My Father, Rob Roy Wirt, served in WW2. I’ve told the story many times, how he was too thin to enlist until he went home and ate bananas & cream for 2 weeks to make weight.
This was right after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, when Dad was 19.
He told me stories while he prepared and broiled a steak (peppered heavily), sautéed mushrooms in butter, and made a green salad with cucumbers, green onions, radish slices, and blue cheese AND French dressing.
Only once, he told me about how he nearly got into a fight with 2 fellow recruits during basic training.
He happened upon the 2 while they were picking on a rather small-framed, Jewish, fellow soldier, calling him a “Christ killer,” and shoving him around.
My Father was angry hearing this and he called them out for the bullies that they were being, challenging them to, “Pick on someone your own size. I don’t believe in ANY of your gods!”
Although he was thin, Rob Roy was 6 feet tall and he’s the one who gave me these broad shoulders…I’d bet cash that he could appear as “intimidating” as folks call me.
While I imagine that he stood up for the guy because he was being picked on, because religion was of very low importance to my Dad, there were likely multiple reasons for him to intervene.
I have always been inspired by this story, to step in if necessary, and to stick up for others.
For always, and for many reasons, I will never forget.
I’ve been on Facebook for a very long time. Since 2013? 2011? Something like that.
Recently, my Facebook use has gotten a bit excessive. As in, scrolling on Facebook has become an unacceptable time-suck in my life.
I am connected with far-flung family and friends through FB, as I have lived all over the country, and so do my friends and family, so I don’t plan to quit it completely, but I haven’t been on for over a week and the lack of daily scrolling sessions has not been in the least unbearable.
After this past week of total blackout, I’ll likely go back on sometime this weekend, but I will avail myself upon the scheduling software available to assist me in establishing/keeping limits on my use.
My Facebook habits have been causing issues in my most important personal relationship and I will never let a computer program get between me and real-life Human Interactions.
So, last week, my clumsy ass tripped in my own home and fell into the wall, thumb first 🤪🙃😜😂🤣
I have felt like a clumsy goof SO MANY times in my life. As a child, I felt as sure-footed as a cat, but that completely changed once I grew tall so quickly (5’7″ to 5’10” in less than 6 months).
It has taken me a VERY long time for me to become this comfortable in my body…in this skin. I have practiced my balance and am generally solid on my feet, but I still manage to injure myself often enough to doubt my coordination.
When I first did this, my whole thumb and wrist hurt. I wrapped my wrist that first day so I could mouse at work. 😩
By that time, my wrist was fine, but the thumb hurt all the way to the base. 🥺
A couple days later, just hurts to the first knuckle. 😠
Graceless is an awful word for me. My middle name is Grace, and Nancy MEANS Grace.
A synonym of clumsy is “left-handed”, which I fully claim, proudly, but there are also: awkward, maladroit, klutzy, and worst of all: graceless.
I’ll do a whole other post about the dangers of being left-handed in a right-handed world…
As I mistrust most thoughts of “gracefullness” as it pertains to myself, I prefer to concentrate on something I CAN do well…Graciousness.
gracious adjective gra·cious | \ ˈgrā-shəs \ 1a: marked by kindness and courtesy/:/a gracious host
While I could conceivably fall short of Graceful on any given day I have that “gracious host” thing in spades.
Wirt is a German word meaning “Host.”
This came in handy as a Bartender, and is currently especially useful as a Librarian.
My Father, Rob Roy Wirt, (oh yeah, we’re very Scottish and German) was born in 1922, served in WW2, worked as a Supervisor in a sugar beet factory for 47 years, was the lead singer in a barbershop quartet, and the most handsome, intelligent man I’ve ever known. He died in March of 1990, when I was 20.
I’ve been thinking about him quite a bit lately (especially with Veterans’ Day recently passed) and I often tend to feel a bit cheated out of time with him, as I was the youngest, Daddys little girl, and he was gone too soon…
A shiny bunch of memories for me include all the times he mowed the back yard on a weekend day, then relaxed with a cold beer while leaning on the brace of the big, rusty, swing set from my older brothers’ childhood, so that I could swing HIGH without the metal legs coming up off the ground…
He was the one who taught me how to pump my legs in the correct rhythm to go higher, and I cherish that type of recollection dearly.
My parents divorced when I was 13, and after Dad moved out and the house I grew up in was sold, I didn’t see very much of him until I was old enough to drive to visit him at his apartment in Kerman, but a few scenes stand out in my mind…
Dad attended my Grandma’s memorial when I was 17, and that was the only time I ever saw my Dad inside of a church. Rob Roy (Bob to most), was a firm believer in science, which precluded any belief in a personal diety, as far as I know.
I adore the memory of Dad attending Danny’s band’s participation in an outdoor Battle of the Bands one summer…Dad brought a lawn chair, a cooler of beer, and the Fresno Bee newspaper, and set up his spot as FAR from the stage as he could get, while still remaining inside the fencing surrounding the venue.
Dad supported our interests as well as his own…
My Mom, my Brother Lew, and I moved from our big ole house on a 1/4 acre (with a pool) to an extra-long, single-wide mobile home in the mobile home park next to the senior village that Grandma lived in.
That was the first (of many) moves in my life, that I remember (we moved to my childhood home when I was 2).
My Mom, Joyce A. Rader, was a Renaissance Woman. She was a Cosmetologist, a Seamstress, a Bus Driver (with the class D license required), a Security Guard, Church Choir Soloist, Boy Scout Troop Leader, a Go-Go Dancer in the ’60s, and likely a few more things I’m not aware of…
She was so steady, and certain, and she DEFINITELY stopped a shit-ton of generational trauma in its tracks for my siblings and me…
She didn’t tell me that much about her childhood, but she was born during the Great Depression, Grandpa Rader was a mean drunk (he died the year before I was born, so I never met him), and Mom, Uncle Al, and Aunt Nancy all spent time in foster care.
Also, Mom’s weight fluctuated after having 4 kids over 12 years and at least one serious back surgery, but she never (NEVER) mentioned weight to me unless I asked her a question about the subject.
Joyce Russell did NOT contribute to my eating disorders/weight issues. The rest of my existence did, but Mom didn’t.
She was truly STELLAR.
Just over 2 years before My Mom died (in 2002), I quit drinking, and went back to school…
The day I realized that I needed assistance dealing with my drinking problem, I called my Mom to tell her that I was getting help, and to let her know that I want to make her proud of me, as I felt I had done little to nothing to be proud of.
She replied, “I am always proud of you. I love you.”
I was attending my last semester at Fresno City College in 2002, planning graduation with my AA, honor roll, and Dean’s Medallion, when Mom was hospitalized again (COPD) with breathing issues. I visited her and she insisted that I miss as few classes as possible. She was/is SO supportive and proud of me for existing, that good things I did/do are just gravy!
Mom died just before I found out that I had been accepted at UC Berkeley for my BA. I had been concerned about how to get her safely through my FCC graduation ceremony in a big arena, but she ended up with the best seat in the house!
I am blessed and truly lucky to have such wonderful, caring, intelligent, funny, talented, human parents…
…but I’ve been an orphan since 2002.
“When you say goodbye to a parent… You are suddenly living in a whole new world. You are no longer ‘the child’ and regardless of how long you have officially been ‘grown up’ for, you realise you actually never were until this moment. The shock of this adjustment will shake your very core.
When you have finally said goodbye to both your parents, assuming you were lucky enough to have had two. You are an orphan on this earth and that never, ever gets easier to take no matter how old and grey you are yourself and no matter how many children of your own you have.
You see, a part of your body is physically connected to the people that made it and also a part of your soul. When they no longer live, it is as if you are missing something practical that you need – like a finger or an arm. Because really, you are. You are missing your parent and that is something far more necessary than any limb. And yet the connection is so strong it carries on somehow, no-one knows how exactly. But they are there. In some way, shape or form they are still guiding you if you listen closely enough. You can hear the words they would choose to say to you. You can feel the warmth of their approval, their smile when a goal is achieved, their all-consuming love filling the air around you when a baby is born they haven’t met.
If you watch your children very closely you will see that they too have a connection with your parents long after they are gone. They will say things that resonate with you because it brings so many memories of the parent you are missing. They will carry on traits, thoughts and sometimes they will even see them in their dreams. This is not something we can explain.
Love is a very mystical and wondrous entity. It is far better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all and grief, grief is the price of that love. The deeper the love the stronger the grief. When you say goodbye to a parent, do not forget to connect with that little girl who still lives inside you somewhere. Take very good care of her, for she, she will be alone and scared.
When you say goodbye to your parents, you lose an identity, a place in the world. When the people who put you on this earth are no longer here, it changes everything. Look after yourself the way they looked after you and listen out for them when you need it the most. They never really leave.”
As I look over my past blog posts, I keep thinking that I want to be more open about myself.
Through self-reflection and some basic shadow-work, I have come to realize that I must practice requesting help from others rather than trying to control everything myself, and that I must open up to my people about my true experiences and feelings.
I know that my truth cannot be used to successfully harm me, so I believe I will start with the true story of how my first sexual experience with another human was not by my choice.
Please know that I share this traumatic happening with y’all in an effort to be as helpful and open as I can. To tell my experience as clearly as I can, including how I have dealt with the repercussions of the events of that April night…to my very own mixed results…
Let me start by saying that I was a late bloomer/very young/naive pre-teen/teen, and excessively shy.
If it hadn’t been for my Irish twin, Lew, who made friends with our neighbors and brought them to our house to play in our massive front yard, I’d have never had any childhood friends.
Strangely contrarywise, I had “discovered myself” at around 9yo, figuring out what mastrubation was and how to make my hand motions work for me. ; ) See…I grew up in a hyper-literate, musical household and spent the majority of my time reading. There were no limits set on what I wanted to read, and I have 3 older brothers, so I discovered soft-porn girly mags pretty young, and I was incredibly curious…science, yo.
Even so, I was shy and bookish…all I wanted to do was read or swim or ride my bike…
My “first kiss” was a game of kiss-tag in a walnut orchard with my neighbor’s cousin, a CUTE boy named Eddie, when I was 12.
The next year, I received a new bike and rode to the San Joaquin River and back on a hot, Central Valley, summer day with a 15yo boy from my church, (named “Mike” oddly enough) and on the way back, he gave me some ice cold, but weirdly bitter, orange juice.
After wobbling my bike a little way further, I stopped and asked him what was in the OJ (it was vodka). He then kissed me…Using His Tongue!
For many years, I believed that drinking booze led to tongue kissing.
As stated previously, I was a late bloomer. I had my first period at 14.5 years old. That is considered to be on the late side of normal. I was still very much a little kid.
I was 15 circa April 1985, and I traveled with my Mom and her boyfriend (an older Chiropractor we called “Doc,” he was very nice) to Anaheim so that Doc could attend a Chiropractic convention.
I do remember the elegant dress that my Mom made for me to attend the fancy Chiropractor’s dinner with them both that weekend (she was a seamstress, among many other things). It was off-white, with BIG puffed sleeves and a sweetheart neckline, and I recall the adjustments she had to make right down to the last minute, because I was smack in the middle of my growth spurt (5’7″ to 5’10” in less than 6 months) and my hip, waist, and shoulder measurements kept changing (although I didn’t get boobs till I was 17).
We stayed at the Anaheim Hilton, and my Mom and I went to Disneyland on one of the days while Doc was Chiropractor-ing.
I have been a swimmer for my whole life. The 2 things I don’t remember learning to do are read and swim. I have swimming ribbons from when I was 4, and wasn’t allowed to attend pre-school because I already knew how to read.
The hotel had a pool and a hot tub, and, on our last night there, I went down after dinner to swim, and I met a guy who said his name was “Mike.”
*Interesting side note: I started this post many weeks ago, but I found myself a bit stuck*
When I was about 17, I wrote about what happened that night…I’ll just pop that right here:
I am not triggered by hotels or hot tubs, or even Heineken…but I CANNOT STAND seeing change (coins) on a surface.
I’m a big believer in piggy banks.
I recall riding back home to Fresno in the backseat of Doc’s car the next day. I thought of telling my Mom what happened, but couldn’t bring myself to speak about it at all.
Right after this happened, I got the chance to get drunk and stoned for the first time. Our apartment manager threw a party, providing a big vat of vodka-filled fruit juice with oranges and cherries in it, so I recall drinking SO MUCH and then eating the fruit, discovering how alcohol could make me “disremember” anything I wanted to forget.
I smoked weed for the first time that night as well. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling at first, THC being new to me and all, but I reveled in the disconnect from my trauma that being wasted gave to me.
I spent another wonderful weekend with my Love in Woodbridge.
Earlier today, we went for a walk at Lodi Lake Park, where we usually ride our bikes.
We walked past the lake, and walked the loop through the nature preserve.
It was pretty warm, but we saw the deer and squirrels galore.
On our way back, past the playground, there were many people along the lake side, and right when we passed, not 10 feet from us, a man pulled a limp, maybe 2yo, boy from the water.
I think the sight will haunt me for a long time. It was truly awful.
Matt and I both called 911, but Matt’s call was better as he has a local number (I still use my old Fresno number). Emergency dispatch had him stand right next to the baby, as folks were performing CPR so that his location could be tracked.
Emergency vehicles arrived and took the baby right away in the ambulance.
After we got home, Matt found an online news article, stating that the baby boy had died.