Thursday, May 22, 2008

From My Eyrie Past

The Girl From the Orphan Home
I grew up in the far East End of Dallas, Texas, so far out east of downtown Big D it was like a whole other world out there, a whole series of villages of outlier-type people--and even the little village just up and over a little hill from my house had been the home to two famous outlaws (outliers) way back in Old West times--, none of these burgs big enough to be called "urban" except that they were within the Dallas, Texas, city limits, which made them suburban as quaint hell, one boasting the very first "shopping center" (now called a mall) in the whole of the Dallas area. Most of these far-east-of-Dallas (it thought it was an Eden) subdivisions had been pre-WWII developed. Then that Big War happened and the developments fell through thus leaving patches of development scattered about the whole of this immense area, some patches containing several streets of completed houses while other streets were lost among a wandering of hilly fields and patched here and far there by surveyed lots and some checkerboards of unpaved, partially paved, and paved streets with names already on their stellae-like concrete-pole blue-enameled nameplated street signs, names like Powers Drive; Fair Vista Lane; Hilltop Drive; Parkdale Avenue; Laska Drive; Longview Road--names really that had no meaning except to the men who developed these various patches, the whole united development of which was to have been known as Parkdale, though Parkdale ended up being contained in the lower southwest section of the whole area and those patches of semi-developed areas were located all up east between this Parkdale end and the next village east of Parkdale called Pleasant Mound, which is where I went to elementary school and which was on out further east and across the natural boundary of a creek from where our big house sat like it was floating alone on "our" hill in the big middle of all this semi-developed area, our command-central-like house with the huge big Arizona Cypress cedar tree growing overwhelmingly commanding at the western corner of that big brick and stucco (I guess it was a tudor) three-story house, the windswept tree giving the house a winged-Mercury look, like the head (obverse) on the dimes of the realm in those days.

And my school was a mile and a half o'er east of my house, up the old abandoned interurban railbed, across Cavalry Creek (the natural boundary), along Military Drive, to my school, a tan-brick and stone-hinged-sandstone building that had been built as the Peacock Military Academy in the 1930s, before I was born for sure, and the Texas & Pacific Railroad employee magazine dated the month and year this school opened called it the most modern and up-t0-date school facility in the US of A, in the T&P employee magazine because the Texas & Pacific railroad ran right along behind that school (very interrupting to say the least), its tracks and trains running smack-dab behind the military school's old formation area with its spire-like flagpole and the adjacent huge big bright and wide drilling field, which became our soccer/football field and baseball diamond--like I said, the school was one of the finest schools in the US of A before I was born--and the facade of the two-story building was an Olmec-baby-face-big-like stone peacock over the front door underscored by stone letters spelling out P M A--except when I went there it was a Dallas public school and a big wooden "S" had been placed over the A in P M A that made those letters read P M S--for Pleasant Mound School--though I am sure the PMS initials also applied to all my old-middle-aged-lady teachers and also the young right-out-of-college teachers who I am sure had terrible PMS the whole time I was growling up under their educational care--me and all the little urchins, nutjobs, and prodigies who went there with me, like that Mottweiler kid I wrote about a hundred or so posts back [Mr. Ed: unlike The Daily Howler proprietor, The Daily Growler staff is still illiterate in the ways of blogging and archiving and referencing past posts--they offer no excuses about it either]--and I'm sure I contributed to an even worsening of their PMS with my cutesy but meanish teasing attacks on most females I came in contact with the exception of my mother and her mother. For instance, I had a terrible crush on my fifth-grade art teacher. She was 22 years old right out of SMU and flighty and bouncy with girlish vigor and extra-swishy hair and when she walked she swung with swishy skirts, plus she had the right kind of freckled face that I, even at this stupid 5th-grade age, had already determined as the kind of woman face and facial actions that made me "birds & bees" hot for her, as hot for her as, too, was the loaded little pop gun always cocked and ready to shoot in my little boy slacks (my mother forbade me wearing blue jeans--"Only common kids wear blue jeans"--every kid in my school was common as hell except me, the little girly boy in the little boy slacks)--and NO, I hadn't learned how to shoot my little pop gun yet, but I did know how to quickly cock it to the ready when I gazed upon that young-babe art teacher. This was my first serious teacher-love and the first source of my first fit of jealousy over a woman's deceit, which came the day this art teacher brought her fiance to school with her and introduced him to her class with so many gushy squeaks of loving adoration accompanied with blushy, eye-battey bashfulness about how handsome and perfect he was--god-damn almighty I got so fiercely jealous that day this young teacher soon had to have a heart-to-heart talk with me (actually a "breast-to-heart" talk with me since, yes, so foul, by then I was noticing the prominence of young girls's breasts and had no idea what their hearts looked like or even where hearts were located on women) and this young robust teacher spoke to me about how she was a grown woman and I was still just a stupid little oversexed nutjob kid-O and I had to understand that and blah-blah and she appreciated how I had a crush on her, but she knew that I'd get over it and more blah-blah-blah, and that was it for that bitch in my life--and soon the year was over and then she didn't return the next year and by then I developed a crush on another young new teacher, my home room teacher, a woman I can still to this day clearly picture and hear her voice in my head--and not only did I notice this young teacher had really big breasts but that she also exposed a lot of her legs when she read books to us while sitting propped up on one hip on the edge of her desk.

One of the first consultations I had on transferring to this school, on being enrolled in this school, was with an older woman who looked like my mom. And this "old lady" ask me a bunch of simpleton questions about my interests and what made me mad and shit like that and about my home and where did I go to church and then she told me a couple of social things, like there were some "special" kids attending our school--to me "special" meant privileged--though she meant kids like Grinning Larry the Epileptic--and how we kids loved it when Grinning Larry had one of his seizures--why we laughed like cub hyenas over a steamy hot pile of freshly ripped out antelope guts at Larry's seizures--the teachers knew what to do and would tell the kids nearest to Larry to hold him down while the teacher kept him from swallowing his tongue and shit like that. One time one teacher even demonstrated to us how to block Larry's tongue with a pencil to keep him from swallowing it whole and choking himself to death. That's what this older-woman counselor meant by "special" children; like Muffin-faced Glenboy the Downs Syndrome kid or Witchy-Girl Pearl who was a bit "evilly" retarded and an orphan to boot. And that was the next thing this counselor brought up: how I, a perfect little white kid with lovely loving parents, would encounter kids from the Buckner Orphans Home--I knew it as the rather macabre darkened brick "mansion" that sat in a lonely field on east of the school on Buckner Boulevard, several miles over northeast of my house and the school and village of Pleasant Mound, where the school was located--so I was taught that the orphans were "special" kids, too--under the strict rules of the orphans home staff of do-gooders--and though we could become friends with them, we weren't supposed to get too homey with them--they were kids whose parents had been taken from them for some mysterious reason by God and we kids who had plenty of parents had to look down our noses in pity toward them, though this counselor lady intimated that these little brats had a pretty good life out there at that orphanage--they no longer called them orphan asylums, like Newtie Gingrich called them back when he was a hot shot in the Repugnican morals business with his Contract for America or whatever the hell it was called--remember, Newtie wanted to build "orphan asylums" to teach abandoned and orphaned kids good cleancut Christian principles. Yet, the kids from the orphans home were the toughest and meanness god-damn kids on my block.

And then I moved from Dallas and went to high school back out on the lone prairie where I was windswept born. Just out south of my original hometown, on a street we traveled quiet a bit since we had relatives and good friends who lived out that way, was this big-time sandstone and tan bricked "mansion" and, yes, it looked like a mansion to me, with its tall colonial front with a circular drive going up to the entrance, and, yes, it was our local orphans home, founded by the same rich man who'd given my hometown its hospital, and run by the Southern Baptist Convention, this man being a rich Baptist and his family also rich Baptists and the family had schools and hospitals named for it all through central and west Texas. And, yes, from the time I went from middle school into high school, damn right, I knew who the orphans home kids were, especially a pair of twin boys named Melvin and Elvin and their fascinatingly beautiful but god-damn-queen-double-bitch mean sister, Jerry.

My best friend in high school was, yes, a spoiled rich brat, his father being a millionaire country & western songwriter and radio station owner who also had an interest in a recording label and had a full recording studio in his back yard, just outside the private entrance to my high-school best friend's private apartment built on the back of the big house just off the kitchen. Since my friend's mother didn't allow him to wear blue jeans either, he wore girly-boy clothes just like me, but more of a problem for him because every kid in school jealous or not knew how rich this kid was. So he was picked on a lot, so much so, he began at the age of 14 pumping some serious mean-spirited iron--working out frenetically--determinedly so, his ulterior motive being to kick some bully ass, and soon, my man was one total hunk of real man, at 15, 16, and I was a year older than he was and a wimp compared to him--he became truly muscular in his top body especially with a vice-like strength in his python arms that I thought at the time could crack a grown man's skull--and soon he was rebelling against being picked on and it led to him becoming a whip-ass motherfucker from 15 on--and one day when he was 16 he got the ultimate challenge--Melvin the Orphan (Elvin's twin) challenged him by calling him a "Queer," the ultimate insult you could call a man in my high-school heydays. "Hey, Queer bait!" Them was fightin' words and soon I was promoting as my friend's PR man the big coming Melvin vs. My Friend fight, me the manager/promoter of the fight to be held in the fighting pit out behind Jack's Golden Eagle Hamburger Shack--Jack, a dimwitted, ex-WWII-soldier hamburger flipper, acting as the referee in these brawls--which always led to bloody noses and bleeding cuts and torn clothes and sometimes a broken bone--and as soon as a bone snapped or a blood vessel spewed forth Jack would step in, little ballsy Jack who was tough as nails, and break the fight up and send the crowd and participants a packin'--and if Jack couldn't handle it, tougher than Little Jack was his hamburger flippin' fool wife, Mildred, an ex-woman Marine, and Mildred was tougher than those junkyard dogs she actually looked like--I'm sure Jack's wife could have whipped all our kid wimpy asses in one huge round up should we have ignored Referee Jack's ending these fights and challenge Mildred to end them instead.

And my friend, the mighty one, whipped Melvin's orphaned ass--left him in a whimpering fetal position crying "Uncle" while under his breath saying, "I'll get your little sissy motherfucking ass--me and Elvin'll get yore ass--you cant' beat bros, man"--which eventually, yes, did bring on a challenge from Elvin: "Nobody whips my brother's ass and gets away with it." "Well, I did, jack-off," my friend said, and I immediately started negotiating this next fight extravaganza--I was the Don King of my high school fight scene.

In the meantime, I, and I was not a fighter, though I had had to fight at one time, when I first got to high school, and I luckily won two fights in a row and after that the tough boyz respected me as a sidekick willing to fight for myself, though they knew I wasn't a natural fighter and I wasn't a threat to the more developed fighters, like my best friend. These dudes knew I had charm and persuasive jive, too, and that's what they respected me for--so while I was settin' up the big fight between my man and Elvin the Evil Orphan Twin, I suddenly found myself driftin' ever closer and closer to Jerry the twins's sister--Jerry the orphan girl--and I finally one afternoon while sticking secret flyers in all the tough boyz lockers bumped into Jerry literally--"Damn, sorry, my dear," I said as I slammed her. I hit her full but she was big-leg solid and I hit and reeled back and she dropped her books helter-skelter on the floor. "Here, Sweetheart, let me get those," and I knelt down and picked her books up--I noticed on one of her books--it had a Coca-Cola book cover on it--we covered our books in those days with these paper book covers each student constructed with Elmer's Glue or lickable glue flies, these covers given to us by local businesses--and on her Coca-Cola book cover were the words, plainer than day, FUCK YOU. "God-damn you, peckerhead," she said while I was picking up her books and trying to look up her skirt. "I told you I'm sorry; I didn't do it on purpose," I honey-chiled her. "How do I know that?" she said. God she was pretty, but openly tough, tough-looking really, broad shoulders, big boned arms and legs, as tall as I was, with long brown hair she wore in a pony tail (limited to women in those days). "Shit, Jerry, hey, baby, hold it a minute. You just gotta know somethin'," I hollered after her. She was hurrying away; I had to bust a move. "Hey, wait a minute, Jerry," I was still hollering as I ran to catch up with her. "What the shit you want?" She knew who I was; she knew her brother Elvin was fighting my best bud, the guy I was always hanging with--everybody knew me anyway, too. "Jesus, woman...." "Don't take Jesus's name in vain or you'll get punished." "Shit, Jerry, I wanna go out with you!" I almost screamed it. Some other kids heard me say it. "What?" she said. "Yeah, dammit, I wanna date, take you to the drive in or somethin'." "You wanna date me?" "Yes, Jerry." "Fuck you," she said, and walked away.

That pissed me off. Now I was determined to date her. I talked it over with my friend. He said, "Damn, man, what a score if you could pull that off--especially right before the fight." A coup, man, a coup. I was thinking advertising at that young a dumb age, I was 17, and by then I'd had my first sex and was cocky male and Madison Avenue sharp and damn right, fightin' and fuckin' went together in my bald prairie Old West macho thinking.

I sent Jerry a love letter, in my best prose. She tore it up and dropped it in front of my locker. I wrote her another more passionate love letter. I ended this one with, "Jerry, I can't help it. Like Ray Charles sings, 'I Can't Stop Loving You.'" And then one day I was in the gym and I looked up and here came Jerry wearing green Phys Ed shorts and a white shirt tucked in her shorts. She looked divine. I started smiling like a Cheshire cat. "Listen, you creep," she said, "why you keep pestering me with these damn stupid letters?" She loved the last letter. I could tell that from her calm eyes--I'd tamed at least her eyes, I thought proudly. "I'm gonna tell my brothers to cream your ass if you don't quit pestering me." "OK, Jerry. I meant no harm by it. I think you're a pretty, pretty girl and I'm curious about you and, yes, I know Melvin and Elvin can kick my ass but they can't kick my man's ass, just like they can't keep me from asking you for a date." "But the Home doesn't like us dating--they say we're too young." "Have you ever had a date?" "No." I had her. God-dammit, I had her. "Come on, Jerry, what'da I do to ask you out?" "You gotta come to the administration desk at the Home and get permission." "I'll do it. What do I do now?" "I have to give the Warden--that's what we call her...." And, by golly, Jerry smiled when she defined the Warden. I'd broken her. "...your name and where you want to take me." Then she started crying. Whoaaa. I didn't know how to handle crying girls! Jesus. I knew when my mother cried she was pissed at my father. "Hey, Jerry, I didn't mean to make you cry." "I'm not cryin'--shut your fuckin' mouth." "Start the ball'a rollin', Jerry, and I'll be your first date ever." With that I did an about face and trundled off down the hall to my algebra class.

The next day Jerry handed me a note in the hallway without saying a word. The note said that the Warden said she could go out with me for one hour--it would have to be Saturday and we'd have to tell them where we were going--sign out, then sign back in in one hour--if she didn't make it back in one hour, she got badly reprimanded and the privilege of dating would be taken away from her for god-knows how long.

I picked Jerry up at 3 in the afternoon of the very next Saturday. I drove my dad's big green Caddie up to the front door of the Orphans Home. I wasn't nervous; in fact, I was macho powerful sure of myself. I couldn't wait and I rushed into the lobby of the home, went up to the administration desk and said I was there to pick up Jerry Blah-Blah for a date. "Yes, Wolfie, we have you here. Miss Sregor will be down in a moment."

And then there was Jerry. Wearing a short-short blue skirt with a white shirt. No make up, I noticed. Penny loafers with pennies in them. Knee socks--Nehi socks we called them--Nehi the soda pop--knee-high, of course, the real adjective--except seeing a chick in knee-high socks drinking a big orange Nehi soda pop was pretty damn chic and sexy in those young days.

God-dammit, then I saw Elvin coming along behind her along with a matronly woman who looked like Johnny Carson's Aunt Blabby character to me. "Young man," the matron told me, "you are responsible for getting Miss Sregor back here in one hour--no excuses for being late--and if you don't, you will not only bring embarrassment to Miss Sregor but you will also be banned from seeing any of the Home girls for a probationary period. We here at the Home are against dating at too young an age, though we feel you and Miss Sregor are at ages now where we feel we can trust both of you for an hour's meeting. If you comply to this rule, then we'll see if we can allow Miss Sregor a longer time next time, if you care to see her again." Elvin didn't say a word but he looked at me directly in the eyes and I knew what was going on behind his furrowed brow--it was a sister-protecting meanest of his meanest looks. "Fuck you," I said under my breath to him.

"Oh, god-damn, it's sure good to be outta that dump," Jerry said after settling her fine ass in the fine seat of my dad's Caddie. "Nice car," she said, "is it yours?" "It's my dad's." I guess I'd goofed already mentioning my dad. I assumed her parents were dead or that maybe she didn't even know who her parents were though I was anxious to ask her--though my maturity kept me civilized about it--what it was like being an orphan.

"Where can we go--you want a Coke or a milk shake?--I know a drugstore down on Butternut that makes great shakes?" "Fuck that. Go up to Wylie. There's a back road up there this girl told me about where we can park and talk and shit."

It was easy to kiss her. She let me kiss her kiddie-like at first, smoochin', but then I got passionate as hell, as a King Bee, and started kissing her hard, once trying to put my tongue in her mouth. She pulled back. She was hot and so was I. "Have you had sex?" I dared ask her. I'd just lost my cherry my naive self--but I was macho bold in those days once I got some and knew I was OK at it--that's what the woman told me, "You're OK at this, kid." Jerry got bashful on me when I asked that question. She turned her back to me and hid her face against the doorpost on her side of the car. "I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to ask you that, it just came out, I mean, wow, you can kiss so good." She turned back toward me. She had a frightened look on her face. "God will punish us really bad if we have sex before we're of age, of consentual age. They are very strict about that at the Home." " let me kiss you." She leaned in and I kissed her again. "I want to," she said under her breath. I kissed her hard and she opened her mouth to me but the minute I stuck my tongue in it she back off again. "Don't do that, it's nasty." "It's called French kissing, like the Frenchmen do." "It's nasty. Like your tongue is fucking my mouth." I laughed. "Yeah, I never thought of that. So you know what fucking is?" "Sure. I got brothers, you know. I hear them talking. They're foul-mouthed--and I know one of the women in the kitchen...." She giggled. "Women in the kitchen?" "Yeah, I think they're fucking one of those women. Wild Wanton Wanda we girls call her." I kissed her again. She was relaxed now and got into it for a long five minutes at least--our mouths were blistered we kissed so hard, her tongue now coming in my mouth. I was excited as holy hell. "Jerry, you're wonderful." "You are, too, not at all like my brothers warned me. They said you were a flim-flammer, full of shit. I said I thought you were cute, cuter than your tough friend. His father's really famous isn't he?" "Yeah. His father wrote that song Perry Como does all the time on the teevee." "What does your father do?" "He's got a business down on North First, a glass, mirror, and picture-frame shop." "Your mother work?" "Yeah, she's a dietician with the air base schools. What about your parents?" That came out so easy. "No. I don't know who my parents were. We don't even know if our name's really Sregor--that's the name, according to Mr. Lamb, of the woman who was caring for us--we were babies--we don't know where we're from--we're not allowed to go into it with the Home staff--that's confidential information or something like that--it's all legal shit. We were adopted once but that didn't work out. I don't remember who adopted us but they didn't like us. They sent us back." She giggled again.

"Can I open your shirt?" I asked her while we were kissing again. "You want to feel my titties?" "I want all of you, Jerry...I think I'm in love with you." "Oh my God! What time is it? What time is it?" I'd gotten her shirt open and was just reaching in when she startled. "Don't worry, it's just 3:35." "Yeah, but come on, it'll take us that long to get back...." I shut her up kissing her again and reaching in this time and feeling one of her breasts. It felt so good. It was mostly bra but it felt so good. I felt it and massaged it a bit and it kept feeling so good and then it was over. She panicked again and that was that. We packed up, buttoned her up, but after I started the motor, we started kissing again. By now I was pulling back into the Orphans Home circular driveway. When I stopped the car I inadvertently tried to kiss her. "No. Don't. Stop it." "I'm sorry, Jerry, I'm sorry." She jumped out of the car and ran into the building.

I went home and was stunned. I loved this chick, dammit; I wanted to date her for real, but I had been rejected. I knew it. The orphan girl had tested me out and found out, yep, I was just like all the jerks with parents--I thought orphan girls were simply easy makes--which is not what I thought at all--hell, I'd only had sex once that counted--I was a better date than I was a fuck--but I knew Jerry had rejected me when she jumped out of the Caddie and lost herself from me back in the Orphans Home.

The fight went off as planned and as planned my man kicked the dogshit out of Elvin, too. My friend didn't get a scratch but he may have fractured Elvin's jaw. Jerry wasn't at the fight. I saw Jerry in the hallway after the fight a lot but she wouldn't speak to me. Once I stopped her and told her I loved her and thought about her all the time, but she said, "No you don't love me." "But I do, Jerry, come on, we had fun...Jerry." She walked away from me. I saw her after that but we never spoke again; and then I met Rena and Rena and I had a hell of a great one-summer love affair when I turned 18. I met Rena through Ronnie who worked in my brother's bookstore. Rena lived at the YWCA with Ronnie. You see, Rena was an orphan--her parents were air force persons who'd died in a car crash about a year before. Rena was 16 at the time; when I started dating Rena we were both 17 going on 18. Rena and I made wonderful comfortable love all that summer, most of the times in the backseat of that same daddy caddy I'd dated Jerry in--then I went away to college, met another girl, and lost track of Rena--though I did later have an affair with Ronnie--and never again saw Rena...and I never again saw Jerry the Orphan, though right this minute I feel a little mad that I didn't go after her and capture her for real--I did love her--I did--and because she was a pretty girl and not because she was an orphan.

for The Daily Growler

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