I moved around a lot when I left home as a youngster, then went back home, then moved around a lot again, then got burned and went back home, then met Kelly and the rest is history. The one constant during that decade or so long span was that I always had stuff at Mom and Dad’s. Well, with the house in Medina and my life finally settled in the right place with the right person, I went and got everything.
Its mostly just odds and ends that ended up in the trash and clothes that don’t fit anymore (but clothes of this variety are too big!), but did come across a pretty interesting box. The most interesting set of things in the interesting box are 7 different collections of poems, songs and stories that date back to my high school days. I can tell how old they are from reading the front page of the second notebook I found. It reads:
“It’s June 9th, 1999 and I’ve been 18 for 13 days. I’ve never felt better. Now I can buy cigarettes (kill myself), join the military (kill other people), go to adult movies (watch people get AIDS), go to strip clubs (get AIDS) and vote (for who?!). I’ve been an adult for two weeks and I already wish I were a kid again”
Aging the material wasn’t exactly rocket science, so I started reading down memory lane. I got as far as the next page:
Who can move a mountain
With peaks that touch Heaven above
Gentle yet strong
A benevolent presence
A shelter for any in need
Home to many things
Haven for those it loves
Ready to care
Ransacked by ignorance
Its peak weeps rivers
Gorging Mother Earth
I am a man is a mountain
It has been moved
So, I made a pit stop on Memory Lane to open a different book, hoping to stumble upon a different mood. I found seven lines I wrote about a coffee shop I used to hang out at, Common Grounds:
The disco ball and the girl behind the bar
Newspapers and flyers
And people all alone
All these things and people
And people all alone
I found some drawings in that book, too. Nothing of note, but I haven’t doodled in years I can’t count.
I found a ton of blues songs in various stages of construction, an article titled “Why I Play Pool”, a pages long piece that I still can’t figure out if it was poem or prose, and just buckets of other stuff.
The one page I may never throw away, though, has “Inventory at Petro Travel Stop diner. 3:49 am 2-5-04” written across the top. I was stranded at the Petro Travel stop along I-80 in Indiana with enough gas to get almost home and no money. I’d been up for three or four days straight on an ill advised gambling road trip and really need to high tail it out of Chicago. At around midnight, I couldn’t go any farther. I pulled into to the truck stop, sat at the farthest table, didn’t order anything, and spent a couple hours working the phone to call in favors. I had lots of “friends” in those days, but not many on the far side on Indiana, so the phone was a pretty empty endeavor. I ended up talking the waitress into letting me work for a few hours in exchange for breakfast and smokes. This page is the counter inventory of the diner. I also cleaned some tables and entertained the truckers with dirty jokes and commiseration.
I spent a couple hours sleeping on some display furniture, talked my way into a couple easy bets, then took off out of there. But I’ll never forget that night. I went from being totally beaten to finding a way home with nothing but some quick wit and hustle.
That’s the day I grew up.
Anyway, maybe I’ll get brave and post more stuff someday. Maybe not. But it sure has been an interesting night.