Digging through the past

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It’s the end of the month. The end of another chapter in my life. What have I learned in the month of September? Are there tricks of the trade of life that I have picked up that will make October 2015 the best October I’ve ever had in my life?

This is the first time I have made the intention statement that I will submit a story, an essay to be published. Publishing to WordPress for my blog has been filling the niche, but now it is time for me to push for that next level.

As I work on a story about Stanley and Oliver, the first cats in my life, I’m digging through old journals to find out when I actually brought the kittens home from Saturday Market. Not a clue. My brain doesn’t retain dates and names and other miscellaneous details, which is my main purpose of  journaling, though I have never been very good writing with the idea of what would I remember in ten years, yet alone thirty something years. I spent a lot of time with a woman by the name of Sarah Jane, but I have no memories clinging to that name. I went to her house a lot, but I don’t say where.

Skiming for Stanley and Oliver’s names. There was a comment in a journal of Devon Trottier, my Veterinarian, coming over to check Stanley out. That three-ring notebook was put back with the dozen of other binders, and two more were taken off of the shelf. Looking for clues.

I know my sister Deb was visiting. I believe that my dad sent her to check up on me to see how I was doing. That memory doesn’t help me figure a date, though since we did go to the coast, I’m thinking that the season was warmer.

Math helps. We’ve lived in the dome for about fourteen years. Back up to the year 2000. I do remember going to the coast to celebrate the finality of the 90s, and the Y2K stuff was really bugging me.

Stanley was old when he died, though I don’t remember exactly how old. This narrows it down. I didn’t move to Eugene until 1983. October 1983 is my anniversary. My friend Heidee and I practically were at each other’s throats by the time we stopped living together, but that memory doesn’t give me any hints.

hqdefaultFirst real hint came from a comment marked in the margins of Friday, September 7, 1984: Laurel and Hardy. Stanley and Oliver, though I’m not sure if I have the Laurel and Hardy matched up. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. I’m wondering if “Laurel and Hardy are causing holy Hell in the apartment.” My comment that they need to learn how to be by themselves leads me to believe they were young when I mentioned them.

I’m getting closer, but I came across a passage that really surprised me. I was calling the cats Ying and Yang, which is strange since I know have a pair called Ying and Yang. I didn’t realize that I had tried these names on a different pair. What caused me to change my mind?

The mystery has been solved. On Saturday, September 1, 1984, I came home from Saturday Market with two kittens. I hadn’t planned on bringing home any cats. My sister Deb suggested the name Bonnie & Clyde, and so I ran with that. I don’t remember if the people that sold me the kittens told me that the black one was male, getting the name Oliver, and the grey one was female, and would be called Stanley. It certainly wasn’t the first time I mismatched a name with gender or would that be mismatched a gender with a name. I had a gerbil named Charlie that had babies, so I think I changed her official name to Charlotte.

At this point of my life, I had been spreading my wings of being a radical feminist. I stopped using the words man and men to describe woman and women and threw in a y instead. Womyn. I had a Lane Community College Writing teacher that knocked off points every time I misspelled man or men. Yet, when it came to names of my animals, I followed the standardized script.

Pe840716Stanley and Oliver were born July 17, 1984. Cancer kittens. Unfortunately, Oliver’s life was cut short when he wandered out to River Road. I was devastated. He was buried in the field along the Willamette River.

Even though Stanley never did get a chance to live in the dome, he was buried on the property since the dome house was being built and would eventually become our home for what we hope to be the rest of our lives.

I am ready to work on Stanley’s story; this document is like stretching before going for a run. I would hate to pull something while writing.



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