Saturday, January 26, 2008


Ruby made me promise I wouldn't call anyone to tell them about her boyfriend. Technically, I did not break my promise. I WROTE about Richie but I didn't CALL anyone. So, in a court of law I would probably get off on a technicality. That having been said...I feel guilty. No one can tell Ruby that I spilled the beans. Mums the word. If she reads the book one day, hopefully she will think it's cute and forgive me. Or not.

A friend of mine read the Richie blog post and told me that her mom used to write about her in letters to the editor and it embarrassed her to no end. Uh-oh. Have I become her mother? Have I become MY mother?

When I was 15 years old my dad kicked me out and I went to live with my mother for the rest of high school. During those years, Mom was "finding herself" as a new divorcee and doing what I thought was a lot of pretty weird sh&%. Clog dancing, clowning, putting personal ads in the paper, etc. Her clown name was "Sunshine" and she wore a tutu and did cheerleading at sporting events at the elementary school where she taught. (I seriously could not make this sh&% up!)

Some of my friends thought the clowning was cool (ya--because it wasn't THEIR mother!). One day, my friend Lynn Czerwinski (who died of an OD a couple years ago) either told my mom she wanted to see the clown costume or my mother offered to show her--I can't remember which and it doesn't really matter. One night, during my junior or senior year of high school, Lynn and some boys were coming over to pick me up to go to the movies, I think. I'm not sure if it was a double date or just hanging out, but I know I cared about what the boys thought of me. I cared about what EVERYONE thought of me in high school.

This date or whatever was the same night that my mom was going out to do clown cheerleading. While I was getting ready for the evening, my mother was donning her striped tights, tutu, full clownface, rainbow-colored wig, and big funny clown shoes. Mom made the mistake of telling me that she couldn't wait to show Lynn her clown costume. I remember feeling sick and a little light-headed. I told her that if she came out in the costume, I would DIE. I was not being overly dramatic. I literally thought I would keel over and stop breathing from embarrassment. I suggested (probably not very nicely) that my mother NOT come out and shame me with her craziness and she said something like, "Why should YOU be embarrassed by what I do? We are two separate people!" I hope to GOD I never say that sentence or one like it to my children.

Fast forward to the horn beep outside when Lynn and the boys showed up. I raced my mother across the living room, shoved her out of the way, and slammed the door in her face, so I could run out to the car before they saw her. I almost made it. I was in the car and the driver was pulling away from the curb when my mother bounded out to the porch with her clown pom-poms and started doing a cheer. There was a lot of jumping and flailing limbs and yelling of "Ra, ra, sis boom ba!" The driver screeched to a halt when he saw her.

"Who the he## is THAT?!" he inquired while everyone else in the car stared at my mother on the porch. I sunk into the seat and prayed that Lynn was getting my telepathic message that she should NOT correctly identify the mom behind the clown makeup. Lynn got the message. Either that or she couldn't speak because she was almost choking with laughter.

"That's the crazy lady who lives upstairs," I mumbled. "Let's go."

If Ruby reads the Richie essay one day and gets pissed, I will just tell her, "Suck it up! I could have dressed up like a clown!"

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