Tag Archives: guilt

Declutter 2017: Letter from Julia

When I was going though a box of correspondence from my mom’s house I came across a small, folded note in an unmarked envelope. Now, my mom kept pretty much every piece of correspondence she received, so it was not unusual that she kept this, but it was a surprise to me and made me very uncomfortable because 1) I didn’t know anything about it and 2) it put me in a very bad light.

It took me a while to figure out that the note was from Julia. I thought, at first, that there was someone I’d been unkind to named Pat Knight who I’d completely forgotten, then I realized it was from Julia.

Readers of this blog may recall that I briefly had a roommate from England shortly after I moved out of my mom’s house and it ended badly. She was beautiful, blond, British and outgoing. At the time I felt much inferior to her, appearance-wise. We’d go to a bar and guys would be lining up to meet her. There were times guys seemed to want to get to know me because they wanted to get closer to her. To put it bluntly, I was envious of her looks and ease with men.

I actually looked forward to her returning to the States ((She’d spent a few weeks with us during the summer, then returned to England to get a visa so she could stay longer)) as my roommate before she arrived; and I know we had some fun together. The part about me only allowing her to come back to the States because I owed it to my parents is not right — I may have said it, but that was easier to say than admit that I was jealous of her looks and accent and how guys acted around her. I also was not jealous of the relationship she was growing with my family ((well, I say that now, but perhaps I was. I know I was jealous that my mom talked to Marcia about things that she would not talk to me about)).

I know I was difficult to live with, but at the time I felt as if I were the injured party. I paid the rent and she didn’t always have the cash for her part of the rent. I paid for her medical bills when she went to the doctor because she had no insurance. I did the housekeeping and did our laundry. I definitely resented her for a lot of things and I am sure it showed.

There were other things that I won’t mention here, but both of us were on shaky ground based on societal rules (and U. S. and state laws) of the time.

The part about the letter is probably true. I don’t remember writing it, but I hated how I was acting, I hated the jealousy I was feeling. I’d long felt that there was something wrong with me because I had such a short fuse and would explode at the slightest provocation.

For years afterwards friends and family members would ask me if I’d ever heard from her or knew where she was living. I didn’t until I got in touch with her brother, and then got in touch with her in 2010. This year we became friends on Facebook.

And as I told Julia in an email nearly 8 years ago — she’s why Dean and I are together. Dean and I dated a few times in 1979, but I wanted to date someone else. A year later Dean, who  was a client of the salon where Julia worked, had her for a hair washer. When he heard her talk he asked if she knew me. She said yes and that he should call me. He did and the rest is history.

Guilt, grief, grandpa and golf balls

Me, the following summer.

I spent much of the summer before I turned 16 with Grandpa and Grandma Green in their lake house in Chetek, Wisconsin just as I had done previous years. I spent my days reading and writing letters to my friends.

Sometimes I helped Grandma with things around the house and sometimes I spent time with Grandpa.

Grandpa Green had a few hobbies — reading, playing solitaire, drinking beer in bars and golf. One day he asked me if I would like to learn to play golf. I don’t remember if I was actually interested in playing golf, but I was interested in spending time with him, so I said I would like to learn. He took me to Chetek’s golf course and I acted as his caddie while he played golf with his buddies. I remember mostly being bored and hot and the golf bag was heavy.

When I told my mom about it, she said that the reason I was in Chetek in the first place was to spend time with Grandma when Grandpa was golfing. While that was news to me, I had no problem telling Grandpa that I didn’t want to go golfing with him when next he asked. I could tell he was disappointed, but I didn’t want to tell him that my mom said I should spend time with Grandma instead. I told him I did want to learn, but just not that day.

Before I left for home that summer, he gave me three golf balls and some golf tees. Maybe he thought I might try to golf in Elgin? I am not sure, but I thanked him and put them in a bag and took them home.

That November Grandpa developed a blood clot in his right leg and had to have it amputated. Besides being afraid for my Grandpa — someone I loved as much as I loved my own parents — I felt guilty because I’d declined to go golfing with him after the one time. I knew he would never set foot on a golf course again despite people telling me that when he got his prosthetic leg he’d golf again if he wanted to.

The next summer he developed another blood clot and had more of his leg amputated, but he suffered a heart attack during the amputation and died a few days later, on July 9, 1973. He was 63.

When my mom, who was at the Mayo Clinic with my grandparents, called to tell my dad about his death, I listened to Dad’s end of the call through the door to my attic bedroom. I sat on the steps, sobbing while holding the bag of golf balls and golf tees that Grandpa had given me. I cried out of grief, but also guilt because I told him I didn’t want to go golfing with him the previous summer.

I still have the golf balls and golf tees. I keep thinking I should just get rid of them, but I cannot do that.

 

In for the what?

What’s that saying: In for the something out for the something else? Oh – In for the penny out for the pound? In for the penny in for the pound? That’s gotta be it!

Whatever it is, it is what I thought about when I chose to write this post right now instead of work on my work-for-pay stuff. I am monumentally behind in my “files” and have made some probably poor choices recently like the Hiptop Halloween Hunt yesterday and Costco the day before. While there are some valid reasons I’m behind, I really should be concentrating on those files rather than on writing novels and blog posts.

That said, I’m glad I’m back and doing some of this posting on a daily basis. I miss writing – copying text from PDF and Word files and pasting it into an HTML editor may sound like a blast, but it’s not as fun as you may think. It can be mind boggling tedius and it sapps the energy from my brain, making me want to do nothing but watch television at night.

So, to get back to the title of this post, I figured I’ve already gotten behind in my work, I might as well get this post for today done.

I wrote over 800 words on my NaNoWriMo novel this morning – I had no idea what I was going to write about until I actually started writing. Now I’m kind of excited to find out more about my characters and the plot. I’m pretty sure I know where it is going, but it keeps changing in my head.

The kids have today off and I was supposed to go to a free 508 conference in DC, but because I’m behind in work and because the kids are home, I figured I’d not go. I went last year and the section I attended was nothing more than a commercial for Adobe.

Ok, enough procrastinating. Off to copy and paste and format.