Corazon

      I was lying on my bed resting this morning from my bad night’s sleep, when I remembered my Mexican boy friend. Sorta boy friend. We never went out on a date. And he was married. And flat on his back in the hospital. And he was Mexican-American, to be u[-to date.

To start at the beginning, I lived for a time in The Blue Triangle, a women’s hotel run by the YWCA in Oakland, California.  One of the people who became a friend was Priscilla, a recent high school graduate who worked at the candy/cigarette counter at a nearby Veteran’s hospital.  She was a very friendly girl and at least one of the guys who bought cigarettes pleaded with her to come visit him in the hospital in the evening. I don’t think she felt comfortable going by herself so she asked me.

     What the heck, I’d never been in a Veteran’s Hospital before so I agreed. And of course, the hospital was full of men. That had something to do with it. We’re talking 1957 here. The Veteran’s Hospital was busy since any guy who served in WW II could use it. Priscilla and I found the guy who had asked her to come and see him. He was mobile and was getting out soon.

     He introduced me to another man who was in bed with weights attached to his feet. He couldn’t get out of bed. He asked me to sit down on his bed.

     Oh. Sit on his bed? Then I would be right next to his body. And I was. And he clamped his hand on my thigh.  Did I scream? No, I’m sure I blushed and felt very daring and dangerous.

     I went back to see him again and we began talking to each other on the telephone. I had paid extra to have a phone in my room. One night he called and said in a dead voice that he and his wife had gotten back together.  Okay. The end.

Only he called again in a week or less and said, in a cheerful voice, We’re separated.  I said, No, I couldn’t take the changes. Sadly, he hung up.  And I couldn’t.  Hanging out with a guy like that was, for me, a very dangerous thing to do. Part of me was relieved.

The end of this story is that both Priscilla and I, at different times, made a date with the original guy. He stood us both up!

The Color of The Trees Is Magnificent

I was away for only five days but the color of the leaves changed so much. I kept lurching from side to side on the road trying to stare at a tree.  And the next day when I woke up, I thought it was sunny out. No, it was the trees, all golden and pale green, lightening up my bedroom.  Every year I forget that light.  Now, after a day of downpours, it still gleams.

I took my husband to the doctor yesterday as his truck wasn’t working and he had to tell me to stop staring at the leaves. My swerving hither and yon drove his blood pressure up. Truly. So I drove sedately and kept my eyes on the road.

And I don’t even mind that the leaves will come down. Then I will have an open woodland to look at. Oh, my.

Well…

I think I’ll write about the Bard-Parker blade factory. I was a lucky to get a summer job that was easy and clean. I say that now since the next summer I was glad to get a job as second tipper in a hat factory.

Bard-Parker produced mostly surgical blades. The manufacturing part was on the first floor. The blade inspectors were on the second floor. That’s where I sat, in the blade inspectors’ large room. It was air-conditioned. Nice huh? Back in 1953, too.

The reason it was air conditioned was because the blade inspectors–all women– needed it. If they were hot, their fingers sweat and rusted the blades. Not a good marketing ploy. So the room was air-conditioned.

I never touched a surgical blade. I remember I packed hershey (Hershey?) blades. They fit a holder and were used for slicing cartons open. I must have done other jobs but I can’t remember them. Oh yes, the hershey blades were covered with grease.

I remember Irene who shared my table. She’d had to leave high school at sixteen to go to work. She later married and ended up at Bard-Parker.
She must have thirsted for knowledge because I remember memorizing poems for her at night so I could recite them to her the next day.

Why didn’t I give her a book of poems? I was young and thoughtless.

Jobs

For my birthday, I got a call from my granddaughter, Amanda, and she has a new job. I told her it was great to learn so many different skills and stuff from different jobs. Later I reminisced with myself over the jobs I had and tried to write about them.
It was too dull. But the jobs weren’t: working behind a candy counter at a local movie house,bus girl at the hotel in Danbury, Connecticut. Then, after I finished my first year of college, as a summer attendant at Newton State Hospital; next summer at a blade factory, packing blades and being bored and, after my junior year, working as a second tipper in a hat factory. Never will forget that last job. It was the only one at which I was a failure. And didn’t care, although my brother who worked there got me the job.
Now that I’ve reviewed them, I’m not sure I want to go into much detail about them. Somehow they are far in the past.
I’ll have to try writing about one, at least. I’ll get back to you.