I just got home from a trip back to my old home in Arizona--I mean my childhood growing up region--and a class reunion or actually a school reunion. When I was going to high school in the Verde Valley, several districts were consolidated in an incremental process. They wound up with an enrollment too large to be housed in any place but the old Jerome High School which had once served the booming mining town. For about 15 years all the students were bussed up the hill. We call ourselves the "On The Hill Gang" and a special camaraderie exists among those who attended school during those years although we came from several communities which were then separated by fair-sized areas of undeveloped land. Those have shrunk drastically now but it is still not quite one bi metro complex like the greater Phoenix area, thank goodness!
As a kid I was a bit of a misfit. My parents as I have probably said, were 'hippies' before there were such in many ways and a bit reclusive and so restricted the social interaction of us kids as well. I did not date in high school and had enough chores with the livestock to keep me busy most of the time I was not in school. So I always felt a bit awkward and out-of-place. I did well in most class work and was quiet, mostly shy but I feared some would think I was stuck up. I wasn't but anyway. Most of my friends were younger--horse crasy 'little' girls whom I befriended and kind of adopted as little sisters. Still, in 2003 after seeing how much fun Jim, my late husband, had at his class's get-togethers in Bisbee, I dared to go back. It was a pleasant experience. But this time I was going on my own and that made it different. I could not stay with a partner and be spared the meet and greet and outreach!
Then I saw some people I would not call enemies but they were not ever friends, really. One woman I went to first grade with in Jerome and then from eighth grade through high school. She greeted me very warmly and I was really thrilled to find the common ground bridged any distance that once existed. Then there was a pair of siblings that I had known in Jerome when we were all small. Our families did not get along --my parents and the grandparents they lived with--but they were friendly and pleasant and we ignored--maybe even forgot-- any old conflicts and rejoiced that we had some common roots and memories and that too was good. A number of classmates I had never known well or been close to greeted me and seemed genuinely glad to see me as I was to see them. There was not one awkward or difficult moment. Now that is truly past perfected! You erase the ill-fitting parts, the estrangement and the less pleasant moments and share common ground in attending the same school, recalling the same teachers who you liked or hated, the pranks and adventures and voila, scattered and severed parts become for the time a coherent whole. I was really a part of it all--after some fifty years! It was inspiring and healing in so many ways!
Two women I had known though not really well, have collaborated on a book of short memoir tales from a group of women from other places in their lives and I got a copy. It is powerful and moving! We hope to do a "Mingus Union Authors" event at some future time. I was also awed by the many and varied things classmates and school mates have done, how far they have gone and the things they have accomplished. A half century sees a lot of things change and develop! No rose colored glasses--I did not remake the past and its realities are still what they were but I came away seeing that the impressions and down sides that I had carried with me for a long time were much less than I had portrayed them to myself--mere ant hills and not the Andes! I am healed and made whole in many ways and that is always good! I am so very glad I dared to go and just be myself and open to all I met and encountered. I've learned a lot too, I guess.
The book I mentioned above is called Ped.i.cure and it's available on Amazon. ISBN is 147818549X or 9781478185499. I do recommend it.as a moving, powerful and even shocking book in some ways but it opens to the light dark secrets like most of us carry and shouts that we are not alone nor are we tainted and flawed by these things, many of which we did not even have control over! It is liberating to realize this and the book does a great service in this manner. Every family has it skeletons and every life its errors, accidents and sadness. It is part of being human! You may not be able to share as these ten women did but you are a sister of the soul. Know and be comforted by that. I shared a bit above--I could go into more depth but I do not think it is necessary!
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!