Listen to The Written Word

David Louis Heller

Born Thursday, April 17, 1941 —

PROLOG

 My magical childhood: 

 

In The Beginning

The rest of the story begins here:

Sunday, January 11, 1948

It’s a very gray day.   I’m sitting alone in the back seat of a large gray sedan on the left side with my nose sometimes touching the cold glass, looking through streaked lines of rain but not seeing anything, but gray.  Everything is gray. The low gray clouds, the mist that hangs over the never changing marshlands, broken only by the repetitive brown-flash flash flash

                                                           

 of telephone poles speeding past my view, and the green-brown soggy marshlands that go on forever and ever, and ever, forever.

I come out of my reverie when cousin Bennet swerves the big car sharply right to avoid something in the road and I slide with it, halfway across the seat then quickly back to the center as he straightens it out.  “You Okay back there David?”

“Yeah.” I push myself back to my perch at the window, nothing’s changed out there.  But, here Bennet’s new wife Judith turns on the radio and the announcer comes to life with, “Plastics!  An amazing plastic material called ‘Saran,’ developed by Dow Chemical is now available in clear sheets at local food stores to protect foods of all kinds from the ravages of oxygen.  “Saran Wrap can extend the life and freshness of meats and vegetables …”

Bennet is excited,  “Judith can you imagine how this is going to revolutionize the way we preserve our foods! This is destined to replace cans, and much more, and ..!”

I am angry and hurt, but I hold it in to keep my feelings from bubbling up and into my consciousness.   I want to shout at Bennet and Judy, Don’t you know who she was? Who she is and will always be, for me?  What gives you the right to talk about keeping food fresh, when we’re on our way to her Funeral Service. But, I’m silent.

I mentally turned down the volume of their conversation, numbed my mind, and visualized the clear plastic gum drop tree that my mom had sent me before Christmas.  What made the tree special was that she sent it to me.  And, I knew that she had chosen and placed those thirty or so different colored gum drops at the end of each clear plastic branch.   it was perfect and seemed almost magical when the sun flowed through the clear plastic to bring radiance and life to each translucent colored gum drop, except for my favorite opaque black licorice one.  There were red cherry gum drops, yellow lemon drops, orange, and green mint, scattered colorfully at the ends of each twisted clear plastic branch, and then, not able to resist the black licorice, I pluck it off the branch and into my mouth so fast, I don’t have time to realize that she has gone.

I feel guilty, It was my fault and I know that because I ate the black and last gum drop, she had died, and I was responsible.

My stomach muscles drew tight as we speed down the road closer to who she used to be.  her as I remembered how I succumbed to the temptation of the candy, and how I had harvested each candy, piece by piece, for over a week, until at last, I plucked my favorite black gum drop from its clear plastic branch and I remembered too how I bravely, shuddered and held back and stoically pushed away my tears or feelings.  After all, I did promise her that I was strong and would take care of myself.  Don’t worry mom, I bravely told her a few weeks ago, sitting at the head of her bed.

And, what a day that was.

 

And now her radiance and life have vanished,  and I’m on my way to her funeral in Queens, and I’m scared.

And now it’s real, —- flashback to her sickbed/deathbed.

And then …

We’re here …. describe the scene

won’t look in her casket because I knew how she looked now since I had visited her a month ago when she was dying and wanted to say goodbye to me

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

My Entire Life Story Fits here, in between these two dotted lines.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

In The End

Sunday, January 28, 1968
Saigon, Vietnam
L’Amiral Restaurant

Ron and Ed were late, again!  I anxiously sat at the restaurant’s long mahogany bar and ordered my second nerve calming Gin and Tonic. Damn it!  I’m leaving in the morning, and I’ve got to have my contract and travel papers.  Vien replaced my drink and plopped down a small bowl of mixed nuts and mini match-stick-sized pretzels to keep me occupied, and I glanced at my watch.  6:22, already twenty minutes late. Where the hell are they?

“Hey Davey!”

Ron, you son of a bitch.  Thanks for making it. I was really starting to worry.   So? Where’s Ed?

We’ve got the company car tonight and Ed’s probably supervising the parking location and stuff.

 

 

 

 

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