Our Year Of Living (Beautifully) Without WalMart

Friday, September 25, 2009


(what i wrote for our fifteenth year class reunion.....)

I am a huge fan of the British "UP" documentary series. In it, a filmmaker, Michael Apted, filmed several children from different economic and social backgrounds from all over England in 1964 when they were seven years old. He has since filmed them every seven years of their lives since. It is enthralling. If you haven't seen them, I would highly recommend you do so.

(Here is the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_Series)

In it, he quotes from a Jesuit maxim, "Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man." It is very evident in the series that these people became almost exactly what they said and thought they would be when they were small children.

I have struggled with writing this. Because I had no context to put the past fifteen (or even thirty three) years of my life into perspective, It has all been kind of a clusterjam of wildness that seems unbelievable to've happened to anyone shy of a literary heroine, and this I am not, surely?

But when I was seven years old, guess what I would've told you that I would be? Or what life I would create for myself, or would create on the page. (or what I was, at seven years old, stuck daydreaming in a wooden box in Mrs. Brewer's classroom for months....) Literary heroine seems pretty reasonable, I suppose.

I mean, really. Did anyone expect for me to sail through life smoothly and uniformly? (I looked up the word "conformitously" but it appears I made that up!) I highly doubt it.

Well, here we are and another five years has passed and we are checking in on ourselves, We eightyeight wandering children from that lovely cornfield snowglobe of our youth....And here I am.

When last we met, I was newly separated from my first marriage. I was the mother of a five year old boy. The word "tumultuous" comes to mind.

Five years before that, I was the newlywed, dewy-eyed mother of that little boy. So in that five years, (1997-2002) I had been struggling to put aside my wildness, trade the Scarlett O'Hara/Courtney Love act in, and become some sort of June Cleaver, under quite impossible circumstances. But I gave it the old go, just the same. I failed.

Five years prior to that (1994-1997) I had graduated, buried my father, had my stint in rehab, and travelled the country homeless and "selling magazines" and doing my "Girl, Interrupted" thing. So at least the years 1997-2002 were an improvement over that! A mellowing, if you will.

Since last we met, I have been on a burning spiritual quest to accept myself. What a rocky road! But there are small miracles almost daily, for which I am most glad and grateful.

In the year 2005, I met my current husband, Jonathan, online. He traveled from Galveston, Texas to Greeley Colorado to be with me and stepfather Sebastian. That was a very good thing.

In the year 2006 on May 17th, to be precise, our son, River Frederick Jack was born. At home. Unattended, but for the encouragement of my best friend. When Jonathan delivered him, it was the first time he had ever held a baby.

In the year 2007, we were married on Valentine's Day. I called my mother AFTER, just like the first time. I told her that I had news. She asked if I was pregnant again. I told her no, that we had gotten married.Two weeks later, I called my mother again. I told her I had news. She said, "If you are pregnant again, just hang up the phone." I hung up the phone.So, yes. I was indeed the pregnant newlywed mother of an eight year old and an eight month old. Hurrah!

In July of that year my son Sebastian went on his two week summer vacation with his father. One evening after a thunderstorm they decided to go racing toy boats in the town's irrigation ditch (for those of you not familiar with irrigation in the West, it is comparable to a creek here). In a strange moment, my son's boat was rushing down the ditch and my ex-husband decided to hotdog it and jump in after it. He dove. He broke his neck. Two days later he died. Twenty nine years old.

So, that has occupied me for a couple years, now. It is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. Both of myself and as guardian of my son's little heart.

On November 3rd 2007, our daughter, BellaLuna Evalina was born. At home. Unassisted. Breech. Now I have a daughter to love too. She was born two days before what would've been Bobby's thirtieth birthday. Bittersweet.

In 2008, it was time to come back to the snowglobe to raise my little ones. To right the wrongs, to write the tender chapters of their lives and hang up my heroine hat for twenty years or so. (I still pick it up off the hook from time to time and fluff the feathers now and then.....)

We now reside in Bradford. My son Sebastian is a stellar student and very bright boy. My toddlers are wildly adorable whirlwinds. My husband loves me and I fancy him very much so.

We have one last Oom-pah-pah in us, and plan to move one last time to Yellow Springs in 2011, after my son has my mother in the sixth grade here in Bradford, and she retires to Memphis to live amongst the Elvis for awhile.

Once there, I plan to go to Antioch McGregor (and then to the "big school" as fred calls it when we visit) and major in Humanities with a Literary Emphasis, writing little bits and pieces along the way. Maybe someday I will be Dr. Ms. Heroine....who knows?

So, my friends, is this what you could've forseen for me when we played Wizard of Oz on the playground, and the bells rang every day at noon and six? Back when I was nothing but moxie and long golden hair?I believe so, and that's what matters.I look foreward to seeing you all and hearing from you ANYTIME.

Namaste' and MUCH love,
Steffani the Magnificent

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