going                   but, do have a good day.

 Uncle Michael Joe died from an accident while working for the Maine Gas Company, at the South Portland gas storage tank facilities, and financial compensation was paid to Agnes’ for her terrible loss which could never bring him back. But, now with Michael Joe gone, my mother Irene, and our entire family were increasingly scorned and belittled by these Irish relatives and with the same fervor cursed by my grieving mother’s French family who had lost a son and brother and, dignity, for how my mother had been treated and her child denied. No decency. Not even  meager compensation for one tear or diaper!           Now, some say that I resemble my father’s mother, Catherine. Others say that I look like my great grandmother, Georgianna who was part Quebecois French and part Metis. Both embraced by me with open arms and with a tic-for-tac’’ gene inherited from which one, I couldn’t tell you, but that gene awakens whenever the Irish raise their clubs and the French Indians go on the warpath as their blood flows in me in equal parts and non existent am I timid. 

Halfway through our second cup of tea, Woody slips me a subtle look that indicates that it’s time to go home. The timing is right – the subject of my father had been sweep  under Ages’ rug and pleasantries and laughter had replaced discord. To my surprise, we were invited to visit again which cousin Alice Irene insisted  that we do so. I think, aunt Alice, that should we visit again, I’ll not mention Frank, or my mother … that window is closed not by heavy drapery but by pieces of a patchwork quilt from an old spindle bed that light can still pass through.  I wish that you could see me smiling, aunt Alice, because your predictable words were noticed walking in slipper’d feet across my thoughts.:  “Well, now, all’s well that ends well.”  

The drive home to New Gloucester was unusually quiet. Woody and I hardly spoke. It is probable that I am my father’s daughter and a drop of blood would confirm that once and for all time. Would it really matter? Make it make everything alright?        I wonder why he never married - Becoming an alcoholic  and dying from that awful disease with just his family and closest friends to moan his passing. I wonder why his brother, Officer Bill, visited me three separate times? Other than you and Aunt Exilda and uncle ‘Frenchie’  the rest of the family stayed mum as if saying my father’s name aloud would bring pitiable souls from hell to castigate both families for their tribal offenses against eachother.

Before reaching North Gate Shopping Center, Woody spoke so low as to sound like whispering” “It’s too damn bad your mother couldn’t, or wouldn’t ,take your feelings in account. I remember one day when we were at her home you asked her about Frank and she bit off your head, "Don't ask me about that rotten man or his damned family!  ... Don't ever ask me about them. Ever! I mean it!”                                                       “Remember what that did to you?” 

“Yes …”

That night sleep was fretful. I was restless and felt very cold so covered up to my ears then sweated … And dreamt:

… I was in a very huge and mystical, primordial cathedral with enormously high ceilings that disappeared once it reached beyond a wraithlike reflection that had risen  in circumference of where I stood. There was a chill in the air and yet a warm dampness seeping into my pores. My straining ears pushed against an unrelenting silence that hummed as muffled energy from a flood light filament. Gulps of air burned in my throat as if I'd been running to exhaustion and was rendered breathless and parched. In the vastness of this cathedral, this holy place, there were no Stations of the Cross fastened any wall  to stimulate prayer and penitence from quivering lips. No confessional in sight. No pews, or benches other than bundled hide skins as if scattered on the marble floor to accommodate pardon-seekers from an absent god. But I saw it as a place more suited for the lost and disenfranchised traveler … and, for escapists.

Overhead, festooned with clusters of grapes a  corkscrew shaped chandelier  hung suspended from nothingness. Threaded between the grapes were letters, bloodied, that read, Do not litter! Do not litter!”  My first thought was to be aware not to litter and behind this thought, a baby cried.

From the corner of my eye, a distraction glistened in a fallen tear. I turned and saw three small, lowly altars, one each at the ornate entrances of this ethereal place, I’d not noticed before. The  crafted wooden doors revolved slowly  allowing a sporadic breezes to fan my cheeks. However, in doing so, they caused countless of lit candles on all three altars to flicker and smoke creating black, distorted shadows to undulate against any object in their path.  My pulses quickened like a ticking clock beating ahead of its time and I felt panic … Dare I trust this place? Had God given up on it? I tensed, stretching my eyelids wide and wider,  focusing to see if there was someone, something, standing where the recent breezes had come from. And I knew like sensations of pain that the breezes were  expelled breaths from spent bodies.

Cautiously, I walked to the closest alter to me, each footstep feeling as if my shaky feet were balancing on rubbery stilts. Then, one by one, the flickering candles extinguished and an engulfing blackness, thick and dense, that had captured the images of the candle flames, reflected back  those images of orange and white and stabbing yellow light like paired fireflies on a moonless summer’s night … And the fireflies became eyes and the eyes repeatedly blinked as if blown with ash.

My head turned upwards, pulled by the shadowy radiance that had risen above me earlier. And, a dome opened like the thumbing of pages in a thickset book admitting a light that increased in reach and brightness until it flooded the entire cathedral. "Oh!" I exclaimed excitedly, “It’s the Book of The Ages!” It wasn't. My vision – my hope, had yet to adjust from one extreme to another to an adjustment …

Abruptly, I awoke from the surreal realm of my dreaming. Dawn was just beginning to brush the tree-tops with the colors of pewter and blush. Would I get up and watch the shaping of a new day from the rim of a hot cup of breakfast coffee? I didn’t need to think about that!

The strange dream keeps returning to me like the return of bad penny. Could it have some significance? What do I make of it? I don’t know … What comes to mind is a quote from Descartes: “I think, therefore I am; or I am thinking, therefore I exist” …     (“therefore what matters not who my father is but who I am” thinks AliceMary”)  With that statement, I’ll move on, dear aunt.

One day, three weeks ago, while doing research at the Franco-American library in Lewiston, I paused to listen to a priest talking to a woman who was writing down information from a book that he had recommended to her from the shelves.

"Each time I work on genealogy I marvel at the continuum in every ancestral line and I'm certain that someday we'll be able to follow our ascendance right to our biblical Adam and Eve, and from there, to our Creator and Father"

It is wise and better, dear Aunt Alice, that I refrain from interpreting the meaning of my dream … It doesn't matter who my father is whether he's Frank or a passing Planter's Peanut salesman. What matters is that I am a life and that life is mine with each day a new beginning.

Well, dear hearts, the end of the letter comes. I wish it hadn't taken so long to finish it. Today is Sunday, Oct.15. This morning, I attended church - Woody is working all day till evening so when I got home, I tackled some of our stored winter clothing. Mid-afternoon, Chuck and his family visited bringing cider, and a large bag of apples they picked at Herbie Thompson's Apple Orchards. Next week, I'll bake pies.

Joe, and the singles club he belongs to at his church, put on a wonderful program after church services – lunch, speakers, music, etc.

Bob and Debbie and the children, Carissa and Kyle have gone for a nice day's drive to New Hampshire. I'm glad the weather complied with their plans for an enjoyable few hours.

Dear Steve and Fran and Ray are always in my mind and heart. Please keep them in your prayers … I miss them so much.

All my love to each one of you ... Take care and know that no one has ever been more of a family to me than you, my aunt Alice, and cousins …

God keep you well and safe ... Prayers and much love … Alice and Woody and Family.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Letter To “Frenchie’s Wife In Portland, Maine …

Wednesday, 9:30 A.M. – Oct. 11, 1995

Dear Aunt Alice Mae …

     I’m having a cup of honey-tea and like to think that you are, too. It’s a pleasant way to visit, read, and write. A sip from my cup and I listen before beginning my typing – The house pays no mind to me; it listens to its own tones, a melody of familiar sounds expressed from a rumbling furnace, a thumping dryer and, the subtle creaking of it's infra structure. I turn on the radio and walk away dismissing the house from my thoughts after all, there are those times when the dwelling becomes bothersome so I pay it no more attention than it does to me. It covers my head; I sweep its floors ... it waits the warming from the sun; I exact pleasure from my computer. This morning is such a time - time for you and me.

You're always in my prayers however, for the last few weeks, my prayers have focused more on Richard and Bill (your good sons-in-law) for recovery from their medical problems. What the blazes, dear hearts, we'll not give our occasional physical setbacks any more catering than we have to, as Lord knows, the setbacks are sneaky, stealthy thieves as is the passing of time, both constantly altering our passage and condition in life, not always for our comfort. Sometimes that’s only appreciated when the miseries that we humans inherited from those infamous apple-eaters in the Garden of Eden before they got pitilessly evicted from there, are over with!  I wonder, if it had been more serious than eating an apple, would anyone one of us be here today? I think hadn’t they eaten the apple we would not.

We, here on the farm, are fine. Each day God keeps us from anymore darkest terribleness is a blessing - all other hardships are manageable. The loss of my Raymond last year continues to feel unbearable as is the loss of his two older brothers as you know occurred in 1992 and 1980. I dare only argue with the good Lord up to when I begin to feel a spit of flame licking at me all the way from Dante’s inferno.

Isn't autumn beautiful! I just paused a few minutes for  refill of tea and a look-see at my surroundings, from the kitchen slider door, while the pot went to a boil. The vibrant colors that wind-dance and shimmer from a sunlit wood line creates a warm feeling  within me. In increasing numbers, deer have been crossing our fields taking their leisure searching for the sweetest growths although they never take this house for granted in their selective "grocery shopping" – erect ears and large oval eyes ever fine-tuned to their environment. They instinctively know that there are people in this house, people with hunting rifles that could claim one of them when the weather turns colder. This is the time of year instincts sharpen instinctively. Time, for them is relevant, as it is for us, and it’s just a matter of time before rifles are re-cleaned for hunting and L.L. Bean boots are taken out of storage.

Yesterday, I tapped on the front door window just loudly enough to echo across our facing fields. The nearest deer immediately looked up and stared motionlessly in my direction. None of them bolted and ran off to safety. Obviously, it wasn't a noise that was directly life threatening like a snapping twig from under a booted foot, or crunching strides on dry leaves or, the sound of pounding heartbeats that only pursued creatures can hear.

I was merely a distraction - a harmless bother they dismissed as they have for as long as we’ve lived here. They traverse on set paths and come from this area, Auburn, Durham, Gray, Cumberland, Falmouth  … They are healthy and their thickening, sienna-brown  fur glint in the myriad bands of autumn light.

The coy-dogs that congregate on our upper pastures (referred to as the ‘Homestead fields’) are getting bolder. A week ago, pups from spring’s packs were yelping and yipping directly from behind Bob's trailer communicating to the others who would respond within chilling cries from the river-cabin pastures. Now, that’s very close to the main house  though I suppose that shouldn't surprise us as they've been traversing the land closer and closer to our dwellings each Autumn and springtime. When conferring with the game wardens on this matter (bear in mind how profoundly city’fied we are) their recommendation was that we "put them down" whenever we can target one within the perimeters of our land boundaries. Well, we’re not up to doing that as no threats have been demonstrated so they remain free to live and excite one’s senses with the pulses of wildlife, such as it is, stifled by encroachment. I've not had the heart, nor tolerance, for that not even for destroying friendly raccoons here though one would be wise to assume the strong possibility that they may be infected with rabies, a caution the media urges us to regard in their local news reports. I hope I won't be sorry someday for being led by the emotions of my heart instead of the logic of my mind. However, my dear aunt,accept it as an absolute certainty that I've no conscience when it comes to my nemesis, the wicked, evil fox that relishes taking our chickens and taunting us! There would not be a split second's hesitation in my discharging him to Hades where he'd be stalked for an eternity by meaner beasts than he ... that is if I can ever get my gun loaded and a bead on him before he's out of harm's way grinning from ear to ear till the reverberation of my curses echo back to embarrass me.

Well, that time has come, hasn’t it? Seems I can't ignore the sounds of the house any longer ... drying to be folded, rugs to be vacuumed and kitchen floor to be rinsed ...

Same date, 4:30 pm. I’ve just returned home from soccer practice. He limps, the result of playing serious defense but he doesn’t complain – I had him lay down on the couch with the TV on, and  serve him a lunch. His brother, C.J., hasn’t come home from school yet, no doubt dunking baskets and batting the breeze with his friends at the ball-courts. Woody's still at  work. The house settles and the dog naps. As my fingers prepare to resume typing, I quickly glance towards a neat pile of papers to be worked on and placed in a folder, one of several taking up where my second cousin, Garret, from Holyoke, Ma., left off in his overview of the Fortin family genealogical history that I’m picking up from and tracing to Normandy, France. I've been most fortunate in tracing, and documenting, to pre-1600’s.

By the way, grandmother, Amanda, has been, since I can recall, steadfast in her claim that there were Iroquois Indian genes in our makeup. I've not discovered any presence of that in our genetic lines.  If any Iroquois genetic material resides in us, I’ve yet to uncover any trace of it however, Woody insists that this may be true as he’s witnessed me ‘go on the warpath’ on occasion! Chances are that if there is the presence of an Indian presence, I would think it to be Algonquin or Abenaki.

It’s getting late, dear Aunt Alice. Another chapter tomorrow …

Monday, March 23, 2009

Justitia omnibus:


I owe you, my readers, an apology and do sincerely extend regrets for having bombarded you, via my last blog, w/my aggravations that I hope have not diminished our relationship. With yesterday’s unexpected nonsense from ‘Problem’, I became fully aware that this woman has serious problems that I suspect has been manifesting for some time and whether triggered by my ‘African’ painting or from my writings, I don’t know but – this I do know that from the first time she communicated w/me at the recommendation of another blogger, things were not right between us … Something was amiss. I was leery of her as if having heard a little voice in my gut calling for caution. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep in mind this intuitive voice we all have w/in us referred to as, ‘Hunch’.

Time back, for awhile, I had been encouraged by Debbie and my son, Bob, to consider blogging … I said: “No”. Just the thought of sharing my inner self to God-knows-who and being vulnerable spooked me! I knew, from many years in the community that there are a percentage of folks, perhaps a small number, that are troubled folks out there smoldering w/malevolence just beneath a silky surface and I want no part of that, anymore. Another apprehension was putting myself out there, again, as I’d become reclusive and dependent on the comfort and peace of mind of my isolation. I had lost three sons under dreadful circumstances – two sons; two years apart, 1992 and 1994 w/the first loss of a son in 1980. And, experienced many staggering hardships, before and after their soul-searing deaths, perhaps too many, had visited my life and stayed too long. Create a blog? No way, not on your life! Step out of my safety zone? No way!

Last famous words, right? Finally, I stepped out into the blog world by first reading through random writings and became very impressed and happy to silently ‘meet’ in my cautious walk on main street, blog-town, great writers and crafters! It felt good. And so began a quasi-residency there and more and more, I felt secure in being who I was from where I came from, writing and sharing freely. Then, up from left field came a problem I should of seen from the beginning although, true, I did feel bad ‘vibes’ about this ‘problem’ … Why I didn’t slam the door shut in the face of my adversary and ‘move out of Dodge’, I don’t know except that I basically like the heart and spirit of blog-town and it had taken me much effort to get there and, for certain, tenacity had tightening my resolve to stay there. However, I failed to use good common sense and self protective measures from an ill-meaning troubled person whose last email to me revealed the unpleasant extent of ‘Problem’s deviousness.

Now, I don’t know just what is the matter w/‘Problem’ but on rereading the last blog received from her (GeeGee’s Paintings, Part #3) and emails - the latter one came to me from out of the blue like a sharp-edged razor, mid-yesterday. This, I will not publish but will confer w/a councilor as to the best way for me to deal w/a mind such as ‘Problem’s’ should another such email come to me. What is the matter w/’Problem’? At first, I felt sadness; then, anger – Pity and anger are not good. What was going on w/’Problem’?

Have two (unproven) opinions:

(1). Racism –

(2). Jealousy - Nobody does what she did, in the manner in which it was done w/innuendo and baiting, with no logical reasoning behind the ploys, w/out having a questionable frame of mind. That kind of cleverness, when harboring deviousness, is a Raven tap, tap, tapping at a door. I was behind that door and I didn’t want to put up w/what was there and I didn’t want to stand behind it waiting for it to go away so … I opened it!

Everything in me now screams to return to the sequestered comfort of my privacy. However, I’m 77 years old and have never run from problems and when this ‘Problem’ baited me w/NAAWP I did raise hell in protest as I had first thought it was (and it still may be) ugly, sneaky racism that I equate w/an ignorant or sick mind. I understand that jealousy is a malicious condition, too, however, why would ‘Problem’ be jealous of me?

All this said, my apologies are for none other than for all good and decent bloggers and to the Servicers of the these sites for my outburst … I’m sorry. And as for sitting on the fence or in shadows when it comes to racism or any other human injustice well, don’t wonder where I’ll be – it won’t be on the fence .…And, as for being chased off by ‘Problem’ – Not in my lifetime!

Thank you for your understanding and if not your understanding, then for your tolerance … GeeGee


Saturday, March 21, 2009

A No Win Situation …


Dear Mona and your Readers … In fairness to me and my beliefs the following is posted, March 21, 2009:

   … You wrote, in commenting on my blog of March 17, 2009 – ‘GeeGee’s Paintings – Part #3 ‘

I understand, I think, but I always wondered about the NAACP and wondered why when a young high school girl tried to start a NAAWP there was such an up roar. I don't understand it.
I would love to have your thoughts on this AliceMary.
I also know what it is like to be shunned. It is a most hidious feeling, especially when one is a child and has no understanding of prejudice at all. What have they done wrong? It is terrible for adults but the children simply cannot comprehend.
Thanks for the wonderful post.

March 18, 2009 4:16 PM

I think that before I share w/you my thoughts and feelings on this subject, I would ask that you go on, googles.com , and research both organizations … You needn’t have to go deeply into either subject as they are both obvious. When you have done this, we can then dialogue (via email, or blog,) …  You are a very intelligent woman, Mona, so will not get lost in drawing obvious conclusions. I saw a set of rosary beads on your daughter’s mirror and wonder if there is Catholicism in your background. You went to High School – where? I ask because that will give me some sense of where your head was coming from or, more to the point, why you don’t understand the concept of NAAWP ???  I mean you no disrespect, but you’re not numb, Mona even though you live surrounded by a pretty moat … Now, if that is the case, well and good enough, but now browse the internet or better yet, take CED classes and surround yourself with another kind of beauty – human rights (all human rights), real poverty, real abuses, real realities … Sometimes, dear Mona, you and some other blog-ladies come across so sugary that my heart puckers as my mouth would on sourness. And, sometimes, it’s liken to entering a heavily incense-scented room that disguises staleness. Sincerity doesn’t require much cosmetics. Tell me, truly, does everyone in your city of bright minds and ambitions sound like that? If so, I would automatically be suspicious and think, “Do they seek adoration in return?” Not even heart and soul committed nuns or other religious folks come off like that and if they did – “Lord, help us!”

Now, begging your forgiveness, I’ve been honest w/you and not from out of left field and hope that you can stand back and think about this and if you disagree, so be it.

Blessings, GeeGee

You responded as follows: Thanks for your response. 

Let me first answer some of your questions. 

Yes..there is Catholicism in my family.  I was not raised a Catholic but was exposed to it most of my life and became Catholic when we had our children.  All of my friends were Catholic.  My grandmother was devout and did several rosaries a day kneeling on a tiny footstool in front of a statue of our Virgin Mary.  So..yes I do have Catholicism in my family.

I went to Grossmont high school in La Mesa California just south of San Diego.  No college other than a class here and there.  Mostly on children.

Child development classes etc. 
Let me tell you up front so that you will know pretty much exactly where I am coming from.  I am a liberal Democrat.  I only slapped my husbands face once in our entire life and it was over the rights of blacks in the south.  It was over stopping the black children from entering a school.  Pat was raised pretty much with southern values..I was also..but it bounced off me and I found myself enraged through out my lifetime over the injustices.  That has not changed and never will.  I was married the second time to a strong Republican conservative and it was not easy for me. 

I felt total frustration and often had to walk away. 

In the world we live in I don't mind the sugar.  I take it for what it is and I don't judge them.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I was out of my element.  I still have fun..because decorating is a hobby of mine.  I think it is of theirs too.  It is my "art" just as your painting is your "art." 

Dare I compare my "pretty moat" to your lovely art?  Yes, in some ways I do.  Your painting comes from your heart.  So does decorating my home.  Does it compare with some of the other homes?  Of course not...but I still enjoy sharing it.  Who cares.  It is fun. 

I think most of the "sugary" comments ARE sincere.  I think some are just...what they seem.  In this harsh world, AliceMary...a bit of sugar and kind words are wonderful to me.  

So...there you have some of it.  All you and I have are words. 

I would say more...but my daughter just came by for a visit.  Perhaps this will at least give you a tiny peek as to who I am.


Today, Saturday, March 21, 09 – I make the following statement that near feels like a deposition but is, in fact, just a simple truth. Mine. We met on my blog ‘GEEGEE’S GRAFITTI’ through a valued friend I’ll call, Olof, and began corresponding via blogging but mostly via emails. I found her to be a nice old lady – I being older, 77 years old, and a long-time community organizer, (as a volunteer and as a V.I.S.T.A.) from 1959 to 1980 and part of that time as a lobbyist at the Maine Start House. I lobbied for AFDC mothers (abandoned mothers w/children) and I lobbied for job training and day care services and for welfare and housing rights, none of these just causes easy to lobby for in those days as most so-called caring folks looked down on the poor and low-end blue collar workers. I lobbied for health care services and programs for street kids and ‘throw-away’s who weren’t wanted.. I worked for a suicide prevention and intervention service called, Recue, Inc. based in Portland, Maine where, during the night hours I was Chief Operator answering crisis calls till daylight. Some night, I need not tell you, were close-calls! I lobbied and marched for human and Civil rights, most importantly, the rights of Blacks to an almighty God-Given and ever-lasting human right to be free and equal to any human being on this earth! I had the honor of marching with Martin Luther King and with Cesar Chavez for the lettuce pickers and enjoyed a conversation with him with other supporters. I marched and lit candles in demonstrations advocating for Women’s abuse centers and shelters … well, without further ado, I hope that you now have a peek at me.

… This whole bothersome mess w/Mona came about from her comment to me about NAAWP and her not understanding what the uproar was all about against it. Hello! Are we on the same page!

I wrote back to you, Mona, about this as I was perturbed and here is why … for you, and your Readers: I sense that there are two Mona’s – one that was and one that wants to be. By your own admissions and occasional slips-of-the-tongue, you and your husband grew up influenced by a prejudice that was strongly embedded in the Southerner’s mentality. Your husband, as I see it, was a hard drinking, hell-a-whooper oft tough-guy. When you have shared some insight, I think that part of you loved him and part of you didn’t but wanted his power because you were powerless. No, you didn’t slap this guy in the face about blacks – No, that didn’t happen and, if it did, you would of landed fast and hurtfully, on your backside! Especially if he was drinking. Now, that’s a given! Think about this, you were 17 when you married Pat and lived w/him 42 years for a total of 60 years. Did he miraculously change in these 60 years or, stopped drinking and went to AA? How, come, dear lady, you wrote to me about having no knowledge of alcoholism or its abuses which aren’t always physical or loud.

You wrote about being poor and starving … Some of that I can agree with while what else you wrote doesn’t ring true like your ultra-sharp memories about your early marriage years. You were starving and Pat knew this? Hello! Pat had fallen off the ‘cabbage truck’ long before you knew him and was as sharp as a tack! I suppose that is why I didn’t bother to get too involved w/your Pat and Mona story … Yes, you wrote well weaving in fact and fiction like embroidered hems on pillow cases. As you will admit, never once did I ever comment on your story. You were doing your thing and that was up to you and had nothing to do w/me. And, may I please add, you know well why you dropped your story! It was because you’ve known from the beginning that I had vibes about you but couldn’t put my finger on them. Honestly, for your own nice self, don’t groan and moan about me indirectly and even lie because that denied and needy old lady w/in is going to get nasty! You talk a good talk; but do you walk a good walk? The answer to that is, look what you are doing w/this situation – look where you’re going w/it.

If only you had not played games. Maybe we could have been real friends and not ceramic figurines. Oh yes, one more thing, you know what you can do w/your NAAWP!

And to your Readers – “Is there one of you ladies that I might have lobbied for years ago? Or, are you one who looked down on them? Some of you have been very talkative on Mona’s last blog -


How about doing that on my blog. What do you think a blog is? A lynching mob? Why do you think I wrote to Mona privately? Maybe you ought to take a break and catch your breaths. You sound like overheated vigilantes. … AliceMary/GeeGee …

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GeeGee’s Paintings – Part #3 …


    ‘Bermuda Insert’by GeeGee – Mid 1970’s

Oldest son, Francis Michael had many friends in High School and one in particular had just returned with his family from a vacation in Bermuda … I had no reservations in peering over the boys’ shoulders as pictures, from a bulging envelope, were passed between them.

Then, one came up that filled my eyes, “Wait, wait, can I see that one?” The boat was the most attractive and appealing vessel (other than any fishing boats docked at a Portland, Maine wharf) that I’d ever seen … “What is it called?”

“I don’t know.  My parents bought from a Bermudian street artist that makes a living selling his paintings to tourists.”

Would your mother consider loaning me this picture so I can do a painting of it?”

I telephoned her and she was pleased to loan me the actual painting! I was beside myself with excitement and anticipation and barely could wait until my husband got home from work to drive me to her home.

Weeks later, I returned her painting and showed her my finished work that she liked better than the original because the colors in the boat were more vibrant.

That sweet, trusting woman will never be forgotten - “Thank you, dear lady, thank you”.


     ‘Perish The Thought’ by GeeGee – 1979

At the time I painted this dear-to-my-heart couple, I was a V.I.S.T.A. (Volunteers in Service to America) involved with the poor of Portland, Maine and in other areas of the State. I helped organize the poor for welfare and housing rights, for day-care, for training in pursuit of better jobs and legal representation in the affairs of politics and business as it effected the poor and low-scale blue collar workers. Human and Civil Rights were our prime concern … The poor and the Blacks, our focus but mostly the poor as they had little to no voice whereas the Blacks had NAACP and we’d be in partnership with them and morally supported by the Jewish Community, one of many that began to recognize and respect our efforts. A new dawn was breaking just over the gray horizon and voices, once prejudiciously muted, were raised in concert and their numbers grew and the bodies of these freed sounds marched with posters to the beat of drums and there was singing and unity for rights that had long been manipulated in a language dipped in maple-syrupy falsehoods.

“God Almighty, we will be free someday – all of us that have been held back by color and poverty would forever hold our heads high on stronger necks from firmer shoulders built-up with our struggles.”

At an New England Conference in Boston where representatives from low-income and blue-collar groups, NAACP, agencies, state offices and committees, city departments, churches, Lettuce pickers, inner-city Federal housing tenants, and so many more that I fail to recall, I ended my prepared speech with a poem I had written for the occasion called:

Perish The Thought ...

Perish the thought
That I should want
Human rights and well-being
Tied into a knot,
Perish the thought!

Done and undone
What is and is not
I remember their games
Their names, I forgot ...

If truth be impotent
Untie me please
And perish the thought ...