Archive | July, 2012

Two girls with no dad’s

31 Jul

Kelly was surprised to see us all pull back in so soon, on that Sunday. I wasn’t going to tell her that my dad left, picked up and moved away.But she seemed so happy to see me. And I needed someone happy to see me about then. So I ran across the street to see her. But as soon as I hit her sidewalk I was blinded by my own tears. She waited for my voice to work. It took awhile to find it. Then as if it was someone else talking , a monotone voice came out of me, reciting the days events.

I found out that Kelly’s dad moved away too. She didn’t even remember him. She hadn’t seen him since she was about three years old. So there we were, two girls, with no dads.


Carpet and bare walls

30 Jul

They always bickered who would pick up, and who would drive home. The Sunday visit to Dad’s house. Last time Mom picked us up, so this time she had to drop us off.I thought about my Dad’s new baby  as we drove. Judy had a baby boy. They named him Michael. We weren’t allowed near him. Last time I was there we just sat on the cement steps out front. I noticed a pale blue egg on the ground under the Oak tree.I went over to see it and there was a baby bird with hardly any feathers.It looked naked and almost transparent. I scooped it up and ran for the front door, screaming “Dad”!  He opened the door, “Shhhushing” me right away, then Judy showed up behind him. Excitedly I explained that I found this baby bird, and can we help it. Maybe it wasn’t dead, and could he please look at it, and can I keep him. “Get her out of here” was the shrill voice of hate paralyzing me with fear. Judy pointed her finger back outside, mumbling about germs and disease as she slammed shut the door. As we drove,I hoped this week would be different. I smelled my hands and arms, I still smelled like soap. My clothes were clean, my hair was pulled back, and I was silently praying Judy would be nice and let me see the new baby.

Our car came around the curve and slowed to a stop, out in front of our Dad’s house. We all saw it at the same time. Before my Mom could put it in park, the four of us kids jumped out of the car. We stared in disbelief at the SOLD sign on the front yard of their empty house. All curtains were gone. I ran up to the windows and cupped my eyes to see in. Carpet and bare walls. No sign of my father, or Judy, or a baby boy named Michael ever living there.It was completely empty. I saw my reflection in the window and I could see that I wasn’t even crying. But, inside was the loudest, wailing, silent scream that nobody ever heard, as we piled into the car to drive back home.

What did it mean?

30 Jul

So what did it mean? I thought the sand dollar was about God, but who is this Jesus Christ? Was He God, or the son of Him? Why was he killed? How could someone hammer him onto a cross, and why? I felt sick. Confused. Completely angry and disappointed. This beautiful shell that represented wonder and beauty, quickly turned into something else. It now stood for tragedy and pain. I couldn’t understand it. I ripped my sand dollar necklace off and threw it into my Timex watch box, with the sand dollar poem and delicately wrapped shell. The lid snapped shut, but I didn’t care enough to open it back up to see if my shell broke.

Get the hell outta here.

30 Jul

The summer of my eleventh birthday,a new family moved in across the street from us. We were new to the neighborhood from last summer. There were kids on the street that weren’t allowed to play with us. It was because my mom wasn’t married to Bob, but we all lived together. Everyone assumed they were married . When we were riding bikes with our new  friends, they referred to Bob as “your dad”. I said , “he’s not our dad, that’s my mom’s boyfriend, Bob”. That news spread like wild fire down the street. It was the seventies, so that was news worthy. Now a days it is very common, but back then it was reason enough not to play with the new kids. That December they got married in our living room by some guy, just in time to claim us on the income tax, he joked.

I made sure to tell all the kids in the neighborhood that they got married, hoping we could play with them now. My new neighbor across the street was the same age as me. We became best friends. Her mother was living with a guy she wasn’t married to, but what did I care? I told her to keep that private because of what happened to me. We talked about the shore and how we were gone most of the summer, staying with my grandparents. She said she heard there were four kids across the street, and had been waiting to meet us.Then she said, “I like your necklace”. It was a little golden sand dollar hanging from a fine chain. My grandfather picked it out for my birthday. There was no way of him knowing what it would mean to me. He knew I had a sand dollar shell, and just thought I liked them. He couldn’t know it was my portal to talk to God.

When she said “I like your necklace”, I said, ” wait I have something really cool to show you!” I ran home, grabbed my velvet watch box and ran back across the street. I slowly open the Timex watch box, lifted out the folded tissue paper and card. I was ready to school her on my sand dollar. Not the part about how I used it to talk to God, just that somehow, it was about God.” Kelly, be very careful, this is really delicate”, I said as I slowly unfolded the tissue paper. Before I could say anything more, she said , “Oooh, a sand dollar I have one of these somewhere, but it’s broken. Do you know they represent Christ?” I said, matter of factly, “Well, yeah, I have this card here…”

I could feel that she knew alot more “about Christ”, but the conversation moved on to new topics and all I could think about was how to get back on the subject of my sand dollar. If she knew what the holes were, or the flower,or anything else on my card, I had to find a way to get her to tell me. “Do you know where your broken sand dollar is?”, I asked.

She, didn’t, ……” Were there really doves inside?”…… she didn’t know. “What does this mean, Kel, do you know?” I let her read the peom. She looked at me, paused a minute, still looking at me, she got up and said “hold on”. Kelly walked into her house, and into her bedroom, and removed from her wall, right above her bed, a small crucifix. She came outside and said ” it’s about the crucifixion, see the nail holes”, she said pointing to the hands and feet of a man on a cross. All I could say is “Get the hell outta here.”,


making sense of it

28 Jul

I could read the peom one hundred times but I would never understand it. I didn’t know about Jesus,or his life, death or ressurection. I didn’t know who he was or how he was connected to God.  But I knew they were connected somehow, yet the only time I ever heard the name Jesus Christ, it was when someone was yelling and they used it as a curse word.

There’s a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.

On one side the Easter lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas poinsettia,
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open,
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread Good will and peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread His Gospel
Through all eternity.

And so with the blind faith of a child, I cupped that shell in my hands, shut my eyes, and felt the sun shine on my face. I sat on the dock dangling my legs above the water, and thought about how his birthday was on Christmas. That was all I knew, although we didn’t celebrate it, we had Santa Clause. I didn’t know a thing about nail holes, Roman spears, shepards, or what a Gospel was. But what I did know was that with this shell in my hands and the sun on my face, I felt connected. I wispered a quiet “thank you” and just sat there holding that shell.

No One Ever Talked About Him

17 Jul

No one ever talked about Him, but I knew anyway. It was obvious. I tried to ask about God but no one in my family seemed to know much about him. Some people didn’t believe He was really real. But I knew. Instinctively, I just did. The summer I was ten, some one new was in charge of the lighthouse, and wouldn’t let me go up without an adult. Didn’t they know they were keeping me from God? I had a lot to say to Him. Somehow I believed I needed to be higher to the sky, for Him to hear me. No one had the time to take me up to the lighthouse, and they didn’t know what I did up there anyway. No one knew I asked the birds to carry a thank you, or a message, or a sadness, or a question,  off to a God who didn’t even know my name.

Dejected, I went off crabbing with my brother on Andy’s pier. I threw in my crab traps and softly dangled my feet over the side, just above the water. A guy next to us caught a blowfish! It was about the coolest fish I’d ever seen. We weren’t having much luck catching crabs. I decided to waste some time in Andy’s Bait and Gift Shop, just looking around. That’s where
I saw it. I tried to push my way in to get a good look into the glass case. I couldn’t make out all the words on the card, but I could tell it was about God. It was like a poem about him, and glued on top was a sand dollar. I needed it. I had to have it. Someone finally asked me if they could help me, and I asked them the price of the card with the shell on it. I don’t remember the cost of it today, but I do know that I immediately calculated the money that my brother and I got for icecream at Dairy Queen. If I convinced him to buy a popsicle instead of a sundae, I could use the rest to buy my shell. I sat back down next to my brother on the pier. I started to tell him about the card and shell. My throat got the crying lump in it, but I didn’t know why. I could hardly say it. He waited patiently to hear what was so hard for me to say. “There is something in there that I really, really want. It’s a shell, but it comes with a card about God. You don’t know, but I think about God alot I need to read that card.I need to have that shell. Can I use our ice cream money? If you just get a popsicle, I’ll have enough”.

This is why I love my brother so much. Without hesitation, he just said yes, sure. That’s how he is. If he can help, he will. not every eight year old would take a popsicle instead of a sundae. Luckily, this one would. I sauntered up to the counter, and stared down at the sand dollar. With money in hand , I waited my turn. I left Andy’s Bait and Gift Shop with a small plain brown bag clenched in my sweaty hand. My heart was pounding. I ran back to the pier to show my brother what I had bought. He was busy getting a bunch of crabs out of our traps and into the cooler. Once the traps hit the water again, and I had his attention, I removed my treasure from the bag. I examined the shell, turning it over in my hand to look at both sides.Then I started to read the card……….

The Sunday Visit

16 Jul

Dear God do you see us sitting on the cement steps, in front of the house? I see my dad in his chair in front of the t.v. Why do we come here?  My teacher wrote on my report card that I cry all the time. I am so mad that she put that on my report card. I try to act happy for my mom, that teacher is a blabber mouth. I feel like I’m only crying on the inside, but sometimes it just leaks out. I haven’t been able to come up to the lighthouse, because we’re back in Pennsylvania, I guess I’ll visit you next summer when we come down the shore.