Tag Archives: Mary Anna Powers

I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me

I was just thinking about my mother. I remember growing up, not knowing how old she was or even really where she lived, asking her if she saw the Hindenburg go down in flames, or if she remembered seeing King Kong on top of the Empire State Building. I was the type that thought King Kong was a documentary.

I know my mother loved movies and born in 1927 1926, she probably saw at least some of the classics, like Gone with the Wind which came out in 1939. She would have been 12 and I guess that she probably had a chance to go out and see it. I think it was probably a stolen moment since she was the only daughter with 5 brothers and more than likely had to help out her mother with the chores and household tasks.

It couldn’t have been that easy growing up during the depression, 5 brothers, and an abusive father to deal with. And not just abusive but from what I can remember- a drinker. Late in his life and early in my own, we had him in our house for Thanksgiving. To me he was just an old man with white hair and black horn rimmed glasses.

After Thanksgiving dinner, it was just me and him awake, seemingly everyone else all had naps or went over to friends’ houses. I offered to make him some coffee and I got him a cup. On the dining room table where he sat was an unopened bottle of whiskey. He asked me to get some milk from the kitchen and for just that short amount of time, half the bottle of whiskey disappeared.

It was looked on humorously when my family slowly started to awake from their post dinner naps. My grandfather died a few weeks after that, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I consoled myself by listening to the original Broadway soundtrack of Godspell. I was mourning, not for my grandfather but rather for my mother being unhappy.

The wake was somewhere in the Bronx and one of the last times my mother and her brothers were all in the same room at the same time. Their mother died not too long after my birth and I did not know her at all. I heard she was nice though. Her name was Helen I believe.

Soon my uncles started dropping off. First was my Uncle John. Didn’t know much about him but loved his children, they were pretty much very close to the ages of my brothers and sister. After that I guess Uncle Richard died. From what I heard he had a steel plate in his head and sweat and grease seeped under the steel plate and slowly drove him off the deep end.

Then came Uncle Harry who was my Uncle John’s twin. I barely knew him but knew him more than my Uncle Richard (who was talked about in joking yet hushed tones). Uncle Tommy was next to go, an unhappy marriage and with a brood of children who didn’t like him very much. He might have been a drunken terror at home, but I really couldn’t say.

My mother passed away on Mother’s Day 1991, all of a sudden from a heart attack, doing the Sunday Times crossword puzzle. And finally my Uncle Joseph, the baby of the family, who after a fight with diabetes and who knows what else, died a few years ago.

I am mainly still in touch with my Uncle John’s kids via Facebook. They’re all nice people. The other cousins, Uncle Tommy’s progeny- I have no idea who or where they are. I can pass them on the street and wouldn’t recognize them. Joseph’s son, looks like his mother only bald and I last saw him at his father’s wake.

I guess me and my sibllings were the cream of the crop. Though if any cousins are reading this, I am more than happy to discuss this with them. We can compare our wounds- physical, mental and emotional.

Powers to the people!

2 – Downtown

Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)

It’s a Friday, feels like a Saturday. Back in the day, when I lived in Lodi, this would be the day that my parents would go off to Cherry Hill, coming back on Sunday. That usually left my brother Brian and myself at home.

I would spend the day, walking up to the Garden State Plaza, buying records at Sam Goody, books at Schiller Books and then walking across Route 4, over the cloverleaf to Alexanders where records were $4.99 generally.

Maybe some cookies at David’s Cookies in Bamberger’s, or a cheap sandwich at Kresge’s. Then a walk home walking faster than the cars stuck in traffic on Rochelle Avenue. A simpler life it was then.

Don’t recall what Brian and I did for food, but being after Thanksgiving there were bound to be leftovers, pies and brownies and Pfeffernusse which would usually stay in a glass canister for months on end.

I remember one time Brian had a small party, I was upstairs watching Yellow Submarine on a black & white TV. Some friend of Brian’s was playing Dear Prudence on guitar which to my ears was amazing. I don’t remember his name but he also kept his pack of Marlboro in his Frye boots which I thought was sooo cool.

I suppose it must have been 1977 since I bought the 10th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone which made me somewhat hip, or so I thought. And that’s my memory from 32 years ago.

Right now, since nothing else is on I’m watching A Hard Day’s Night on VH1 Classics. Sure it’s distracting me from writing but it’s a fun distraction.

It’s been a giddy day for me today. Don’t know why but I’m not about to question it.

Maybe it had something to do with yet another cannabis free dream last night. This one, I was Bob Dylan’s assistant at his hotel somewhere in Manhattan. I had a problem dealing with his barbecue utensils & tongs so I asked a New York Times reporter in the next room what I should do with them.

Just then Bob entered and said not to touch them. Fine enough, I said I was leaving and I would see everyone tomorrow. As I was leaving the hotel room, in the hallway some guy grabs my arm and tells me to come with him.

Having no say in the matter I go with him and we wind up on the roof of the hotel. He starts telling me that he’s upset with the fact that I’ve been dealing weed in his hotel. Apparently he, and only he was allowed to do such dealings.

I plead my case, stating that it’s impossible, that I hadn’t smoked any weed in over a week! That actually got me off the hook.

I woke up to Bill watching Sanford & Son in the next room. After I got myself awake and alive, Bill and I walked around Hoboken a bit. Stopped by the Guitar Bar to say hello to Jim.

I bought a guitar strap with the Guitar Bar logo on it which Jim graciously took a couple of bucks off the price. I’d still love Jim even if he charged me full price.

Then it was off to the Post Office to pay some bills. Bill saw me put the local mail in the wrong slot and after the letter left my fingers he asked if I had put a stamp on it.

I know at the apartment I thought about using a Homer Simpson stamp and when Bill mentioned that I thought I did. But doubt being what it is, I got back on line and told a postal worker about what I might have done.

He directed me to walk down the hall to the customer service window. I rang the bell and told them and they retrieved the letter, with no stamp on it. Then I had to get back on line and buy some stamps.

Being in a giddy mood, almost manic, I chatted with the man behind the glass, answering his question about using a credit card with a ‘Yes, Ma’am’. ‘Ma’am?’ he remarked and I apologized with him saying in turn, ‘It’s OK, Miss’. It was all a big giggle.

Came home Bill took a nap since he’s working from 6:00PM to 6:00AM. Overtime rarely comes to his office and he jumped at the chance. I changed my guitar strap, played some songs, Elton, Beck, Simon & Garfunkel, and Elvis Costello. Trying to figure out La Vie en Rose as well.

Woke Bill up at 4:00 by standing over him and playing The Lion Sleeps Tonight. A giddy day. Giddy I tell you, Giddy!

Across the Universe

It’s October 4 today. A Sunday. My mother would have been 83 today. It would have been nice to have her around today, but then again, who knows what that would have been like?

Ideally she would have all of her faculties, no hip replacements, no ailments. But between now and when she passed away a lot of these things could have happened. So even though I miss her, those ailments etc would have possibly made her a changed person than the woman we knew and loved.

I guess I had a different relationship with her than Frank, Annemarie and Brian did. I was her baby. She was pregnant with me when she had a heart attack so there might be a bond there.

The last of the line, and I was the one crying and screaming as they had to pry my 5 year old fingers from the fence when she would drop me off for kindergarten, which was more than likely the start of my separation anxieties.

In 1976 my mother and I went on a bus trip to see the Pennsylvania Dutch country.

I had just graduated from St. Francis de Sales, the last months before puberty hit and changed everything in my world. Just me and my mom on a bus looking at how pretzels are made, visiting the Hershey Chocolate factory, next to the amusement park. It was a good time.

It was only a 3 or 4 day trip, staying at a hotel in Reading PA. We also visited an Amish farm watching them make shoo fly pies and riding around on their buggy’s. Things change of course. I also met a girl who I assumed would be my girlfriend.

Her name was Rosemarie Buckawyn from Ridgewood, Queens. For her it was sort of like the Fresh Air Fund, she had never seen grass before it seemed and thought grass died after you walked on it. Nothing happened between us though we did hang out for a couple of days.

She was with her grandmother and we exchanged addresses so we could be pen pals. We exchanged a letter or two until in her letter she wrote that she had experimented with marijuana and liked it somewhat. I was put off by that, being somewhat puritanical in those days and broke off all communication since I didn’t want to be a pen pal with a ‘junkie’.

I never told my mother about that.

A few years later, my mother and I were walking home from my brother Frank and his wife Elaine’s apartment a few blocks away. She sort of knew that my brothers both were hop heads and she was worried that I would be the same.

She made me swear on her mother’s grave as we walked past the mailbox at Calvin Avenue and Gunther Avenue that I would never ever smoke pot. So I swore that I would never smoke pot, lest my grandmother would rise from her grave and haunt me.

As luck would have it, I eventually started smoking pot. I wanted to be as cool as Derry Pedovitch. Derry’s mother had cancer and he was supplying his mom with pot to ease the chemo side effects.

So I’m sitting in my parent’s house on a step between the kitchen and the back porch and my mother asks if I am smoking pot. I ask her why would she ask that and she said, I just come home and head for the fridge and eat and I am always tired and my eyes are sometimes blood shot.

I decided to tell her the truth, that yes I smoke pot, and that I think it’s better than alcohol and I think she should try it before she knocked it. I probably broke her heart saying that but I didn’t want to lie and thought she really should try it. She never did.

We did become friends though, my mom and I from working for the book company. She was in the office and I was in the warehouse constantly fucking up. But she was so well loved and regarded that almost all of my sins and mistakes were generally ignored.

I even got drunk with her a few times at company Christmas parties and end of season Bowling dinners.

So with a puff puff pass, I salute my mother with an exhale towards the cosmos.

Happy birthday Mary Anna Powers You are missed.

Mom & Me