[ I do not know what piles of lies, acceptance, practice and, when believed to be gotten away with, the celebration of aprovechar – taking / – swindling, jealousies, entrapment, hypocrisy, threats, neediness and insecurities, ultimatums and mockery are now operational in the Truemaier Boys' adult lives.
What I do know are these two matters:
i) None of these are of my concern as I am done being the brunt of any of these acts.
ii) Deconstruction of one specific household unit did not occur because of me. --- Dr Legion True ]
i) None of these are of my concern as I am done being the brunt of any of these acts.
ii) Deconstruction of one specific household unit did not occur because of me. --- Dr Legion True ]
Chapter Twelve: Book Two (A Mama's Long View Redemption) of Mother - Fucking: The Unimportance of Unconscious Women, pp 52 - 57:
The Unimportance of Unconscious Women
“Woman Is Nigger Of The World.”
--- Song title and recurring lyrics by John Lennon, 1972
Rush hour occurred at the start of the Boys’ school day as well, of course. We needed to be across town the other way five days a week allowing for plenty of downtime at all the train tracks laden with working, racing trains which Ames accommodated. Someone said 65 times a day a train hurled itself along the two principle lines that crisscrossed the town, and he said he wasn’t exaggerating. He was not. We had to be belted, all of us, in the Diplomat by not a minute later than 7:20 to rest assured that the Boys’d be strolling through the school’s double – door entrance by 8 am. What a trick that was.
But then, too, there was the Foreign Language Program for elementary students. German for Jesse and French for Mirzah. I learned to say, from his teaching me, tOpe for taupe and mOve for mauve, both with that really long O sound, after Mirzah’s first session! “I wore the mOve and tOpe skirt with the matching mOve heels!” How correct I became. None of Mehitable’s tawhp and mawhv anymore. I still pronounce those words correctly now because of that miniature lesson from Mirzah.
So we had to leave home and Othello Drive even earlier. Missed the awful traffic this early, still dealt with the darn trains and got to school in time for 45 minutes of language lessons before 8 but had to figure out what to take along with which to entertain Zane those two mornings a week. Zane didn’t want to take foreign language. So he read – reading occupying the top position on the list of all the many, many things which Z loved doing – or he slept a bit more, as did I. Well, fitful sleep for both of us, if really much at all.
It wasn’t so hard to figure out what to do to keep him busy, I guess, except for those all – too – frequent mornings when we forgot to bring along reading material because we were all running from aft to fore through the Iroquois – sized long house to the garage at top speed. It was just really, really hard to do, especially when the mornings, that early, were getting colder and colder. School officials did not want children in the building alone unsupervised too early so that was it. We read and waited out in the wagon, Zane and I, or we went to gas up at a neighborhood Casey’s. Or, I made two round, road trips. Two trips was not an option.
Overall, school was fabulous. The Truemaier Boys, all three of them, already possessed a highly developed and copacetic desire to learn and loved it; they simply loved learning. This was good. For the most part. Each made lots of friends, easily and quickly, just as they had done in other schools in other university towns before moving to Ames; and very soon our lives both just off 13th Street at Othello Drive and down south in the Tea Garden Subdivision where Kate Mitchell was located and all those other friends lived thrived. Mirzah was in Unit A, Jesse in Unit B and Zane with Mr. Green in Unit C. I did join Ms. Stuart’s Principal’s Advisory Committee and help put together recommendations to her for the School’s next – year budget. We met in the School’s auditorium or in its awesome Media Center / Library which, I soon found out, hosted all sorts of parent committee meetings; and our priority recommendation, straight up, was to get the Center loaded with the latest in computer hardware and a keyboard artist hired to start teaching the required typing lessons as soon as possible, preferably by the next summer, that is, all of this proposal up and running by the middle of May 1988, if we could manage the bucks from the Board. Summer keyboarding sessions would be quite a huge benefit to the kids.
Legion True was the only homeroom parent who objected, one weekday evening, to providing the Boy Scouts use of the school building for its after – school meetings so around the time of that paramilitary organization’s national 75th ‘jubilee’ year, my itty bitty protest was completely drowned out. Most everyone there, men and women alike and themselves fairly progressive I was thinking wrongly, not only turned around to check out who it was that could possibly be in disagreement with this early fall and usually rubberstamped proposal but there were also all manner of slacked jaws with heads a – shaking to and fro as well.
A local chapter continued its long – standing tradition of little – boy pseudoleadership training with its khaki, honors – bedecked uniform – wearing conformity right under my and my Boys’ pacifist Quaker noses. I wasn’t vociferous or even ardent in my ankle – length blue denim skirt and cotton socks inside high – top hiking boots but not because, in my mind of minds, I didn’t want to be. I did. I just had had a lot of standing alone and being yelled off the dogs by Mehitable and then by Herry, that I really just hadn’t the fucking guts to carry my points any fucking further. Not like I did have on those nights alongside David and husband #1 John, and hundreds of others actually, in front of the New York City Waldorf where Nixon touted the nation’s role in Viet Nam but we protestors outside in the cold faced down the entire cadre of the City’s mounted police all armored themselves inside full riot gear astride their side – by – side equines. Mehitable would have been so happily proud of me had she witnessed me, of my own accord, back down, use a truly feigned soft voice, fundamentally shut the fuck up really and get all servile – like in deference to the patriarchal Scouts’ demand. Even if it was in just a little neighborhood school auditorium.
* * * *
Still. I, too, made friends, also easily and fairly rapidly. I knew Ames pretty much inside and out and did not have to expend a lot of effort or time, as had been the cases in our moves to and within Iowa City, Hershey, Columbia and Manhattan, learning their layouts or agencies. I could delve nearly immediately into service for the Boys and their activities as well as research and continue a few of my own. The branch’s Dr. Edinsmaier did his local lab thing and was also out on the road somewhat – up to little farming towns north and west and east servicing small hospitals in these villages by riding a circuit of approximately a 50 – to 80 – mile radius in those directions and then performing pathology lab things.
Except for the two times Dr. Herod Edinsmaier slept in and forgot to go. Oops. Oops.
Leaving two, separate and unrelated, unknown and faceless women anesthetized, that is, truly unconscious, on very cold operating room tables with their breasts bared. And pointing straight up at strangers’ eyeballs.
Or, maybe their breasts weren’t in full view of strangers after all. These are small Iowa towns, for christ’s sake, where everyone knows everyone; but, now, these men and women who worked over at the community hospital were also ‘knowing’ her in the most intimate of ways – in addition to their folksy greetings to her up at their post office boxes six days a week and down at the Prince of Peace Lutheran church’s basement bazaar twice a year!
Nameless they were not; Dr. Edinsmaier knew their names. The two women’s names were affixed to the order forms faxed to his branch laboratory. The orders requested by the attending surgeons in these two tiny rural communities involved a little matter about the pathologist’s expertise being needed to perform and read out frozen sections, right there nearly tableside, to check for malignancy. Well, something a little bit like that, I am guessing.
In psychiatry and psychology, this is called minimalization or minimization, maybe. I’m not exactly sure which. It really isn’t such a big deal now. Why are you getting so bent out of shape, Lady? It’s silly really. Such a little thing you’re so upset about. “You can see for yourself, Your Honor, just how hysterical and full of histrionics the Bitch gets.” Such a small thing so blown way out of proportion. “Ya’ know, Your Honor, for attention. ‘Cuz she’s so needy and all. She’s always doin’ this. A real emotional basketcase she is, idn’t she?!”
Of course, now, if primary or metastatic cancer were to be found, why, that tumor, probably the entire breast, surrounding regional nodes, some lymph circulation and whatever else, would have to be lopped off; and she and her kids and her grandchildren and her husband all already knew that when she went under. Possibly then, of course, to also be under the slicing and dicing and lopping scalpel as well.
Dr. Edinsmaier’s absenteeism during these two breast biopsy episodes was fairly well spelled out in the letter I came across while cleaning the den one December 1987 morning. Yeah, I read it. And others, too. Yeah, I actually opened US mail addressed to Edinsmaiers and to Trues on Othello Drive. Items addressed to only the Truemaiers, to one or to all three of them collectively, were numerous enough, and those I didn’t open. Except for the pornography. I didn’t open the pornography addressed to the Truemaiers, but I did try to intercept it. Even mail addressed just to Herod alone I opened. Like an office manager does, I would later find out.
And – And therein I took care of all the matters – again like an office manager takes care of such stuff. All the bills – all in the man – of – the – household’s name, of course, and none of them in mine – got paid on or ahead of time including the newspaper and magazine subscription renewals. My Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Iowa veterinary license renewals, even the Iowa and New York nursing license renewals although in the “inactive” category, the $1,400 – a – month mortgage on the pad which we had suddenly leapt up to paying out from just the $400 a month on the Manhattan rental, the Storm County property taxes, no small thing now those taxes, and the various insurances, even those on Herry’s two airplanes.
And those paybacks on the educational loads! Loans, I mean. Aaahh, but were they ever a shitload, too! Both medical and veterinary medical student loans. In addition to the low – interest National Defense Loans, there were the monthly installments still – – on the many simple signature loans secured just for living expenses along the way. None of those loans had been taken out from really quite wealthy Edinsmaier family members either. Herry had made it crystal clear back in Hershey that that was not ever going to happen: we were to stay current on everything yet we were to never borrow from any of that clan at all. For awhile all of these continued to be paid up on time anyway. Fortunately the two wagons were paid off, and I had started just after marching for my PhD to make rather decent headway in Manhattan on this get – us – debtfree – and – keep – us – solvent project of mine – – “Keep solvent!” Herry had loved to repeatedly order me to make our family finances be – – despite his airplanes! My nursing school loans which John’d just simply ignored when he sauntered away I had shortly paid off anyway before beginning that pre – vet year of required Iowa State coursework and meeting Herry during its March month of 1974.
Upon dusting the walnut, built - in, flip – out escritoire in the northeast corner of Herry and the Boys’ walnut – paneled den opposite the placement of the walnut Haines console, two pieces of white paper sailed down to the beige pile carpet from where I had accidentally released them far atop the secretary. One was ripped from a spiral notebook and lined with penciled words scripted on one side only, and the other one appeared to be on official letterhead from the White and Sons Law Firm, Kansas City, three short paragraphs neatly typed. I didn’t know of the White and Sons Law Firm and, not knowing of lawyers really much at all except for the fine experience I had had with two of them in Manhattan who I thought had given me very sound advice about the nonrenewal of my faculty contract at Kansas State, I was neither daunted nor cowed by things lawyer – like either. Yet.
I read. There were words on this official letter about someone’s job, too. About Dr. Edinsmaier’s job. Herry was going to lose his job: he was actually going to be fired by the parent laboratory company based in KC – if he didn’t get his act together and stop messing up so much. And right now. And this letter – straight to him from that lab’s legal eagles – was Herry’s official notification of that.
Of the impending dismissal of Dr. Herod Edinsmaier. For dereliction of duty as a medical doctor.
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. I could not swallow because there was that choke in my throat again. And I was the one slack – jawed now! Not only over the wholly whopping whammy of the sudden job – and life – insecurity; but I was reading about and, therefore, knowing of these “two little incidents” in my husband’s most recent past for just the very first time. Herry had said not a peep about this, and the letter was dated two months’ time earlier – back in October! Just 90+ days into our all being newly minted Ames residents.
The chastising letter went on to castigate. It seemed it wasn’t just the matter of the two women and their being put out and put off. Yeah, they were let up from the anesthesia all right and, upon seeing their wholeness, both of them believed the absolute best possible news. Only to find out, momentarily, that, well, ah, no, not exactly. Not exactly the best news forthcoming at all … since, “Ah, we will need to reschedule this,” andah, ah, do it and, O JYeah, pain everyone all over again – as a matter of fact! There was more than just this tragedy alone to the debacle which my husband, along with his common amnesia regarding ordinary women, had perpetrated. As far as the actual business was concerned, there was more than … ‘just this’ much!
Dr. Edinsmaier’s literally stolen hours of extra sleep those two mornings, it seemed, had really cost the laboratory and the two hospitals way more in real coin squandered and lost than just the unmeasured expenditure that was those two women’s angst and that of their two families. “There is the economic matter, Dr. Edinsmaier, of deploying all of the lower echelon for the second time again, the rank and file workers, and the supplies, sterile or not so, the O R and the utilities and the beds and the anesthetist and the surgeon. Get this right from now on, Dr. Edinsmaier, or you’re outta here. Capeesh?! Capisci?!”
The only upside to this disaster? These two specific women weren’t anesthetized awaiting frozen section results and perhaps further radical and disfiguring surgery at large, urban teaching hospitals. Only within two tiny, rural county ones – whereat those medical staffers there most probably would not be found ‘practicing’ their vaginal – examination techniques on unconscious, er, I mean ‘relaxed’ and non – objecting individuals. Had these particular two DEhumans been anesthetized, pre – surgery patients within, say, Johns Hopkins or Duke University Medical Centers, the teaching faculties there would have simply and easily set aside the rape criminality to it all – – and, like androcentric Herod’s dereliction regarding “First, Do No Harm” and women, just gone ahead, as is also standard in patriarchal medical centers worldwide, with their intentional and pompous parade of routine, medical student – ‘entitled’ assaults on us unimportant females – upwards many times of five to six violators during any one anesthetized clip a recent federal investigation uncovered to a United States Congressional hearing. And merely rationalized and justified it all away with the flippancy, also the same as arrogant Herry’s, that they were “just teaching.” And, therefore, “making good use of the available resources” – who just happen to be us unconsenting, unconscious … women. Itty bitty are the Voices of the faceless and anonymous majority … … in the grip of powerful medicine men and their “ … cycle of smugness substituting for … knowledge.”
* * * *
That other piece of white paper with handwritten words in pencil and yanked out of its place in someone’s notebook was also a letter. Signed by Zane. “Dear Ann Landers, I am 11 years old and think I am addicted to cigarettes.” Whoa. First Herry, now Zane. “I and my friend Ethan hide out behind a bunch of trees by our school and smoke cigarettes every afternoon when my little brothers are in chess and doing other stuff after school. Our mom hasn’t come to pick us up yet. She doesn’t know and thinks I am in the library waiting. Ethan has an older brother and he gets them for us. What should I do to stop? I inhale and I’m afraid I’m already an addict.” Whoa. Double whammy.
So. Zane was watching. All those times in Columbia on Lily Drive when I sneaked a few next to Thumper in his hutch alongside the clothesline and to whom I chatted in whispers about the truly important things of the day just fading while exhaling away to the secret breezes out back and my lungs’ content.
Or …, discontent. Zane and I had made a pact, and he was keeping up his end of the bargain. The deal had been: If I immediately brought to zero the number of Merit Menthol and Pall Mall filterless cigarettes I smoked up in a day’s time, then Zane would bring to zero, also, the number of his own brand of boogers that he munched on in a day’s time. A fair exchange of a deal it was, too. Poor me, though.
Now, it wasn’t that anymore – but this. Seventeen years it had taken me to deal with my nicotine addiction and, well, I had had some truly elegant help in that, hadn’t I, by way of all those threatening ultimatums from Herry and the simultaneous years and years’ worth of juicy cracks from Mehitable, too, about my femininity being fucked up instead as a hardened ‘drag’ queen who puffed and reeked like old, farting tramps and despicable curs. Poor dear, dear Zane. Writing Anne Landers to get help with smoking cessation was a way better method than any browbeating I could deal him and a mighty fine idea I thought; and while this written confession of his at 11 years of age was, to me, just a terrible, terrible revelation, it was nothing compared to what I now knew about Herry!
Zane always could pick ‘em, the strategic times to let launch a few exploding bombshells. This one was freakishly fateful – – or was it? Did my magnificently brilliant Zane already know about the letter from the White Law Firm? And did he then masterfully station his plea for help really meant for me and not for Ms. Landers at all in and amongst the escritoire mishmash that also held that horrid one from the laboratory’s lawyers? Something as potentially angering to me as his smoking cigarettes, surely Zane himself was dropping puzzle piece – like clues for me to find this time. And Herry, about his being utterly dressed down, certainly was not! Not this time. There being no swagger and no braggadocio, let alone, any manner of catalyst that could enable the fulfillment of his unfolding flight from the marital bed that he could possibly fashion out of this particular job fuck – up, Herry wanted me to know exactly squat about it.
* * * *
Among the friends I was making, there was not one in whom I could confide about this deal with Herry. And not my parents either. AmTaham? AmTaham had never, ever wanted me to hook up with Herry in the first place. AmTaham’s only probable shortcoming his whole, o - so short 72 years on Earth was that he never wanted his Legion, preciously born to him on his bloody cold 28th Winter Solstice birthday, to ever hook up with any other man but him. Pretty typical daddy, but I really, really was that selfishly special to him; and I always, always knew it, too. An extra heavy burden on me in a way. Herry meant and was synonymous with my mother’s god, ya’ know, money. And now that he actually was a medical doctor and, to Mehitable, then made by that mere appellation as M.D. alone, no longer a milquetoast or a pantywaist, I pretty much knew to keep shut up about him to her.
It was okay, more than okay to Mehitable as well, and one thing for Herry to upbraid me royally up one side and down my other about the contract at Kansas State not being renewed as part of a newly appointed department chief’s strategic reorganization plan that I’d had zip control over and certainly did not contribute to with my ever having been derelict as a veterinary microbiologist. ““What now?!”” I recalled Herry’s words to me quite plainly, his coming at me from over his telephone in Kansas City the very first night I knew about the contract after I’d finally, alone again of course, gotten all the babies bathed and off to dreamland. “You have the mother – fucking audacity to ask me, “What now?!” No, no, no, no. This one’s on you, Cunt. You deal with it! I have nothing more to say to you! Ya’ll have to hump yourself on this one cuz ya’re not getting any here, and I’m hanging up!” Click. Nothing more to say. And then there’s always something more to say, of course. If Herry’d just used the word ‘Squaw’ to address me, then I wouldn’t’ve come so undone. I liked Indians and things Indian, my being a fairly fresh Quaker and all, and, besides, I didn’t have any idea then yet about the meaning of that word. I did know the meaning of the name Herry had called me. And I was undone. No one to grieve with on that one.
And not on this one either. No one to grieve with over this devastating and so destructive news either. Herry’s censure of me in Manhattan was one thing. But it would have been quite another for me to divulge Truth about this job matter. And, most especially … Dr. Edinsmaier’s accountability in it. Or, absence thereof.
I determined, right then and there in Herry’s den, to shove on. It was December, nearly two months after the letter’s date; and, unlike the sinking ship that had been that deflating and not – so – whole air mattress fatuity out at Finger Lakes State Park with all my children’s lives clinging to it, I would deal with this one by denying it! After all, I had been instructed by Herry, hadn’t I, to do exactly that? Nada had happened to the kids, really, so forget about it, he had taught us all. I remembered that one. But on this? On this one, I told no one. Then.
Again, I cannot believe how into such a wuss my brainy and brawny and beautiful self had transcended. Slumped into … is a better choice of verb actually. And for soooo long now. Mehitable is right about one thing at least: there are milquetoasts and pantywaists and so damn many of them are women. We give ourselves such a rotten rep that it makes me ashamed to be walking around now. My sinewy feminine ancestors, those that “ever were only because I am now” and of whom that Amistad guy spoke, those that walked the World circa 10,000 to 70,000 BC looking pretty much then like I pretty much look today and not at all like the ancestor that is my most recent one, Mehitable, would be so disappointed in me and ashamed of us women today who are, indeed, over 53 percent that is the human World. Those women were what I want to be today. Besides my being only there for my future granddaughters and great – granddaughters, too. Let alone, my sons. And, so far, right now, I wasn’t doing nearly weighty enough a job of being there at all. Not when I was right ready to push on like nothing had even just happened to me. Which is exactly what I did. “Deal with it!” Fucked mothers’ very favorite three – word phrase everywhere. Utterly beats out “I love you,” it does.
One thing did change. Every weekday afternoon I drove, very bundled up by now, to the Boys’ school about an hour earlier than I usually had been, using that extra time down at Kate Mitchell to catch up on more reading or the sewing on of missing buttons or the writing of brief update notes to now far – off friends. I always had been a damn faithful correspondent even before e – mail, a piece of the opus that it is to be a true friend which a lot of friend – wanting folks apparently don’t get. Or, don’t want to do the work of scripting themselves. And other little projects that I could haul there in the shitbox Dodge along with plenty of apples, orange wedges, carrot sticks and Oreos not just for my three but also for the other six – and seven – year – olds, too; and while soccer was wrapping up its season, Zane had to help me end the practices. I told him Ethan could not.
And I never spoke of either letter to either man in my life. Soft, servile, deferent. Well – taught by Me.hit.able and such a good student I was. I was only being there after all: Ancestor – In – Training that we all are.