My life in years, written in 2004-2005, revisited in 2017
With no journal entries, the only cue I have to placing events is by what house we lived in at that time. In all my fifteen years with Laura, we moved ALOT, so this method sorts the event out to a two or three year span.
However, during my early years with Laura, I did not know this would be the pattern. I imagined myself growing old in that one bedroom mobile home we owned then. Actually, we did spend more years at this dwelling than any of the others. Four years was the max.
I know this is leaping ahead in time, but I need this chart if I am to place anything correctly on the timeline:
What I did not know then was Laura thrived on change, and would get bored with stasis if it continued for very long. It might have been stressful at times, but Laura had a way of keeping our lives exciting!
Laura introduced many things to me during our years together. One of them was the computer. She dragged an Epson computer all the way from Phoenix to Joliet, Illinois, and then back again. My first reaction was less than enthusiastic. ''What would I ever do with one of THOSE?'' I replied almost haughtily. By summer of our first year together, I'd already discovered the ease of the Word Perfect program for writing letters, and from that point on, I was hooked. Back in the early days, there was no web, but there were local Bulletin Board Services which we went up on to discuss things with local folks.
Laura, being the pioneer that she was, engineered having one ourselves. We had to have an extra phone line, dedicated to receive the incoming calls. ''The Wild Banana'' was a pretty lively board. Laura named it that, because that had been the name she'd chosen for a Mensa (or was it Intertel) bulletin she edited, as a joke on someone named Anna.
There were a few other BBSs on which we were active. Laura loved to sharpen her debating claws on the Christians who visited the boards. I don't know as she opened any of their minds. One was quite frightened of her nonetheless, and she was much amused when he left Tucson for New Mexico, believing Laura had sent demons to his house. She couldn't figure out why he was certain she'd done that. As she said in 'The Book', ''Jeez, if I could order demons around, assuming the reality of such creatures, I would have better things for them to do then to haunt a Christian Fundamentalist.'' But people have a lot of reasons for their irrational beliefs.
Although there were the few dissenters, most fellow BBSers were glad to have her livening a board up. Without Laura, the discussion boards were often very quiet.
We met some of the BBSers, and became friends with them. Shortly after we met one couple, however, the husband soon took his life. He'd suffered from a debilitating back ailment and perhaps there was no relief for the pain. Depression, too, mostly likely provided the greater pain, as the disability might have made him feel worthless. Laura became a close friend of Nancy, and rode her bike often to Nancy's house, a fifteen mile trip, to cheer her up.
Laura felt good, being able to help her friend. That's one thing about Laura, she needed to be needed. Throughout our years together, we came into close association with a great variety of people she tried to help.
That was Laura, large of heart. Throughout this tale of years, you may meet a few of those people, as seen through my eyes. But I leave THAT for another day.
November 10 1989 - November 9, 1990
There was a bit of fuss at work because I was required to show the people in the payroll office the legal document in order to change my W2 forms. Mouths must have been wagging for weeks. Ah, amusement of the 'muggles' is so easily achieved.
Nevertheless, I was quite proud to now share the Lansberry name with Laura.
Regarding other things of reasonable time slot certainty, we now had a vehicle again. It was one I was initially squeamish about. Remember the friend I told you about that had committed suicide? It was the vehicle in which he did it. Laura describes the details in her book, ''He did it by running a hose from the exhaust pipe to the window of their pickup while parked in their closed garage. He managed to finish three beers from a six pack before falling asleep. When Nancy came home from shopping he was slumped over in the front seat still breathing, but he died shortly after the paramedics arrived.''
I was creeped out about being in this navy blue truck in which a man took his life. Okay, he might have actually died after the paramedics got him out, but that is a minor variance of detail. However, we obtained it for a reasonable price and it did run good. I soon got used to having motorized transportation, despite the truck's history.
November 10 1990 - November 9, 1991
I stalled us out constantly. When Laura screamed, ''You're going to destroy the clutch!'' I got out of the truck, and told her firmly, ''YOU DRIVE!'' I never again made another attempt in that truck.
I can't remember when we exchanged that car for another. Julia vaguely remembers a beat up Ford we had on her first visit in 1993. That might have the old gray Ford Escort that Laura had originally driven across the states to visit me back in 1987. I seem to remember her son Anton had it for a while, but when he went into the Air Force, he loaned it to us.
For some reason, Laura grew restless and bored with Tucson. It wasn't exciting enough for her. She remembered all the immensity of things the Phoenix megloplex offered her in her younger days. She wanted us to be near it. The college town of Tempe enticed her, and we sold the mobile home, and moved into an apartment.
The walls were really thin in these apartments. The first couple of days, we were audience to a couple 'in the act of It'. The woman was a screamer. ''Yes, yes, give it me, big boy, OOOOHHH, yess, give it to me!'' She screamed. When she finally climaxed with a great and mighty scream, I felt like applauding. I know some like this sort of theatrics, and it's okay if they do, but I can't see where anything beyond the natural release of musical sighing is necessary.
Oh, my, I wonder what my repressed Gramma would have thought upon hearing that auditory display. To her, sex was something men enjoyed that women had to endure. Yes, she said as much. Yes, she never, ever ...
... this is a digression. Where I to place it correctly, you would find it in my 20th year remembrances. I'd read of mysterious things in the ladies magazine Cosmopolitan. The dorm's resident adviser was able to elucidate them somewhat, for she was a nursing student, and got out her anatomy book, and I was soon looking at a detailed drawing.
She advised experimentation, which proved successful. So even without Laura, I would not have been an uneducated prude upon hearing that woman's great noise. Yet it both shocked and amused me nonetheless.
In the multi-city multiplexity that makes up the breath of the 'Phoenix' cluster, I got a job with amazing speed. Two days there, and I was hired. But there was a problem growing. Laura found to her frustration and dismay the air in Tempe was too polluted. She thought away from the central part of Phoenix, the pollution would be dispersed enough for her comfort. It wasn't, and she couldn't breathe easily.
So two weeks after arriving, we were moving back to Tucson. Of course, my job still was there, and it became almost a dream that we were ever gone.
One thing that I learned while at the Tempe alteration shop is the usefulness of tying my long hair back with a braided cord. The manager there no doubt observed me throwing hair out of my face several times, and thought this would improve my speed. This shop featured the very best of equipment, including industrial sergers (edge finishers) set into big tables and energized by huge motors, and a chopping device much like a guillotine used to cut pants hems.
Back home at my old job, I had to 'humble' myself for small home-style sergers and pinking shears. Laura may have felt crestfallen, but I was glad to be back in familiar places. In the four years in Tucson, we'd acquired many memories there, and I liked being in the place where we'd acquired them.
We soon added to the memory storage in a very special way. Laura wrote in her book:
Laura, the stern skeptic, lost that sternness for awhile in the beauty of what she saw:
The skeptic in her still allowed that this was 'a silly notion perhaps', but nonetheless, it was an exquisitely beautiful experience. For awhile, her book ended with this tale, until she added new chapters, and I shall end this year's remembrance here as well.
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© Joan Ann Lansberry