Monthly Archives: February 2011

The First Time

I was nineteen the first time I got a pet. A hamster. Why? I’m not sure. But my roommate thought it was high time I did it, and a hamster seemed like a good gateway pet. And it turned out that Sweet Loretta (her name comes from the lyrics to the Beatles’ song Get Back: “Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a hamster, but she was another man…” or something like that), gave me the confidence to try something more complicated, like a cat.

The first time I set foot in the Berkeley SPCA, the noise was overwhelming– barking and meowing came from all quarters.But I spotted a small gray, white, and orange muted calico kitten sitting quietly in her cage, and I knew she was the one for me. I’d been raised to believe I was allergic to all creatures with fur or feathers, but this turned out not to be the case. I brought Catrina home and we all lived happily ever after, except for Loretta, who soon died from fright, I think. Having a cat sitting right next to your cage and staring, waiting…I think it was all too much for her. Poor Loretta.

But going back a couple of years to another first time…
Lots of strategy involved: the time and location arranged and agreed upon. His house, parents not home. Precautions taken. A few moments, not much build up. Awkward conclusion. Something to check off the list of things to do before you die.Not as romantic or passionate as I’d hoped.

Regrets? I have a few.
I’m sorry I didn’t know more.Sorry we didn’t slow down. Sorry he wasn’t gentler. Sorry I didn’t choose the kind of guy who could say “I love you.” Sorry we hurt each other later on. Sorry things ended badly.

Sorry he died so young.

But I’m not sorry to have known him. Not sorry to have loved him. Not sorry for the time we had.

Gone before….

The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius

Yes, the sixties. They say if you lived through them, you don’t remember. Not true. I have all kinds of memories of those years. My kids read this, so I’m just not going to go into all of it. Maybe just some of it.  Later. Let’s just say that herbal substances were inhaled and leaveContinue Reading

Do You Know a Man by the Name of La Fong?

This is supposed to be about my job at the phone company. But I can’t write about  that unless I talk about Russ the Moose Syracuse, a DJ who had the late night slot on KYA when I was in high school. So before I can tell the phone company story, I need to goContinue Reading

Gone With the Wind

It’s the only book I missed two meals to finish. I staggered out of my bedroom late in the afternoon after turning the last page. I’d been lost for what seemed like days in the lives of Scarlett, Ashley, Melanie and Rhett. My parents must have given me a free pass for the day (itContinue Reading

Packing Day Again

Wow, how did this happen? Another month gone already? But I’m not quite ready to move on. Still have to cover so many things: Mmmmmm… I missed a month of school in sixth grade. I don’t remember how I got pneumonia, but I do remember nearly coughing up a lung every morning until I wasContinue Reading

Mean Girls, Part 2: In Gratitude

While it may sound strange, I really want to thank that group of  8th grade girls who dropped me like a hot potato barely a month into the school year. Without the experience of  getting to know them and being vilified by them in little over a month, I may not have had the opportunityContinue Reading


This happened one afternoon when I was in 7th grade. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. I never learned their names anyway. That afternoon, like most, I walked the last few blocks toward home by myself after parting ways with friends. My shoulder purse swung against my hip as I walked; myContinue Reading