1. TALES FROM THE WAYS WE LIVED
I can remember the ritual of Friday nights, Friday nights in the kitchen of my grandparents’ house in a quasi-suburban neighborhood of Chicago, an area called Morgan Park, a place with trees, parks, houses, front yards and rope-swings. My grandparents’ corner of Morgan Park was Black, no Whites to be seen except occasionally in cars just passing through in the direction of the segregated driving range (five blocks East?) or in the direction of Beverly (ten or twelve blocks West?) on 115th street. My grandmother and grandfather’s house was on a half acre of property they had owned since the 1930s: they had planted most of its many tall trees and the younger trees which bore apples, cherries. I want to say there was a peach tree, too, because I know my grandmother baked peach pies as well as apple pies and cherry pies, every year, so maybe there was a peach tree, too, as well as a green grape arbor and a purple grape arbor and a little corn field, on the right of the house, near the tomatoes. There was even a rhubarb patch and I loved the rhubarb and blackberry cobblers that came from that part of the yard.
Years before I arrived on the planet there was once a horse living in my grandfather’s two-car garage and saddles were kept in the basement (grandfather paying me and my brother twenty five cents every late summer to polish these saddles before his annual trip to the farm in Ohio where he kept a horse he would ride) to prove it. My brother and I played games of “horse shoes” with real horse shoes and when my grandfather killed one of the chickens he kept in his basement, in order to fry it up, he’d give us each a chicken foot that we’d prance around with devilishly and, primarily, to horrify our Aunt Antonia, who would have been perhaps twenty or twenty one years old during the year in which this recollection is set: 1966.
When we didn’t have freshly-killed chicken feet to play with (this was not a frequent amusement) we’d spin pot-tops into spinning tops on the kitchen’s linoleum floor, the pot-tops stored in a drawer in the stove. The kitchen pantry was full of tins and boxes and glass jars of things like Cheerios and Kellog’s Corn Flakes and stuff I cannot now identify as I see it scratchy and ghostly on my mind’s inner screen. The pantry sun shone through a papered-over window set over a recessed crawlspace furthering to the right, beyond my tiptoed ken, stacked with papered or glassy objects dark and dull and fragile with age. The pantry was ideal for hiding in while munching Cheerios; the gigglingly-illicit pleasure of munching Cheerios in the cool twilight-for-day of the pantry while hearing the distance-thinned and wandering sound of my name called from the front, side and back yards, and sometimes even the alley, has not often been bettered.
There was a modern b&w Television on a rolling stand set at an angle to the long kitchen table (which was bordered on the right by a row of screened windows overlooking the side yard where the fruit trees were; the middle of this yard was grassless, owing to all the tree roots interlacing beneath it, and the center of this long oblong of dirt was a crooked column of log about four feet high on which an aluminum pan sat full of water for the bluejays, robins, cardinals, etc, that my grandfather liked to watch while he ate breakfast). My grandfather also liked to be read to, by my grandmother, stories from Western magazines while eating the elaborate and highly-peppered three-course breakfasts he’d cook for himself, the courses or sequence thereof never varying in all the years I was witness to the ritual. My grandmother’s reading voice was professionally-cadenced and mellifluous and put me at odds with the deprived pidgin I heard in the bona fide ghetto that my little brother, mother and I lived in when we weren’t out in Morgan Park, on furlough, those glorious weekends. My father was living in Hyde Park at the time but I have very sparse memories of that. In fact, the one memory of my father’s neighborhood I can dredge up is of an unknown Asian girl in green-tinted granny glasses crossing the street.
Friday and Saturday summer nights at our grandparents’ my brother and I would lay in bed in what had been our uncles’ room and listen to crickets through the delicately-rusted screen of the open window and then, when my brother was finally asleep and I soldiered on as a solitary consciousness into the spooky night with my often frightened thoughts, there’d be the bittersweet whistle (though “whistle” doesn’t quite capture the sound, while neither does “horn”: the sound was closer to being two adjacent keys pressed during an accordion’s longest breath) of the hundred-car freight trains rocketing through the neighborhood, only a few blocks away, the Native-American rhythms of the heavy cars registering the physical temperament of the tracks like a song for putting nervous children to sleep. My mother was a necking teen in a coupe with three other friends when she survived being hit by one of those adamant trains at the crossing my little brother and I would search, twenty years later, like bent-necked prospectors, for golf balls that had escaped the all-White driving range abutting that very Blue Island line. My mother told me that after being hit she’d crawled with grim determination, with her broken legs, to stuff her “falsies” (my mother was always a small-breasted woman) into her purse, which had been knocked some distance down the tracks.
Directly behind the kitchen TV on its rolling stand (whereas a large old Magnavox console model, housed in dark wood, like real furniture, shared the living room with half a dozen book cases) was the back porch door, and to the left of this Television was the door down to the landing to the back door to the outside, or, a further few steps down, to the left, into the terrifying basement with its coal-burning furnace. Furnace, washing machine and a bank of two deep window-lit tubs the washing machine emptied its soapy waters into. There was the coal pile near the ground-level side-window my grandfather propped open, twice a year, for wheelbarrows of coal to be tilted through. To the left of this mountain of kid-fist-sized gems deepened the back of the basement, blocked by a labyrinth of old packing crates and steamer trunks and teetering stacks of hatboxes, saw-horses, broken sewing machines, Pearl-Harbor-era bicycle tires, magazine stacks, reference books in gothic script, ominous filing cabinets and rumored treasure (a vintage “silver chief” electric train set) embodying forty years of my grandparent’s married life and personifying, for me, the morbid nook and crannied darkness of every episode of Creature Features, Thriller, the Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, the Alfred Hitchcock Hour the 1960s poured into my special repository of Imaginative Dread. Horrors never quite distinct in the recollection but equally never erased by the rising sun. Well, more on that later.
The ritual of Friday nights in my grandfather and grandmother’s kitchen in the year 1966 involved, after dinner, the spreading of the Entertainment pages of the newspaper on the kitchen table so that the youngest of my grandfather and grandmother’s children (Carl, Antonia, Elaine; c. 20, 21, 23 respectively) could have a look at the ads for movies opening in area theaters and go to Roseland, I guess, but maybe Beverly, although it’s my recollection that Beverly was a predominately White area and would probably have been much riskier to catch a movie in than Roseland, an integrated shopping strip. I’m going with the sweet authenticity of my rust-corrupted memories for this memoir and avoiding doing much research to inform it. What little research I did ended up flooring me.
Friday nights after supper my younger Aunts and Uncle (the others already married, two with children of their own, a half dozen kids including me and my brother) would spread the full-page ads for Major Motion Pictures and I would look at these ads and escape in the same way the moviegoers intended to. The ads featured b&w images that managed to convey color, somehow, and the pictures and titles proved there was a world beyond my grandparents’ house and the dreary humiliation of our apartment, far away from my grandparents’ house, in the ghetto: these movie ads were signposts I felt I could follow to the world. The grown-up world of 1966, electrifying with spies, gadgets, guitar combos and mini-skirted/ gogo-booted starlets who were, except in the ultra-rare cases they were Black, absolutely and lethally taboo. Which, of course, was secretly (especially because my libido was secret even to me, at that age) thrilling. Elke Sommer, Brigitte Bardot, Capucine, Julie Christie, Claudia Cardinale and the Americans (a little less interesting) Jane Fonda, Paula Prentiss, Goldie Hawn, Katharine Ross... may as well have been stripping under klieg-lights on the other side of electrified fences patrolled by storm troopers with machine guns.
Bothering with Google streetview I discovered that my grandparents’ house went on the market the day before I began writing this (the house is already sold but are they aware that the 54-year-old bones of my hamster Snapper is buried in front of the former site of the garage?). Extensive photographs of the property were put online. Viewing the exterior images (the front and back porches are now gone, the garage is gone, the high hedge is gone and most of the trees have been removed, which makes me think of all the weekend thunderstorms we weathered in that house, squealing and jolted and laughing, lightning shotgunning the trees, black squirrels strewn around the yard the next morning; or the time a blinding crackle flashed the gap between open windows on opposite sides of the house) is quite a sensation as I sit here in Central Europe.
The pictures of the interior of the house are much weirder and disorientingly familiar. I still recognize the essence of the living room (fewer windows where the fold-out couch once stood where I slept the night we got the call that uncle Carl had crashed his VW Beetle in North Carolina and died at 25) and the kitchen (eerie without its big enameled stove), all the walls now institutional white instead of the cracked pale green they were just fifty-six years ago when Goldfinger premiered at the whitest movie theaters in the Chicagoland area.
The only possibly unassimilable shock is the current image of the basement, late fall of 2020:
The new owners of my grandparents’ house will never know that this antiseptic-looking space once housed the locus of all my nightmares, a Nightmare Museum inadvertently curated by my Scrooge-adjacent grandfather (who grimaced and clucked over his ledgers wearing the green eye-shade proper to his penny-pinching temperament’s kind). My mother’s grandfather (“Gramps,” born October 3, 1875) died in that basement in November of ’43, sleeping on a cot near the furnace, and my mother would terrify me in 1966 by describing how she’d stand on the spot after Gramps’ death, late at night, with a candle, a young girl calling softly to the old man’s shade in hopes of a response.
If Gramps’ spiritual residue ever really lingered there it’s definitely gone now, along with all of Gramps’ children and grandchildren.
2CIVIL RIGHTS AS A CLEVER VIOLATION of HUMAN RIGHTS
TFIC are constantly inventing new test-metrics in “Civil Rights” by which 95% of the nations on Earth are bound to fail, thereby writing themselves a blank check to interfere with/invade/ “open markets” in/, on “humanitarian” grounds, any of these nations. Especially those in the “Third World” (and especially wherever there happen to be massive natural deposits of, say, the rare-earth metals crucial to your smart phone). “Transgender” issues naturally belong to a micro-niche Body Dysmorphia demographic too small to register as “controversial,” even, in most places, and were properly considered a psychiatric issue until NATO/IMF/NEO NEO-LIBERAL social media forces blew them up into a supposedly pressing issue of our time, rendering Transgenderism “controversial” by pushing it as a Norm. The inevitable (completely natural and not, in and of itself, “hateful”) push-back will be designated as “hate speech,” discussion will be shut down, only cheer-leading will be allowed and dissidents will be liable for arrest just as the nations that don’t sign on will be liable for invasion. The perfect excuse for crushing dissidence using the police, while “opening new markets” using the military.
One can predict popular Transgender politicians in the near-future: just as criticisms of Obama could be written off as “racist” and criticisms of Hillary Clinton (and even of Margaret Thatcher) could be written off as “misogynist,” any pertinent criticism of a Transgender politician/ CEO will be dismissed as hate speech. The Old White Men running the world have cleverly decided that using Old White Men to function as figureheads (presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, populist rodeo clowns et al) no longer works well enough to justify the investment. And when I write “politicians” I don’t mean mayors, governors, congresspeople and presidents, necessarily. A globally-famous popstar is a politician. As is a Hollywood A-lister or Instagram Influencer of the required magnitude.
Meanwhile, how many pre-teens, of this and the next few generations, will make the terrible mistake of taking powerful artificial hormones, and undergoing destructive surgery, and ruining their lives (medical science can’t make “real” vaginas, they can only open wounds, which require life-long dilation to mimic vaginas; medical science is no closer to crafting full-function penises than it is to successful head transplants)? Just because NATO/IMF/NEO NEO-LIBERALS want a blank check to invade the conveniently “un-WOKE” World.
How will we protect these kids from the Brainwashers if we trust the Brainwashers as though we’re kids?
3BODY INTEGRITY DISORDERS of the BODY POLITIC
Utterly exasperated with the naïve people who keep shouting that the “vote was stolen”. The vote was “stolen” at least 60 years ago and it was never given back. This “election” replaced one rapey old white man, suffering from severe cognitive issues, with a man who could be his sexual, ethical and intellectual half-brother: the “change” was both purely cosmetic and minimally pronounced. We are suckers for surfaces; we are low-functioning connoisseurs of style. The “choice” offered, in this “election,” was a gesture of contempt from the power-structure from whom both embarrassments take orders. Did Trump invent Racism (or even amplify its expression)? No, he merely embodied it to the extent that people who’d had the privilege of not noticing it, every day (I was markedly not one of those lucky people), were suddenly forced to. Will Biden “fix” Racism? Not any more than Obama did. And how could Biden and his token VP “fix” Racism, being racist themselves? The “election” wasn’t “stolen,” it was infected… with irresponsible gullibility on both sides of the divide. The people who foolishly see Trump as a hero are just as bad as the people who delusionally believe that anything systemically rotten in America, for the past four years, was brought to the country by Trump. When will you be ready to face the Truth? Things will continue to decline (you think Trump was the “bottom”? Dream on) until you do face it. Frederick Douglass (only a pre-dumbing-down, 19th century politician, is worth citing) would be astonished by current conditions.
4GERMAN FELLOW ON FACEBOOK TRIES HIS HAND AT THE ANGLO-AMERICAN PUKE-INDUCING VIRTUE-SIGNALLING APHORISM GAME and GETS IT HILARIOUSLY SLIGHTLY-WRONG
“Your wounds are the places where light and wisdom can enter you”
5BIZARRE REMARKS of the FAMOUS
“The sight of Medusa’s head, that is to say, that of the feminine genitalia, causes one to become rigid with fright, transforming the beholder into stone. To become rigid symbolizes the erection.”—Sigmund Freud, c. 1915
6CODA: JANE FONDA, BLACK PANTHER (BUT WASN’T SHE MARRIED TO TED TURNER and DIDN’T TURNER FOUND THE IMPERIALIST MOUTHPIECE CNN? THIS IS LIKE READING THAT JOE GOEBBELS HAD A MEXICAN WIFE)
INDYA MOORE: Hey, girl. It’s so nice to hear your voice and see you again.
JANE FONDA: Thanks for agreeing to do this.
MOORE: You witnessed the movements for Black and Indigenous liberation, and the atrocities that Black people experienced, not just for fighting back, but for merely existing. You have fought side by side with the Black Panthers as an accomplice for Black liberation. You used your celebrity and your whiteness to service our movement, and to destabilize white supremacy. How does this uprising compare to the ones in the past?