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February 11, 2011

Yesterday, when I was nineteen

4318125108_d64719a57eby Barbara O'Neal

This morning, I am drinking Good Earth tea. This is not unusual.  It has no caffeine and comes in a yellow box. The tags have little quotes on them, like “A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck,” attributed to James A. Garfield. I make it in giant mugs with two tea bags because if I write and drink coffee, it makes me jittery and nauseous.  I don’t have to add sugar, also a bonus. 

What is unusual is that as I brewed my cup this morning, I was suddenly transported to another day in my life.  A couple of lifetimes ago, as Joan Baez might say, when I was 19. 

At nineteen, I lived with my boyfriend in a tiny house on an alley.  Behind us were a few trailers plunked down behind a used car lot; in front was the main house, one of two remaining houses in a neighborhood that had gone commercial. At one end of the block was an apartment building with three floors filled with people as poor as we were, only some of them had children and we were still technically kids ourselves.  

A block or two in one direction was a Sears, and on the corner across the street from the apartments was a strip club.  If you walked six or seven blocks toward downtown, you came to a florist with a Photo sprawling greenhouse where my friend Nancy  and I went to buy Swedish Ivy and coleus.  I first developed a taste for cyclamen and African violets there; Nancy and I had a contest to see who could grow the healthiest, most robust houseplants, for which we wove macrame hangers out of jute, which is a material you probably only know about if you, too, were bitten by the macramé bug in the late seventies.  She was the star at that, even making things like hanging tables and wall hangings with elaborate knots, even when she smoked weed, which was a lot.  I sometimes smoked with her, before we went to the Photo greenhouse, especially. Walking through the hushed rows with my camera, a Minolta SLR that I had saved a long time to buy,  slightly high on Mexican dirt weed, is one of the most peaceful memories in my entire library.  I fell in love with the kaleidoscopic hearts of tulips and the mathematical sawtooth edges of pilea involucrata.  I desperately wanted to work in a greenhouse, an ambition from which I’ve never entirely recovered.

The little house I shared with my boyfriend, a dashing cook who rode a red motorcycle, was pathetic from the outside, covered in some awful white shingles  that had seen better days, but the entire inside was paneled in deep, polished pine, even the bathroom. It gave everything a deep glow in the afternoons, all that beautiful wood casting out golden light as if we lived in the very heart of a DSCN3100 forest.  The rooms were all in a row, bedroom to the east, with three windows, a double bed and a dresser I brought from my parents' home; minuscule living room furnished mainly with plants in front of the long windows, kitchen with exactly enough room for a stove, a fridge, and a sink below the high narrow window. I lined up coleus cuttings in tiny crystal jars I bought at Goodwill and shot photos of them against cloudy skies.

At nineteen I was restless and wrote novels in spiral notebooks in the afternoons before I went to work at a downtown restaurant where I wore slick black uniform and a velvet hat.  But while I lived there, a restaurant opened across the busy street by my paneled house.  Food was served from the counter and had a smattering of inexpensive tables and chairs in the sunny dining room. Too sunny, since it faced south and the hard traffic of Platte Avenue and it would get hot and smell of exhaust fumes from the big cars people drove in the late 70s.  (I recently passed by and noticed it has been turned into a head shop medical marijuana clinic.)


The menu was the thing. It was salads. All salads, and you went to the counter to look at the menu on the wall, just like any fast food place, but instead of a hamburger and fries or tacos and refritos, the list was entirely salad ingredients—lettuces and fresh spinach, diced tomatoes and broccoli, grated cheese and sunflower seeds and croutons.  For a set price you could have six ingredients, for a little more, you could add others.  They served generously, lots of sunflower seeds for the money, lots of cheese, all on a big bed of whatever greens you’d chosen. 

And they served cinnamon tea, iced or hot.  It may very well have been Good Earth, which has likely been around since then. 

On days when I’d made a lot in tips, or I didn’t have to go to school, or one of my sisters had driven up to see me from Pueblo, I would cross the busy street and order my salads, not feeling so much healthy  2231997720_6facef4b7f_z as besotted with all those fresh ingredients.  I didn’t love meat and didn’t want crap in my body (except cigarettes, of course, and beer, and, oh yeah, the occasional joint).   That menu gave me a chance to experiment,  dark green flexibility of spinach, especially paired with creamy dressing and sunflower seeds.  I’d never eaten fresh broccoli or cauliflower or uncooked peas. I filled the bowl with romaine and soft butter lettuce and red leaf lettuce, with cheese and nuts and seeds of all varieties, and ate it all with hearty freshly baked wheat rolls with butter.  The tea, sweet without sugar, was powerful complement.  

Hippie food, my friends teased me. Maybe, I said, shrugging.  I liked it.

It didn’t last long, the restaurant, and anyway, I moved out of that house to another one and my life took a turn.  I found a job washing dishes in a tiny music café where the menu was fresh and vegetarian, soups and bread and salads served by waitresses who didn’t always wear bras and the music was acoustic and bluesy.  I learned that I loved fresh food, that when it was good and real, it didn’t need a lot of heavy fat or meat to make it taste good.  It was my first adult shift in food choices, and it stuck.

When you are nineteen, the world is still fresh and you are still mighty—and a lot of who you become DSCN3093 shows up. I still love taking photos of greenhouses and the hearts of flowers and I’m eyeing a very fancy new digital camera. I still have too many house plants (one fern is older than my children) and I love fresh ingredients.  I have traded the smoke for good wine, but I’ve kept the cinnamon tea.  

Out of curiosity, I looked at the tag on one of the bags in my cup just now and it says, “The palest ink is better than the best memory.” 

So it is.

Do you remember the first time you liked something that made you feel like the adult you were going to become?  What do you remember about being nineteen? What stuck? What did not?  

 

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Comments

As a nineteen year old I liked to laugh a lot, collect clothes and sheet music.
The green thumb phenomenon eluded me except for the time as a child a threw some seeds into the ground near the front veranda and corn as high as an elephant's eye grew much to my mother's chagrin. My mother was an avid gardener and could grow anything as they said. Beautiful flowers surrounded our yard.Sadly she died leaving lilies behind and I mourned her and the lilies as they died shortly after her demise.
I did not dream big except for wanting to trade places with Doris Day or Natalie Wood but a lot of girls did at that time.

The big thrill for me at that age was recreating show and movie themes on the piano and Hammond organ.
It may have seemed geeky to some but I did not care.
The Sunday afternoon when my boyfriend soon to be husband heard me play my music he was taken by that and told me later that he had admired my ability.
Luckily, all those days without a boyfriend paid off when I was able to audition for my future husband and the life that I have shared with him.

Cue the Steely Dan music. AT 19, I was half way through college and pushing the envelope between civil mischief and criminal misdemeanors. Luckily, I learned exactly where that line was and never got caught crossing it.

I remember realizing, around that time, that consequences were becoming something real - no more kid stuff. It was one thing to pull of hilarious pranks and quite another to have a permanent record.

The other thing I knew by that age was that drinking cheap wine was never a good idea. In those days, my general guidelines were if the label had an animal or a flower, it was probably best to pass. I don't know if they still make "Tiger Rose" wine, but if they do, someone should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of dumb people.

When I moved into my first apartment after college---into a small collection of rooms in what had once been a spectacular mansion--the drug dealer who lived upstairs was very sweet to me. He asked if he could splice my TV cable line, and I agreed. He never spoke to me after that day.........because my boyfriend showed up for a weekend, driving an unmarked car and wearing a khaki raincoat with epaulettes. When I moved out, the dealer asked how my cop boyfriend was getting along. Uh....he's not a cop, I said, and the dealer was stunned. I think I was relieved.

This blog reads like your wonderful books, Barbara!

The summer I was nineteen ? North Carolina's Fort Bragg looms as a big turning point. A girlfriend and I went there (from Illinois) to visit an old boyfriend of hers and ended up in Myrtle Beach. My first experience with the 82nd Airborne. There's nothing quite like lying in one bed with someone you just met while girlfriend and her "friend" are quite active in the other...honestly, I don't know who was most embarrassed, me or him! Came back from the trip only to have my steady of two years dump me for a younger girl (high school junior, honest) JUST before junior year. "We just need to see other people" was his reasoning...I took it to heart, dated one or two guys, and then met Chuck. 45 years later and we're still together. I still have fond memories (mostly) of the NC trip though...beautiful country, lots of sun, and a guy who respected me enough not to try more than a kiss while we watched an old Bette Davis movie :o)

Oh, when I was nineteen . . . I did some wonderful plays and had some lousy love affairs. And I moved from Lincoln, Nebraska to New York City. I think I realized that year that no matter how tough it was to uproot my life and leave my family behind and navigate my way through the Big City, that I'd spend my life in Big Cities forever after. And so far, I have.

And I still love my work, although the nature of it has changed (not all that much, from actor to writer).

And I still believe that True Love is right around the corner.

When I was nineteen it was sex, drugs and rock and roll. And attending just enough of my college classes to keep my skinny butt out of a rice paddy where little guys in their PJs might shoot at me. During my 19th year I was back stage with nearly every rock group on the planet (See some of the “albums” on my FaceBook page linked to by name below). I didn’t just sowing my wild oats I was sowing quadrotriticale.

The turning point for me was December 1969. That month my local draft board announced they would not be calling anyone with a number higher than 190 for the year. I bravely declared myself ready, willing and able to be eligible for the draft. I wasn’t struck by a sudden wave of patriotism but instead felt the warm glow of a draft lottery number of 260. I walked off campus the week before finals and I haven’t returned to one of those regurgitation factories since.

Nineteen was a very interesting year.

Nineteen, nineteen. OH, gosh, I think that was 1968-69? And that means I was in college, and I was really really unhappy. (Unhappy for college, you know? Not compellingly life-changingly unhappy. Just--clueless and "unpopular.") I hardly ever went to class, except for English literature and instead stayed in my single dorm room, reading what I wanted to read (not what was assigned) and listening to records. Mostly Joni Mitchell. For a while, I lived on tea and oranges, because of Leonard Cohen's song Suzanne. (What can I say. College.)

By the next year, I had left college, signed up to work in a political campaign, and decided my role in life was to help change the world. (I wound up being an assistant to the press secretary. And every bit of how my life turned out--is still turning out--came from that decision.)

Oh. I haven't thought about that for a while. Thanks, Barbara..xoxo

I love the snapshots of time these stories give us. Alan Sorkin recently said of his work on The Social Network that he'd hate for someone to make a movie of his life when he was 19. But these stories make me want more.

Marie, I would have gladly traded my green thumb for an ability to play music. I love it madly but have no talent for it. And Kathy, I think we have to drink cheap wine in order to learn to love the good stuff.

Rod, thank goodness for your high draft number.

Hank, it's so hard to imagine you as a lonely girl!

At 19 I was married and already had 2 sons. :) It was a wonderful, horrible year. I think a Lifetime movie could made of just that year alone.

Nineteen seems very far away. I was a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

That's the year I created a law in SC that outlawed 3 for 1 nights.

All because my friends and I danced with the black football players at the bar at Smuggler's Inn (on 3 for 1 night) and one of the white football players called his fellow players a bad, bad name. My friend threw her drink in his face. He picked her up by the shirt collar and started pounding her in the forehead with his fist as he took her to the parking lot. It took four bouncers to pull him off her.

Meanwhile, me with my smart mouth called him an a$$hole as I comforted my friend and he broke free from the bounces and lifted my up by my chin and tossed me across the parking lot. The school begged me to sue him and get it into court as they wanted him off the team but I settled out of court. However, one of the stipulations the judge made later was to outlaw 3 for 1 nights.

Good thing about this? Months later, while still under the restraining order, said football player approached me in another bar. The biggest, baddest, blackest football player on the team caught my eye from across the room and came to my rescue. He made one punch to the aggressor's nose and splat! down he went. Everyone walked around him as he was flat on the floor until his best friend rushed over and asked what happened. No one gave up the truth, we said he must have hit his head on the bar ... even the bartenders backed us up.

So, at nineteen I was causing bar fights with the help of my friends. Hmmmm

Wow, Barbara, your blog today--wonderful, and evoked so many memories of that time.

The year I turned 19, 1970, was one of the major turning points of my life. I'd been in college for a year, studying Police Science, and dating another of the students, who proposed. We got married that June (a year before Rod and his wife, to the day), and discovered I was pregnant, all in the same week. Sigh. My oldest and most wonderful daughter was born that November, just in time that her mother could eat Thanksgiving turkey in the hospital.

I learned so much that year, including that some men will do anything to stay out of the draft, even if it means impregnating an innocent Catholic girl to do it.

Damn you, Kathy. Ever since your daughter's birthday I've had that stupid Steely Dan stuck in my head. lol

Hank: Joni Mitchell was one of the nicest people I ever met during my rock and roll phase (pictures of her on my Facebook). She is also one of my most vivid memories of my 19th year. I was with a group of people talking to her outside the Grand Ole Opry. Bob Dylan was making his first public appearance in nearly 3 years after his motorcycle accident. When his car pulled up everyone stopped talking to her in mid-sentence and ran to Dylan’s car. The look on her face has haunted me for 40 years.

What beautiful images in your post today! I drank a lot of Good Earth tea, and ate at the Good Earth restaurant when I lived in LA. They had a great twelve summer vegetable soup that they served all year long, but it was Southern California, so the summer thing made sense. But all that was much later. At nineteen, I was moving to Dublin to study James Joyce. My first apartment was there, a tiny studio called a bedsitter with a bathroom that was down the hall and up a tiny flight of stairs. To stay warm, I learned to build a peat fire (when I could afford it) or a coal fire (when money was tight which was most of the time). I drank Guinness in the pubs at night, and cafe au lait in Bewley's every morning. I read Ulysses. . . and walked everywhere.

Hi! I saw your post on Twitter! I remember macrame! The church ladies made us learn it as a project whenever there was a church meeting that someone had to provide babysitting for. I would probably enjoy it more now than I had back then.

When I was 19, I had my first "real" job. Not babysitting, teaching aerobics classes or working in a gift shop with my grandmother and the other little old ladies that owned it. My first real job. One with insurance, a HR department and a whole host of other adult things I didn't understand and no-one explained to me. My first job with a boss that wasn't some little old lady, or some kid's parent who was a friend of the family. I had a male boss, for the first time in my life. I had no idea how to relate.I was terrified that I'd do something wrong, or screw up and be "in trouble" just like some kid who displeased her parents. I desperately wanted to do a good job and was terrified of making a mistake. I went about my tasks like a deer in headlights for the first two or three months. Then some of the older women working with me sensed my uncertainty and my boss' confusion and told him to just back off a bit, give me some space and let me prove I could do the work. That helped immensely, and I developed a great respect for my boss. I ended up learning a lot from him, and still put many of those things into practice today. It was a tough job, because I was hired to be the personnel that remained at the facility all day while management worked a split shift. In addition to my routine duties, I ended up shouldering a lot of managerial responsibilities- all for $8.50 an hour. I ran that place, above and beyond my job description, for three years at $8.50/hour, despite my boss constantly putting in for a raise for me. The president of the company was averse to promoting women in the workplace. Meanwhile, at 19 and embarking on this first real job, I was also in my first year of commuting an hour both ways to classes at a community college, and reeling from a breakup 6 months prior. I had had my first serious boyfriend, I thought we would be together forever, and I just could not get over the loss. When I wasn't scrambling around running a health club and spa mostly by myself, I was grieving, I was mourning. I was hurting and had zero interest in getting involved in another relationship.

Blessedly, I realized that I could not divide my energies between the two things. I had a new, demanding job that required my focus and attention and I had no time or energy to spare on wishing for old boyfriends.

Later I would drop out of community college, after just two years, to devote my time solely to the job, which would last for another year, despite the stress I was incurring, the panic attacks I'd begun experiencing as soon as I would enter in the morning and the door closed behind me.

In the end, it was mostly stressful, bad, unhealthy times, but I forged some lasting, valuable friendships with people I met during that time, and also learned many things about running a business, managing people, being professional. I also learned a lot about myself.

The year I was nineteen I was a summer intern in DC for my Congressman. It was my first experience being in a place where I was treated equal to a man. Being from the South, I had always felt that women were not seen as intelligent as men. So it was so refreshing to be in such a progressive (to my eyes) city. When I was 27, I had to get out of Knoxville because I felt stiffled and claustrophobic. So I found a job on Capitol Hill with another TN congressman and moved permanently to the DC area. And I've never looked back.

Another thing about that intern summer. The Watergate hearings were going on then, and congressional staffers could go sit in the hearing rooms whenever we wanted for however long we wanted. Sometimes that was our assignment for the day, when we weren't needed for anything else. I thought I was so cool wearing my staffer badge and getting into the chamber quickly, when visitors had to be ushered in and out every few minutes. Plus I got to see the people made famous by the TV coverage of the hearings. Yeah, I was cool...riiiiight.

Lovely blog, and also lovely to see some new names here because of it and you, Barbara. ::waves to newcomers & encourages you to come back any ol' time::

Robin, what an amazing and wonderful story!

19. College. Partying, not studying. Seems to me that was the year I had my two wonderful roommates in the world's tiniest room just barely big enough to cram in a bunk bed, a single, and one chest with drawers to share. So small we couldn't all stand in the middle at the same time and at least one of us had to stay in bed and wait until there was a square foot clear. This is partly because one was a six-foot goddess. God, we had fun laughing in our mini-room.

The first thing that stuck me was the beautiful imagery in the writing. Then it was duh, she's a professional writer.

At 19 I was living in a dorm with Rex. Parks College of St. Louis University was its own campus in Illinois. My labs had wings and propellers. There were only 1,000 students enrolled. Rex and Big Al where the biggest, strongest guys on campus. One advantage was we worked the door at all parties so we didn't pay.

What I first learned that made me the adult I am today was the summer I spent in Israel. I weeded cotton and peanut fields on a kibbutz on the edge of Gaza. I read Exodus 10 from the top of Mt. Sinai at sunrise. I walked through the gates of a Displaced Person camp. I celebrated July 4 outside of the US, an interesting feeling.

Great stories.

Karen, I had a teacher in high school who got married at 15 to save her boyfriend from the draft. They were still married 20 years later. Viet Nam did strange things to this country. Every time I hear that 'only x number of US soldiers died in Iraq this month...' I remember there was a day when the Viet Nam war had 'only' killed 3,000 - 4,000. I was hoping we would have learned more from the 50,000 plus who died in SE Asia.

Rod: 100 points for the Star Trek reference.

Al, it would have been great, and I would have been completely behind the concept, except he didn't love me. He just used me, and then left me for another woman.

No, I'm not bitter. Why do you ask?

Welcome, Barbara. What an evocative first blog. Lots of good stories. My 19th year was pretty vanilla, although I did pretty much leave home (and college) for good that year. Went to DC, worked at the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shared a grown-up apartment with two roommates, and met the man I'm still with.

Doc: Live long and prosper. FYI: The street number of my house is 1701

At nineteen I was reluctantly pulled from innocence into the reality of unsavory people. I lived in the smallest of appartments on Capital Hill in Denver. My entire foccus was on doing whatever I had to do in order to slip away from situations that wanted to control me. Situations that I refused to allow to be part of the woman I wanted to be. When I made my escape I felt like a passenger on the Underground Railroad. I brought with me self love and a clue.

Hi Barbara (had to search for author's name today -- maybe just hidden on my computer?) Nineteen -- hmm, that would have been Macalester College . . . anti-war movement (though Quaker friends preferred peace rallies, less aggressive, you know). A friend has a t-shirt "Peace . . . Still Waiting"
One of my students made up a slogan "Drop pies, not bombs" and I visualized lots of pies with little parachutes. Let's add some tea bags to the package, sit down, eat, drink tea, and work out a way to make this a better world . . .

At 19 I was a freshman at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. I marched in my first protest against the War in Vietnam -- which happened on a fine spring day. We were sunshine soldiers in the fight for peace.

For those the same age as Elaine and me here are some contact sheets of a 1969 protest march in Cincinnati when I was 19.

I think it is interesting that at the time of the march I found the spectators lining the street more interesting photo subjects than the marchers.

http://rodpennington.net/Peace1.jpg
http://rodpennington.net/Peace2.jpg
http://rodpennington.net/Peace3.jpg
http://rodpennington.net/Peace4.jpg

These are fascinating stories, every single one. And yes, Alan, there is always another year, another turning point. I was recently in my old neighborhood and the house is still there and it all still looks tawdry but I remembered being really happy and unhappy at 19.

Sorry, Storyteller Mary, forgot again to put my byline on the top. Robin, love that story.

Rod, yours is a history I desperately wanted. Music! Rock n roll! Must go look at your photos.

Ireland, Brunonia! Even the peat fire sounds deliriously wonderful. That gives me an insight into a certain something I taste in your books, too, that Irish influence.

Ah my friend Sharon. Then we met and things went right uphill! :) Angela, that's definitely tough. Sometimes I think of my mother at 19. She had three children under the age of four. And we all lived through it!

Jennifer, thanks for coming over from Twitter. Fun, isn't it? And business is a big challenge for 19.

Margaret, I'm laughing when you said yours was 19 and then you were working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

At 19, in 1979, I was working 2 part-time jobs to save up to move out of the house. I was a labourer in a pulp mill and worked in the secretary pool of the local college. I did move out a month before I turned 20. I did manage to 'force' myself to use some of my savings to spend the month of July 1979 visiting a friend in Rockledge, Florida. It was a great time, beach, parties, Disney World, the best tan of my life, which was oh, so important at the time. I miss the friends I made in Florida and so far haven't been able to find them on facebook.

19 is legal age in BC so I did some partying that year as well, it was the start of New Wave music. For me is was sex, dancing and rock 'n roll.

What a lovely post. At 19, I was married, Kennedy was President, and the closest I got to rebellion was Mario Savio talking in the Student Union. When all of you were indulging, I was a young mother in a house on a hill, yearning for that freedom, color and excitement. Sadly, the war touched me through my friends who lost children and had relatives who served in Vietnam. You have moved at least one reader.

I spent my 19th year (and my 20th, 21st and nearly 3/4 of mt 22nd) in the Navy. The "real adult" thing I remember most was walking legally (cos at age 19 you can drink beer on base stateside) and ordering a beer. Not that I'd never had beer or liquor before, but there I was all growed up and paying for it at a bar.

I had many other adult experiences and learning opportunities that year. Most were the kind you don't enjoy having (I hated the military life), some were lucrative (did you know that there is a thriving black market onboard most Navy ships and on all military installations?), some were fun (the vast bulk of these involved young ladies) and some taxed my sanity (back then, Guam stood for "Give up and masturbate. I was stationed there for 15 months).

The thing that stuck with me about being 19 was that it was just so damned different from all the years that came before it. Also, being an adult on your own is great and sucks, in roughly equal proportions.

I forgot to put the year the bar incident happened so you'd have it in perspective ... 1983. Hello? We were floored the white guy was so mad we were flirting and dancing with his teammates.

Sorry for the typos in the org post.

And Barbara is one of my favorite writers, she can pull you into a setting quicker and better than any writer I read. Her descriptions are amazing.

Wonderful images. Lovely, just lovely. Spiritual. So glad you are here.

Gaylin, laughing at the tan. Yes, one of my great claims to fame was dark (for a white girl) skin. You better believe I made the most of it.

Wow, nineteen. I was a new mother, working in a massage parlor, living in Seattle, in a tiny cabin that required you to walk through the closet to get to the bathroom. I read everything I could get my hands on and decided that intellectual people drank tea. I kept the kid, became a tea snob and the last time I was in Seattle the cabin was a McDonald's.
As always, thanks Barbara.

Barbara, I haven't tanned in over 20 years so those Florida photos still amaze me. I don't tan without concerted effort and being that brown with lots of freckles was cool. Hey, it is your fault I am tired today, stayed up past my bedtime to finish The Secret of Everything . . .

Doc, the meaning of Guam . . . too funny.

What a nice post, Barbara! I discovered your books last year and have been madly trying to catch up with your wonderful writing.

The year I turned 19 I shared my first house with a roommate, had a full-time job, took painting classes & was in love with my boyfriend, who's now my husband of 38 years. I also wrote lots of (mostly bad) poetry, short stories and songs, took tons of photos, expanded my culinary talents, attended as many concerts as we could afford, and protested the Vietnam war. My favorite brand of herbal tea then was Celestial Seasonings, (still is!) and the most frequently consumed 'wines' that fit our budget were Annie Green Springs & Boone's Farm !

Now that I think about it, I'm still doing basically the same things as back then, except the wars have changed locations, and my taste in wines have been substantially upgraded!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

I've been trying to remember this all day. Finally! When I was 19 I was working at the Theatre Company of Boston with Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow's mom) and Tim Affleck (Ben's Affleck's dad). Now I read they were a couple. Gwyneth and Ben - not Blythe and Tim.

At 19, my adult life began as I got married.Even if I was in college to finish my administrative studies, I dreamed of bringning up a big family,I had no wish of a career. I had a romantical view on life: I thought that love and good care could propulse you through life.
Well, it does.
And if my life didn't turn as I expected, I live a good one. I never was one to "party" but, even being serious, I enjoy nature, tea and food, good books, good work, travels, friends and family.
I enjoyed your blog Barbara and all the comments. The TLC community becommes more and more like a family to me, a place where every one share love,humour and friendship, where people care for others.

Danielle, I couldn't agree more! TLC is a wonderful community of smart, funny and all-around great people, and I love being a part of it.

Reine, thanks for the warmth. Danielle, your goals and tenderness sound like my good friend who has nurtured the most wonderful family. It took me a little longer to get to the family, but once I settled in, it was one of the things that made me happiest. Thanks for sharing that side of things.

DeNise, a McDonalds! And Lynn, thanks for the jolt of memory on Boone's Farm. (I mainly drank beer in those days.)

What a wonderful collection of stories arrived here today. Thanks to everyone for sharing them.

At nineteen I was planning my wedding to my navy guy. He was at sea and I was working as a windowdresser in a shop on the High Street. Getting near closing time I had this sudden urge to put some brighter lipstick on and comb my hair, even tho' it had been a long day and all that lay in front of me was a halfhour trip home in the bus. I was wearing this pale yellow blouse with a manderin collar that made me look washed out without make-up and I was wishing I'd worn something nicer as we locked up and left for the night. Then as I left the small arcade and turned the corner, there he was. God, I love a man in uniform. He looked so tall and handsome, and though I know we took the bus I felt like I was floating a foot off the ground. That had to be two lifetimes ago, but I remember as if it was yesterday. And that feeling, if only they could bottle it.

At nineteen I was planning my wedding to my navy guy. He was at sea and I was working as a windowdresser in a shop on the High Street. Getting near closing time I had this sudden urge to put some brighter lipstick on and comb my hair, even tho' it had been a long day and all that lay in front of me was a halfhour trip home in the bus. I was wearing this pale yellow blouse with a manderin collar that made me look washed out without make-up and I was wishing I'd worn something nicer as we locked up and left for the night. Then as I left the small arcade and turned the corner, there he was. God, I love a man in uniform. He looked so tall and handsome, and though I know we took the bus I felt like I was floating a foot off the ground. That had to be two lifetimes ago, but I remember as if it was yesterday. And that feeling, if only they could bottle it.

And Hector Elizondo... :)

19 in the 1970's? What an era. I ran away from home at 16 and joined a Jesus Hippie Commune. Spent 8 years in a Jim Jones type environment and then escaped in my mid 20's. Stories? too many. Youth lost? too sad.
Happy now decades later? Absolutely.

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