Sunday, June 12, 2011

Evanston, Indiana

Summer of 1972, I'm 11 and my world is exploding in different ways. I'm growing, I'm not really a child any more, but not really a teen ager. I believe this would have happened anyways, but my parents having a foster child opened doors in other ways. I'm exposed to the cool radio stations WHOT and WFMJ out of Youngstown, no more WPIC or WFAR for these itching ears. I discover the "in" music. I find out about drugs in a off hand way, not directly. I want to dress cool. I don't want my frizzy, wavy hair and am exposed to conditioner for the first time. I want to be like and liked by my new foster sister who is 15 going on 16, Debbie.
She comes with a brown grocery bag of her stuff from the jail, because there was no room for her anywhere else, until she ends up in my bedroom. We welcomed her into our home, probably naively, but as a new member of the family. She is hesitant at first in Feb., but soon her gregarious personality comes out and we are infected by her laugh and good nature.
One day Debbie jaunted home from school in an especially jovial mood. She stopped and talked to our neighbor, Rev. Hatch. As she came in the door, she laughed, "What a funny and nice person the reverend is!" Somehow during the course of the evening, it was discovered Debbie had a bag of pot in her sock, explaining the over the top reactions to everything. Later, after it was sent to a lab, the results were it was oregano, not Mary Jane. Debbie didn't believe it.
So with this background, we actually took many day trips and one to Evanston, Indiana to visit my cousin, Paula, there. Dad took along her mother, Aunt Eleanor and sister, Elaine. We rode in a green sedan with no air conditioner, all 4 windows done and breeze, no wind through our hair. The girls sat in the back seat and the adults sat in the front seat. The girls begged for rock radio, but when the Eagles came on with "Take it Easy" and we sang along, Mom thought we were lying and really liked country. When we weren't fighting over the music, we were in a heat induced trance.
Elaine and Debbie were the same age and I believe this is when I discovered Elaine smoked, too. I remember it being so hot in southern Indiana in mid July. My mom still did my hair or at least some of the times. This one day, she pulled it up into a 50's pony tail and I freaked. How could she? The style was flat down, then pin it back up with a barrette. I think this is funny, now, as many wear the 50's pony tail. I find it is much cooler, but in 1972, it was not "cool"
The girls and I sauntered around the neighborhood and an old guy in a beat up car stopped to talk to us. He had the Confederate cap, long stringy white hair and a longer white beard, a few gapping teeth. The conversation continued at his house, which is what we now would call a hoarder's house, just cluttered and dirty. He was very interesting and I didn't pick up on any sexual overtures, but I really was innocent at the time. I, with the two older girls, couldn't fathom why our parents and older cousin were so frantic that we were talking to this grisly older man. Almost 40 years later and being a mother, myself, I certainly understand their misgivings. But this was all before the After School Specials, and my awakening to the older world.

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