Amelia died at the mental hospital; they held the funeral there and buried her there. That may well have been the best day of Anna’s life, all fourteen years of it. She insisted on looking at Amelia in the coffin and touched her face with one finger. She wanted to be absolutely sure that Amelia was dead. Wendell had given her the oddest look. Thinking back, she supposed she believed things would be different once Amelia was dead, but nothing changed. Perhaps she had thought they would change into a real father and daughter, just as once she had dreamed that Amelia would become sane, and become a mother, but nothing happened. They fell back into their old routine. The days came and went, the seasons rolled around.
Driving in the dark, the cold dark of December was bad enough, but driving to a funeral in the dark was worse, unless the worst thing was feeling nothing, or feeling empty, and then complete relief.
Wendell was dead. Amelia was dead. They were both dead now, and there was no grief. Anna didn’t feel the great surge of joy at Wendell’s death that she had felt at Amelia’s death. No, she just felt nothing.
Ten years ago, Amelia had died. Anna had tried hard not to let Wendell know how glad she was that Amelia was dead. He had looked so dazed and lost, but she was glad, and she couldn’t deny that she was glad because she was safe. He obviously was grief stricken and cried at the funeral. She did not. There were no tears for Amelia, but she would always remember Wendell crying. Anna had never seen him cry before.
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Notes from Alexis: Being a potter, I am deep in “mud” a great deal of the time, and I love it. She is knee deep in creativeness – in so many ways – it is a delight to see.
Well, I hope this finds you knee-deep in mud, or all fired up or something.
I just wrote something creative for the first time in ages, and the sweetness of it makes me feel good. I feel sorry for all the folks who have never known such a thing.
I have enjoyed the ‘Guide’ so much. I mean that it has been fun, but it hasn’t been creative; just no ‘honey’ to it. I can see non-fiction is probably not my full line, I need some creative writing along for my sweet tooth.
You aren’t going to believe this, but good old Mom and Dad now have two beds in Studio II. Our neighbors, the preacher and his wife, are moving out. He quit the church, and they are going to California or Timbuktu. If they know where they are going they ain’t saying. They had a yard sale and had this neat trundle bed. It’s two twin beds, one beneath the other. You pull the bottom one out and it snaps up to the height of the other, and makes a Queen-size bed. Pretty neat
And are we coming up? Probably not. At least not right away. Dad can’t get any time off and I, of course, am in the middle of the ‘Guide’. I have such a feeling of urgency about it. Ten years from now when it is moldering away in the closet, you can remind me of this.
Now I’ve got a long story to tell you about the Wilhelmi spinning wheel. This is one of those stories that just fills up all the vacant spaces in storytelling, and just takes over. Unbelievable! It is also a neighbor story. Where I made my big mistake was not writing all the stories down as they came along. But who would have thought I would end up with a trunk full of them?
Well, meanwhile, back at the ranch, you remember me telling you about E. coming and taking the spinning wheel. I found myself suddenly feeling like I was drowning in E.; with her voice in this little-girl range, twisting her fingers and the overall helplessness. So I told her to take it home and work with it for a week, and then if she wanted to buy it, she could give me $50, and if not, she could bring it back. It is worth something, right?
That was six months ago and every now and again I would get in a froth about it. I called her and, Oh yes, she had to have the spinning wheel, but Mr. L. hadn’t paid her. What is this L. business?
It seems that four years ago when Mrs. L., our neighbor, was going for her treatments, they hired E. to babysit and then didn’t pay her. What else is new? Believe me if I had known the sale of the wheel depended on Mr. L. there would have been no sale. I got to the point where I was going to call and tell her to bring the wheel back pronto, if not sooner, and then I got a call from a gal saying she wanted to buy a cheap spinning wheel, so I said ‘okey-dokey’ I got one. You came to the right place, lady. I called E. and said I need the wheel back, because I have a gal who wants to buy it. E. called Mrs. L., Mrs. L. called me, and then Mrs. L. called Mr.L. Repeat the above, four or five times. The upshot was that Mr. L. came over and paid me for the time he owed E. Do you know what that asshole told us when he brought over the check? He said he never thought she’d catch up with him after all this time. That bum!
E. suddenly found her grown up voice, and just like Alice in Wonderland began to grow up. I called the other gal, and she turned out to be a whiner too. Deliver me from helpless types! They are murder on me. I have always been leery of instant friendships, and now I have to worry about instant enemy-ships.
Can you stand another long story? I just love writing letters because you can’t turn me off. The reason the gal called was because I had some fibers down at the art gallery. The weavers finally got it all together and had a show. They had to invite me, because there were just too many people who knew me, and insisted I be there, I guess. Jeez, it killed D.A.’s soul, but I got invited:
So I got together about $900 worth of fibers and books. It seemed like a neat thing to me because I had small bags of exotic and unusual fibers, and books that can’t be bought locally and some are out of print. I won’t make a dime, but at least the things will be out there where they can be seen.
Watching them set up the exhibit and the old interplay of wills and inter-tribal warfare, was most interesting. Of course, I’m outside the pale, totally untouchable and glad of it. Getting the fibers ready just about did me in though. Made me sick as a dog for three days, and I do believe it cured me altogether, totally and forever.
I’l1 take whatever they don’t sell (most I presume) and peddle it in Eugene or Bandon, or wherever.
I have another good book for you, a must read. ‘Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman’ by Feynman and Leighton. Good reading.
Well, got to run and get this in the mail before noon.
Notes from Alexis: The new book has a name, animals are funny, and secret erotica rooms amaze her.
Yes, you most certainly can take me out to a birthday lunch! So very pleased that you are coming down, and so glad you told me ahead. I do love to check the days off. I quite enjoy that sort of thing.
We had a week of nice/bad weather. That is some part of every day was nice and some bad, but the cherries and plums went ahead and bloomed anyway. One apple, the Rome, blossomed out yesterday, and we are holding our breath for the McIntosh. Rain clouds are banking in the west, and the neighbor’s father is trying to make it rain by watering, so maybe we can get this storm out of the way before you come down.
I haven’t totally recovered from the last brain crash, but ‘I’ve begun tackling Reportstar’, again, I gave in. Whether I’m in there working at the computer, or not, my brain just keeps whirling, and gives me no rest, so what the heck. Better to conquer and forget, right?
Wow! Your news about a guy running a porno gig, boggles the mind. I once knew an old reprobate who collected porno books and statues, only he called it ‘erotica’. He was very proud of his collection and said he had built a secret room behind a bookcase where he stored it all. This was back in the fifties, when that sort of thing was illegal, back in the dark ages. What happens to the finest collection of secret erotica when shops open up downtown? When secret rooms are no longer meaningful and dangerous? Does it all turn to dust? (Sadly, as everyone knows – it went online)
We got to see a funny sight yesterday. The little girl across the street, was riding Buttercup (her horse) around in her yard, and over in our yard a big jackrabbit was watching the whole thing with such curiosity. Finally, the jackrabbit, couldn’t stand it any longer, and came over into the driveway and stood up on his hind legs, so he could get a better view. He just couldn’t figure out what that girl and horse were doing. Aren’t animals, funny?
I think I have come up with a name for my latest book, ‘If Wishes were Horses’. It is proceeding at a fast pace (Phase I), and I’m three or four chapters behind in writing, and two behind in typing. It is really important to get all these thoughts down as fast as possible, before I forget them, because this is all about the time sequence, the characters, and plot.
There will be time later to work them all up into readable prose, hopefully with style. I have fallen in love with all the characters, but I have some serious problems in being able to let the reader know what I know. This book is such a different book, in presentation, from EAB. I have to give a great deal of consideration to voice and person. Quite a challenge, causing me much loss of sleep. Well, not sleep exactly, but night rest. I sleep, but I write all night long.
Dad went back to work without a pain, and immediately got stomach pains and knee pains. Someone told him his stomach pain was not ulcers, but hernia, so he is going to the doctor and find out.
Will close for now and save all the rest for our visit. I have decided to make the grand gesture and clean the stove. I only got two windows cleaned but if the weather stays nice or gets nice, then I’ll make a stab at the others.
Notes from Alexis: Love the letterhead! I have to laugh though, the woman actually believed she was an expert in most things. She even had a sweatshirt that said: “Expert!”
Consulting on Any Subject
I don’t tell fortunes, read palms, run the tarot,
Throw the I Ching, or figure astrological charts.
March 21, 1985
Well, what do you think of that as a letterhead? Pretty neat don’t you think? I am hoping somebody will ask me why I don’t do all of the above, so I can tell them that I think people should do those things for themselves.
I am typing this with my Wordstar program, and I am in a state of fear and trembling. I keep forgetting not to use the return, so when I type this I will probably have all kinds of interesting endings of lines. I figured out the centering okay, but I wasn’t able to set the tabs the right way, so I have to tinker around with them for the present. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to underline, but then I probably underline too much anyway. What the hey!
I guess I told you about the computer games, and that I was playing Catchum. This is a cat and mouse game, and you win – 10,000 points! So far I have made 4,000 at the lowest level possible, which is pretty low. Dad says it is just another kind of PacMan, but since I have never played any kind of game, on any kind of computer, it is all new to me. J. and Dad think it is so funny that I have become a computer freak. I give myself three games as a treat (remember the good old days when a treat was a bon-bon), but then I cheat and play another one and another one, until I am tired.
I have a feeling that you will probably be getting a lot of letters because I have to go through my lessons, and I am loath to use their rinky-dink material. You know me; I like to do my own writing. Now I am going to SAVE AND THEN PRINT.
Well, you see what happened with my margins. I have a lot to learn about margins; I can see that. Also now the next section will be with justification and maybe I can even figure out UNDERLINING, because as we can see I have CAPS okay. I am really having a lot of fun as YOU can see.
You asked me about my work, and I presume you meant the book ‘NONAME’. At this point, I have several chapters in longhand and several chapters in my head. I have been waking up every morning with a new chapter, but I wanted to wait until I could get my head a little clearer with this Word Star, before I set out on such a journey as typing up a chapter.
When I told J. about your horrors at plastering sheetrock, he really laughed. He used to do that, remember? And then he worked for a while, cleaning up after the other plasterers, so he knew just what you were going through.
We had the most gorgeous weather you could ever imagine for two days and then it clouded up and has been so cold, and even sleeted some last night. I have had to have a really hot fire going just to keep from freezing to death today.
Well, I am going to stop now. Look at this paper. Isn’t this just too awful. What happened is that Dad got it from the shop. They keep buying all these Mickey Mouse computers that don’t work, and they have to get another one. The last one used this paper, and Dad couldn’t bear to throw it out, so he brought it home. I am using it on a yarn holder he made me some time ago, and it works pretty well. I guess I will have to get a tractor feed printer, though, as it seems the most sensible thing to do.