Good Morning Schnucks! I woke up wondering ‘when is a Page also a Post?’ … and then I started to scribble, illegibly as usual, with tea and LightBox shining on another gloomy Seattle morning. Thought I would get the first lines onto the Edit Post window but just kept writing. Feeling hung-over from staying up too late with the Golden Globe Awards and still waking up at 5:30. I’ll edit photos later, add tags, and fiddle with the About Us Page. Tell me what you think. I listened to the last part of The New Dawn #20 before falling asleep. More about that also. Later. ~LP
I was born in the wastelands of New Jersey, a stone’s throw from the Twin Towers of 9/11 fame. My father had been discharged from the army mostly deaf after being blasted by a German sub torpedo. I never heard the whole story. My grandfathers, whom I never met, had come over from Italy south of Rome, and from Poland south of Krakow near the old Czech border. Rocco and Mary came together in New York City through the family doctor where she worked as receptionist cum nurse. My sister came along seven years later. Only further along in life did I come clear how those first seven years were for ‘my little girl’ home alone with a Polish/Italian match made well outside of heaven’s gates. It takes some time for all the pieces of the puzzle to fall together in the more remote corners of one’s being.
Madeline the original cover
Somehow I started school early at 4 1/2, the youngest in my class. I loved to read. I loved to be out of the flat on Grove Street which was also temporary home to my mother’s brothers Gus and Adolf as she brought them over one by one from ‘Europe’, as she referred to home. My hero was Ludwig Bemelman’s Madeline: She was not afraid of mice, she loved winter, snow and ice. To the tiger in the zoo, Madeline just said “pooh. pooh!”. Later my heroines were Antigone and the Delphic Oracle. I became a serious little girl, an even more serious teenager.
When my sister was born we moved to a real house with trees on the street and a park nearby. What an improvement! I got to know every tree on that street and every swing in the park. Just how high I could swing before going over the top bar. How the street lights shown through the new leaves in early Spring. We had a real Maple just outside our house. The rest was concrete, even the backyard, although the neighbors had grass. Riding the bus every morning to an all girls’ academy I became terribly worried, and actually convinced, that under all that concrete the Earth had ‘gone away’. That there was really only a thin sheet of hard gray, and the Earth had moved somewhere else where it still could be seen and walked on.
Adventures in the Park
I got to make mud pies and have outdoor adventures a few times a year visiting my two cousins in Connecticut. My father’s older sisters Mary and Rose, Mary’s kids Danny Boy and Anne Marie. I still remember the first time they tried to teach me to make a somersault on the grass. Me who had to keep her Sunday clothes spotlessly clean in her real life with Mary and Rocco.
Danny hung himself in Central Park while I was in India. Anne Marie had an irate husband throw acid in her face in her first year as a womens’ rights lawyer in NYC. My times with them, always Tom Sawyer adventures ‘without the adults‘ (as we referred to them always) were until recently the only happy memories I could access from my childhood. Danny remained somewhat of a Peter Pan; my sister became his playing partner while I had angelic visions, daytime visitations from Zeus, and fell in love with dead poets. Truly embarrassing. But true.
After 12 years of Catholic education including playing harp in the orchestra and four years of Latin I landed at Antioch College, the original campus in Yellow Springs. I put everything in one trunk and intended never to go back. Arlene, my best friend through high school, had capped the scholarship for Radcliffe but chose Sarah Lawrence. My first choice had been Barnard (the womens’ wing of Columbia) but the scholarship did not cover room and board so I would have to live at home. Not an option. It was off to Ohio and my oh-so naive fantasy of what College would be like: I would study Philosophy, wear a robe and sandals like my Franciscan uncle who baptized me and make love a lot.
I was a virgin until I was 21 and this is getting a bit long for an About Us. Maybe this is a good spot for an old-fashioned Intermission … i luv u, pn ~lp
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