March 16th, 2007 (06:36 pm)
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I remember.Mary Lou Lehman
I remember but at the same time it’s as if I don’t remember anything, and that scares me.
I remember that cutting grass meant iced tea – extra ice and extra tea. Especially in the morning and late afternoon. I can still smell the grass, freshly cut once a week.
I remember the three foot scissors that could only cut an inch or two. It was the best. Walking around getting crap. My cactus reminds me a lot of that. Mostly because my fingers look like they had acupuncture gone way wrong. Copper is such an ugly color!
I remember waking up in the morning and going on the porch in summer – eww, newspapers! Even though it was summer, it was always cold sitting there on the edge of the porch.
I remember walking. Walking around the block. Walking to Withhorn. Walking to Gunston. Walking around Assumption Grotto cemetery and reading all the graves to see who was the oldest.
I remember the straw hat. The straw hat that came with cutting grass, scrapping, etc. That was in the later days. Earlier times meant the ripped white sheet pieces and such. Hung on the line when we’re done.
I remember the tomatoes, the cucumbers, and watering them in the morning. Had to be the first to get the cucumbers – and not get pricked – before Rosie stole them all. You guys always got so mad when she took em all... so funny.
I remember the Strawberry Festival. Polka dancing. Pickles that tasted like a mix between a pickle and a cucumber.
I remember the weekends with AM radio. Sandusky, Michigan. 1:10 Sunday afternoon was a ritual you could set your watch by. For some reason, gravy and mashed potatoes and steamy dining room windows also come to mind... it was always those in combination -- at least in the early days.
I remember crashing my mom’s car – before I had even finished driver’s ed let alone had a license. I never got caught and I never got in trouble. You never told and you never got mad.
I remember pierogi, kielbasa, and Russian pizza. The salty casing’s and the meat grinder and the smell of hickory wood for so many years. I remember you guys always telling me I had baths in there when I was a munchkin... ew! That is all I gotta say, just ew!
I remember going to Hamtramck and buying blue glittery jelly sandals. Couldn’t have been more than 7 then. They were the most uncomfortable things in the world but I loved them and kept them until I, I can’t remember.
I remember the baseball games on the little silver radio, sitting on the porch watching the neighbors on summer evenings.
I remember the ring getting lost. They say you can’t remember anything for age 5. I disagree. This was before things changed. I remember she looked in the trash can. I still dont remember where it was found.
I remember her going to the hospital. I remember crying because she wasn’t there to sleep with me but it was okay because I had you.
I remember the blue sweaters with so many holes but you never threw it away.
I remember the green clothes. Always green all the time. Great Lakes Express. I have no memories outside of church and things like that of anything other than green, maybe because there never was anything other than green.
I remember the cookies. Having to go down and finding brown sugar in the pantry. So many cookies, all wrapped in foil and put downstairs... the tree was always up by then and the whole house smelled so nice.
I remember the smell of the Scotch pine. I always remember it to be the same day as the cookies. I only remember this being down once but nonetheless I will always think it was always like that.
I remember the manger, the old Polish ornaments, the tinsel that never seemed to disappear, the plastic melty things, and the chance to go in the attic. So excited at first and after hours of decorating I was so bored. Boxes were everywhere and the rocker moved and the couch... I liked it that way... it was special.
I remember you saved everything I ever did from kindergarten thought 4th grade. It's all still in the attic.
I remember wash day was Monday and Thursday. I feel bad I was too much of a nuisance to help. But there was a desk. I could write my name in cursive before I even started kindergarten. I sat down there and practiced over and over again while you did laundry.
I remember you took me to my first day of school and what I wore and how excited I was. I was sad that she wasn’t taking me but I’m glad you were there. I wore all red. We got there early because I had surgery and missed the first day of classes. My backpack was so ugly though looking back on it -- primary colors!
I remember we went to the hospital that was so far away. I remember she had a window bed. You always dressed up to go to the hospital and to any MD appt and to church and to festivals. We drove past the lake and it always seemed so far. I only recently learned she was there for six weeks.
I remember Good Friday. Stations were always so boring but I loved going. That was the only time you never dressed up in church. We walked once and it was rainy, or just had rained.
I remember St. Hyacinth. All of us went, just once though. The priest gave us each pisanki. My mine black and flowery. The two of you had a red one and a pink one. I always thought it was funny a little girl got black and a guy got red. The next year there were only two eggs that came home with us, not three. I have them all. I remember everything about each time we got them.
I remember the peanut and I remember it got eaten and whichever animal “found the peanut” died from it. It was rare and always asked for and always told under the covers and it was always at night.
I remember the yardstick under the door. Kept losing them and losing them yet I persisted. Annoying brat I must say. Laughing until I was almost crying.
I remember when I was a kid I had yellow one-zy's PJ's with a Big Bird embroidered on it. You chased me down the hall and pinned me to the floor. I bit my lips together and you couldnt get the soap it. You always threatened but I never thought you would actually try to watch my mouth out with soap. Looking back, it was hysterical. I wish I could say the same then.
I remember draping the furniture in sheets and old comforters before you guys went out each weekend. Apparently, Broo and Bear shouldn’t be on furniture – who knew!?!?
I remember I hated when the two of you went out. I never felt safe without you there and would never go downstairs. For crying out loud, I always used the excuse I couldn’t reach my PJ’s so you’d come with me to get them.
I remember I was in kindergarten and was supposed to learn to tie my shoes. It was a rare Saturday when you guys didn’t go out. The front light was on which was so rare. We watched Lawrence Welk. I took you precious dancing shoes and practice learning how to tie shoes and they got into knots. You always sang along with the show. I think we danced to a couple songs. It was winter. That’s all I remember about that night.
I remember on summer mornings, Tuesday’s I think, when Aunt Rita and Uncle Tony would come visit. You always kept a little jar of coffee grounds in the top left cupboard in the kitchen for them. Aunt Rita always brought me circus peanuts and it always seemed to be sunny out.
I remember one summer day I was playing in the field. You were in the garage. The boys were on the fence. I walked in the back door and it smelled so good. You’re cooking was always great but for some reason I remember that day you were making spaghetti sauce more than I remember most things. I think it was around the time I was obsessed with wearing purple lion king clothes. Not sure. Maybe that was later.
I remember when you had Joe take me strawberry bike away because it was old and rusty. Got one last ride down the driveway with Joe holding it up on the back.
I remember when they broke in and everything was stolen. You bought me a bike I think the same day because they stole mine. It was blue I think.
I remember going to the Quinn’s. I remember waiting on the porch and I remember when we went home you got on the freeway the wrong way.
I remember going with you year’s later back there for Heather’s b-day party. I think she was 4. You dressed up as usual. I liked their house on Danbury Ct. more than this one on Broadway. Although, I remember the place before that, couldn’t have been more than 3 so maybe I’m going crazy.
I remember a girl’s night out. All three of us never went out much together but I seem to keep remembering those. Christmas shopping was one I think.
I remember going with you two to Shopper’s World on Gratiot and Lappin. Once we were looking for sheets or table clothes or something along those lines. That place hasn’t been open in years.
I remember looking for communion dresses in Hamtramck. Had to go there first. Seriously, what kind of Polack were you who didn’t go there first!?!?
I remember M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, the old accordion man, the Pennsylvania hills and pulp filled lemonade with ice chips that I would always take all through Sunday dinners. There always was your glass of water in the fridge. I used to drink it because it always seemed to be colder than any water could ever possibly be.
I remember porkies. Cold and with mustard. V-loaf with no gross things and you picking them all out. Uncle John liked the gross things though. EWW!
I remember when Poodor’s garage got bombed. She went back to bed. You went outside to talk to Mike to see what happened. Only a 3 alarm since it was Devil’s Night. You and I sat on the couch and watched out the window since we didn’t have power.
I remember one stormy Saturday afternoon and our big apple tree got hit by lightening. It fell on the Santarelli’s garage. Larry and Rosie were out of town though for the weekend. There were a lot of carpenter’s ants afterwards. Except for those few days I have zero memories of there ever being a tree in out yard.
I remember Friday was cleaning day. I loved the smell of Pledge. Weird, yes. But lovely nonetheless.
I remember always coming home from school and General Hospital always used to be on. Still hate soap operas, although some could argue Grey’s Anatomy is going that way lately.
Totally unrelated but I remember when I was 5 I would only use the blue crayon and my life dream was to be a girl firefighter. Never played with Barbie but always with my cousin’s toy cars. I remember once day thinking I wanted to be a doctor but I didn’t want to be in school until I was 20, yes 20. Naïve child I was.
I remember shooting off fireworks on the fourth of July. I remember the last year that we did them before I stopped caring about everything you sat on the porch and let me play with the matches. First time ever!!! Needless to say, Mike had to come over from his driveway because the lawn was up in flames. See, we should have watered the lawn!
I remember when you painted the bottom of the house and thought it was grey because it was that color when it was wet. When you two went to repaint your peach bedroom they accidentally mixed lavender. I think it’s beautiful.
I remember when we got the roof done. Wow, that must have been at least 15 years ago. It was so hot that summer. So many of my bean bags and balls and badminton things were in the gutter. Go figure.
On that note, I remember when we tried to recarpet the dining room. Man, trying to smooth out the carpet left my claw marks – those lasted for years.
I remember when we had tornado warnings how we would go sit under the stairs with the radio.
I remember listening to the police scanner. Every time you heard a call nearby you would go look out the window or at least make some funny comment. I wish I still had it here but it’s still at home. I will always call that place my home.
I remember us playing “baseball”. You sat on the porch and I stood on the walkway up to the porch. Although you hated how I always used to throw balls from the curb over the house and into the alley I still cannot hit a baseball to save my life.
I remember holidays at OLGC. The kids sat up front and got into trouble when you guys made it up to the front during communion – so many dirty looks. So playing around in church isn’t cool???
I remember in kindergarten I was in Daisy girl scouts. The day of my graduation she was sick and you took me. I wore a little black dress with dark purple plaid and puffy stuff underneath. I still have it here in my closet in a little box. You wouldn’t come in but you sat in the car during the whole ceremony and waited for me.
I remember May 2, 1992. It was cold. Sunny. That was one of the few days I have pictures of the two of you together. Color pictures more specifically. I remember that say like it was yesterday. Went over on 7 mile after. I picked purple. I was so excited but kept scuffing my shoes because it was fun. That was the only thing you both went to.
I remember the Perch. Only during Lent. It was like torture. So good yet only then and only until then, until it stopped. Until everything stopped.
I remember the day you took him away. In a black trash bag. I was 7. It wasn’t fair.
I remember four and a half years later. I remember sitting in his spot under the table. He was in the back with me. I couldn’t even hug him goodbye as he sat on that shiny stainless steel table. I knew it was best but I was so mad.
I remember the gambling with beads and coins and other random things. The solitaire in your chair. MOVE YOUR CABOOSE is almost as infamous as I’LL BOIL YOU IN OIL AND FRY YOU IN GREASE! The looks you would give when I’d jump ahead and tell you the next play. Or the game from so long ago that neither one of us could remember a few years ago, the one with rows and rows of cards. There was always a few left over we couldn’t look at until later.
I remember the cards and the silly wind keeping thing you always had around. I wish I would have put more effort in. You always were so grateful that I somehow ended up giving you anything that looked halfway decent that I hardly spent any time on because you always seemed fine with that. I wonder if you really were grateful or just faking and were disappointed that the people who didn’t care got great things with lots of time spent. In any case, I’m sorry. I should have done better. But you’ll never see that.
I remember last spring break when I came home we went through your closet looking thought old photos and stuff. We never did that. I was shocked and glad. It was fun. I still have the box of things here. Photos are up on my wall and my desk. It can’t replace the real thing though.
I remember Monday morning, March 31, 1997. I argued with you while you were ironing. I was so mad I cannot even remember why. I left the room and never apologized. Sat in the living room watching Casper when my mom passed through to go to work. You were in the car. I remember seeing your leg and sock. I remember the spot on the floor, the phone call, her crying, going next door and sitting with her and Rosie and never crying at all. That was the only time I ever seen you cry. You walked past me with one of your hankies and that was it. I remember all the people coming over. I remember going with her to Andary’s that night. We came home and you were reading the newspaper. We saw Haley’s comet that night. It was so quiet. All I remember thinking was how years ago we had talked about us seeing the new millennium. I wish you could have. It wasn’t special to me but I wanted you to. After that afternoon, you were so strong, taking charge and helping everyone else out. I miss you so much. I never got to say sorry for being mad at you. Everyday I wonder if I was the reason for what happened.
I remember last year all too well. I called you a year ago wanting to talk to her but she wasn’t home. So I asked for your advice on what to do on my interview at UM hospital. That was the first time I ever did such a thing. The next day was my interview and I got the job. I called and told her and she was happy. I asked her to put you on the phone and you refused. You weren’t feeling well, stomach ache or something. I was mad. I was mad at you for no reason. I wanted you to know so badly and I didn’t know why. Maybe because you were the one who gave me the advice. Maybe because I knew you would be proud of me. Maybe because I somehow knew, but didn’t really know. I remember the last time I was home I played Polkas the whole time and drove her crazy. But we both liked it. I asked what other songs you wanted me to download when I got back to school, and you said not to worry about it. You never said that before but I didn’t think anything of it. When I walked out that door to go back you were sitting playing solitaire. I said I would see you when I came home for Easter which was less than a month and a half away if not sooner. Then I walked out the door. I never saw you again. The next day after the phone call was St. Pattie’s day. She called and said you went to the hospital. You never went there unless it was absolutely necessary. I kept calling and calling. I don’t know why I was as obsessed with calling St John’s as I was but I had to. I don’t remember if I ever got to talk to you again. I should have been there. I should have done something. I should have bothered the MD’s until they did their job. I should have done something – anything. It wasn’t right. You were planning Easter dinner. You had just a few days until you could drive again after your back surgery. I remember going to the MD with you before the back surgery. The MD and I spent more time talking about medical school at UM than the two of you did. It shouldn’t have happened. I needed to be there. I needed to do something. I wanted to make you proud. I wanted to learn Polish and how to dance. I wanted for you to see me become a doctor. I know that sounds selfish but it’s true. There is no one else I wanted to see me do those things more than I wanted you to see them. Doing good was never good. Doing good meant “now keep it up” in a don’t let it go to your head sort of way. That was Friday. Everyone was there that weekend. EVERYONE! But not me. That Monday night I went out with Celine and Matt. I remember exactly what I was doing at the exact time that it was too late. They didn’t do anything. What kind of place is so horrible that they find their patients on the floor dead? I called her that morning and she lied to me. She said things were ok. She lied to me. I went to class and I spent my first day at cardiac surgery and had the best day ever. 18 hours after it happened they came to Ann Arbor. For my mom and uncle to get along let alone spend an hour together driving couldn’t mean anything good. I missed over a week of classes and two exams. I didn’t function that week. Everyone was fighting about lock boxes and money market accounts and the credit union. They had me pick what you wore. I even picked out “On angel’s wings” for the closing hymn just like her. I wrote something but couldn’t read it, Fr. Bob did. I did a reading though but Fr. Bob had Heather come up with me. And probably much to your dismay, I was a paul bearer. Yeah, a girl in heals and a skirt that you probably would have said was not church appropriate. It wasn’t real though. Neither was the night before. You didn’t look like you. You looked fake and I didn’t even recognize you. I had them put you GLE patch with you. You always seemed to proud to have worked for them and always had so many great stories. If you were still here you would be ashamed of your children. They’ve spent the last year screwing each other over, making each other lives hell and for what – a couple bucks. I personally blame your youngest. I wish you were still here. So much I wish you were here.
I can’t write anymore tonight. I want to just wake up one day and find it all to be a dream. I want to wake up and be a little kid again.
I hate March. Any way you look at it, March sucks. Ten years and one year. I hate March so very much. But I love the two of you so much more and I hope you both knew that.
August 15, 1930 – March 31, 1997
Daniel Leonard Lehman
September 22, 1927 – March 21, 2006