Everyone is "down the shore"

Friday, start of the Memorial Day week-end and it is deadly quiet here in South Philly – maybe even all over the city.

Folks in Philly go “down the shore” in the summer. Not to the beach but down the shore. It’s a south Jersey thing. I googled the phrase and indeed it is described as a South Jersey locution. And, as we are quickly learning, Philadelphia is just a suburb of South Jersey.

I’m from New York City and when I say the City I mean the whole damn place, all 5 five boroughs, even Staten Island, which is only nominally in NYC. There is a tradition in NYC that people who live in Brooklyn and Queens refer to Manhattan as “the city”. I don’t know what folks in the Bronx call Manhattan, maybe they to refer to Manhattan that way as well.

I suppose I did too when I was a teenager in Queens but as a young adult, we are talking the mid-1960’s, I socialized in Manhattan and most of the people I knew were from out of town, come to the “city” to seek fame and fortune. They were totally unaware that NYC was actually 5 boroughs. I was at a party on the upper East side and I was asked where I lived. I said “Jamaica” – which is a neighborhood in Queens. They replied “Wow, that is some commute” and they were serious. I spent a lot of time explaining to these folks the geographical make-up of New York City. I learned to refer to each borough by it’s name, less confusing. On the other hand old time NY’ers will ask me if I am a native NY’er simply because I do do that. Their experience is Manhattan is the “city” and if you call it Manhattan then you can’t be a native NY’er. I call those folks assholes.

So where was I? I think I had a point when I started this but now I’m not so sure. We kinda make fun of “down the shore”, my husband and I. We find it amusing. When we say it you can hear the italics. Where I’m from we call it the beach – Jones Beach, Orchard Beach , Rockaway Beach – you know, the Atlantic Ocean and sand. My husband is from Boston and I don’t think they have beaches – they have ocean and rocks but not much in the way of sand. In Vermont, when they say they are going to the beach they mean a lake – again, not much in the way of sand, I can tell ya.

The beach has an ocean and sand. Anything else is not a beach. Technically speaking it is a shore, but I’d rather go to the beach.

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My husband wrote this for me

The Little Girl

I met the little girl one night
When all my thoughts were of myself:
A flash of lightning memory, watered with our tears,
And in her thunderous quiet voice she pleads,
“Will you protect me, please?”

Deep in me a small boy stirs;
Ears alert to listen, and he knows.

She cries, “I don’t know what she wants!
I’m good. I’m quiet. I just wait
To hear my father coming home,
And hope with all my love for him
That he will save me from the dark.”

The small boy weeps with mirrored pain –
Hers, the mother; his, the dad.

Quiet now, she stops and stares,
And, in a tone of broken heart,
She sobs, “ But he just will not see!
And all the love I feel for him
Is not enough to clear his sight.”

The small boy asks, his spirit dark,
“What good a family bound by pain?”

She tells of how she sleeps at night
With ears alert for any sound,
And, wakening, she sits alone,
And waits the night for mother’s face.
She knows no one will stop the fright.

The small boy nods, for though he sleeps,
He cowers at wet morning’s light.

She screams and tells one final tale,
Of bindings for no reason known.
“What did I do”, she begs to hear,
“That they should take my arms from me,
And leave me all alone to cry?”

The small boy weeps to feel her bonds;
Though his are words, they hold as tight

She grows, this wondrous little girl,
And manages somehow to smile
Through all the things they do to her.
She knows that if she’s strong enough,
Someday someone will shelter her.

The small boy grows, but does not dream,
And is not strong, and cannot care.

A lady comes to save the girl.
Full grown and strong and beautiful,
She keeps the child within her heart,
And brings her toys, and plays with her,
And lets her know that she is loved.

And when the little girl cries out
“Protect me, please” – the lady does.

And, seeing this, the small boy stays.
Alone, afraid – but with new hope.

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Discretion is the better part of valor

Yes, common sense should prevail. Keeping your mouth shut when opening it will serve no good purpose – Yeah, and when the hell am I going to totally embrace these concepts?

I’ve gotten better with this over the years but sometimes, you know what they say, opportunity knocks but temptation kicks the door down, I give into the temptation. To say what I really feel, or mean. Knowing full well I am talking to a hostile audience. Or if not hostile, an audience who I know isn’t receptive; who will respond with a self-righteous sneer, and worst of all, I will take that to heart. I will, if only for a moment, doubt myself, my choices, my needs, wants, likes, dislikes. I’m not passing judgment on your choices, enjoy – I’m just saying what I like. And I need to justify this? NOT.

Exactly how old do I have to be, how long do I have to live before I truly do not give a rats ass what other people think of me?

Or maybe I should just start hanging around with people who are a bit more like me? Acceptance is a lovely thing. And respect. For other choices, other likes and dislikes, other POV’s. Enjoy the diversity. If people can’t, or won’t, oh, hell – walk away.

Feeling like a petty, self-centered shit, I’m walking. It’s just not important enough for my silly feelings to be hurt. And yet, hurt they are.

Grow up, Grace!

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It is a glorious Sunday

weather-wise could not ask for a more lovely day. Sun is shining, there is a brisk breeze, okay, it’s a tad on the windy side, temps in the mid-60’s – just magnificent. I am not an outdoor person, or one for trees and stuff, but today is the kind of day where even I would not mind having breakfast on a patio, with trees and birds and sylvan quiet all around.

It’s also Mother’s Day and my 3 fur babies have forgotten yet again ::sigh::

I thought about discussing, yet again, the whole “mothers are sacred” myth but really – either you get it or you don’t. Just because a female gets pregnant and gives birth doesn’t make that person deserving of any more, or less, respect or consideration than any other human being. Words have a dictionary meaning and an emotional one, connotation if you will. A caring, loving, nurturing woman is a mother, shared DNA aside. And shared DNA, without those characteristics, is, well, just someone who shares your DNA. I share DNA with any number of women, none of them could be characterized as caring, loving, nurturing. Actually, I have no women in my life like that all, don’t think I ever have. Consequently I have no “mother”, aside from biologically.

I have cared for other people’s children and hopefully I have been caring, loving, nurturing yet none of those children, now adults, consider me a mother figure. Guess I didn’t do as well as I thought or tried to do.

Remember that song from “A Chorus Line” – What I Did for Love? I like to think that many of my actions throughout my life have been done for love, for the children, for the adults, for anyone who crossed my path, even hopefully for myself…

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