Sweet Memories of a Teenage Girl

May 16, 2011

This is a new kind of writing for me and quite a bit more personal.  Let's see if I can get through it.  I had just turned 16.  It was the summer of 1957.  Had me a little summer job as a soda jerk in my small Rockwellian town of Adrian, Michigan.  Had all the boyfriends a girl could ever want and a Mama going crazy, praying I would settle down.  She was getting mixed up with names and my Dad was projecting his crazy days and passed onto everyone of the boys who called on me.  Yes, in those days the boys did call on you at your home.  

It was that summer that I began dating older guys; some had just graduated high school and were getting ready for college or the military...or in the case of Mack Vickery (the person I'm focusing on in this blog) heading for Nashville .. or was it Memphis?  Anyway, he was a singer.  He was a poet.  He was beautiful.  He was charming.  A football player.  A true southern gentleman from Alabama.

There are few people I've met who have made me feel like I was the ONLY ONE.  He was that boy.

This is Mack

To me, he sounded better than Elvis Presley.  And he sang to me.  That's how boys like that steal your heart.  He didn't leave out those spiritual songs my mother loved when he was at our home.  My dad even liked him.  My brother hid on the stair steps listening...probably because I had threatened him with his life...fearing he would say something a typical little brother of 10 would say to his big sister's boyfriend...or at least that's what he would call it.  He really wasn't my boyfriend.  He was a boy I saw a few times a week for a month or two.  My sister was two years younger than I and she was always in awe and fell in love with all my boys.  Mack was no exception,  He sang to her and teased her.

Wherever we went, girls were always there coming up to him.. especially if we were at an event where Mack was performing.  I'm remembering a couple of nearby music pavilions and I may as well have not been there.  We swam, we talked lots, he taught me to drive (his dad's) stick shift.  I stripped the gears.  He was so gentle about that.  His mother had died when he was 3 or 4 and his dad had raised Mack and as I recall many other siblings.  He had moved quite a bit.  So had I and we were both southern-born and  kids of  'no means'.  I think that means we were pretty poor and unless we did it ourselves - we would remain there.  

How did I fail to tell you when I was on the subject of the activities we participated in that summer that the drive-in theatre aka passion pit was what we did the most.  It was the 50's...everyone did that!  At least that's what I told Mother and Daddy.

One of the reasons I am writing about this very personal account of my life is....yesterday I googled Mack.  I wanted to see what he looked like as a grown man.  I wondered if any of his songs would be on you tube.  They were.  My aunt had sent me his obituary when he died at age 66. That was in 2004.  I knew some things about his life...after he left for Nashville.  He'd had more success as a songwriter than as a singer.  Google him to find out just how many artists recorded his songs...from Willy Nelson to Tanya Tucker to Waylon Jennings to Johnny Cash, etc.... When I read his lyrics about drive-in movies, I laughed and began my process of that time in my life.

By all accounts, he had led a hard life, had a few marriages, had a few kids, lots of drinking and drugs.  In 1976, I lived in South Lake Tahoe and had a little store there.  A store that many of the performing artists would stop by on their way to the Nevada side of the clubs.  Yes, we had some paraphernalia in that little store...and Yes, it was that kind ... it was the 70's!

A couple from Nashville came in one afternoon and I mentioned that a long time ago I knew this small-town boy who had gone to Nashville to knock em dead.  They knew him and told me what a talent he was and how his demons were keeping him from his art.  I gave them a note to give to Mack.  It simply said...from Pat Raines...probably the only one of your girls that 'got away'.  I may have put my phone number in the note.  I don't remember.  I never heard from him and hadn't thought at the time I would.

Even with the many "passion pit" visits, I did indeed get away.  My life could have been very different.  I found out later he was seeing several different girls; one of whom was carrying his first child.  Her name was also Pat.  There were lots of us in those days.  Now that is my memory.  If that is not so I apologize to anyone who may have a different account.  

He did teach me a lot.  Especially kissing...there were a few other minor "petting" activities.  Unfortunately kids today may not even know about that word.  I think that's an important part of growing up and it is sad that some go right in for the home run and don't go from base to base.  In 7th or 8th grade I began holding hands with the opposite sex at church camp.  On hayrides I quick-kissed a few of the opposite sex...it was all a sweet process.  In 9th grade I had my first boyfriend and we danced a lot, held hands a lot, went everywhere and I learned to long-kiss....then came Mack and there was that next base.  It was all so honest and so sweet.  Mack never disrespected me in any way.  He simply knew I would never go beyond certain boundaries.  I've wondered to this day, if, it was because I dated Mack and other older boys found out, that many of them asked me out because they may have assumed I was someone I was not. (Please don't try to diagram that sentence).  Does that make sense?  It also could have been because I was nice and funny and smart and pretty good looking.  Guess I'll never know but I wouldn't change a thing.

This is Pat age 17

P.S.  Because Facebook is so widely used, if some of Mack's family see this...I hope it isn't upsetting.  Even though he led a troubled life, it sounds like he never gave up his roots, his sense of how important friends are and many of his values...and I would love to hear from you.

Thanksgiving in Florida and The Bee's

November 26, 2010

This is my 3rd trip to Florida in 4 years.  My brother and his family are here and I have many friends here.  After my trip to the Keys with Sharon, I headed back to my favorite spot other than my brother's driveway and stayed for Thanksgiving.  Ten minutes from my bro's is Bee's RV Resort and each time I've come to Florida I have stayed here.  This is their logo.  It's a beautiful and a full-service RV Park.

Probably the best part of this park is "The Honey Pot" Restaurant.  On Tuesday's, they serve the best chicken dinner Iv'e ever had with the 'works'....southern style.  On Friday's they serve fish.  Wish I had taken a picture of the size of the plates and all you get...all you can eat.  It is so good that people from the area come there to eat...not just for the RV folks.  

That's not my butt....really!

The swimming pool is great and when I was there with my sister she enjoyed it a lot.

This was my view from my RV on the morning I left..... for

My brother, Danny, with his cat and my doggie..... and below,,,,

his wife, Charlotte ....

Charlotte made the best Thanksgiving meal and right after dinner, the ritual is to walk to the lake, just yards from their home.
We said our goodbyes and I was off again...this time heading for Baja California Sur to settle down.  I didn't know that then.

2 ole Ladies, 2 fun dogs and Key West

November 14, 2010
After I had made my drastic change not to go to the Baja this winter, I had decided I would spend the winter in Florida.  I left  the Rally in Washington, D.C. with a lot a hype and good will.  A pretty uneventful trip heading to Florida as I had decided not to stop at relatives and some friends.  I had just seen them the year before and didn't want to wear out my welcome and I was eager to see my brother and his family and some friends.  Spent about a week with my brother then headed on down to West Palm Beach to my friend from high school's home.  I had also visited her the year before .... but... we did not go to the Keys.  Neither of us had ever been so we got brave and decided to go with her big dog, MJ, TaZzi, Sharon, and me....all in Phoebe McGee.  We were limited as to where we could stay because of our dogs, but we couldn't have gotten more lucky. 

The restaurant, the Smokehouse Tiki Bar, was the best and we found out that the Geiger Key is where the locals hang out even though it's a bit off the beaten path.  What a time we had!  The most dog friendly place I've seen in all my travels.

MJ loving being very close to the water
TaZzi getting lots of attention

Some of the locals
The food at the Tiki Bar was beyond any adjectives.  The bar and deck are perfectly located for watching the sunset.  The food was prepared on the outside grill and served by the most caring and friendly staff that make you feel like one of the family.

We spent every night at the Tiki Bar since I don't night drive......and during the day.....

we were wasted away in Margaritaville,
Searchin' for our long lost shaker of salt.

..and hanging out with..
You Know Who!
Not in any particular order are some of our 'hot spots'!

Hemingway's favorite place
A family waiting for the cheese cake factory to open...they're on island time.

Like the smart tourists we are, we got tickets for the hop-on hop-off trolley.  We left the driving to the trolley man and it was a great way to do it...random pictures below:

90 miles to Cuba...amazing some still can't go!

Now, back to our home...Geiger Key and our last night

Sharon, hiding behind the tree 

The black in back of MJ is .... water.

Post Thoughts about The Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear

October 31, 2010

Usually when I begin to write; words come more quickly than I can type....which is why I leave words out sometimes.  Words escape me now and I don't know why.  I will explore it, as I write.  First I'll post a picture to stall for time.  Do you see me in the crowd?

I arrived at 9 am .... early for my meeting with our documentarians.  The Rally began at Noon and silly me, I thought I was early.  It was already crowded..  When I left from College Park, Maryland at 7:15, the RV'ers staying at Cherry Hill RV Resort filled up the first bus running that day.  The metro train (subway) was also pretty busy.  At least I thought it was busy until I returned back from the rally.

We the people (pun) working on the 'Let's Document the Rally' committee-and-put-it-on-you-tube-later and see what happens......were meeting at 9:30 at the front entrance of the American Indian Museum right across from the National Mall.  We had been having meetings online through "webinar" and "gotomeeting.com" but we had not met until the night before for cocktails; which lasted so long that I missed my bus and had to take a $40.00 cab back to my RV Park and my sweet and devoted, TaZzi.

Perhaps I had no more than 3 hours of sleep.  I set the alarm on my phone (had never done that before) but didn't rely on it.  The daylight wakes me up but it stays dark until about 8 or 9 in this weather.  I had it set for 5:30 as I still had to pack my backpack and put all my set up forms, camera, clip board, pens, phone in its little (so organized pockets) that I can never find anything.  Oh, the phone did go off ... but I was already awake. 

Had plenty of time to dress, feed and walk TaZzi and lie to her when I said I'll be right back..... and pack even beating the bus by about 10 minutes.  Enough time to meet the people heading to the rally.  We talked about where we were from and took some pictures.  The first people I met had signs and they were from California .... Carmel (about 40 minutes from Santa Cruz where I sometimes live.)

First to arrive (as usual) at our meeting spot, I found a place to set up...a bit away from the crowd since we had equipment.  Shawn came with his tri-pod, camera and more set up stuff, then another couple arrived. with their tri-pod and camera.  We shared our forms, then split up in order to have access to more people and because we didn't have lots of space.  We had preplanned questions to ask attendees and Shawn and I began the process with our name tags, our press passes, and our media release forms..... we were quite official looking. 

My name tag is my only proof I was really there...no pictures of me.  Many were taken and I was recorded by a few cameras and videos while I was interviewing...but who knows where they are......perhaps they'll show up somewhere.

We will share our footage, our interviews, our photos, videos and Shawn will produce a data base with all the information and we can put together what we choose.  I think that's what he said.  Does that sound right?  I know nothing about that data base process stuff.

Some posters were creative
My favorite poster

Pretty cool costume

These kids have the right idea
I was better at drawing in the people for the interviews and Shawn was better at the interviewing.  I was a bit nervous which  is unusual for me.  I would have preferred asking my own questions and wasn't entirely comfortable with the programmed ones.  Got through it after getting pushed around-ever-so-gently by the massive crowds and relocating several times.  I tried to get a diversity of people for the interviews and did pretty well .... college kids, 20-30-40-50-60-70 something (s).

Shawn (video man, documentarian, partner)
I'm having a hard time thinking of anything else other than the rally.  Could be because I stood and walked for 8-9 straight hours and am pretty sore.

Just can't get IT out of my system!
Just what was IT! 

Jon and Stephen said it wasn't a political rally.
Some have compared it to Woodstock.
I just heard Charles Krauthammer say it was culturally irrelevant. 

For me it was beyond comedy or politics or an excuse for a party. 
The rally was the essence of human beauty..... gathered in one space to share kindness, love, joy, gratitude....to two wonderful men who are creative enough to do their comedy in a caring, funny, satirical way, with a whole lot of truthiness.....and they knew how to make it happen.  After their announcement for a rally....it just unfolded in a miraculous way.

I am so thankful that they used their talents in this most unusual, amazing and powerful way to serve their country.  It kind of took me back to the days of Will Rodgers.  Wait, I'm not that old.  I knew by going, it would have to be the right thing by the way I processed my change of plans.  I was preparing for the Baja when I heard about the rally and couldn't shake my passion to go.  It unfolded beautifully and it was one of those times in your life when you feel like.....YES!  I'm riding that horse in the right direction ... .and I am one with that horse.  So happy am I that I had the freedom to change my mind, have almost enough money to do the trip, and supportive family and friends to discuss it with me.

No matter what the critics say and no matter how much it is analyzed about the whats and the whys, I am and will stay inspired by what was quite possibly the largest chill-out, sit-in, abstract-yet-concrete-irreverent peace-in, I will ever attend.

Thanks again, Jon and Stephen

I'm thinking that Charles Krauthammer may be wrong...first time!  (smiles)  The Rally is and I predict will be socially relevant. 

The Rally To Restore Sanity: Stewart's Closing Speech

The final speech. I thought it was a great message.

“I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but it’s existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold it’s magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything we hear nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinist and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker and perhaps eczema.

And yet with that being said I feel good—strangely, calmly good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a fun house mirror and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyball monster? If the picture of us were true of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or oncable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—butthey do it. Impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.

Look on the screen this is where we are this is who we are. (points to the Jumbotron screen which show traffic merging into a tunnel). These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high. He’s going to work. There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now. There’s another car swinging I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA. She loves Oprah. There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter. Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan. But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a might river. Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences. And they do it. Concession by conscession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go then I’ll go. You go then I’ll goOh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car? Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together and the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land.

Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. You’re presence was what I wanted.

Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you."