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30 years with Snow Bird

New Nike sneakers

August 16, 2019

In my almost 30 years with Mr. Eddie (Snowbird) Alden, I sometimes said to myself, Wow.  Someone needs to write a book.  He was unique.  Several people remarked on his singularity at his memorial service, that lasted two hours and forty minutes.  Eddie was unique.  I have never seen anyone even remotely similar to him.  His life made sense to him.  He was his own boss, a crime fighter. Like the Green Lantern.

Several times I asked him if I could call him Snowbird.  “Call me Eddie,” he said each time.

Eddie was an iconic figure in Billings.  He weighed more than 300 lbs, always wore a bright yellow fleece, unless the weather was hot, then he wore a clean white tee shirt.  He pedaled slowly across parking lots, across streets.  His hair was always cut short, less than a quarter inch.  He had vertical black stripes on his scalp where his hair was a bit longer.  He wore white Nike sneakers, white cotton socks, black sweat pants, the bright yellow fleece.  He owned perhaps a dozen of those fleeces, which he stored at a unit on the West end of Billings. I helped him take a lot of his belongings from an apartment near 6th Avenue. As we drove away an old guy, perhaps a property manager for the basement apartment, called out to Eddie, “Don’t come back!”

Aside from angry landlords, he was well known, even loved; but sometimes hated.  One Crow man told me as a child he remembered seeing Eddie and was afraid of him because he sometimes lurked at the corner of buildings.

How well known was he?  This blog you are reading typically attracts one or two readers a day, sometimes as many as ten, when I write about picking up my small dog Gunther’s poop in the neighborhood.  

The day I wrote about Eddie’s funeral service I got more than 500 readers!  I think the most I had ever gotten was around 30, when I wrote about being depressed.  I always took for granted that my blog posts are dull.

The day after that, the blog post about Eddie attracted nearly 8,000 readers!  That number was back to about 500 today.

Eddie always liked publicity.  I think he would be thrilled to know how his story attracts people.

Three days ago, Eddie’s memorial service was held at the Spirit of Life Four Square Church, in Crow Agency.  Right around the corner from the old Crow Mercantile, which was across the street from the Post Office.  I’d say 30 people attended, including four or five of us from Billings.  

Eddie’s service was gorgeous, elaborate, beautiful—all those things.  Two of his bikes were on display with his trademark 64-ounce Big Gulp soda holder.  A two-liter Pepsi bottle, some cologne, a couple of radios, tape recorders, yellow fleeces.  Lots of little touches.  Grocery bags hanging from his handlebars.  He didn’t always use plastic bags.  He started out with paper bags, each reinforced with a half-roll of duct tape. Probably that was before he was settled in Billings, complete with lots of bicycles.

Over the years, I often asked Eddie questions and he would answer cryptically, “Yeah?”  Example:  “Eddie, are you coming over for Thanksgiving?”  He would answer, “Yeah?”  Me:  “Is your apartment clean?”  Eddie:  “Yeah?”

The people at Eddie’s funeral extolled his virtues, which are approximately the same as those of any officer in law enforcement, except Eddie invented his own, volunteer, role.  They said Eddie had some sort of disability, but he valued his family’s tradition of police work.  Generations of policemen (and women, perhaps).  Therefore, according to Eddie’s uncle Art Alden, “Snowbird had a siren on his bicycle.” 

I think I’ve gotten ahead of myself again.

Eddie did not say much about himself, unless asked specifically.  Even then, he was often vague.  Example:  “Eddie, what are you doing tonight?”  Answer:  “Oh, you know, routines.”  I learned later that “routines” referred to the route he pedaled his bicycle.  

I was shocked to learn that he had enemies.  Oh yes.  They were often his victims—people he turned in to the police, usually when intoxicated, often when driving.

One year at Crow Fair, which is a huge annual encampment each August of literally hundreds and hundreds of tepees—possibly more than even one or two thousand—I found Eddie pedaling his bike on one of the many curved roads.  Typically, Eddie wouldn’t recognize me right away.  The reason:  non-Indians, like me, all look alike.  But I called out Eddie’s name and he pedaled slowly to me.  I never saw Eddie pedal quickly. I had driven over to Crow Fair early that morning for the annual “Teepee Creeper’s Classic” three mile run.  I was expecting breakfast at a relative’s camp, so I asked one of the women there if I could invite “Snowbird.”  She said, “sure.”  I didn’t know it, but she was just being ultra kind and polite to me!  

She fried up a rasher of bacon, which Eddie ate from a paper plate.  Soon, my son pulled me aside.  He told me that more than a few people in that camp had spent actual time in jail because of Snowbird’s ratting them out.  I was never never NEVER to invite him to breakfast there again!  

That’s when I learned of Eddie’s “zero tolerance” for the crime of possessing alcohol on a dry reservation.  Both the Northern Cheyenne and Crow reservations are “dry.”  Eddie also had zero tolerance for any natives that crawl out of a bar and get into a motor vehicle in the small hours of the morning when the places closed down.  Eddie would certainly call the cops on them and that might result in going to jail.

But Eddie didn’t mind at all if I drank.  He even provided me with wine the last few years at Christmas.  Always great generous bottles of pink, or this last Christmas, merlot.  He had gone to some trouble to find out what kind I liked.  Last Christmas I sat with Eddie and drank a few glasses of the merlot.  Our conversations went something like this:

Eddie:  Dan?

Me:  Yeah, Eddie?

Eddie: Dan?

Me: What is it, Eddie?  

Eddie: Does Jon want to buy me a gift card for the Holiday station for Christmas?

Me: How would I know?  Why don’t you ask Jon?

Eddie: Yeah?

Sometimes I bought Eddie black sweat pants for Christmas, sometimes shoes and socks.  One time, I bought him a 12 pack of Mountain Dew, which I wrapped in shiny paper with little trees on it.  After he unwrapped it, he put it on the floor.  He looked at it, then at me.  “This is it?”  He didn’t bother to take it with him.

That’s why I often said that I didn’t really know Eddie that well, despite being acquainted with him for almost 30 years.  Part of the problem was that I frequently was critical of him.  I scolded him for teasing the Bureau of Indian Affairs police officers by carrying around pop in a Budweiser beer box at Crow Fair.  

I got perturbed when he got into trouble, usually having to do with his relationship with a landlord, and he asked four or five different people for help, but didn’t tell any of them about the others.  “Eddie, you need someone’s help,” I said.  “But you don’t need four people who each think they are the only ones helping.”

Eddie kept his business to himself.  He frequently lined up several unrelated groups to help him celebrate his birthday.  On the big day he stopped in at one after another:  the police department, legal services, the Billings Gazette, my house, his sister’s house.  When things went well, he couldn’t help exulting.

I didn’t know Eddie 30 years.  I knew Eddie 1 year, 30 times.  I miss him because his independence delighted me. A legend in his own time.

I criticized Eddie for hoarding stuff in his apartment.  That’s one of the reasons he got eviction notices.  His places were frightful.

I didn’t visit the last three places he lived because I felt depressed when I could barely fit through an aisle of plastic trash bags filled with filthy blankets, gray sheets, phones, sweat clothes, socks, batteries, tape recorders, hair clippers, bicycle parts, radios, cameras, new bike helmets (never worn—I don’t know how often I urged him to wear his helmet.  His answer was always, “Yeah?”) 

Pill box organizers, prescription bottles, envelopes, newspapers, hunters orange gloves, empty soda containers (large) cologne bottles, more envelopes, posters, tools, telephones, more telephones, more bike parts, underwear, camping gear, televisions, fake flowers, food wrappers, bottles of cleaners, vacuum cleaners, neck ties, suits, mattresses, more radios, toy police cars, flashlights, flashlight batteries, a bull horn, a siren, blue and red flashing lights, more toys, hats, hats, more hats, coats, old shoes.  Garbage. Newspapers.  Like 40 copies of the same date.

Fire crackers, bottle rockets, matches, other toys, an empty whisky bottle, pepper.  More pepper.  Thirty cans of black pepper.  And telephones, police scanners, police scanner parts, bicycle seats, bicycle wheels, tires, tubes.  More receipts, paper, a huge pile of bike wheels, bike frames.  A couch, under there somewhere.  ID cards for random people.  Panty hose.  Telephones.  Cooking pan on the stove, with grease.  

I’d ask Eddie the last few years:  “Are you keeping your place pretty clean?”  He answered:  “Yeah?”  

“Really?” I continued.

“Yeah.” He said.  Well, I couldn’t vouch for his honesty in that regard, but I never checked.

What's the favorite part of your body?

Choir from First Congregational Church in Billings, couple years ago.

February 23, 2020

Had a good day.  Started out with Gunther, walking just a short distance from home before he eliminated his waste product, which I dutifully collected in a plasticized bag, then tied in a knot.  Gunther did not respond to my repeated calling to “go in,” so I went in our back door without him.  I was rebuked by my beautiful and talented spouse for leaving him outdoors to menace our neighbors, so I stepped back onto the back porch and murmured, “treat.”  Low tone, barely audible.  Soon I heard his collar ornaments jingling and his toenails clicking on the driveway.  He can hear what he wants.  I always supply the promised treat, even if it is a pea-size peanut butter goodie. He goes bananas.

Went to church where our new musician, William De Manilow, played some wicked piano and sang.  After church, a cadre of volunteers swarmed the Sunday school rooms to fix them with beds into sleeping rooms.  Three Family Promise families who are temporarily homeless will live in our church this week.  Many of us feel glad to help folks get their lives back.  Wages are so meager these days.  It’s hard to get started with an apartment.

Our minister, Pastor Mike, had a few moments with the children of the church during the service.  He asked the kids to name their favorite part of the body.  One boy volunteered that his favorite part was his bones.  He writhed around, pretending he didn’t have any.  Another, after some moments of hesitation, said his brain.  I thought that was a good choice, although I thought a better answer would have been “my penis.”  Well, he asked for someone to name their favorite part. I can only speak for myself.

Swamping old files–Zen meditation

1040A from 1975

February 21, 2020

Going through our file cabinet today drew forth obscure memories and emotions.  While shredding tax papers, I held back our return from 1975, the last year I was in the Marine Corps, stationed at El Toro, California.  Cryptic information on a government form.

Then we lived in Tustin, perhaps five miles from the Marine Air Station, in a two-bedroom duplex on a dead-end section of C Street. Our kids were 2, 4, and 5 years old. Our gray poodle rescue dog, Pepper, had run away.

We bought a Peking duck we named La Sa Lusa to keep in the back yard. Her nickname was “Juicy Lucy.” We found an egg most days under a bush in the back yard. La Sa Lusa liked to escape out the gate to the front yard to gobble snails before I could catch her and put her back. I was amazed how quickly and efficiently she could get the snails.

I examined the 1975 tax form from our file cabinet.

On the 1040A, I checked a box “no” asking if we lived within the Tustin city limits. Here’s the obscure memory: our neighbor, Sadie Chafee, who lived across the C Street from us, remembered when the adjoining street was a county road that stretched miles from Los Angeles to remote places to the south. I remember she told us our corner of the world was a tiny unincorporated part of Orange County. (Yes, of “Arrested Development” fame.)

Next door to Sadie a woman lived by herself with an ocelot for a pet. She invited us in once to meet it. She guided us into an empty bedroom and gestured toward an open closet and there, on a high shelf, was a sleek wild cat.

In the 1970s Gulf oil crisis, the price of gasoline shot up from 30 cents to more than 70 cents/gal.  (Remember when a standard typewriter keyboard had a “cents” sign (a lower-case “c” with a vertical line through it)?  My laptop has no “cents.”) A gas station was around the corner from our house. Near an Alta Dena Dairy and a U-Haul rental.

Our family of five lived on exactly $7124.37 in 1975.  (Plus, what I earned delivering the Orange County Register and buying, fixing, and selling old Volkswagens.)  In 1975 we earned $38 interest from a savings account, a greater amount than we earned in 2019—or any other year I can remember.  

Of course, we were saving to move back to Montana. I got readmitted to the University of Montana School of Journalism and into family housing for a reasonable monthly rent. We got a four-bedroom apartment in the X-s, across the street from the green hill and Mount Sentinel.

Our duck, on the other hand, lived on commercial poultry food and the occasional snails. We tried frying her eggs, but they tasted fishy, so we made Christmas ornaments of them. We poked holes in each end, blew out the contents, then decorated the shells with glue, glitter, and rick-rack. We still have a few, packed away with the Christmas stuff.

Before we moved away from California we got permission to leave La Sa Lusa with a great flock at the Santa Ana Prentice Park zoo. We looked back and she blended in perfectly.

Back to the present, 2020. I took Gunther around the block, off leash because our mail carrier, Gordon, had come and gone. Busy, Gunther ran up on a nearby porch to check for snacks. As usual, he found none.

Keenan’s house. No snacks found.

Resurrecting Old Books

“Eyeball” gave me this in 1970.

February 11, 2020

I’ve been checking out some of the more obscure books in our house.  One example:  [Thomas] De Quincey’s Works.  Copyright 1877 by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

When I was in the Marines a fellow supplyman, Lance Corporal Ziewall, gave me a fat little volume by the above-mentioned De Quincey.  I liked to call him “Eyeball.”  He always called me Stork.  

Ziewall claimed to be a genius, not boasting.  He understood the computers of our day (the late 1960s).  He explained to me about the differences between programming languages like COBOL and REBOL.  I didn’t quite understand.  He said a great example of analog computer was the automatic transmissions another Marine, Corporal Eddy Bonk, rebuilt in the hydraulics shop during his lunch hour.

In turn I told him about the I Ching, translated by Wilhelm and Baynes. I dwelt on the mathematics and probabilities, the primal images of earth and sky, parents, siblings. Landscape features, skyscapes too.

I never did get very far into De Quincey, but Wikipedia said he was an English essayist who became famous for his Confessions of an Opium Eater.  This heralded a kind of drug-use literature that blossomed during the so-called hippie era.

Then I spoke to my sister, who will be 81 next week.

Do you know who Louis Untermeyer was?  Maybe you do, but you might not.  We knew who he was at our house when I was a kid because of a hefty book in the living room bookcase.

We Struckman children grew up with Modern American and British Poetry.  Untermeyer edited it.

My brother Tom memorized several poems including Vachel Lindsay’s The Congo.  Published in 1912, The Congo is overtly racist, so has rightly met with derision and condemnation.  Fortunately, times are changing.  However, in the seventh grade I also learned a lot of it when our teacher had us recite poetry.  

I could also recite Gentle Alice Brown, by W.S. Gilbert.  Actually, I memorized several in the seventh grade by Mr. Gilbert because some were sort of gruesome and, I thought, therefore naughty.  

Anyway, Mr. Untermeyer was a poet, anthologist, editor, and critic.  He was branded a Communist in the early 50s by the House un-American activities committee. 

He was friends with publisher Bennett Cerf and Untermeyer appeared with him on the TV show What’s My Line? until he was fired.  The sponsor of What’s My Line? (a company that sold Stopette deodorant) was picketed by military veterans.

Our mother heard Untermeyer speak when she attended a teacher’s union conference in 1966.  I remember she told me about it.

The reason I mention him and the book is my sister Carol and I have been mailing it back and forth to each other on our birthdays the past few years.  I sent it to her yesterday.

One can read about Louis Untermeyer in Wikipedia.  He died in 1977.

Goodbye, dear Della

George was seated across from me at Della and Lawrence’s table at their place in Hall, Montana, in the early 70s.

February 4, 2020

Day before yesterday at 8:30 a.m. I overheard Penny saying to someone on the phone how shocking and terrible the news was.  

You may have gotten calls like that, bad news of someone’s death.  Yesterday it was news of my sister-in-law, Della Jones,’ death.  Nearly 80, she had undergone open-heart surgery three weeks earlier to replace her mitral and aortic heart valves.  She seemed to be healing, but had trouble breathing.  She died in the night, shortly after her husband Lawrence visited her at the rehabilitation hospital at Big Timber.  Lawrence said he saw her winding and unwinding a skein of yarn, not speaking.

I am unqualified to tell about Della. She was nine years older than Penny and me, grew up in the “hit parade” years of bobby socks and saddle shoes.

But Della has always been kind to me and now we are grieving.  

I remember the first time we met, in 1970 or 1971, in a little old farm house near Hall, Montana.  The house was perhaps a couple miles out of town on a dirt road.  Della and Lawrence must have been working on a ranch there, and Penny and I were still childless.  I met P’s father, George Meakins.  He and I washed the breakfast dishes with water heated on a wood stove, while everyone else went to town on some sort of errand.  Then George took me into Hall and introduced me to the lady that ran the Stockman’s Bar.  George bought some candy bars and a couple packs of smokes.

I remember we slept the night at the small house.  It was heated by a wood stove in the front room that was cold by morning.

A year later, P., and our baby, Todd, and I visited Della and Lawrence at their new mobile home right in Hall, across from the Hall school.  Again, George was there.  I took a picture of him across the dining table.  

I have to leave the good stories about Della to those who knew her better than I did. I’ll remember her kind face, her laugh, her love for her family.

Arranging flats and cords

These vocal cords are resting. Probably a wise move.

January 29, 2020

Today at NOVA theater I rearranged the unused scenery in the shop.  I deeply respect the previous technicians who set up the scheme in the first place.  However, I’m the go-to guy now!  Here’s what I did, after carefully consideration.

The original scheme was to arrange the 9-foot tall flats book-wise on a 7-foot-high shelf on a side wall.  The shelf was elegantly constructed with jutting pipes to keep the flats organized.  I still admire it.

However, most of us are not strong enough to lift the tall flats over our heads to the 7-foot-high shelf.  As a result the recently used flats have been stacked flat on the floor against an adjacent wall where only the most recently placed were easy to get.  None of the flats on the shelf could be gotten without a ladder.

Therefore, I used a ladder to bring down the stored standard-width flats, the one- two- three- and four-foot-wides.  These are now at the back of the room, placed like books on the floor, widest-to-narrow, left to right.  Easy to find, easy to get.  All of this took like, three hours. I didn’t get hurt, either, just dusty and dirty.

At 8 this morning I visited a speech therapist.  Kay.  Kay put a black tube with a camera into my right nostril.  She pushed it until the tears streamed down my cheeks.  I was watching the monitor and I was surprised at the amount of hair in my nose.  

Distant memory:  As a young child I looked up at my daddy and could see lots of red hairs in his nose.  He died when I was four years old.  Yes, I digress.

Back to this morning.  I was hyperventilating and Kay asked me to relax and sniff.  She gave up on that side and tried pushing the tube into my left nostril.  Hurt worse.  Ow!  I sneezed.  She pulled the black tube gently out.  She was successful when she again tried the right nostril.  At last I could see a bunch of white thrush on the way back of my tongue.  Was this a fool’s errand?

Then she asked me to sing, “eeee.”  My vocal cords looked like a pair of white pillars that fluttered like fish gills.  I glissando’ed up the scale but was disappointed that my cords didn’t do anything spectacular.

But Kay was spectacular.  She gave me some photos of that secret place in my body where my voice comes from.  She said I most likely had gastric reflux that bothered my vocal cords, that could cause coughing while singing.  She called this “LPR”: larynx-pharyngeal reflux.  She gave me a list of foods and drinks to avoid.  As you might suspect, they include every refreshing drink and every delicious food.  Also a list of easily done exercises.  She explained that the goal is to minimize the damage that stomach acid can cause, while strengthening the tissues that sing.

If the goal of good theatrical scenery is to enhance the story, the goal of singing might be to enhance the song.  In the first instance, the work of the theater tech might be invisible to the audience.  In the second the audience might enjoy the lyric without being overly aware of the person singing.

The twisted tale of our famous door

Our niece Hannah Banana years ago at our house. I snapped the photo. Hannah died years later in Kona, Hawaii, probably of an opioid overdose.

January 28, 2020

We discovered our current house while walking the neighborhood more than 38 years ago.  Our quest that Fall day:  walk to the castles on Clark Avenue and admire old Billings.  I had recently gotten a job making antibiotic and other intravenous infusions, to be “piggybacked” into various patients’ hydrating IV infusions.  Hence, I was “Dan the piggyback man.”  I earned $5.60/hr, enough to pay rent for my family of five, and feed us.  And our cats, Burton, Leo, Annabelle.  And a nephew or niece or two.  We enjoyed walking then and we do now. 

We admired the castles that day in 1982, including the Moss mansion.

We returned to Burlington Avenue, headed home.

In front of a green house shined a pickup’s tail lights.  I walked to the door and notified a young man who thanked me, said the brake pedal caused  the lights to go on.  He trotted out to the truck while P. and I walked two blocks home on the 400 block of Burlington Avenue.

More than a year later I got a job working the night shift at the hospital and a raise to $10.20/hr.  P. and I looked to buy a house, but they were scarce in 1983.  They only suitable house available was the one where we asked about the truck tail lights.  

We thought we could afford a $500/mo payment, so we asked the real estate lady to offer the owner, John Frasco, a suitable amount.  Of course, he turned us down, but ultimately accepted.  We moved in during a blizzard, January 1, 1984.

To our sorrow, Burton the cat ran out the door never again to be seen and admired.  The temperature was at least 20 below and we had no fridge.  

We needed a fridge to keep our milk from turning sour, same as other times.  Also, to keep the milk from freezing if we tried set it outdoors.  

Well, we drove out past Lockwood and selected a 1950s-style fridge for $150 (They don’t make them like this anymore, boasted the seller.).  A guy in a truck delivered it to our driveway that night.  He said to warm it to room temp before plugging it in.  It was a fine old round-ey fridge, but it lacked a door handle, but we used a wire coat hanger to pull the mechanism.  Hay and manure were frozen to the bottom.  

We felt buyer’s remorse, so P. went to the bank to stop our check but saw the guy we bought the fridge from leaving as she approached the bank.  I tried phoning the guy an hour later but a woman hung up on me.  I called her back but she didn’t pick up.  Or maybe she picked up and hung up.  I guessed she didn’t want the fridge back.  Smarting from feeling swindled, I couldn’t think of any recourse, except to call the better business bureau.  I’m not sure there is a better business bureau in Billings.

I told our real estate agent who gave us an avocado green fridge with a door that opened and shut without a coat hanger.  She didn’t charge us, so I forgave the asshole who sold us the crap fridge, now sitting in the garage.  Someone told me the old fridge would make a fine smoker, but I ultimately took it to the landfill.  In turn, I brought back a fragment of a discarded station wagon, that is, the kind of wagon found at train stations to haul luggage from the depot to the baggage car.  It has two big steel wheels and an axle.

The house—a 1925 bungalow— we bought may have had some mixed karma.  The family who lived there before us had tragedy; they lost their mom to a heart attack, apparently.  They had a couple of kids, at least, past high school age.

Originally it had two official bedrooms, a vast unfinished attic, a full basement that had been mostly finished, but flooded years before.  The washing machine and dryer were parked in the unfinished part of the basement.  I sat on the washer.  I looked up at the floor joists.

I loved the floor joists, the pipes, the wires.  The concrete floor, the furnace.  The furnace had been a coal burner, then an oil, then a natural gas.  A squirrel cage fan forced air through the steel ducts.  I loved what I saw.

The steep stairs to the attic led from a door in the back bedroom, made two left-hand turns.  A bare bulb illuminated the huge wood-floored space.  Marks showed countless roller skates.  

Took a day to break a hole in the dining room wall, move the door from the bedroom, and cobble up a straight stairway up.  A nephew helped me insulate and frame and sheetrock the attic.  By then it was Spring and our two sons moved upstairs.  It has been floored and carpeted, windowed and re-windowed.  A great place to freeze in the winter and swelter other times.  Look how tough it made our kids.  Our older boy is a man, now, sleeps in an old house in Duluth—upstairs without heat, with his wife and two sons of his own.  Doesn’t everyone wear a stocking cap to bed?

These days, I am retired.  And tired.  We keep the attic closed with a quilt stretched over the opening.  Our daughter’s bedroom houses the occasional guest.  The attic will hold any number of persons willing to wear a hat to bed in the winter or brave the heat in the summer.

The door that used to lead to the attic has been removed and the stairs replaced by a real carpenter.  A couple months ago I took the door to NOVA theater to install in its frame as part of the set for “A Christmas Carol.”  The door was successfully opened and slammed shut (after suitable reinforcing) numerous times.  Then the door appeared in the play “No Exit.”  And “Free Birdie.”  Now it has increased its repertoire to include Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

Did you wet the bed? I did. Often.

Daniel bed wetter with his faithful dog, Gunther.

April 21, 2016

As excellent–no perfect–as Mark Twain’s writings are, his stories lacked any mention of bedwetting, a common form of enuresis, or involuntary urination.  

So I did a cursory literature review of fiction about children and found that most authors omit it.  Certainly the boys’ books did, such as Tom Swift, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Mark Tidd, Penrod, and that wonderful work of fiction, G-Men Trap the Spy Ring.  I forget who wrote the last one.  Wait.  It was Laurence Dwight Smith. 

James Joyce, in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, included a bedwetting character, as did Orson Wells in one of his stories.

My niece’s son wet the bed last night.  I can sympathize. Identify.

I used to wet the bed almost every night until the eighth grade.  As a result I slept on a stinking, soggy mattress.  Kids in school told me that I smelled funny.  I declined to sleep overnight with the Boy Scouts even if the trip was one night only.  Embarrassment factor. Freezing factor in the winter.

Eventually I developed a method of sleeping with vast quantities of urine.  I considered, and discarded several options:  Sleep in a bathing suit.  Sleep in the bathtub.   Sleep curled up over a funnel of some kind.  Reminds me that in the first hours of my Marine Corps basic training a sergeant told us that we had to surrender any condoms we might have.  He didn’t tell us why, but I assumed that a condom could catch urine and prevent a wet bed.  By the time I had found out how and where to buy condoms I no longer wet the bed.  I wonder if a condom would even stay on a flaccid penis, without duct tape.  I have my doubts, but I don’t know because I have never tried to unroll a condom over one.

My method of coping with my habit of bedwetting in the 8th grade worked fairly well:  1) Place a rubberized pad over the mattress, still wet from the last episode, then make the bed in the usual way with sheets and several blankets.  2) After wetting the bed that night, climb out of bed and sleep on top of one of the blankets that used to cover me.  3)  Find a blanket to backfill the one now in use beneath me.  4)  Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all of the available blankets have been used.  5) get in trouble each weekend for making a kind of “piss lasagna” of the bedding.   

(Mother always seemed to ask me the rhetorical “Why don’t you get up and go to the bathroom?)

Actually my sweet mother finally sat down with me at bedtime. She asked me to mentally visualize needing to use the toilet. “Go ahead,” she insisted, “pretend you have to go.” I did so. I did so several times to practice.

“All right,” she said, “open your eyes. Wake up. Get up and use the bathroom.”

She had me repeat this several times. Well, I really wanted to stop wetting the bed. I really wanted to stop wetting the bed! I practiced several times each night for a couple of nights. Damned if it didn’t work! I was desperate!

Just one more reason I loved my mother so much. Turned out, that was the end of my bed-wetting. Didn’t miss it. I needed to leave home for college in just a few years.