Two famous Jamaican recording stars are over here at the house: EQ, who sings reggae and is famous for her harmonies, and Pempattae, who sings “dance hall” music (another top genre here). EQ was cool when I first met her (probably ’cause I’m white); later, she was warm and wise.
I went to the downtown market yesterday with Ben, and the kids, CK and Jello (little Phillip). The marketplace was busy, but, after Haiti, almost everything seems tame. I bought hydrogen peroxide, hair conditioner, fresh fruit and veggie, stuff for the house (hand soap, peanut butter, dish soap). We all went out for doughnuts and a 9-piece chicken dinner at KFC (my treat: it cost $2,000 [about $20 US]). A Christmas dinner.
Today, I went downtown to the market again with Andreen, Cass’ 8-year-old child. Back at home, a sweltering, sweat-dripping hour later, we’re drinking rum coolers (white rum and soda); Ben and I are online, Cass (Phillip) is mixing songs, and the kids are watching cartoons on TV. Downtown we bought half a watermelon and peanut sweeties from street vendors; I got cheated on a $200 JD (c. $2 US) purchase of some meat a guy was cooking (he gave me about $50 worth [later, Yvonne told me the kids love these bones]); I got a good deal on a dozen tangerines (called “stangerines”). Listening to WWOZ New Orleans (live online radio) on my earphones.
I remember being a teenaged girl and so awkward. I’d go to school dances (“sock hops”: we had to leave our shoes at the door so we didn’t wreck the gym floor). I loved the music and felt it in my soul, but, every time, no one would ever ask me to dance! My parents would ask me, “Did you dance?” “No.” I am sure they were confused, and so was I. This was when my Asperger Syndrome began to really affect my life (but, of course, no one knew about A.S. until the mid-1990s). I was a social misfit. Luckily, my best friends, Jane Britton and Martha Tracy, were also completely socially “different”; they were geniuses and both of them went to Radcliffe in 1963. Mom finally convinced Dad that, yeah, girls DO go to college! So they let me go to (Catholic) Boston College.
Radcliffe College was a women’s liberal arts college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was the coordinate college for Harvard University. It was also one of the Seven Sisters colleges. Radcliffe College conferred joint Harvard-Radcliffe diplomas beginning in 1963 and a formal merger agreement with Harvard was signed in 1977, with full integration with Harvard completed in 1999.
I took baton lessons the summer before my junior year of high school. I wanted to be a drum majorette and march with the band. I thought this was the cat’s meow. But I got appendicitis and couldn’t try out. One of my friends, Jo Hansen, was a cheerleader, and she convinced me to try out for that. She taught me a few cheers, and I tried out in front of the whole school. I went blank with fear when I looked at the crowd in the gym’s bleachers; I made up some moves and was elected! I suddenly became popular. Every sorority in the school asked me to join. I was thrilled, but not fooled; I knew what had happened. It was both fun and funny.
Lots of fun here at Cass’ house. I am constantly with people (no alone time). I’m even sharing the double bed with Ben, the 28-year-old French Couchsurfer and musician who is recording with Cass and the other guys. The kids have their own room. I can’t sleep worth shit because I am so conscious of Ben being there. He’s a very nice, sweet person, and so young! I am a fool for love; I fall in love with everyone I have sex with (except the one-night stands, and even they bore me now). I am still on the track of my ONE LOVE. Today the kids went up to their mothers’ houses (each child has a different mom), so I think I’ll have a bed to myself for my last three nights here in Fletcher’s Land. Great gospel music on the radio in the neighbor’s yard.
Yvonne, Cass’ girlfriend, is 47, the mother of 7 kids, and a new friend of mine. A few days a weeks, she does all the housework, dishes, cleaning the yard, and laundry, plus whatever else needs to be done around this place.
Today Yvonne and I were in downtown Kingston at the big, outdoor market when she got a call that her youngest child, Jordan (age 17), had been stabbed. We took a taxi to uptown where Yvonne lives, collected Jordan, and Yvonne’s ex-boyfriend drove us to “the Public” (the Public Hospital here in Kingston). She’s back there now after walking me home, taking the laundry off the line, and folding it. No insurance. I still don’t know if Jordan will be admitted. While I was on a bench across the street from the hospital, waiting for Yvonne and Jordan, a woman next to me said that she knew of a guy who was stabbed, walked himself into the hospital, and died in there of blood in the lungs.
I am seeing the REAL Kingston and meeting the REAL people of Kingston.
There’s no sink in the kitchen; it’s in the yard. The fan, which is usually in the kids’ room, has no cover, so the blades whirl around within easy reach. I can see the ground through gaps in the floorboards and the outdoors through gaps in the walls. The door of the mini-fridge doesn’t quite close. One or two songs blare from Cass’ recording studio, over and over, all day and late into the night, for days on end and the neighbors, whose houses are only a few feet away, NEVER COMPLAIN! I will call you a liar if you say that ever happens in middle class neighborhoods.
I’m moving out of the bed I’ve shared for two long, sleepless nights with my young friend, Ben. I’ll stay in the kids’ room tonight; I forgot I’d have this option. I was going to make a joke out of it and say, “Unless you have a nine-inch dick, a book on the art of seduction, and a burning desire to fuck a senior citizen, I’m moving to the room next door.” I’d hoped for snuggling, at least. Apparently, most young men (not Harold in Harold and Maude) prefer to not snuggle with grandma. Who knew?
The funny thing about the Wikipedia review of Harold and Maude is that no mention is made of the younger male/older woman relationship. I guess the difference was so great that for most people it was a joke. But to many women, it was the beginning of a new revolution in the relationships between men and women. In 1971, when Harold and Maude was released, Women were becoming well-educated (as a group), and consequently, they had their own money (and often a lot of it). Women were starting to choose lovers and husbands based on compatibility, love, and sexual attraction. Women were starting to choose younger males as partners. Harold and Maude was a boundary-breaking film for these women. I took the film literally (that’s a feature of Aspergers), and I suddenly realized that I could date younger men.
Since my divorce in 1974, I have almost exclusively dated men who are younger than me. Dating men my age or older almost always had bad results; they would make demands and have expectations based solely on who I was supposed to be because of my gender. Female roles have changed tremendously, but most men born before 1946 (or even 1949) don’t know it or can’t accept it.
Harold and Maude