Who am I?
(words others use to describe me)
Creative, smart, stubborn, loyal, hardworking, energetic, tireless, up, nice, honest, genuine.
Showing up counts.
Showing up and paying attention counts more.
People are more important than things.
Being right is usually not as valuable as being effective.
Trying hard has a way of helping things to work out.
Playing with my older brother Dean and the neighborhood gang on Starin Avenue when I was really little. "Eating over." The moms taking turns giving us all lunch. Half sandwiches on white bread.
I remember wanting to be a ballerina. I had a pink tutu and toe shoes. I tried to make my arms float through the air.
I remember wanting to be a writer. Louisa May Alcott lived down the street. I read Little Women. Little Men. I gazed at the barn where she made up plays with her sisters and at the apple tree out front of her house that is now a museum. I wanted to be her.
I remember patterns and cloth. Getting wrapped up in sewing projects, convinced I was a seamstress. Aisles of fabric on sale for 39 cents a yard at the Big M. Just a bike ride away. Grandma Burke saying, "A little girl like you can't sew." She was wrong. I pedaled hard to the store with two weeks allowance in hand. Halloween was coming. Three yards of black cloth become a witch costume. Another year, I was the queen of hearts. She says I can't sew? Watch this!
I remember setting up the basement like a little school. Big ideas. Catalogs of wholesale school supplies. Finger paints. Crayons. Easels. How many neighborhood kids need to come on a regular basis to afford these luxuries. The woman down the street saying, "It's just playing, Patti. You don't need professional equipment for your little school." Maybe not, but needing and wanting are different and besides it's not a "little" school.
I remember fall leaves. Crisp air, warm sweaters, the sense of a new start at the beginning of each grade in September.
I remember thinking about Santa Claus. Trying to get my hands around the logistics of him having to get around the world to every kid's house in one night. For a long time, it didn't occur to me to stop believing; I just wanted to get the logistics worked out for myself.
I remember a girl named Beth Riedel who lived up the street. Beth was not a real friend, but she captured my imagination. She was not someone to talk to, but someone to watch and admire. Her mom let her have pierced ears when we were in the 1st grade. She had waist-length, chestnut brown hair. I wanted to be like her, just like her. But Mom said no pierced ears.
I remember Lori Fallon, my first best girlfriend. Second grade. She had dark hair and big brown eyes. She talked with a lisp which, in her, did not even resemble a defect. Her lisp was adorable. I wanted to be her, lisp and all. The teacher laughed at me. "Patti, why are you talking like that?"
I remember Robin Walcott. The next best girlfriend. And Cathy Cantillon in 8th grade. (She was strong and had bright red hair) I remember Marla Meine from high school. (We spent so much time together that our voices started sounding alike.)
I remember Janis Bishop being the coolest. She had long blonde hair and white go go boots. I longed for my own white go go boots, but Santa got mixed up and I ended up with white furry snow boots instead.
I remember crushes: Donnie Osmond, then in 8th grade, a real boy. Kevin Hinz, a hockey player with strawberry blonde hair. In high school, Bill Pascoe for a little while.
I remember Dean dying when I was 14. All of a sudden. From one moment to the next, the world can changed forever. A very sad way to learn a very useful lesson.
I remember sitting on the lawn at Chadwick School eating lunch. I remember editing the literary magazine and writing really bad poetry. I remember skateboarding down the hill on Draille Drive and wiping out at the bottom. Bleeding all over and getting a scar. I remember dinners at the Meines and practically living at their house during my junior year. I remember sneaking down to San Diego to see Marla after she graduated and I was still a senior. I remember my room with the attic-like, slanted ceilings. I remember writing down quotes I liked on little scraps of paper and posting them all over the wall.
I remember my first day in Germany as an exchange student. The Von Hassels house with a court yard in the middle. My host father's elderly mother shouting at me in German, with that sense people often have that volume will increase comprehension. I remember the first months at Gymnasium Meiendorf, struggling to learn German. I remember Haiko teaching me the German word for "embarrassed" as I tried to explain feelings about having a bicycle my host family had lent me stolen.
I remember flying back and forth between the U.S. and Europe for $100 on Freddie Laker's airline during semester breaks. I remember the town of Yellow Springs, Ohio better than I remember Antioch College itself. Glen Helen. Running 10 miles for the first time on country roads with Susan Erickson. I remember talking to feminists who thought men had no purpose and wondering how, under their theory, procreation should take place. I remember health food stores and my roommate getting sick from trying to be macrobiotic.
I remember living in North Troy in a farmhouse with only a wood stove for heat and geese all over the yard. Taking classes at the State University of NY at Albany and running the "Juice Bar" at a health club.
I remember moving to Alaska. Saving up money by doing yard work around Albany, then buying a VW bus and driving across the U.S. and Canada up to Fairbanks. I remember arriving in Juneau with only $10, using it for a hot breakfast, then living for several weeks until payday at a hastily gotten job on a bag of rice and some potatoes we'd stowed in the bus. I remember living at Indian Cove Drive.
I remember getting ready for Kaelen while I was pregnant. The crib I bought at the Goodwill Store - painting it blue and sewing bumpers for it. Buying pine to build furniture for the livingroom. Always wearing the same huge purple overalls.
I remember the night Kaelen was born. Looking around perplexed as I watched everyone who was present get teary-eyed as they witnessed the miracle of birth - I was so focused on making it through labor in one piece that I couldn't imagine being sentimental. I remember being really, really hungry when it was all over and a simple plate of eggs and toast tasting unbelievably good.
I remember Kaelen laughing at the pop of the fire burning in the wood stove. I remember the powdery way he smelled as a baby. I remember his little round face peaking out of a hooded sweatshirt. I remember spending time at the Olsens on Rainbow Row. I remember dressing him up as a witch and finding him making "scary faces" at himself in the mirror.
I remember moving to Seattle. All my worldly possessions stuffed a VW Golf. Staying in the University District in a borrowed room for a few weeks, then moving to 8308 11th in Ballard. I remember the stairwell going up to the second floor. I remember the backyard and the way the screen door creaked when it closed. I remember summer evenings walking to Dick's with Kaelen and Cameron and Celeste to get ice cream.
I remember living in Wallingford. Taking over interior decorating of the house because the other people living there didn't care. Deciding I wanted to work at Cole & Weber. Running a lot. Weekdays at lunch on the waterfront from Pioneer Square to Myrtle Edwards. On the weekends, from Wallingford to Debbie's in Lake Forest Park on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Running the Seattle Marathon.
I remember getting my own place on East Denny Way. I remember
starting at Columbia Resource Group. Eating lunch in the market with
Leasa on the first day. Writing lots of proposals and traveling all
over the world on different contracts. Starting InHouse Marketing. Staying up all night to make deadlines.
I remember meeting Brian....
Creating a home.
Doing something creative with multi-media.
Having 50 year friendships someday.