Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts


Photos Taken Near the Bronx River and Two Stories About New York City from Louisianians

In this post, I ask two family members from Louisiana to give their impressions of New York City. These are their responses.

Stylized photograph of the author
In this photograph, I am
waiting for the Q44 bus in the Bronx,
right next to the Bronx River.

A New York City subway train traverses the Bronx River.
A New York City subway train
traverses the Bronx River.
When I asked my school-aged nephew what he thought about New York, he replied: “I think that it's like very crowded and a lot of people like foods there and the best place is probably the pizza. And it's probably the best food. Thank you for your time, everybody.”

And then, I asked him to imagine what the city smelled like and felt like (using sensory details): “New York is fun and stinky and interesting, like a hot dog.”

When I asked my seventy-something-year-old aunt what people in Louisiana think about New York, she told me a story: “Greig, I would say they think it's too dangerous, but when I went to New York with Uncle Raymond in 1993, that's the only place that I was able to go out at night shopping. Even in New Orleans, even when we lived in Chalmette, I couldn't go out at night shopping. Oh my God. I forgot how many years ago. That was probably twenty-odd years ago. But in New York, I could go shopping. We had a hotel near Times Square, So I was able to go up and down that street without any restrictions in the middle of the night. Do you know? And, um, you know, I never go at night, and Uncle Raymond never let me go anyplace at night.”

Three kids walk past a bus stop In the Bronx.A sign advises against littering, but someone left an informative note.
Photos (L) Three kids walk past a bus stop In the Bronx. (R) A sign advises against littering, but someone left an informative note.


A Roselli Family Christmas Photo Circa 1995: "Run for Your Life!"

A scanned family photograph of three Roselli brothers opening their gifts one Christmas morning (ca. 1995)
A Roselli family photograph from a Christmas morning (ca. 1995) in Southern Louisiana.
Merry Christmas! In the tradition of a truly Americanized holiday, my brothers and I tear into our gifts on Christmas morning. I love how my younger brother (pictured front and center wears a tee-shirt that reads "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!". Upon closer inspection, the shirt is from a fundraiser for the local Episcopal School.

My older brother and I, pictured on the right, seem a little more subdued (or just really tired). We had a ritual in our family that every year one person was picked to be Santa Claus - which meant you had to go and find everyone's gift one at a time and deliver them. I am thinking, in the year this picture was taken, all of us were playing Santa Claus?


Throwback Thursday: My Mother at the Anubis Carnival Ball in New Orleans (Circa the 1970s)

Pamela Perronne dressed up in purple brocade as a maid in waiting for the Anubis Carnival Ball in New Orleans, Louisiana (c. 1970s)
Mom at the Anubis Ball in New Orleans, Louisiana (circa 1970s) 
Throwback Thursday: 
A few Thursdays ago, I posted a Throwback photograph of my maternal great-grandmother at the Anubis Carnival Ball in New Orleans. As a successor to that post, here is a photograph of my beautiful mother Pamela Roselli. She was a maid escort in the ball. The photograph is circa the 1970s - I'd say. As far as I can tell from my research, the Krewe of Anubis was a non-parading krewe - which basically means they did not have a parade during the Mardi Gras season. The krewe was originally established by local businessmen in the pharmaceutical industry. I don't think Anubis is still functioning as a krewe today. Does anyone in my family have an exact date on this photograph? I'd love to add it to my family history files.


Throwback Thursday: My Maternal Great-Grandmother Albertine Frank

Albertine Margaret Frank Killman (1889 - 1980)
Throwback Thursday
Albertine Margaret Frank Killman is my maternal great-grandmother who died in August of 1980 when I was only 8 months old. Did we meet? I'm not sure. She knew how to fry frog legs. She had a son, Freddie, who drowned in Lake Pontchartrain when he was 13 years old. I knew her children, Ida, and Hanky, well, because they were my great aunt and uncle. I didn't know Dot, her other daughter (and my grandmother), because she died of congenital heart failure decades before I was born.

Albertine's parents, Friedrich and Margaret Burkhardt were born in Frankfurt, Germany in the 1850s. They emigrated from Germany and Albertine was born in New Orleans in 1889. When she married my grandfather Francis Killman, they lived in Gentilly, which is a neighborhood of New Orleans. When my mom was born, she and her siblings often spent time at Albertine's house.

Anyway. I wonder what Grandma is up to in this photograph? Is she going to a wedding or to a Mardi Gras Ball? My guess is that she is going to the ball for the Krewe of Anubis (which I don't think runs anymore).


Family Photograph of Mom Skipping Rope in Chicago

Pamela Roselli skips rope in Chicago, Illinois (circa 1997)
Throwback to a family vacation in 1997 where we walked the streets of Chicago - and my mom decided to jump rope with some kids.

We were walking the streets of Chicago back in 1997 or something like that and Mom decided to play jump rope with the neighborhood kids. Great memory.

We had driven a car to Chicago from New Orleans. We wanted to go to a Cubs game and to see the Chicago Art Institute.

We walked a lot in Chicago which is why I like this photograph. I wonder who those kids are? Do they remember this moment? Mom looks young and energetic, waiting for her time to jump rope. The boy with the hoodie is trained on his game and the girl in the sky blue dress is counting time.


Recollection: Catholic Confirmation at Mary Queen of Peace Church (c. 1990s)

Me, Archbishop Philip Hannan, and Georgette Pintado (Nanan)
Throwback post to 1997 - a Catholic Confirmation ceremony at Mary Queen of Peace Church in Mandeville, Louisiana.
In the Catholic tradition, young people get confirmed. It's the standard rite of passage for Catholic youth. You take some classes. You go on a field trip. You take on the name of a saint and you choose a sponsor to help support you in your Catholicity. At sixteen years old, I was confirmed at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mandeville, Louisiana. The pastor was Father Ronnie Calkins - a really nice guy who I later knew better when I joined the Seminary. But that's another story.


Me and My Cat - Circa 1980s Roselli Family Photo

Greig and Toby, LaPlace, Louisiana circa 1987
I like the photograph above for two reasons.
First, Tobey looks glorious and we are definitely bonding - although my toothy grin is a bit unsettling (probably because the image is cropped and half my face is missing).
Second, the sofa we're lounging on sticks in my memory - I loved its satin-like feel - a bit of luxury that I can recall from my Southern Louisiana upbringing in the mid-1980s.


Throwback Thursday: Flour Babies

Back in the mid-nineties - hell, it probably still happens - our public middle school in Saint Tammany Parish Louisiana conducted a program meant to curb teenage pregnancy.
The program was called Flour Babies. Every kid in our Seventh Grade class bought a six-pound bag of flour from the grocery store, we dressed it up to look like a boy or a girl and propped a head on it. I guess we gave it a name.

We carried the flour baby with us everywhere we went. We took it to class, brought it home with us, and made sure we didn't leave it behind.

Leaving behind your flour baby was tantamount to committing childhood neglect - I think kids who left it on the bus or in homeroom had to endure after school suspension. Or maybe they were told, "Don't have kids."

Here are two photos from my flour baby days:
I hold onto my flour baby like it's my own dear baby, baby.
Younger brother and Mom pose with the flour baby.
Did you have a flour baby growing up? I'd love to hear about it.


Family Photograph: "Mamaw"

There's a photo in my mother's album of my paternal Grandmother, Veronica Greig sipping a cup of coffee.
In 1992, my family moved to a new house in Mandeville, Louisiana.

Mamaw and Pawaw came to visit us very soon after we moved. Mom made sure the house was spotless. My brothers and I were more or less happy because we liked our new neighborhood. And we had a new dog - Maggie.

I must have been in the Sixth or Seventh grade.

Veronica Greig Roselli is my paternal grandmother - from whence I get my name, "Greig"!
There's a photo I found in mom's album. I like how Mamaw is holding her cup of coffee gingerly. I love her glasses. She used to get dressed up on Sunday to go play BINGO. She'd put powder on her face, and it would smudge her glasses but she wouldn't notice.

Mamaw was very sweet. Pawpaw wasn't so nice. He was gruff and vindictive. I'm not sure why - probably a fight between my father and Papaw - but I don't think my grandparents ever visited us again in our house on Live Oak after the day this picture was taken.


Adult/Teenager Banter in Manchester by the Sea

Production still from Manchester by the Sea (© 2016 Amazon Studios)
Nephew Patrick and Uncle Eddie squabble in Manchester by the Sea © 2016 Amazon Studios
I must admit one film that slipped by me was Manchester by the Sea - produced by Amazon Studios and a contender in the 2016 awards season. 

The movie is good and it has lots of witty examples of adult/teenager banter. I can see why it won an award at the Oscars for its writing.

Underneath the banter between Casey Affleck's character and his on-screen nephew, lies a serious and moving story. However, it's a hilarious movie even though it is about a man who is wracked with guilt over the accidental death of his three children and who is now faced with the prospect of raising his teenage nephew. For example, the conversations between Patrick, the nephew, who just lost his father, and his Uncle Eddie (Casey Affleck) are well-written and funny. A recurring string of dialogue is the nephew's hilarious pointed questions that undermine his Uncle's crotchety humanism - and poke fun at his complete lack of social aplomb. 

At one point a stranger overhears the two arguing. He says something critical - like, "Good parenting," and Uncle Eddie - as he does throughout this movie when he perceives a slight to his character - goes ballistic and Patrick tries to defuse the situation and then, hilariously, whips around and says "Uncle Eddie, are you fundamentally unsound?" and, later, "Are you brain damaged?"

Here is another funny exchange - but this time it is Uncle Eddie. He tells Patrick that "if you're going to freak out every time that you see a frozen chicken I think we should go to the hospital."


Movie Review: The Time That Remains

The Time That Remains is Elia Suleiman's autobiographical account of his Palestinian family in Nazareth who lived under the post-1948 sovereignty of Israel.
A movie review
The Time That Remains (Al Zaman Al Baqi) (2009)
Director: Elia Suleiman
Starring: Elia Suleiman, Saleh Bakri, Zuhair Abu Hanna, Samar Tanus, Ayman Espanioli, Shafika Bajjali

The Time That Remains is Elia Suleiman's autobiographical account of his Palestinian family in Nazareth who lived under the post-1948 sovereignty of Israel. The film opens with the events that led Nazareth to surrender to Israeli forces in 1948. An Iraqi soldier runs through the streets of Nazareth after the Arabs surrender. White sheets of paper rain down from the sky announcing the details of the Israeli/Arab armistice. Fuad (played by a handsome Saleh Bakri), who we later learn is Elia Suleiman's father, is suspected of distributing arms to Arab fighters during the war and is tortured.


Family Photo: Brother Brother

In this post, I share a photograph of my younger brother and me.
A family photo of brothers Nicholas and Greig Roselli
My brother Nick and I chillin' in New Orleans


Skip the Statue of Liberty and Head for Ellis Island

The Registry Room at Ellis Island.
Notice the Gustavino tiles.
If you even have a hunch that one of your ancestors may have ventured into the United States via Ellis Island, you should pay the twelve dollars for a ferry at the ticket kiosk at Castle Clinton in Battery Park and skip the Statue of Liberty stop and head straight for a strange parallelogram almost abut New Jersey. For more than a century, travelers from foreign lands hoped to find safe passage on Ellis Island to the United States. In 1954 immigration law mandated that prospective citizens be screened at their respective points of debarkation. The island was shut down by the federal government and remained vacant for years. A cool exhibit at the museum on the third floor are photographs by artists who visited the site during its vacancy period. In the 1980s the complex was renovated and restored by the National Park Service

My own grandfather, Joseph Roselli, emigrated from Italy circa 1920. After his mother died, my grandfather traveled with his brother and father, almost a century ago. His father left he and his brother in Detroit to make a living for themselves in the States. The father returned to the old country to remarry.

I felt a shock of emotion when I walked into the registry room. My grandfather waited in this grand room, designed by the Gustavino brothers, the same brothers who designed the old City Hall subway station, and thousands of tiles scattered through the New York City subway system.

Be sure to explore the individual stations where immigrants had to pass through: the medical rooms, the legal hearing halls, and the on-site dining halls. An added plus is the installation of audio samplings from immigrants who tell their individual stories.


Poem: Evolutionary Biology

Stefan clung, like a primate, to his mother
when he was a kid, a little thing;
I would sometimes take him in my arms, pat
his bulbous head, shake his infant thighs — 
And he would cry — for his mother — 
offer his tiny fingers, sweet princely monuments,
Releasing and squeezing my fat adult digits,
all the while yelping for her feminine beauty.
As a dutiful father, I would
place him back in her petulant arms — 
sated his bloated body content between
her breasts — 
And she would extoll my fatherliness,
my manly concern,
all the while shielding and protecting 
some arcane ritual of evolutionary
image credit: "father with baby" by marjanhols
PDF Copy for Printing


Photograph: Maternal Aunt in Her Schooldays Dress

Genealogy Report 
from a Perronne Photo Album: Sandra Mitten Perronne is pictured here as a school student at Ella Dolhonde school in Metairie, Louisiana.
Sandra Perronne Mitten (circa 1950)
Sandra Perronne Mitten, my maternal aunt as a middle school student
 at Ella Dolhonde school in Louisiana (circa the 1950s).
Writing About the Perronne Family 
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific -
Stones of Erasmus
TpT Store
Sandra Mitten Perronne - my maternal aunt -  who taught me what holy cards are used for (*for putting inside the interior pages of sacred books!*) and showed me how to crochet (a skill I have long since forgotten how to do). However, she is a cool lady. She makes doll fashions for a living; but, now she is retired, and she spends a lot of time with my mother and older brother. In the picture (posted above), she is an elementary school student at Ella Dolhonde school in Metairie, Louisiana.
I've written about family history on my blog - check out related articles here.


Born 1917 and Died 2 Jul 1930, Frederick "Freddie" Killman - A Family History Story

In this post, I write a personal family history story about Freddie Killman (my maternal great-uncle), a boy from New Orleans, Louisiana, who drowned in the Seabrook section of Lake Pontchartrain on July 2, 1930.

Family History is important to me and I think it is important to record stories we learn from our relatives. Here is a story about Frederick "Freddie" Killman, a boy who would have been my Great-Uncle, but tragically, he died when he was only a young teenager. Here is the story I gleaned from Killman family records, and oral history.

Frederick "Freddie" Killman (1917 - 1930)
Freddie was very precocious and loved to have fun. He was very different from his brother Hanky who was serious and hard working. His sisters Ida and Dot loved him and looked up to him. Freddie loved to go with his friends to the Lake Pontchartrain and swim. A man from the neighborhood would drive some of the local neighborhood boys to the lake to go for a swim without their parents always knowing about it.

One day Freddie came into the house and announced to the family that he needed some swim pants to go with his buddies to the lake. His mother, Albertine, was surprised, but let him go anyway. That was the last she ever saw of her son. Everybody knew that there was a deep end in the Lake Pontchartrain near People's Avenue and people were told not to go swimming too far out. Freddie was a mediocre swimmer but he was also a risk-taker so he and another boy ventured out further than they should have.

Freddie had gone with another boy from the neighborhood. Freddie was skinny and the other boy was fat. We don’t know what happened exactly but when somebody heard the cries for help they swam out to get the boys. Freddie was still alive when they got to him but he died at the hospital; his friend died too. Edward Spiehler was a witness to this event (Ida’s husband). Albertine was home frying frog legs, Freddie’s favorite. The girls and Francis were inside. Most of the neighborhood knew what had happened but no one wanted to tell the Killman’s the horrible news. Finally, a neighbor told Albertine and Francis what had happened.

Aunt Nen told me that her Dad didn’t say a word and just left the house. Albertine was left with the kids, so she brought them to a neighbor’s house while she went to see for herself what had happened. Both boys were buried at separate funerals and no one blamed anyone for the deaths. Still to this day, Ida remembers every detail of that day as if it happened yesterday. When she told me the story it made me cry but I realized how much she loved her family and our family. She wondered what her brother would have turned out like. Would he have been just as fun-loving as he was when he was a kid or would he have been serious and sensible?

Frederick "Freddie" Killman, René Alberta, Ida Killman, and Dororthy Killman play in the flood waters caused by the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927
Born 1917 and died 2 Jul 1930, Frederick Killman (Freddie) seen here on the right in the floodwaters of the 1927 flood in Gentilly, New Orleans with his buddy, René Alberta, who later died of food poisoning.


Short Story: Car Keys

… the nonsense of men is called business; the nonsense of boys, though exactly alike, is punished by those same men: and no one pities either boys or men.
– Augustine of Hippo
Measuring my life by how many times I locked keys in the car would be appropriate because I have done it since I was a kid. One vivid memory was at my brother’s soccer game, eleven years old. I had gone back to get something out of the family car, a book or somesuch, and no sooner had I slammed the door shut that it hit me like a panic — I had locked the damn keys in the car. Now, remember I was a kid. I stood still for a few seconds, my mind racing inside, the thud of the slammed door still thudding in my chest.
It had happened -- locked keys in the car -- but I wanted to make sure it really had happened. I jostled the door. Realization. Reluctance … a quiver … it had happened. I could see the keys positioned comfortably on my dad’s vinyl seat. Shit. I started to pace, indecisively; I surmised if I paced long enough I would either
1.) disappear or
2.) the car door would miraculously unlock itself and all would be put right. Nothing like that happened. I wiped my hands on my shorts. Checked my pockets. I tried all the doors a second time to see if one of them would open. A large lump in the gut of me; the feeling of swinging on a tire, a tingling that tintinnabulates in your groin.
If only I could move mountains, I thought to myself. Like Jesus. Only weeks ago I had convinced my buddy Jeremy Accuri that I could uproot our family White Oak. The familial quercus alba that my mom had planted to measure out the life of the Roselli family, I wanted to aggressively uproot. When Mom had planted the tree, it was a youngster; by now it is either mowed down or handsome. But I can remember Jeremy Accuri and me invoking God’s aid for about an hour to no avail. If only I had faith the size of a mustard seed, I thought to myself. I was really disappointed, not that I thought that I could really do it, but I expected something would happen. A manifestation. An epiphany. But no epiphanies, so Jeremy and I went to his house to eat ham sandwiches his mom had made. I can remember how amazed his mother was that I ate everything on my plate. twice. If only she knew how defeated I felt.
And empty.

The emptiness I felt in not being able to uproot our tree was less than the despair I felt in locking my parents’ keys in the Ford. It would not have been so bad if they hadn’t told me, “Don’t lock the keys in the car, Greig.” I had done just what they had told me not to do. Maybe if I had been an adult it would have been different because no one would have had to know, only the lock smith whom I would have called up to come over, maybe exchange a few words; heard his consolation, mitigated any humiliation because I could pay him, say, fifty dollars and it would be done with; or I could have been a responsible adult and signed up for AAA road side service as a part of my insurance plan. But as a kid, I was helpless, at the mercy of my parents’ seeming authoritarian judgment. I was powerless, not only by a locked door, but by own ineptitude to do anything to change my state of affairs, as useless as a jailbird.
I scraped the gravel with my shoes, again. After much consultation with myself, God, and the ground, I finally approached them. I could see my mother’s festive back, "Go Chargers," stenciled in red. Mom and Dad were lined up on the Chargers’ side of the field, belting out affirmations, curses. It didn’t make a difference, just as long as they yelled. I saw my little brother Nicholas strutting around the field like Pélé. He looked so comfortable and at ease in his world, compared to my own self-inflicted dismal plight. Even if I hadn't locked the keys in the car, I didn't see myself as graceful as Nick; I hated sports. The only time I was on the soccer team was age 8; the coach told us to be aggressive and I never forgot the word. Aggressive. Aggressive. I had an inchoate idea of what the word meant: mean, rough, not reading a book. He had us in a huddle, "You boys gotta be more aggressive!" I felt like he was looking straight at me: the boy who preferred to pick through the crimson clover patch by the goal post. Our soccer shorts were like two lollipop colored paper bags filled with air, strung around our puny legs. We bared our chests through a V-neck cotton shirt, about as much bravado as you can get from a pack of pre-pubescent boys. A fury of boys. And me. Furious in my own way; I even brought a book to read, once. How did I manage that? Dad yelling, "Keep your eye on the ball!" and Grandma not minding if I read entries to her out loud from my dictionary, as long as the team was on the other side of the field. I couldn't understand the point of the useless fumbling, so I kept on reading.
After a game we were standing around the merry-go-around. The dust in the air swirling around in nonsensical motes. A bigger kid appeared from nowhere. “Lemme see that book.” “No,” I said. “Come on,” he said and took my book. “No,” I said, “Give it back”. “I’m just gonna look at it. Geez. Get a grip. pussy.” Johnny, with thicker legs than mine, interjected, “Yeah, Greig, just let him look at it; he ain’t gonna hurt it.” I eased up and said sure; I wanted the book back, though. He read from my book. But not the real words. “And Greig eats pussy. Says so here. And weenies and boogers and ass wipes. Man. This is good shit.” Hahhhahhhh. Thay all laughed. Spat on the floor; looked like blood clots on the concrete. And just like that the bigger kid tore the book in shreds and deposited the pieces, like confetti, over the playground, the husk of the book sprawled on the ground like an emasculated man; its flesh swirling in the dust. “Don’t like your book, sorry,” and he laughed. Then they were gone, the bullies, as quickly as they had come. Alone again, I gathered up the pieces I could find, sat down, and tried to put the pages back together. My hands shaking, I tried to calm down. The other children in the playground comforted me after the bigger kids had left, laughing. Sitting cross-legged, a boy my age told me not to worry about it; I could get another book. By this time, ten or twelve other kids had gathered around me to see what was wrong – why was Greig so sad? – I had gained some composure, got up, as if nothing had happened, stuffed pieces of the book into my soccer shorts (maybe I could save a few words) and to no one in particular, I said thank you. We played in the crimson clover patch until it was time to go home.

But this time, with no keys, I couldn't escape to the crimson clover patch. There wasn't a book available to swallow up my problem, to outline how to get out of locking one's keys in the car. I began to feel really horrible. I remembered with acrid humiliation that one time at Jeremy Accuri's we were playing in the empty lot next to his house – filled with cans, nails, rotted pieces of wood. On the edge of the Mississippi. The interstate humming. His little sister tagging along. The neighbor too. Josh. I forget his last name. He was skinny and punctuated by a raggedy set of tears in his clothes, torn holes in his torso and thigh. Suffering from a cold, he coughed at us as we played, snot pasted to his cleft. I don’t know what triggered inside of me my coach’s mantra to be aggressive, but in the middle of hide-and-go-seek, I hurled a rusty, empty can of USDA peaches right at him; hit him square in the forehead. Blood was everywhere. Jeremy couldn’t believe it; ran to tell his mom. His sister screamed. Josh stood still for a minute. I thought he was going to topple over, dead. But he lunged towards me, angry. When he caught me in a grapple he couldn’t do anything except bear hug me to the ground; I pushed him off and we both walked to the house, both of us sniffling. In shock, not believing my own aggression, I was horrified that I had hurt him so badly. Blood was smeared on his head. Jeremy’s mom saw I was upset and told me everything was going to be all right. “Do you need a hug?” she asked me and I said, “Yeah, I think so.” And I tipped toed to clutch her broadly for a second then let go naturally. I was relieved that the adults seemed nonplussed. Josh went to the hospital. Got stitches. They didn’t call my mother. I never saw Josh again, on purpose. If I saw him on the playground, I avoided him. I didn’t even go back to Jeremy’s house after that. I was afraid of seeing them again; fearful they would remember the day I broke open a kid’s head.


When I finally told them I had locked the keys in the car, it was as if I had thrown a rusty can at my dad’s head or -- I couldn't quite tell from Dad's contorted gesture - they didn’t understand me. Mom mumbled something; She wanted to hit me. She had told Dad before, “I feel like I want to hit him sometimes,” and Dad leapt from his lawn chair and yelled at me louder than the other parents’ cheers. Everyone turned to look at us briefly, but the excitement of the game eventually won over, so it was just Dad and myself. Dad was a big man, so I remember his puffed up red face and bulging nub; he didn’t hit me, but he dragged me by my head to the car – to see for himself the nasty reality. When he finally released his hand my head cooled a bit and I felt relieved and dizzy.

The parking lot spun around like a top; I couldn’t quite tell if I had exited reality or not. My dad became a caricature of himself, a cartoon swimming in circles with rage. I remember he was bloated with fury and mean, red all over with blotches of yellow and green. He was talking out loud, saying, “I told you not to lock the keys in the car, didn’t I? Do you have any idea how much it costs to pop this lock? Huh?” He banged on the red door. A loud thud. He banged again. The prospect of getting a coat hanger to fish for the lock was unbearable to him, so he eventually had to call a locksmith. When Mom arrived on the scene she merely glared and folded her arms like a sentry, lips pursed, eyes meaner than a basilisk. “I can’t believe this, Anthony,” she whispered, but staring at me, intently. She didn’t mean it, I don’t think, but she said, “I’m never taking those bastards anywhere ever again.” Dead forever was any future bestowal of responsibility. And my brothers by default. They would never trust me again. I wanted to challenge them raw until nothing was left. I had forgotten that one summer Mom had forgotten Amanda in the car for about an hour while she talked to Aunt Evelyn, until finally someone asked “Where’s Daphne?” They finally found her. There she was, stuck in the back seat of the car where Mom had left her; still asleep, but trapped. And then there was the urban legend I had heard about of a dad who uncharacteristically was supposed to drop his baby off at daycare before he went to work, but forgot to do it, parked his car in the company garage on a hot day and left her there to bake; found her dead at the end of the work day; didn’t even realize she had been there the whole time, silenced. What goes through a man’s head after such a horrible thing? Does he ever recover? Is he ever forgiven? A memory never goes away, completely. It’s embodied, like a renegade bullet lodged in a man’s stomach. You need a surgeon with antiseptic instruments to cut it out from the flesh. Then with stitches you can begin to recover.
I don’t think you can escape from the ravages of childhood.
For some reason or other, I never recovered; never could keep things in the right place. I can count five other times I locked keys in the car after that soccer incident. Once in a supermarket parking lot in 1996. Another at a drugstore a few months later. And to my chagrin, because someone had to fish for the lock with a coat hanger, in front of church in 1997. Another time in front of Veronica’s house last year. And again at home a few weeks ago. To retell them would be prosaic, if not repetitive. Suffice it to say, that first mishap left a scar on my psyche, which probably left me numb and disillusioned to my own self-worth, much less my confidence in the suburban patriotism surrounding soccer games. But there is something deeper. I went further inside of myself. After that day, instead of joining everyone else at the sidelines to cheer for my brother, I sought solace by walking in the woods behind the fields. I pretended it was Narnia, past the lamppost. This did not do well for my reputation though, because I would get lost in my own thoughts and dreams and by the time I had left Narnia the game had long been finished. Mom never called the cops on me, but she was furious. It happened so many times I think they just calculated I would eventually show up. The last car in the parking lot to leave. “How would you like it if I left without you? What if I had called the police?” Mom would say with her arms folded, tightly. I didn’t know how to answer her, “Where were you?” invectives so I usually just stood there feeling guilty, honestly not knowing where all the time had gone and feeling sorry that mom and dad had to worry about me so much. “I dunno. I wuz reading, I guess,” I would mumble. I wasn’t lying because there was the proof: a big fat ochre sci-fi yarn in my arms; my own name scrawled on the frontispiece. The car ride home was silent and bitter and I went to bed early.

One summer afternoon we had just watched that Bette Midler tearjerker that had just come out on VHS which we could play on a VCR checked out from the library, a momentous black box affixed with a manila pocket stamped: 5 JUL ‘82. Something moved inside me after the movie. The gods heard my muses. I was outside in the yard; I was ten. I remember it was hot and humid and everyone was inside but I stayed outside feeling emotional after having just watched Beaches. I lifted my arms up in the air and I was yelling, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty I’m free at last!” There is a scene in the film when Bette and her roommate shout out loud, “free at last free at last thank god almighty I’m free at last”. Something about not doing what her father said. She feels liberated. I really didn’t understand all the adult complexities of the scene being only ten, but something about her energy struck a chord in my little heart. So, I shouted just like her. All my frustrations. All my inarticulate sufferings. Learning to love. Myself. Being me. Which never felt so difficult before. But now. Free at last. Free at last. I must of been out there for God knows how long, but I was alone, everyone else in the midst of their own routines. But for me the yard was my world, around that tree; my dad’s neatly trimmed yard, fertilized. Mom’s sun tea heating on the air conditioner. It will be ready by dinner, I thought. Then the epiphany. A manifestation. I felt it on my head. The flap of bird’s wings. The holy spirit. On my head. I heard the chirp and the frantic rush of wings. The holy spirit had landed on my head. The gods had heard me. I ran into the house and the goddamn bird held on. “Mom Mom Mom. The holy spirit landed on my head.” I yelled and yelled and the bird still hung on. A parakeet. It finally yanked itself out of my hair, flew around the room and landed back on my tousled head. We decided to keep it and named it Pretty Boy. A few months later we found sterile eggs in her cage but didn’t change her name. She died after six years; a faithful bird, very quiet and low maintenance. And believe it or not, the story still circulates around the family about me and that bird. And the white oak. And the Chargers. And picking crimson clovers. And Maggie at the zoo, Lavern in the store, the dimpled red dots on Faith’s face … stories circulate.

Recently, I took Zach to the bookstore and Lorie freaked because we didn’t make it back in time. She did call the cops. After all those years of disappearing no one ever called the police on me; no search parties scouted me out. And I have been lost many times. I chortle at the absurdity of keys and time, of lateness and wrong turns. After all those years of disappearing no one ever called the police on me; no search parties scouted me out. And I have been lost many times. Three times in the woods (Maggie saved me); once at the mall; once at school; once at the spillway and five times in my own room (don’t ask). If only I could be so lucky to have a search party.


Pita Pit on Mag has great customer service, et. al.

Boys, and girls, get your gyros and eggs wrap edibles at Magazine's finest establishment: the Pita Pit. Now, I know I am biased because Ryan works there but you can just suck my left kneecap if you don't like my product placement. Airplane Ryan G-Dog is the only one allowed to call me fagasaurus.

Now for my girl Taryn at PJs: here she is writing the next big novel. She tells me it is about a naive flight attendant who gets flak from her boss and takes refuge on a crazy, romantic mis-adventure in Paris. I cannot wait to read the finished copy Taryn!
Taryn is actually a novelist. Don't let her make you believe that she is a UPS employee.

Now the funny part is Ryan (Airplane) is not really a Pita Pit employee but rather an iconoclastic social critic who reads Lacan with the same voraciousness as a pissing horse.

This photograph is very good: it shows my two cousins, Zack and Elliot playfully fighting.

Hey Zack: you will make a great daddy one day!

Hey Elliot: one day you will have guns too!

And last but not least: here is Jonathan getting ready for his big interview. He recently got a job at a Credit Union and I thought he would think it sweet that I posted it here because he has been such a diligent reader of this blog. Thanks, John!


Poem: "Sitting with Marian"

Between: a world, a planet, a zone. Space.

I utter. My mechanical parts interrelate, talk

despite my feeble trippings as my words fill then empty.

Logos ensconced by my feeble trippings, my lack of grammar Ð

the television, splintered, only silence, a silencing of vacuous

plenty. In the space, in the planet, a vestibule to solemnize words.

I am stuck in an oeuvre of oils. Meaning hisses, whispers

out of my dying bones. Tears, discovery of despondency, to see

intent in your blinking windows, compassion. A receptivity,

found only in children, in JackÕs lithe idiosyncrasy,

do I see in your stale exterior, your crisp(y) skin,

burned from within. My paranoid hands, your exhausted dry

red peppers, your tired raw shrimp lips, burdensome attire,

giant leaden feet, heavy, overbearing space.


Poem: Riding MARTA on a Business Trip

MARTA train arrives in Atlanta's airport photograph: visitingdc
Faces I saw on the train from the airport,

twin faces painstakingly exact,
except for a
birthmark on one of their chins,
dressed in a gray hooded pullover,
one blue, one grey, a branded name, the same,

stood on their seats with a cousin or friend,
lions and lionesses
a traveling father and mother
planning, checking the stops …
don’t want to miss it …

going to the zoo, a little vacation
with the kids

said the papa

sitting right next to me

and as the train ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhed by,
a twin’s tooth came loose in the aisle seat,
between Civic Center and Peachtree.

Showcasing the discarded flesh to his brother as if
rejoicing in his difference,

jostling up to his twin, eagerly sharing his tooth,
snuggling up to him, intimacy,
the entire family of the car noticed
and sighed a collective ahhhhhhhh of parental instinct,
distracted from reading, staring out the window,
getting off, getting on,
the gapless gemini grinning
his roman face leonine, as I have said,

and switching places with his father, to calm him down,
to displace him from his brother,
he glowered in the seat, never quite glowing,
or sharing his tooth,
stowed probably in his pocket.

When the train had stopped and they had gone.
I didn’t see them again; I had turned my head and when I had looked
where the twin had sat, there was an empty space,
an orange-tinted plastic seat
"Lady" © 2006 by Greig Roselli