Sunday, November 19, 2006

NAOMI S. 11/19/06

On one of my e-groups, a friend sent in a quote from someone who lived in Jersey and that got me to thinking about Naomi S.

In high school it was either drugs or Jesus but never both and never neither. I went to a little aggie church [Assemblies of God] during one of my Jesus phases and one night we were treated to a really cool speaker. Her name was Naomi and she was there to tell her story, to witness. She had come out of slums and drug addiction a murderer and gone to prison for it. They transported her around to talk to different groups I guess cuz there she was one night talking to us.

What happened is that she had killed her boyfriend and then after her conviction for that, she somehow managed to kill the judge. I wrote to her for awhile and she wrote back to me. I think she was a lifer or something but my dad didn't care much for the idea. "What is this 'Drawer E?'" he asked one morning and when I told him, he pitched a fit. That was the end of me writing to Naomi.

Later on in my recovery I was writing to prisoners in various states and to one fellow in recovery that was in prison for something he did when he wasn't. All the prisoners I wrote to at that time said, "I didn't do it." The dude in recovery, he had a variation on it. He said, "I did it but I don't 'member it. I was in a black-out." To his credit, he didn't begrudge his time as so many others woulda or did. He figured that he was responsible for what he done and he paid his price to society and then he got out and stayed in recovery too.

Sometime after that, an acquaintance went to prison and she did time in shock camp. It done her good I guess but I haven't seen her for quite awhile so I don't know what happened to her. A good friend and neighbor went to a fed pen for a couple years for something he done. He got out on parole. He's been done with parole now for a long time and he is doing good. So some people do learn they "shouldn't do that again."

Another guy I used to know who was from the neighborhood come to my house one night to talk. Later on he raped an old lady and went to prison. He wrote me a letter and said, "Oh if only I coulda told you that night I was in trouble." I didn't write back to him cuz I couldn't deal with him raping an old lady. She wound up in the nursing home that I worked at and she had lost her mind and she was a complete nervous wreck.

Now we got drug court and everyone got chances and if they screw up, jail and prison are in their consequences. We got halfway houses too and some of the folks in them got legal hanging over their heads as well. Unfortunately, in a small town everyone talks. Being in a halfway house or in drug court is like living in a fishbowl. The alternative is worser. Though sometimes I think people have gotten a bit spoilt round the edges.

I have some hostility when I hear about things like someone with a gazillion dwis is given back a driver's license and stuff like that. Cuz now supposedly dwis cannot be plea bargained anymore yet it seems like to break the law and not get any time away from society is pretty messed up.

sapphoq on life


We lived on top of the bakery that my dad owned. We used to feed the squirrels in the backyard. We had a wooded paint-peeling open-air porch that led to the yard, some grass, and trees. One squirrel in particular used to come right up to us to get the acorn and nuts we had for him.

sapphoq on life

Thursday, November 09, 2006


We lived in a three-floor house which had been hastily chopped up into flats. My mother, step-father, and I [and later on, a half-sister] lived on the first floor, my step-father's parents [and sometimes a younger brother of his] on the second floor, and another brother of his and wife on the third floor.

The house was robbed and after that, my mother lobbied to get a burgular alarm. It was big and bulky and had a main control on the small back porch. If the alarm went off, after checking that the house was not being entered by a burgular, one had to use a key to access the box to turn it off. The alarm was shrill and sounded like a school fire alarm. It went off often. Not because of burgulars. But because of things like wind, vibrations of cars driving down the street, and heavy breathing.

I still remember my mother waking up and announcing, "We've been robbed!" She was careful to describe to me what a 'cat burgular' was. The image of a masked man hiding behind curtains for hours and hours until a family went to sleep stayed with me for years.

The police came. They dutifully took down statements from the adults. I was ignored and perhaps that was just as well. I had woken up to someone lighting a match and looking in the closet. I thought it was my mother but it musta been the 'cat' burgular. I do remember a voice telling me, "Go back to sleep." And so I did.

The big german shepard dog in the hallway upstairs slept through the whole robbery. The robber had succeeded only in grabbing some [a significant amount of] money from my step-grands bedroom. Teevees, stereos, jewelry-- all lay untouched. My step-grandfather moped for a few weeks. The dog remained but was not trusted again. And we lived with that bumbling alarm which pierced our routines at the most inconvenient times.

That alarm was still there when I moved out. I did look back but that was one of the things that I didn't miss.

sapphoq on life

Monday, November 06, 2006


I remember the singing on the radio.  Sung to the tune of "Bob-bob-bob.  Bob-bob-a-ram" the words had been changed to "Bomb-bomb-bomb.  Bomb-bomb-Iran."  The year was 1979.  Or somewhere between November 4, 1979 and January 20, 1980 at any rate.  I had a poster hanging on my side of the hallway depicting an American cartoon soldier crushing Ayatollah Khomeini. A neighbor took it down when I wasn't looking.  The catchy tune with the changed lyrics got banned from the radio.  The hostages remained in Iran for 444 days.  I kept wondering why Jimmy Carter was even trying to negotiate with the Ayatollah.  I figured in my youthful zeal that if the nine hostages were to be sacrificed in the mass bombing of Iran, that would have been better than doing nothing. Reagan won the election the next year.  I guess some other people mighta thought so too.

When I was in sixth grade, the first Woodstock happened.  I wanted to go and hang out with the hippies.  I was a flower child waiting to happen.  I remember the macabre body counts on the radio every afternoon.  "One-two-three.  What ar'we fighin' for?  Don't ask me I don't give a damn.  Next stop is Vietnam."  I was born too late.  As I got older, I would sometimes think I got born too early.

Bob Dylan during my first couple of years clean.  "If God's on our side then he'll stop the next war."  But God didn't stop the next war nor the one after that.

Operation Desert Storm and the resurrected chanting in the streets: Hell No.  We won't go.  Hell No.  We won't go.  

There is no Bob Dylan today.  No Woody Guthrie.  No Arlo Guthrie.  No Joan Baez crooning, "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night."  No little boxes full of tickie tackie looking all the same on the hillside.  Where have all the flowers gone?  Peter, Paul, and Mary ignore my question.

sapphoq on life