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Tom’s room had attractions. . .

February 7, 2022

February 7, 2022

Tom’s room. You can see Bill Wilborn and Terry Fitzpatrick in the foreground. Notice the painting with the ceramic jug.

I doubt you want to know the story of the beginning of time.  Why?  You know the story, have lived the story, know that the story is complete the way you know it.

Is my story different from yours?  Certainly, in particulars.  My mother had lots of hair on her cheek.  You could see it when the light was right and she was wearing makeup, the way she did when she left the house to teach second grade at Jefferson School in Missoula in the 60s.

She wore makeup almost every day, even on Saturday.  Maybe not on Saturday, but I think she did for sure on Sunday, if we went to church.  I used to lie in bed and hope she wouldn’t call me to come down and get dressed for church.

The house was a basic box, divided into a large living room, two bedrooms across the wall, then the back part had a kitchen across from a storage area my daddy fixed up to hold chairs and folding tables.  And a vacuum cleaner storage place.  All of that was squashed by the stairway leading up to my room and my brother’s huge room.  He had the Persian rug and the bunk bed.  Just one bunk, because he didn’t allow me to come into his room.  

Tom’s room had numerous attractive items:  a couple of rifles, a record player, a French horn, a rack of expensive records he somehow extorted my mother into buying.  

If I was home during the day I immediately went to his room to root through his things.  The French horn was hard to play, and once I tipped it up to play it like a hunting horn and a big nauseating drink of spit drained into my mouth.  Makes me gag to think of it.

The record player usually had a beautiful iridescent record already in it.  I inevitably scratched it trying to play it. Tom beat me up when he discovered what I’d done.

Tom even had a ceramic jug for some grapefruit wine he was brewing.  I never found out if it was potable.  He had a spittoon for his friends and him to toss their cigarette butts into.

Tom also was an artist.  He made oil paintings, lost to the ages.  Don’t know what became of them, but he painted on the canvas boards.  I used his paints to make myself a beatnik sweatshirt that I wore to a dance.  I rubbed against a girl who complained that I got her white sweatshirt soiled.  I was looking for a thrill.

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