portion of the artwork for Laurel Blossom's poem

Laurel Blossom

My aunt Bev went on, your mother and dad had gone to New York especially to see South Pacific where Kitty discovered Ezio Pinza, she’d call and say, oh, he’s so wonderful and so forth.

You and I drew a profile of Pinza on a pillowcase with crayons and put it on her pillow on her bed. On her pillow we wrote, Oh, Ezio!

Then we drew her back on the back of the toilet seat, and put her slippers in front of it, in 3-D.

Then I thought, oh, I know what let’s do, let’s draw curls on the mirror on top of your little dressing table, as if we’d cut your hair, so we did that, and put a pair of scissors beside it.

Your mother got a big kick out of that when she got home.


Once your mother and her best friend Sadie decided to raise some money over and above their allowances for movie magazines, which Kitty loved.

So they bought boxes of safety matches and cut out pretty flowers, scenes, animals, designs from magazines, glued them to the tops of the boxes, then shellacked them.

It was a thriving business for a few months until something more interesting came up, like boys.


Kitty had lots of beaux. So in her freshman year, when she was doing very well at school, she had lots of dates and cars were always parked in our driveway, much to Fad’s disgruntlement when he’d arrive home from work.

So, the family decided things were getting out of hand and too “wild” and sent her away to Catholic boarding school.

I’m convinced that was the beginning of your mother’s “broken spirit.”

We were always criticized, never praised, except behind our backs.


After the horror of that year away at school, your mother came back to finish high school and loved it.

One day, sixteen and proud of her new driver’s license, she drove us younger kids to the pool. When we got home, we all bailed out of the car as it approached the garage, but Kitty kept driving, practically knocking off both passenger doors.

We thought it was funny until we saw Fad’s face.


Another time, one summer, your mother disappeared, causing a hunt of the first order. Eventually she turned up, having hiked around the lake, about three miles, alone.

Later she developed a severe case of poison ivy. Fad said he hoped that would teach her a lesson.


Then a year at college, which she so enjoyed as she had a good friend there who had a beau and future husband who roomed with your father, and so, on a blind date, they met.


So then there was that summer. I was visiting a friend in Vermont, whose brother John was also wild about Kitty, and the family had rented a place nearby, so we had a little group, we all socialized together, and your mother and dad were corresponding by this time, and there was some dance back home he invited her to, and John said, oh, I’ll drive you back, thinking goodie, this is great, I’ll have her all to myself on the way home.

But of course Kitty wasn’t interested, she was going to see your father.

Then later that summer, your dad drove his new Cord up to the country, and all the farmers’ eyes just dropped out of their heads, and I can remember going to the movies, all of us, and when we came out of the theatre, the whole car was, you couldn’t see the car there were so many people around it looking at it. That was a riot.


As you know, your mother’s wedding was at home with just family attending and your father’s sister Albertine and me as attendants. We had these lovely pretty pale blue dresses.


Your family seemed happy together, by the way, but I remember your mother saying to me that she got tired of the same coterie of friends all the time, which I know became incestuous at times.

Maybe the monotony got to her, though she was always busy—volunteering at Maternal Health, nurse’s aiding at the hospital, and she and her friend Gertie got busy with the Christmas Mart and subsequently started the Nearly New Shop.


Then there was that Thanksgiving at Albertine’s.

Your dad paying too much attention to Augusta, Mary in the kitchen, voices raised, hollering in the living room.

Albertine going into the kitchen and saying, Mary, you can go home, it doesn’t look as if there’s going to be any Thanksgiving dinner.

Augusta flirted with all the men. Gertie didn’t like her. At the same time, Gertie was having an affair with Carl and they borrowed Natalie and Peter’s house for their assignations.

So you can see what I mean by incestuous.

Kitty and Gert were best friends, but when your mother and father were divorced, Gertie deserted your mother for your dad.

Ergo, a breakdown from not knowing where to turn.


You know, nobody’d testify on Kitty’s behalf in the divorce, even though it was just a formality, so I was the patsy.


I remember your sister, little Midge, a mere baby, just crying and crying with worry and fright.

I guess you were at camp, I don’t remember your being there.


Then, at some point, your mother’s lawyer and his wife introduced her to Sam.

Well, Fad was up in arms about that, so he had Sam transferred to Alaska.

He could do that because Sam worked for an oil company where Fad knew one of the directors.

Because he was afraid if your mother married Sam, she’d lose her alimony.

And if she didn’t marry him, that was worse still.


I think it was all down hill from there.

Her health deteriorated until she just gave out. The doctor called it “a failure to thrive.”


It’s only after one gets older that one sees the errors of one’s upbringing, which by now have been overcome, but one can still feel the dents.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 29 | Summer 2010