Monday, February 18, 2013
The "California Sweater"
Working on my new one-woman show - Arlington National Cemetery: My Forever Home - brings up many memories, sweet, funny and poignant.
We claimed this Arlington space in 1964 when our youngest child died suddenly. Jim was an Air Force Medical Officer stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in the Washington area and he exercised his Arlington option.
A few months before Jim died we went to Arlington to acknowledge our daughter Gretchen's 50th birthday with flowers and prayers. It was strange to stand at that headstone knowing that Jim's cancer was active again and progressing.
When I look at pictures of us together I am reminded again and again of how I could slip comfortably right under his arm as if we were made to be together. We often laughed that we were getting shorter - proportionately - so that we continued to fit together.
Jim enjoyed this pink sweater our son-in-law Brad gave to him when we went to California in March 2011 for the Rogue Festival. Jim wore it as he walked the streets of the Tower District in Fresno tacking up the posters for my Pushing Boundaries show. Those blocks in the Tower District were familiar to Jim. Tower District was his childhood neighborhood and he felt comfortable there and relished the chances to wander in early memories. We recorded many of them. In fact we enjoyed being there so much that I performed at the Rogue three successive times.
We often chuckled and named the sweater "the California sweater" as it was warm and comfortable perfect for the chilly days of the early Spring of 2011. Jim wore it like a familiar friend. I loved seeing him wear it because it accentuated his blue eyes - especially when they were twinkling.
Here Jim is standing on the deck at his brother Harold's home down South - the native way of identifying the Orange County area.
Sometimes when I am feeling particularly lonely for Jim, I slip the pink "California sweater" over my head. When it "swallows" me I feel enveloped in a warm hug.
I will not be giving it away anytime soon - probably never.