“Vacation” continues, starting the Karen books, and wondering if the quest has stalled

Yesterday I had hoped to do more editing on the bits and pieces left of the near-final manuscript of Manipulations, the first of three novels by me, coming soon from my little publishing imprint, Parisian Phoenix.

But then my graphic designer partner in crime (and this endeavor) encouraged me to start Karen by Marie Killilea. The book was in its 11th printing by the mid-sixties and I am reading a copy from about 60 years ago.

It’s part of my recent quest to understand my cerebral palsy, which ironically led to me discovering that my anemia has reared its ugly head. So maybe this quest isn’t addressing physical needs as much as emotional ones. And the neurologist’s office did return my call. My appointment is January 13. Yes, in six-and-a-half months.

While I certainly understand what these parents must have gone through (Karen was born in 1940 and died in 2020), this certainly was a different era. An era of institutions, a lack of knowledge and families and doctors sitting around smoking cigarettes together.

But so far, and I believe Karen is now 4, Karen is described as beautiful, but presented as a thing in the background. The memoir so far is about the mother and her thoughts and parenting techniques and her interactions with the medical community.

To me, the way Marie describes placing her in the backyard and going in the house to do chores… well, Karen slowly pulls herself by her arms inching toward whatever is of interest. The current chapter describes her playing in a mud puddle. She sounds like a fish caught between land and sea.

Honestly, to me it sounds cruel. I’m sure it fostered independence and strength but damn it sounds grueling for Karen. This is the beginning of the ideology of mainstreaming kids with disabilities— toss them in and let them adjust. And as young people with disabilities, emotions and intellect are still immature. So it is cruel in my opinion to let these children struggle with the physical, too. It’s this weird we get that we are different but we don’t have the life experience to understand why or how and while allowing a child to figure it out raises a fighter and someone not prone to accept help or pity, it would be nice to have some framework other than you can or cannot do something or are or are not like everyone else.

I see a potential multitude of nonfiction book projects in my future. My memoir will need to be three volumes: my childhood, my “squiggly” career (yes there is a term for people with eclectic careers like mine), and this health quest.

Speaking of non-fiction, I would like to publish my honors thesis from Lafayette College and do an anthology where I have select authors/artists to explore what I will refer to as identity politics. I have mentioned it to Nan, my blind friend, and Bill, my horror-loving freak friend, and both love the idea. I encourage you to read Bill’s novels, The Kink Noir series, which blend a dark 1940s detective vibe with kink and erotica while exploring some topics about what it means to be human.

My review of Bill’s most recent book is here: Debauchery

More posts including Bill here: Bill on the Blog

Speaking of Bill, my flower workshop got postponed last night, so Bill, fresh off of jury duty, came down to catch up and have dinner at the always charming Porter’s Pub in Easton, Pa.

Rib eye with Jameson’s Demi-Glace

Armed with the news that my iron is low, he bought me a steak and a lemony-smooth gin martini.

Upon arriving home, I finished taking out the garbage and recycling including two more 13-gallon trash bags from teenager two’s room. It looks like she’s officially ghosted me, and that makes me sad.

And I let the dog sleep with me. And as my room is the front room, she heard every noise in the neighborhood.

Easton’s Heritage Day 2019

My daughter and the Weiner-mobile

I normally don’t enjoy street fairs and community celebrations unless they have a theme that interests me. Carnivals and municipal anniversaries don’t do it for me.

I love the history of Easton’s Heritage Day, especially since I am a history nerd.

When the “founding fathers” signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, it took several days for the messenger to arrive in Easton. He got to town on a Sunday and read the Declaration of Independence on the town circle. Now, for 200 plus years, the town officials plan a community fair downtown and re-enactors read the Declaration of Independence on the circle on the first Sunday after July 4.

My daughter works downtown for Book and Puppet Company, a fun bookstore and let’s just say she helps with “character visits.”

Like when Paddington Bear visited today:

Naughty Paddington

I had also heard that the Grave Cellar at Saint John’s Lutheran Church would be open, so that was enough to entice me out of my anti-Street fair attitude.

Parking at meters would be free for the day or $5 (cash only) at the garage. I found a spot very close to the book store.

And my daughter mocked me for asking the police officer if there was a geographic boundary on the free parking. My use of geographic apparently highlights my nerdness.

The Grave Cellar and Parsons-Taylor House

When St. John’s Church expanded quite some years ago, they moved the graveyard to another local cemetery but some of the graves still exist under the church. Not as creepy as the Paris Catacombs but pretty unusual.

From there we went to the tiny Parsons-Taylor house. George Taylor, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, lived and died there.

My daughter looked in great detail at the craftsmanship of the house and furniture.

And the grazing begins…

We started exploring nearby shops, and we felt a little hungry but didn’t want to eat until we’d seen all the offerings so we shared a slice of buffalo chicken pizza from a new restaurant in town. Then we shared a lavender lemonade from Green Marketplace.

Lavender lemonade

Then we looked at classic cars and city construction equipment and I got a hard hat.

We also saw how the wind twine into sisal braided rope.

Then we meandered down another street and watched some of the kiddie activities and I found the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. I was very excited.

Donating Blood

And then I saw a sign that a local church was hosting a blood drive. So I registered. The last time I tried to donate blood was 25 years ago, and can you believe they had my address on file from that time period? I didn’t give then because my blood pressure was too high.

I haven’t given since then because tattoos, piercings, anemia and travels to exotic third world countries.

But I’m O-negative when it comes to blood type so I should give. And I did. For the first time.

Then we went to my daughter’s “office” and Paddington Bear came to visit.

Shopping and more food

After work, an artist drew her and she bought a vintage Monarch train case at Salvage Goods.

We also explored the dollar store on the circle. That might have been the only disappointment of the day.

And the teen had some bacon nachos from Porter’s Pub and I had one chicken and one steak taco from the restaurant at 645 Northampton Street that has really good food.

Our last stop was Easton Public Market again for a watermelon lime slush from Modern Crumb.