Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012.02.29 Blogoir I

Once upon a time I broke into life with the help of my mother’s pain, sweat and sorrow, and before that my father’s sperm.

Mom had planned to “give” my father a boy, a son (the holy status of sonship is the Bible’s fault—well, also the patriarchal culture’s) who looked just like him and would be named Michael McDonald.

I arrived in obvious feminine form and messed up her plans. But she “adored” me anyway, sometimes too smothery much.

My birth year was 1938, a teetery year between wars but one full of hope for prosperity and a brand new line of Buicks, soon the car of choice for my family. The date was August 7, only 6 weeks before the 1938 hurricane blasted New England, especially Long Island. After the damage was fixed we spent many summers on Long Island, the Hamptons no less.

Being born on a Sunday earned me the legacy of the rhyme, “The child that is born on the Sabbath day is blithe and bonnie and good and gay.” This descriptor did not fit my developing nature—somber, serious, solo, and shy. The rhyme described my mother who tried to bequeath me her own personality, but you really can’t manipulate a “miracle” can you?

My birth place was Manhattan in Leroy Sanitorium, a hospital name that later caused me to ask about my sanity. Spelling is everything.

I have a photo of myself in utero. You can’t see much of me through my mother’s expanded belly. She looks happy with a cigarette in her hand. She’d had 3 miscarriages before I made it out whole, a joy to behold, beautiful, a miracle. I really looked like a squished pink frog covered with black hair.

Love can see through absolutely anyone and make her beautiful.

I managed to look like Dad who gave me my name Lynda Hall Gillespie. But after that it was all down hill. I was as different from Mom as a dill pickle from a jelly donut.

Up to three all adoration was mutual, but at three the pinafore wars began. My mother had a pinafore obsession and I was already an overalls kid. The only good things about pinafores was their wings.

Mom, in spite of the miracle status and the perky personality she’d conferred on me, called me a sour puss. There’s photographic proof of that, too: Mom all smiles and me all scowls. We’re dressed alike in pinafores.

Miracle status didn’t work for me. It took an act of God to naturalize me. It also took a helluva a long time.