November 22, 1963

I got on the school bus. Another girl was holding a transistor radio to her ear and crying. When I asked someone what was wrong, he said, “Somebody shot the president.”

I was so young that I couldn’t possibly know the impact. But I remember the TV being on for days and watching the funeral. I remember going into the bathroom and crying into my towel where it hung on the rack and wondering, “What’s going to happen to us?”

Each time I see a child grapple with horrific news and watch innocence die in their eyes, I remember again.

It was a subdued Christmas that year.

Hard Promises

Just one more of my drowned albums and a moment to note the loss of Tom Petty. It’s another terrible part of the terrible things about 2017. Under the good things category, the world still has his music, and every time I hear it I think of two people, Steve G and Princess Patti. They are both amazing humans I’ve been lucky enough to know in my life.


It’s a restless world, uncertain times
You said hope was getting hard to find
But time rolls on, days roll by
What about the broken ones?
What about the lonely ones?
Oh honey I’m having trouble letting you go
It’s off in the distance somewhere up the road
There’s some easy answer for the tears you’ve cried
And it makes me uneasy, makes me feel different
Do you get scared when you close your eyes?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Letting You Go”

drowned world

…post-apocalyptic novel ahead of its time on climate change…Madonna’s 2001 tour and the song “Music”…my long-ago drowned drummer: muse, magic, inspiration, dreamer…all things that live one day must die you know…even love…and the things we hold close…part of every single thing I’ve ever written…Ben…Dennis…Sam I am…all three copies gone and probably less than a handful of people alive who know what any of this rambling means…

What I have discovered

Since the flood, as I’ve thrown ruined stuff away, I truly do understand that things are just things and most are replaceable but some are not, and I just have to deal. I am dealing, actually.

But sometimes a thing is more than a thing. Here’s an example.

I’ve featured this album on my blog before. It’s utterly ruined. Every record inside is in its own sleeve with lyrics, and those sleeves remain a soggy mess stuck to the records.

I’ve long had all this music in my iTunes. There isn’t one song from it I can’t hear whenever I want to. I don’t need the album replaced.

It can’t be replaced. It was given to me by Riley when I was a teenager, and we’d lie on the floor in front of my parents’ stereo and listen to it and talk about the Beatles and music and everything else that came into our heads for hours. It’s one of the things Riley touched and I touched, so our energy is in it together. Riley is dead, and there’s never going to be any new tangible thing like this album for us.

So while it’s just a thing, it’s a thing with an energy that is connected to my heart and soul. It’s a thing that’s hard to throw away. But I will, and everything will go on because after all, all things must pass.

Portrait of the Artist

I think I did pretty well after the flood as we started pulling stuff out of the house and I ruthlessly decided what was trash and what wasn’t. “I don’t care” became my stock response to every item someone else expressed sympathy about. But when I found this in a flooded bin, it made me physically ill. I didn’t know I still had it. I’d even asked my brother last year if he had it, and he thought he did.

This discovery about broke me.

Debby and Lynne painstakingly lifted it from the water and found a way to place it where it could dry. It did dry, and the truth is, there was already some staining on the sketch long before our flood, but nothing like it has now.

Written on the bottom: HERE’S AN ARTIST’S CONCEPTION OF ME. I can’t read the artist’s name, but I think the date is 1949, which would corroborate what my mother once told me, that the sketch was done of my father by one of his fellow art students while he was in college.

Today’s Daddy’s birthday. The sketch is weathered but it will be okay. Like me.

He was one of the biggest reasons I’m a strong person.