Village Nostalgia

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Christmas 2014

Nostalgia, I expect, is a funny thing, different depending on what’s going on in your life.

For me today, nostalgia was just numb.

I needed to move. I grabbed my iPhone and headphones, and headed up Alpine Way for a simulated Huff n Puff Express. The ‘express’ term was originally coined by our neighbors, the Winnies, and it was the journey up the steep hill in the Village and down the other way.

Immediately, I realized my mistake. I have about five songs on my iPhone. There is no fucking cell service still here. In fucking 2016. So I walked around the neighborhood, passed the (most former) homes of the Steins, the Englishes, the Andersons, the Flemings, the Mays. I went up the “other” Dellmont, passed the Ealys (now an ugly shade of green), and over past the Robinsons. I thought, “the Robinson house now has a wrought-iron gate.” Then I was confused because there are two houses with long driveways. I couldn’t remember which one was theirs. This made me sad.

I tried walking up one of the ditches by the Robinsons. This was much harder than I remembered. I hoped the path would lead back down to my house. Alas, I met a fence with a homeless encampment on the other side. Thus, the bars on windows and wrought-iron gates.

I thought about being kids in the village … no fear of going anywhere, playing hide n seek in the cul-de-sac until the parents forced us in. There doesn’t seem to be as many good hiding places anymore. Maybe it’s just because I’m not small anymore. I look at kids now and think “yeah, have fun assholes, because life is going to suck. It just does. You will get an A-minus in a college class and throw up nine times outside of Lisa Johnson’s apartment at Stafford Gardens. You will lose that big game on a three-base error, but know it’s your fault because you let that bitch hit that pitch in the first place. You will get dumped. You will watch the Dodgers lose another playoff game. Your pets will die. Your dad will die. Then, to top it off, your husband will not win his addiction battle. He will die as well. So, go ahead and play tag now, because that game will be outlawed soon you special snowflake.”

Anyway.

I did all this while listening to Journey’s “Only the Young,” Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines,” Jimmy Eats World’s “The Middle” and Kippi Brannon’s “Daddy’s Little Girl.” These are the only songs I had, and I just listened to them over an over. I still do not know how the Jimmy Eats World song got on there. Oh, the damn U2 album that was put in everyone’s iTunes account was available, but fuck that shit.

I paused to look down at Little League fields. On April Lane, I thought about heading up to the very top. A few Christmases ago, Adam and I discovered the Rim of the Valley Trail. Yes, I have never been on it. We walked a mile on it to stunning Valley views.

Back at home, I wandered the house. Upstairs, I remembered the way Adam and I would have our laundry and clothes strewn everywhere; how we would start the night in the queen bed, but Adam would move to the couch half the time because a) too fucking close! or b) I’m snoring. We loved the shower, which had great pressure and would get extra hot.

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On the walk

I’d get out of the shower and Adam would have Star Trek:TNG on the TV while I got ready. Sometimes, he’d go down and talk to mom, make coffee. He learned to appreciate reading a good newspaper here … the L.A. Times.

We would think about what we wanted to do.Was it time to take the requisite beach trip and find a new brewery? Go to Hollywood for the Museum of Death? Sushi at Tori-Yen? Maybe this year we would have gone to the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios. We’d find a bar that looked cool, have a drink and just talk. Together all these years, and we never ran out of things to talk about. If a silence went too long, I’d say “want to get married?” Because our joke was that was the only reason people got married because a couple couldn’t stand the silence in a conversation.

I loved showing Adam L.A., just as much as he loved showing me Central City. We thought about moving back, but only if we could live by the beach. And we couldn’t afford that. Also, where would the dog be able to go?

I think if we had made it to retirement, we would have found a small shack somewhere near the beach. We didn’t need much. Just the Internet, cable, our pets, a big TV and a place to cook.

Nostalgia’s a bitch.

 

 

The Princess

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Reaffirming our vows in the Star Wars Commitment Chapel at Celebration V in Orlando, 2010.

The fact is, Princess Leia was never a role model for me.

I didn’t grow up thinking I needed a female hero. I didn’t grow up thinking she was a maverick character; a hero who was unlike women who came before her.

I was all about Luke Skywalker. It’s just the way it is. I was boy crazy I think from birth, and I liked NICE guys. Han Solo, that rogue and scoundrel, wasn’t for me. I liked the fresh-faced farm boy. How apropo, huh? Because that’s what I got in Adam (although yes, I know he got into a wee bit of trouble in his youth).

The thing is about Princess Leia … I hadn’t grown up thinking girls and women couldn’t be heroes. In 1977, I think I still thought I could actually be a Los Angeles Dodger. My mom and dad taught me through their love, trust and support that I could do anything or be anything. I didn’t need Princess Leia as a hero for that. But many girls did, and I’m glad girls today have Jyn Erso and Rey.

I preferred male heroes anyway. It’s just the way I was. Luke instead of Leia, Hicks instead of Ripley, Rico instead of Dizzy, Jamie Lannister (yes, Jamie, at least book Jamie) instead of Arya, Star Lord instead of Gamora.

It wasn’t Princess Leia who I loved, it was Carrie Fisher. As I grew older, struggled with my own depression here and there, I admired her candid nature. I like to think that maybe I’m a little like her. I say what I want to say; I’ve always been open about my mental health struggles to those who asked. I went out in my life and tried to kick ass. I knew what I wanted and I got much of it, perhaps a little like Princess Leia. I like to think maybe that’s something that Adam loved about me. Who is that sent me a birthday card that once compared me to a Mack truck with an “I need a hug” sign on it? I sort of always relished in that.

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With Steve Sansweet, the greatest Star Wars fan, who performed our commitment ceremony.

In Orlando at Star Wars Celebration V in 2010, we waited a long time for autographs with Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Ms. Fisher was pleasant and generous, and shook hands with each person; she looked them in the eye. We freaked out like Laura Linney in “Love Actually.”

That Celebration, we also reaffirmed our marriage vows in the Star Wars Commitment Chapel. How lucky were we that we got Steve Sansweet, the greatest SW fan and collector in the universe, as our officiant. Margie Halloran was our witness and took these photos for us.

With Carrie Fisher dying, a little of our passion in Star Wars dies. Sixty is too young, just as 43 is too young. Adam and Ms. Fisher both struggled with addiction. She conquered hers, and she has pushed to make mental illness an everyday topic. I like to think Adam may have conquered his at the end as well. I think of him as a success despite his death.

Show compassion for your friends and family with addiction and mental illness. Have courage in dealing with it. Make the lives of people like Adam and Ms. Fisher matter by passing on what they have taught us.

May the Force be with all of us, but selfishly, especially for me right now.