Mary Beth Writes

4/8/2022

Franc and I had a conversation about men who won’t or don’t explore their feelings over in yesterday’s comments section. If you want to chime in that topic is still wide open like a swanky whale swimming through swales and swells, swilling for krill. (I don’t know where that came from either. Follow the muse.)

Also, I suggested that if you have photos of Spring where you live to send them to me and I will post them. David sent this from Raleigh, NC. Drying puddle. Yellow aura of pollen. Yup, it’s Spring.

You can send photos to me at:   MB at MaryBethDanielson dot com.  

Chicago Story - 

I moved into Chicago late summer of 1974. Hedy was already my friend (Hi, Hedy!) and she was living with Sharon in a rambling 3rd floor walk-up at 713 S. Loomis. (How do I remember my address from back then? Minds are weird.) That's a current photo of the building, at the top. 

Hedy and Sharon were nursing students at University of Illinois at Chicago / Circle campus. Their 3rd roommate moved out that summer which made room for me. I’d graduated from college in June and had already had enough mis-starts and mishaps to mar any average young woman’s life for years. (I can tell you, if you want to know, about picking up the lock-picking hitchhiker who shipped marijuana via Greyhound as his career and who wanted to re-upholster my car’s interior in a leopard skin leatherette. He knew where to get it.)

It seemed to me that moving in with two rather Christian women of my own age might make my life safer and saner. This was not to be true, but that was the plan.

The thing is, in a conventional story one doesn’t spend a lot of time describing how the main character gets from one place to another. But in real life, that’s a big deal, right? Why, just today Len got a ticket for turning at a place we have turned the entire seven years we have lived here, but just this week they decided it is now a construction zone and so drama ensued.

I drove into Chicago by myself. My car was a gold 1969 Pontiac Tempest that my mom gave me when she bought a new car for herself because my sister told her she had to. My sister knew how things should be and often my mom and I obeyed her. (My mom obeyed Karen way more than I did.) Her daughter is reading this now and probably smiling.

So it was late in the afternoon of a very hot summer day. The car had no air conditioning because cars didn’t back then. Everything I owned was in my car, including my cat Buick (four on the floor). I was also a smoker and I was smoking so I had to have the window open, but not too much because I was always worried Buick would jump out. (He was a scaredy cat and he would not have done that, but I was his person and my god I loved him.) I had been driving four hours. It was a s-l-o-w rush hour coming into Chicago on I-94; I was on the Steel Bridge.

I was looking down at the floor of the car, trying to figure out where Buick had disappeared to in the 90-degree car. I was driving very slowly, but, you guessed it, I bumped into the car in front of me.

Traffic was so slow he stopped and I stopped. He got out to look at his back bumper and I just sat with tears running down my face. I wanted my mom but that wasn’t going to happen.

A giant black Chicago guy in work pants and a dirty white t-shirt walked to my window. I rolled it down halfway. “I’m sorry but I have my cat in here and I’m afraid to open the door because he might jump out. I don’t know what to do.”

You know, that man could have been awful but he wasn’t.

“There is a little bumper damage on my car. Nothing on yours. I will settle for $20.”

“I don’t have that much cash. I can write you a check except I’m moving into Chicago today and I don’t have a bank yet.”

He shook his head from side to side. He didn’t yell. He went back to his car, wrote down his address, gave it to me. “I’m counting on you to send me a check for $20. Please do that.”

He went back to his car, traffic resumed, an hour later I was carrying everything I owned up three flights to my new room in my very first apartment in Chicago.

The next day I went to a bank in the neighborhood and opened a checking account. They gave me starter checks. I wrote a check for $20 and sent it to that man and neve heard from him again.

Thus began my life in Chicago.

In the early 1990’s Len came to me one day after spending some time on our computer. “Do you know you have unclaimed cash at this bank I never heard of on the near west side?”

I had never used that bank again; and so forgot that money. I applied for it and not long after we moved out of Chicago to Wisconsin.

  

 

 

 

 

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Wait for your postings....Thanks

How do we send you photos? I'm not able to find a way to attach them.
Mary Beth's picture

Yeah, I should have said. I will put this up in the body of this post also. You can send photos directly to me at MB at MaryBethDanielson dot com.

I love the name "Buick" for your cat. Glad you gave up smoking!

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The Good Old Days???

9/28/2022

Over the past few days Len and I have been emailing with two cousins regarding this interesting topic.

Were the Good Old Days All That Good?

The four of us grew up in the late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. We are from three hometowns. Two of us were and still are science nerds. Two of us grew up in the same family and church.

This is what Len said about his childhood.

This is a more intense version of joking to kids that our smallpox scars are power ports.

Send $ to Welcome the Strangers Among Us.

If you have a heart for new immigrants among us and are open to another way to support them – Listen Up.

Three Things - Surviving the News, Our Web, Hiking Pix

9/16/2022

Len and I went on a hike yesterday at the Monches section of the Ice Age Trail and the photos are from there. 

Was it only a week and a half ago? My how time flies when one lives in an open and free society under daily assault.

3 Things - Cool, 9/11, Bulbs

The photo is from Hiroshima. It's the shadow of what was there before the bomb. 

9/11/2022

Yesterday it was hot and muggy and sticky. Almost every day since May has been hot and muggy and sticky. We have a small house with air conditioning; utility bills are not prohibitive so I am a lucky that way.  It’s usually cool enough in here.

But spending time outside, as one ought to do, is perpetually hot and muggy and sticky. I’m weary of sweating. Most weeks my laundry has included nearly twenty spent t-shirts … just from me.

3 Things - QE2, Triplets, & Me

The death of Queen Elizabeth dominated the news yesterday and it still thick afoot today. ‘Thick afoot” is my attempt to sound like a wee English countryside river animal political pundit. You know. An otter with a pipe. A weasel in a dark suit and an appropriate tie. A crow with an Hermès scarf.

I have two responses to QE2’s passing.

Wild Horses & Other Beauties

8/23/2022 

I first saw this photograph on Twitter in April. I don’t know the photographer, but the photo stopped me in my tracks. 

The Twitter handle of this person is Chris Byrne @ChrisByrnePhoto. He has a website; I think he leads photography workshops. His website is: chrisbyrnephotography.com.

Meanwhile, here I am, awestruck by a beautiful and wild place I will likely never go. It’s called Torres de Pain and it’s a national park in Chile. https://national-parks.org/chile/torres-del-paine

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