Pat and Stephanie at JP and Donna’s Wedding

Patrick’s Recollections of Childhood

Patrick sent this story to me almost 20 years ago, in 1998. It’s a bit of a disjointed, free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness kind of thing, autobiographical and focused on his childhood and his family members, but its tone turns regretful near the end. I haven’t edited out the typos and such yet.

Mother is Gin. Father is Paul. My brother is Jack, my sister Sue, and I am Pat.

I remember my father as a thin man with a widow’s peak, his fine black hair slicked back over his skull. He could see almost nothing without his spectacles, rimless, as thick as the bottom of a pop bottle. Continue reading “Patrick’s Recollections of Childhood”

The House of Mirrors

I found this story in my archives, dated 1998. Warning: it has some vulgar language and scenes near the end.

She loved mirrors. Every room in the house had two if not three. They were round, oval, square, rectangular, faded, new, clear, gold leaf stained, and cracked. There were fragments of mirrors, and mirrors left over from other people’s bedrooms and bathrooms. The long mirrors were used to check skirt lengths and shoes, the round ones reflected the landscapes outside the window so she wouldn’t have to turn around in the chair if the view was the other way. The were hand mirrors, magnifying mirrors, and mirrors you could no longer see yourself in, so faint was the backing. It is a particularly sobering experience to look into a mirror and see a triangle of cracked plaster where your mouth should be. Continue reading “The House of Mirrors”

Life, Tom R, and Music

Here’s a letter to Patrick (via Compuserve!) from 22 years ago when I was in a dark frame of mind.

FROM: JP, 440201,1234
TO: Patrick, 405101,1234
DATE: 10/21/96 9:51 PM

Yo, pappy,

Sorry I’ve not written lately. I’ve not been in a proper communicative mood, but have instead been operating in the “if nothing nice to say, why whine?” mode.

That’s very thoughtful of what you’d offer for Tom R. Right now I doubt I’d be a good influence, and realistically, I’m probably too unstable right now to be of value to him or you. I rattle against the walls at all hours of the night, banging on the piano, sitting at the computer, or just vegging and moping. If I drank I’d be a great alcoholic. Continue reading “Life, Tom R, and Music”