The first is the worst. I had not spent a whole lot of time in Charlotte before I moved there. Actually, thinking back on it, I've never moved anywhere I was familiar with. But Charlotte was the worst. The law firm wasn't that far from my house but between the two was a rather large, busy intersection of Queens Road and Queens Road. I remember coming home one night from the job I hated at the law firm, to a husband who was nothing but frustration. I was so tired and I made a wrong turn at the intersection and got lost. I finally just pulled over to the side of the road and cried for about 30 minutes. To this day I don't ever remember feeling as defeated as I did that night.
And, happily, I got some coping skills plus there were other treats. One night I had to stop by my husband's editor's house to pick up something for him. It was about 6 pm and his wife answered the door. I knew her but not well and didn't particularly like her nor she me but she invited me in while she went to get whatever it was I had come for. I stood in the living room and saw that one of my favorite soap operas was on the TV.
WTF?????? That soap opera was aired only on weekdays at 1:30p.m. How the fuck was she watching it at 6????? "Oh it's our new Beta Max. We tape programs like on a tape recorder and play them back whenever we want."
My life changed in that moment.
I bought one that weekend. It had a remote control which was a BFD. Our TV didn't even have a remote control. The remote for the Beta Max was not wireless however. So, every after every single program we watched was peppered with "Watch the cable!" But, I loved that thing. I recorded everything on TV and watched it on my time. I didn't even ever rent a movie until years later. But, from that time on, I have always always had something connected to my TV to record shows.
One evening I came home from work and the front door was ajar. My husband's car wasn't there... His big assed stereo speakers were in the hallway. Was he leaving me? I swear that was my first thought. But, then, I noticed some other stuff ... we had been robbed. Apparently the robber got interrupted mid-heist and only got the stereo and not the speakers OR the TV and Beta Max (thankgod).
My husband's accordion was in the closet right there in the hallway. I was pretty bummed the thief didn't find/take that. There had been a spate of burglaries in the neighborhood, the cops told us, and added that we had gotten really lucky they didn't take more. It was a creepy experience but the cops that came were darned cute.
And finally, one of the best memories of that house was my first nephew. When he was 2, my brother and his wife had son number 2. My Mom flew out to San Diego and brought Alex back for a visit while the new baby settled in with his folks at home. Charlotte was the closest airport so after he picked them up at the airport, Daddy brought them by our house to rest up before the ride home.
The 2 year old had done well on the flight was was clearly ready to rock and roll, stumbling around our living room from adult to adult. Until my Mom got up to go down the hall to the bathroom. The minute he discovered her missing, he lost his shit. He went running down the hallway screaming for her. He was using a specific word but we couldn't really make out what it was. All we knew was that it sounded like Monkey. MOOOOONNNNNNKKKKKEEEEEEYYYYY he wailed until he saw her again and then was all smiles.
From that minute on, every one of their grandchildren called my mother, Monkey. They called my father Popeye but I honestly do not have a clue where that nickname came from.
(Alex is now a 37 year old psychologist working with troubled youth in Massachusetts and has a lovely wife and two extremely cute little girls.)
To Be Continued