In which nothing is discussed for several hundred words

I have this jar of gummy vitamins. I realize that makes me 6 years old, but I live alone and always fear choking on a large pill. Then my choices would be to hope the one neighbor hasn’t nodded off, or get past the giant pit bulls at the other neighbor’s, or go to the truckers’ house for help. It’s decided. Truckers will Heimlich me.

The point is—and also I give those pit bulls treats when they’re out, so they’d likely not add injury to inhale—I just use chewables any time I can. So I get these gummy vitamins. They come in three flavors: orange, lemon and strawberry. And here’s what I do, because I am 6 years old. If I get a combination lemon and orange, that means it’s gonna be an OK day. Just OK. If I get two lemons? My day is gonna suck.

If any strawberry is in there in any way? Ooooo, it’s going to be a most excellent day. Strawberry! Yay!

But here the thing: As much as I love strawberries and even that imitation strawberry flavor—give me that strawberry Quik any day—my strawberry gummies don’t even have that much of a taste. You can taste the hell outta the citrus ones. Strawberry? It’s like maybe you thought of fruit. And isn’t that the way life goes? Things you think are going to be magnificent rarely are, and things you think will be just awful are often, eh, that wasn’t that bad.

Am very philosophical today. Am June-Paul Sartre. Am certain he’d be riveted by my gummy observations.

Anyway, how was your weekend? I can’t remember a damn thing about mine, which shows you the level of rivet.

…I just scrolled through my photos to jog memory.

I made a curried chicken salad, and who even am I? My Aunt Mary was making one, and I texted, Oooo, how do you do that and she told me and I copied her. Except she uses dried cranberries but I can’t have dried fruit. Sulphites.

Also, this weekend was my uncle’s funeral. My mother’s oldest brother, my Uncle John, died. They had a funeral and offered the caveat that anyone who was too afraid to attend would not be judged. So I ended up watching it streaming on Facebook, and my Uncle Leo and my Aunt Bette—both of whom are former spouses of the family and we’ve kept them—watched it with me. We had a viewing party. They even listed Uncle Leo and Aunt Bette in the obituary and being in-laws, which was adorable.

A viewing party for a funeral is weird. I mean, any time you have “party” and “funeral” together is weird. Once my Uncle Bill was held up by a funeral procession and he came home and said, “I couldn’t get here because there was one of those, oh, those, PARADES. You know, a death parade.”

At one point this weekend, I got so bored that I went behind the chair I’m sitting in currently and lay in Edsel’s dog bed just to see my house from a new angle.

This concerned the Eds. He’s doing just fine, by the way, off his heart medicine and when I think of the TEN MONTHS I needlessly gave him pills. Not to mention they were $200 a month.

Also, I put away some of my clothes using my new matching hangers. It turns out that’s, like, a chore. I had to throw out the old wire hangers, that I think were occasionally from as far back as dry cleaners in Seattle. God, I had a lowly receptionist job there and had to wear dry-clean-only clothes. I should have made them pay for that. They had a service at work where someone would come get your dry-cleaning and bring it back, but it was cheaper to go to Ace Cleaner in my neighborhood. I’m going to hazard a guess that Ace Cleaner is no longer in business in my hip little hood. Hang on and let me Google.

Nope, it’s not there, but aw, man, I miss that neighborhood now. It was just burgeoning when I lived there. So you’d have a diaper-cleaning warehouse next to a coffee shop. Now it just looks like the whole thing is cool. Dangit.

I also looked at old pictures because did I mention I’ve been cooped up for 6 months now? Anyway, this is Grammy’s cat and this is also me. Why did the cat have to be fed near my head? Was this safe? Also, my grandmother, who had some nerve, wanted my name to be Shelly, so she just referred to me as Shelly, here, even though I had a name. I also like how she TYPED the picture caption. Once a secretary in the Pentagon, always a secretary in the Pentagon.

Also? The cat gets top billing.

Oh my god, I gotta go. I leave you with one more old picture of me; hang on.

First of all, I remember everything about this. A lot of kids were out with the flu; hence the chairs being up. That’s Phillip Rathbun in front of me. Sheila Nash, with whom I am still friends, in front of him. Normie Winterstein is the cute boy next to our teacher, Mr. Keup. And Robin someone or other who said she was allergic to tomatoes but one day she ate tomato soup and someone, possibly Sheila, pointed out this discrepancy and Robin said, “I eat tomato soup because I like tomato soup.” I always admired this comeback.

Also, the lunchboxes. That first big one was mine: It was a Peanuts lunchbox. I must’ve gotten there first that day. The farm one belonged to Tomi Slagle. I can’t recall who owned the Shawn Cassidy one but my guess is Kim Schemp.

If I hadn’t had ADD, this brain would have gone far. I believe that.

I also remember that felt banner Mr. Keup made about a hunter’s paradise. I never quite understood what it meant and I still don’t, quite. It was the Trova, at Pace, Columbus, of my school hours.

All right, I have to go. I already have two giant things to do that are due today and have angina over them.

Usefully,
June

64 Comments

  1. Yay, Siamese! They always warrant top billing, sorry.

    So who was taking the class photo? And possibly, why?

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  2. I also attended your uncle’s funeral viewing party. I happened to be scrolling the FB when I saw a video with your name. Because I’m nosy as hell, I wanted to read the comments of the video, and when I clicked “Comments” the dang video popped up. And of course on those stupid live FB videos, your name gets plastered across the screen as joining the watch party. I couldn’t figure out how to get it to get off my screen. I just hit my home button and waited a few minutes, then went back to FB, where FB graciously took me back to the video. I did this twice. I crashed the funeral on FB twice. So sorry. People were sharing such lovely stories of your uncle. I have also done this on a couple of pearl shucking parties, and they make sure to call you out as soon as you enter the live viewing section.

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  3. Your Mom is so clever. Look how she used your blog name so cleverly when she talked about your Grandma not liking your first name.
    I love your elementary school picture. You seriously look just the same.

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  4. P.S. No need to avoid dried fruits because of sulfites–there are many all-natural brands of dried fruits that are chemical-free. Note that the color won’t be as vibrant in the natural ones.

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  5. I LOVE how the cat is staring at you like, WTF is that creature?
    I LOVE how dogs get concerned when we hoomins do something unusual.
    And I LOVE “June-Paul Sartre.”

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  6. Ah nicknames! I was called “Betty Boop” and omg I hated it. That is until I got older. Now I have a lot of things with her on it – including a license plate holder. I started to like her when I found out she was the original independent woman! 🙂
    That was so sweet of you to mention – Leo and me being mentioned in the obituary for John. I felt very loved and have never not felt like I was still in the family. Debbie was also watching with us but she came a bit late. It was a beautiful service and so wonderful that it was streamed like that!
    And you know, another Blondin came to be on the 16th – Jude Alden. The Blondin clan continues…
    I share your pill fear. I love the gummies even though they are sugary! Better sugar than choking!
    Loved this post… and yes – ha ha… that nipple! Too funny.

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  7. Am I the only one that couldn’t get past the nipple staring at me above the curried chicken salad?

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  8. When my mom was born, her maternal grandfather was furious at what she was named. He thought it was too, um, insert racial slur here. He wanted her to be named Honey Lou. Honey Lou Fish. I only wish I was making that up.

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  9. Had to laugh at: “I also like how she TYPED the picture caption. Once a secretary in the Pentagon, always a secretary in the Pentagon.” My mom did the same thing and she was a government secretary.

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  10. Aww, Grammy coming up with a nickname for you is sweet. That she didn’t like your parents’ choice of first name for you, maybe not so sweet. But it goes to show that you always knew where you stood with her. That’s very similar to my Grandma that I am much like.

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  11. No wonder you love cats, you’ve been around them since you were weeks old. Although, feeding a cat inches from a baby’s head seems a little over the top or perhaps it is over the top of a little.

    I remember the names of all of my grade school teachers and used to remember all of my junior high teachers, but I’d have to think long and hard to see if I could name them now. I’d do better naming my high school teachers. We did not have yearbooks in grade school, but did have class pictures taken in each classroom.

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  12. Love the picture of Mr Keup’s class! We must have been in third grade here because we were closer to the door. Fourth grade got to stare out the windows. Thank you for sharing!

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  13. You have always had a beautiful head of hair. Grammy chose “Shelley” as a diminutive of your middle name hoping it would catch on. It did’t last long. She didn’t like your first name because why call you June when you were born in July? I’d love Mary’s recipe.

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    1. Is that why?? God, I’m glad it didn’t catch on. Of course, now my real name is a horrible name to have. I might actually adopt Sparkly after all.

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      1. Don’t let passing fads influence your love of your own name. BTW, I’m sure the foil pan of cat food was to assure the cat would stay close for the photo op.

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  14. I belong to facebook groups of my jr. high and high school. They are always talking about this or that teacher, and I almost always can’t remember if I had him or her myself.

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  15. I take gummi calcium and gummi b vitamins. I fill pill keepers and I arrange it so that I take different flavors every day. I like the berry ones best too. The orange aren’t bad. I do take some other horse pills. I swallow it with lots of water or iced cappuccino. I throw my head back. It helps. I have pill keepers for my regular meds too. I got tired of counting because I couldn’t remember if I took a med or not. Geezer for a while.

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  16. I think the cat was being fed next to you so it would associate you with good things and therefore wouldn’t lie on your chest in the night and suck the breath out of you and therefore kill you dead which is what my grandmother actually factually believed.

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  17. I knew who everyone was in a third grade class picture someone posted except for two kids. Not bad for sixty. The one left soon after so that wasn’t bad. I never had a lunchbox. I brown bagged it or bought lunch in the cafeteria.
    I went out twice in three days last week. Tony and I went to the Farmers/Flea market on Thursday. It was a nice day and the outside was bustling, the one time we previously went ot was dead. We met my sisters, brother-in-law, her son and his new girlfriend. My one sister is up from SC selling her NJ house. I miss her! Saturday Tony and I went “down the shore” (I no longer live there after 35 years). We went to Long Beach Island which is the nicer, classy shore. It was less crowded than late August would normally be. We shopped and ate and sat by the water. It was great. There was social distancing everywhere and we wore our masks when indoors where the number of people were limited. Yesterday we were bums recovering but I did squeeze in a speedy trip to the Acme in the evening. No almond milk, eggs, etc. It was necessary. Life is not normal but in some ways (less crowding) it’s better. The tiny shops have less merchandise which I like. It was overkill before. One shop The Dollar Parlour (great for cheap gag gifts and random cool stuff) is gone for good. It was in business over fifty years. That is sad. Others are gone too.

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    1. OOPS, make that forty years. It was thirty-five in that house but I moved there in 1980 and we rented for five years previously.

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  18. My sister had a Sean Cassidy lunch box. I had a Disney one in the shape of a school bus. I remember EVERYTHING from grade school. Kids’ first and last names and weird things they said or did. Plus teachers and what they were like. If only I could use my good memory to cash in on some outstanding career.

    Love that former spouses were included in the obit, etc. Sorry about your uncle.

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  19. Good morning June,

    The Grammy photo of the beloved Siamese and “Shelly” (you with the Baby version of your curly hair) just killed me.

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      1. Remember the photos that you doctored with your own floating head? Now you know where the idea originated.

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  20. Your memory is quite amazing. I don’t remember dates AT ALL. Except for when I graduated. That’s it. Oh and my current wedding anniversary. Everything else is just gone. Locked into a part of my brain that is apparently now used to wonder if I closed the sliding door or got the mail yet.

    Also, Shelley. That’s just ballsy that she TYPED it onto a picture. I like how the cat ate out of a pie tin.

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  21. I must have some odd variation of the ADD, as in I cannot remember any classes or classrooms or teachers from grade school. Can’t picture the school building. Don’t recall any of the people. Now I did go to three schools in two countries for first grade (Army brat). I do remember my brother’s second grade teacher, Miss Mitchell, even though I didn’t have her. Maybe I just shut down. I was often the new kid, cause we’d get transferred randomly during the year. However, I do know my lunchbox, lavender with a ballerina, in her tutu and on pointe. Matching thermos. Delightful, and so me.

    It’s another Trova at Pace day. Thanks Joob!

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  22. I must confess I also watched with you.
    My bleary Saturday morning eyes saw a June video and by the time my brain caught on I felt it would be disrespectful to click off.
    It was a moving service and beautiful church. The soloist was wonderful and I loved the piper.
    I wasn’t able to attend any of my family’s services in the past due to distance and finances. Missing the celebration of their lives with my relatives and not being able to say a final farewell was sad and left me feeling a bit lost.
    I thought of them all and truly felt at peace while watching your family say goodbye to your uncle.
    Thank you June, your family and especially uncle John, for helping and healing a stranger.

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  23. Your memory is both amazing and somewhat frightening.
    I had a LOVELY weekend because I got a new printer stand/table and so I got to clean and organize! I sorted and purged and now my desk at home is much better, the timing of which is unfortunate since I’ve been back in the office full-time for weeks, but still. I have pretty magazine organizers holding all of my files. Then I ordered drawer organizers because my top desk drawer pissed me off.
    Then I had a STRESSFUL weekend because it was decided that the large ivy plant in my kitchen garden window had to go and so now I have to re-decorate that area.
    Then I had a LOVELY weekend because weeding was accomplished (not by me, so even better) but then I had a STRESSFUL morning when I drove by and saw that the weeds were still there. Pulled and in a pile, but not thrown away. Who does that? That’s a half-assed job.

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    1. One of my old boyfriend’s new girlfriend accused me of having a diary, that I perused daily, to jog my memory of things like when I broke up with said boyfriend. I once called him on April 30 to say, “We broke up today, April 30, 1981.” It was, seriously, like 1998 when I made this call. She had 17 fits and wouldn’t let us talk anymore. A) I was not pining for him. B) I was more showing off my memory. C) She was a jerk. D) And also an anxious attacher, with which I am familiar. E) Ask me the date I broke up with ANYONE and I likely recall.

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      1. And I can barely remember my own children’s birthdays! May have something to do with the massive amount of weed I smoked as a teenager, though.

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  24. Shelley. I love it. When my mom was born she went three weeks without a name because my grandmother and grandfather were fussing over a name. My mom’s grandma said she didn’t care what they named her, she (my mom) was her Katie girl. That’s what they named her. I love your Grammy. All the kids were out with the flu. My mom was born in 1918 the year of influenza, so I know all my grand parents were adults, having babies, etc., but I never heard any of my grand parents say one word about the influenza. I find that amazing considering the virus.

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  25. I could not love the fact that your grandmother labeled this photo “Shelley” more if I tried. My Gaggie wanted me to be called Katie Beth (it’s a Southern thing, being called by two first names) and so that’s what she called me, even though my full name is just Kate.

    I too adore me some gummy vitamins. I’m always miffed if I get two of the same flavor.

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  26. I do not eat gummy vitamins, but I do eat Gummy Bears, and I have similar feelings about color combinations.
    I could stare at old photos of classrooms ALL DAY! They are SO interesting. The posters! The lunchboxes! The furniture! The tchotchkes on the bookshelf! The picture of White Jesus! Oooo, perhaps in my next career (in my next life –ha!) I will be a cultural anthropologist who specializes in educational environments and trends.
    Also who took that picture? Your teacher seems completely unaware that another adult is lurking by the windows photographing minors. 🙂
    “Make it a great day or not; the choice is up to you” –Texas Kari’s principal

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    1. I was pondering that as well. Maybe someone for the yearbook? Or a random pedo? Nevertheless I was glad to find this. You know what it’s like? It’s like when you watch a show, and for some reason in the show they get out pictures, and the pictures are clearly stills from…the show. Like, there’s no way anyone took a picture of this moment. I was there, watching the show, and no one was around with a camera. But OK.

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    2. My husband and kids had the same 10th grade civics/history teacher. A crusty old Marine. The sign on his clock said “Time passes, will you?”

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  27. I like how you left us with one boob to admire on your cutting board lady, while we could also admire that chicken salad which looks delicious. Edsel probably thinks you have lost it lying/laying in his bed. Remember when we all brought unrefrigerated lunch to school in a lunchbox that today we would fear would make us die from salmonella but none of us died? Did we not have salmonella back then?

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        1. My mom made egg salad, tuna salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, all had mayo in them and I kept them in my Dale Evans lunch box. They never made me sick.

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  28. Lovely post Shelley. If that jumper had gold and red, I had the same one. My lunch box was an also large Thermos* Scooby Doo, it was orange and unmistakable.

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  29. Oh, wow to your memory! I can barely remember going to elementary school let alone the names of classmates and teachers.

    Shelley, you had a beautiful head of hair for a five week old baby. I was bald until I was two.

    I seriously need a strawberry gummy.

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    1. My mom taped a bow to my bald head. I remember meeting someone once whose mom did the same damn thing. I couldn’t pick her out of a line up now, but we are bonded!

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      1. My mom also taped a bow to my sister’s head for her first birthday party. Now she has a thick head of hair.

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  30. I’m always impressed you can remember names and faces so well. I’m good with dates is all I have going for me. I left uni in 2012 and I’m already wondering who some of the randoms are in Facebook memories from that time.

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