...AND the Ancient
This is an absolutely true story Book Index(Click on Video to turn music off)
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience Confucius
Pretty much summarizes Mary and Ida.
The sound of a quiet night in Chicago whispered through the windows in the kitchen at 4127 North Paulina Street. I was sitting at the kitchen table.
I had been on the phone when he got home. I quickly hung up and then picked it up and redialed the number. To the radio station giving out tickets to a summer series at Wrigley Field. I thought it would be a fantastic gift for Jim and so I dialed and I mean DIALED, no push button phones then. MOREOVER, I WON.
Before I could tell him, he was standing at the door with the shotgun. He aimed it at me and shot.
Everything turned black.
He shot out the light and blew a 12” dinner plate size hole in the ceiling. I had fallen to the floor. The gun was so old, and not cleaned, it bucked back, hitting him in the head and firing at the ceiling, blowing out the light and sucking oxygen out of the room.
The police came quickly taking the gun and creating an even worse situation.
It was 1972. Laws did not protect women. It was worse than you could imagine. The police often sided with the man, working to promote that ideal, they would gather up as much BS as they could to fabricate a story that would make any judge guffaw at the wife.
We were hippies. I always had an elegant house, hippie style. Even in the movements of the late 60’s early 70’s.
In the back room I had my great grandmother’s cedar chest. On top of it was a beautiful Egyptian tapestry. My son still has it today. It is so beautiful. Silk gold, burgundy, browns deep blues. It had the kind of art you would see in pyramids. On top of that was Jim’s Hookah. That is a pipe with several hoses so two or more people can smoke at once. Next to that was a pewter Goblet we got as a wedding present. I still have it. And to the immediate left was a green crystal wine jug. This jug had a hand blown bowl in the side to put ice. And it had a decorative cork in the same colors as the tapestry. Inside was some red wine. I didn’t drink. I was breastfeeding. And frankly, I didn’t have much alcohol experience. I was 19 years old. The wine was Jim’s; he put it in the hookah instead of water.ã€€
The police decided I had a Satanic Alter. YES! I was in the convent, I was/am terrified of going to hell, after all, and I do need a break at some time.
When I called home and talked to my father, he insisted I stay and work this out. Can you imagine today? Jim was NOT put in jail. He wasn’t even fined. If that gun would have found a path to it original target, I would not be here. I often wonder, if I had died, do you think the police would have arrested him? It’s iffy.
Jim promptly followed up a call to my folks.
“She was on the phone talking to someone, the minute I walked in the door she hung up the phone and called someone else so I wouldn’t be suspicious.” Jim cowered “and she is worshipping Satan“
I just sat there numb. There are really no words. I won’t try. But I did feel that perhaps they would take into consideration, our child was to be baptized in the next two weeks, I was a fervent Catholic, and really, what does all that have to do with anything anyhow? He tried to blow my brains out! Anything I could have been doing is pretty much cancelled out by attempted murder. In other words, if I was a Satanist, and again, I AM NOT, what the hell would that have to do with anything anyhow?
My first apartment on Paulina in Chicago
Jim also worked for “The Machine”. He was a Daley boy. He worked for the city and did campaigning for the Mayor. That is the reason the case was never submitted to the courts. They slapped him on the hand and took away his gun.
The next morning the courier delivered the tickets to our door and Jim humbly apologized. My family? Never said a word again until my mother thought it would be an entertaining history to give to y son, and then my daughter.
I often wonder. What if I had died? Would that have brought some sort of regret by all concerned? History dictates, probably not.
On the other hand, Barbara, my mother-in-law was livid with him. She told my family it was nonsense about the “alter”. AND she was angry with them that they condoned her son’s actions. Well, not exactly condone, but they weren’t exactly against it. I have always felt that some of the members in my family secretly wished I would be done in. When my brother died I am certain they wished it had been me. When others have died, again, I knew they wished it were me. They never seemed to work against it. They never discouraged my husbands. And when this horrific incident occurred that set me on this journey to write my book, again, every one involved knew it was precarious and that I might certainly do myself in. They did NOTHING to stop it. Nothing to help me survive this horrible personal holocaust. I don't have to look up my family tree, because I know that I'm the sap.
My mother actually told my son and daughter about this incident and that I was a Devil Worshiper. She is so proud. Bragging like that to everyone. Aw shucks.
She felt justified. She was the mother, the "ancient". So here we are 15 years later and she didn't miss a step.
Let us get back to Houston’s restaurant and the outcome.
Jerry felt my mother was rude. Maybe because she was rude. And not quite in step with the rest of the population. Salinger said Mothers are all slightly insane.
Jerry said he would come after work. But he had a mouthful to deliver to Mary and Ida, and I wasn’t ready for that. I loved Jerry; I knew an altercation might do just that. Alter my relationship with him. Mel finally showed and we went to a local club for the ladies of the community. Once I calmed down I called my father. He went ballistic. He made it clear they were not to come. He knew all along they were up to something and he had it with them. But he was powerless to do anything. Bless his heart; can you imagine living with these women?
But there still is that question lurking about. Why? Why did they come? They couldn’t have been that hard up for someone to harangue. There was a substantial amount of Kenoshans that would pay to spend one hour behind closed doors with one or both of them. My father said they were scheming. Why? He was clueless.
The phone call calmed me down. I no longer felt like I was loosing my mind.
“Dianne, you understand, when I die, it is going to be worse.” my dad explained.
I thought how could it be worse? But it could…and it would.
My father had it out with my mom. Unfortunately my dad always played Mary and me against each other. My weight, my work ethic, my sense of humor. It was not fair to either one of us, but most assuredly Mary. She would always say I am never going to find someone, I am not like you Dianne, and everyone is attracted to you. Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid. But there is more to a person than that. Albeit, people fall in love with beauty and greatness, so no one will love a waitress too long
But still dad was very hateful to my sister. She acted as if she never cared what he said or asked of her.
She treated my father as if he were nonexistent. I had gained weight, but Mary was still always heavier.
(I always thought these people were supposed to be jolly.) She tried everything, and I know, I saw the various concoctions in her medicine cabinet next to the monkey blood.
But, I love my sister whether she is incapable of loving me or not.
I knew the two of them had charted this course and had it filed for future reference. The two of them will say “don’t live in the past” when they do not want to be accountable. In order for them to be successful in their bullying, they need the past. Embellished with their derision of the actuality. The odd thing is … my sister claims to have no memories of the past. But this is only an issue when someone wants to confront her about such issues. She makes great issue of this fact.
“I have no memory of my childhood” She conveniently states.
Yet she has a firm grasp of mine. You cannot embrace the present without reconciling the past. My history is filled with good as well as bad and I will dig a hole and sit in the middle of my past like some sort of village idiot. The good is comforting; the bad for learning.
And on the positive side; As long as they were torturing me, everyone else was still safe.
Soooo..Mary and Ida quickly left Spring Texas, heading back to MooMoo Land (Wisconsin). But not before letting me know that this situation would be in the forefront next time we met..... scared... not. I should have known Mary and Ida weren’t the only folks setting this on a shelf until a later date. Mel was doing the same. Cards had been dealt and everyone was holding them close to the vest, less I notice.
They left. Mel and I did not miss a beat. Mel and I were in the throes of our relationship. Mary and Ida were quickly forgotten in the din of 2am lovemaking, rushing to work and returning home settling into the comfort of family.
By the way IISTG means If It Seems Too Good to be True