Forget About It

There isn’t anything special about today. It’s Sunday which is a nice rest day for many people, but since my unemployment kicked in, I have been struggling to remember what day it is. After all those years of Monday, waiting for Friday, I’m lost.

I am a control person, meaning of course, I like to have everything neatly piled on my desk and ready to go. I do not line up my pencils; I stick them in a cup, but even with my classes and the book I’m trying to write, no I should say writing because it passed through as a grad thesis from two professors who liked it. Prof Ulrich told me to “shape the dissonance into a dance,” and so I did, but it’s only 114 pages, and there is more.

Much more.

And I think the piece that has stymied my is writing about the effect of depression for the last few years. I feel empty and it’s a lot easier to stuff bad thoughts and bad things from the past deep deep down. In fact, I throw them down the well, the dark part of my mind.

I thought, after my suicide attempt I had sunk as far down as possible. But no, there is more, like a cave ledge. You throw a small stone over the side, and listen to it fall, water dripping all around you, and after a few moments, you realize the stone is still falling and you will, too, if you jump. I wonder what’s at the very bottom of an endless chasm. Is it only endless to us because we can’t hear the stone falling anymore? But imagine, it must stop somewhere! The only way to find out is to jump, and I’m not ready to do that. I’m not brave enough.

adult adventure blue jeans boots
Photo by Josh Willink on

Second Home in Indiana

I just returned from a few days in the Midwest, that part of the country that startles you as you’re driving toward it and all of a sudden everything you can possibly see in any direction is FLAT. The first time I saw it I was sixteen-years-old, riding with my family on our way to move there. I don’t remember what I thought, but it has been a shock every time I’ve done it since. Makes the old Appalachians of Pennsylvania look big.

We had family to visit, and on the first day, we drove around the town for memories’ sake.

There was sadness, mostly. In the 1970’s, Marion was a growing town with varied industry. Since then, the industries have slowly. slowly left town or closed completely, so empty parking lots are pocked with weeds growing up through the lines where cars used to park. Windows are broken on the building windows and if there has been enough time, green ivy and other plants snake their way through to the roof.

The factories are one thing, but it was disheartening to see homes that must have been completely abandoned for years. Most of them were wooden, and the once clean paint was chipping away in big chunks. Porches–some with the furniture–were sagging and slowly falling closer to the earth. Cement steps were chipping away. And the ever-present green weeds were replacing the houses as though no person would ever return, and the weeds could grow without worry.

I learned Marion’s population had dropped to half of what it had been when I graduated from high school. No wonder, the houses were dying. They were dying of emptiness.

And yet, my family was there, and there were pretty houses and shops where people still cared and were trying hard to make Marion a nice place to live. You could stop in front of these places like my brother and sister-in-law’s, and be astounded by the mounds of colorful zinnias and daisies and see the soft green lawn that had been tended carefully for many years.

Many things had changed, and yet, others stayed the same.

My brother-in-law, Michael, had lived near Marion, but he was taken too early from the world ten years ago. We visited Pat, his widow, and as I walked into the house, I could almost hear Mike’s teasing laugh, but I felt his presence, and a few times, could have sworn I saw him coming into the kitchen from the hallway. Sarcasm. Mike and I had a great game with that, and his energy seemed to fill the home so much that I got distracted from the conversation at times. As I stepped out on the front porch to leave, I gazed up at the beautiful tree he had planted thirty or more years ago, and I stumbled on the second step.

Okay, Michael, I know I called your tree a stick and told you it would never grow, as it has.

You get the last laugh, Mike, because I have a stick tree in my yard, and I look at it every day and hear your laugh all the way from Marion, Indiana with love.

I’m Not Seeing Anyone Today

Two words. The Dentist. And one more word–Pain. Except there will be more. I’m starting to feel my lips!

Don’t blame the dentist. It’s my fault, putting things off for as long as possible, and then, well I promise to get this done and stop    eating      M&M s…….. maybe.

I do want to recount something, and anyone out there who went to the dentist in the 1960s, please back me up! My dentist is no longer living on this earth. (No, I didn’t kill him. I thought he was going to kill me!) I went every six months, rain or shine, and I swear, I sat like a stiff doll in the chair until he came into the room and washed his hands with Lifebuoy soap. No gloves. He would barely acknowledge my presence in the chair until he turned the on the light. I believe that light could have lit up a ballpark all by itself.

“Hmmmmmm. Hmmmmmm.” He picked and scratched with those dental tools. I don’t remember getting an x-ray. He’d lean in closer.

“Sonya, open wider!” he barked. Honestly I tried, but I was an elementary school kid.

“You have a small mouth. But I can’t see the back! Wider!”

By now my jaw was tightened in fear. When he called for Nurse Roth, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

I had a cavity. Yes, me! A Crest kid! A cavity. I pictured the grand canyon of teeth and in my mouth was a blackness on the rocky wall that had to be drilled out as slowly as possible.

Oh! You didn’t know they didn’t have fast, speedy drills like they do today. Also, there was no soft cotton roll with a numbing medicine on it. The doctor went straight in with the needle which always brought tears. I tried not to cry but they kept squeezing out involuntarily.

Even so, that shot didn’t numb all the pain. I swear to it. When he reached for the drill, (a smaller, jackhammer version of the one they use on concrete), I flinched. One time, I was so miserable, I did start crying.

“Stop being a baby, Sonya!”

I gulped and he resumed the torture, in between orders to spit in the little white sink. I know most of you young-uns don’t remember those sinks, but I was supposed to rinse and spit out any gunk from my mouth. Problem was I dribbled because I couldn’t feel one side of my mouth!

When he shut off the jackhammer, I was always relieved, but then he went to grinding some substance to fill my tooth with. It was metal-looking, but by that time, I. Did. Not. Care! It was over, and I could stumble out to Nurse Roth who rescheduled me  for next time and brought out the prized sparkly ring box. I chose carefully, hoping next time wouldn’t come.

Dentistry. 1960s. Moments to Remember.