3.22.2011


My mother would stomp around the house all day, telling amazing stories of Broadway plays and tv shows and outdated celebrity gossip, glass of wine in one hand, probably in heels or a wedged sandal, her foot falls resounding loudly against the hardwoods. Glass of wine in hand, with a few ice cubes in it, three or more gourmet dishes at work on the stove or in the oven, phone cocked in the crook of her shoulder, kiki-ing with her friends about the shitty things their husbands did that day. My mother never existed in our house without music playing. She meticulously curated playlists for ever season, every moment, always reflecting her mood and her sentiment towards the world at large at that time. She had a very strict appreciation for the glamour of the 50s, probably reflecting the taste of my grandmother Frances Blair ,whom I never had the privelege to meet, as she was taken by breast cancer in her early 50s, when my mother was just 20, a loss from which she never truly recovered. Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, these were her standbys, against a backdrop of Ella Fitzgerald (her absolute favorite), Judy Garland and the Andrews Sisters, peppered with Heart, the Eagles and the soundtracks of her favorite musicals - Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line, Camelot and Cabaret, then Carly Simon, the Carpenters, and Carol King - whose "Tapestry" she could and often would play and sing on the piano. A richer tapestry a gay child could never be exposed to.

Our house was never silent. At every moment my mother was commanding and gifting us with her soundtrack and her continuous monologue. I will always remember the subtle and beautiful glamour of a soft and appropriate song whispering through all my childhood memories. Of course was also the screaming, the crying, and the broken windows and dishes. My mom declaring, "I quit! Find a new mother!" and leaving for hours to days on end. The volcanic rages of my father, arms wrenched out of socket, the ever-present terror, even after she forced him into therapy. We all went into therapy at one point but never abandoned the penchant for noise. The family pets, deaf but gratingly vocal with their wines, carry on the tradition even now, my sister and I having both since vacated the beautiful, amazing, loving, supportive, abusive, traumatic, destructive, horrifying insanity that was our childhood home. But the music lives. Now I have a family to terrorize, with my grating nags and my incessant soundtrack of 70's AM gold. I can barely talk to my mother, but I've become her. And I love my family here. So much.

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