Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Turtles, Zoos, and a Picnic with Ruth

This entry originally appeared in "The Leap Years: Women Reflect on Change, Loss, and Love," edited by Mary Anne Maier and Joan Shaddox Isom (Boston: Beacon Pr, 1999.)

July 19, 1994. From our home in Richland, Michigan.

Today I saw giant turtles mating at the zoo. My friend Ruth, her son Brendan, and I first heard the sound: a long oomph, a pause; a loud oomph, a pause. He took his time, slowly enjoying his business. And in front of the children no less.

The zoo creatures all had mates, except one or two, someone to sing or squawk or bleat or chatter or moo with. I also received a letter saying my bone marrow transplant had been deemed appropriate by my insurance company. Thank God. The go-ahead has been granted. I phone-interviewed with Social Security, $500 a month when I'm sick, which will help because my bills aren't going away. The doctors say I shouldn't work for at least six months. Things were already tight on my part-timer income. Part-time instructors make a pittance.

Later, we--John, Ruth, her four-year-old Brendan and I--had a blanket picnic in our yard, had a distilled water fight and jumped rope, playing snake and chase the end of the line. It was glorious.

And my hair is falling out like crazy. I pick at it like a scab, pulling it out in fingerfulls, ironing my scarves. I take a gold, blue, red, and green one; tie it to a straw hat. Tomorrow I will go to the barbershop and have what's left of my hair chopped off, butched. It's hard for me to see it go piece by piece.

On the news tonight, a woman with breast cancer had just found out, after a remission, that her lung cancer had come back; it had metasticized to her brain, lung, liver. She talked about really living, how each day is a gift.

Living is better than language.


Blogger studiobeerhorst said...

Thank you for your post. I am thankful I have a mate as well though privacy is more our style. And to have your hair going away must be part of the process by now. I remember the shock of finding hair on my pillow and realizing that moring so many years ago now that I too was mortal and that one day this life would be over.

8:20 PM  
Blogger HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

We read of the death of this wonderful lady in April of 2008 - we made a brief statement on my mother's page (mother survived her cancer - least so far).

My mother sent me the clipping of this marvelous woman; poet - writer; husband, and many friends who admired and loved her.

If you want to see the mention we made, it's at:


We send our condolences since we have no other way to let you know about our concern and the fact you lost lovely lady 'way too soon', yet after 7 times of 'beating' the cancer, she must have had extraordinary spirit.

The nice thing is a 'blog' can be 'forever' - I do hope the family will add to this and let the rest of those who were reading about her, the out-come and possibly place some of her poetry and writings here as a memory page.


7:46 PM  
Blogger sockmonster said...

Dianne, thanks for the comment, as Julie's sister it means a lot to me. As for keeping the blog up-- unfortunately we do not have the password or email she used to write it. I would love to get rid of the spam comments! ♥ Brenda

3:49 AM  

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