Category Archives: moms

The Closet Door by Joanie


The Closet Door by Joanie

‘Oh no! God – not another test-haven’t I had enough already? Oh well, I take a deep breath, shoulders back, pull up my boots and march forward!!! Let’s get on with it and over with…

I remember so many things  but I’m always saying, ” I can’t remember that”, “When did that happen?”…”Who was there?”, “How old was I?” So I’ve forgotten a lot of things, but oh! What I can remember…

Mother: shiny blue long evening dress, that special sweet good smell, loving arms, her smile, her reassurance and her giving… Her unconditional love and patience… Her utter belief in me. I will miss you and take you with me all the rest of my life; my best friend.

She doesn’t hear me very often anymore, she doesn’t even see me… Not even when I sit right in front of her and call her, “Mom, it’s me your daughter, Joanie… I love you.” Sometimes a soft, “I love you too, honey” ; maybe a little smile will follow.

Sometimes I want to shake her and say, “Hear me! I need you! Be there for me again,” but I don’t….and she won’t be there for me again.

Just before she really went away, she did hear me and I didn’t even say anything. She she just started telling me that we had to accept the things life sent us and that she didn’t like it anymore than I did, but we had to keep going…

Even though I know she’ll never truly be herself ever again, every time I go to see her, there is a little hope that whispers to me, “maybe today…”

Aw, but she’s free from this veil of tears – I hope- sometimes a smile hovers on her face and I make myself believe wherever she is, she’s happy now.

She shared her first loss with me and my sister, when Daddy went away. There was a redhead (strange that I used to color my hair auburn) he became enameled with and I remember my sister and I watching him the day he left – packing his clothes. We begged and begged him not to go. But still, there he was driving out the driveway…. And suddenly I dashed out in front of the car. He stopped and said, “What’s the matter Joan?” All I could do was cover my eyes and run back in the house.

Could I have ever done that to one of my children? No! No! Afterward I blamed myself for not asking him to stay with us.

Mom cried for months it seemed, then went to work selling yardage or dresses or something like that. We had become ‘latch key kids’. Nothing worse than a silent, dark house when you came home from school. When Mom was a bit sick and stayed home from work – oh the joy of coming home finding her there! Even the house smelled better.

I never forgave my Father, I know. Although, when I was going to get married I tried to find him through my aunt. He finally contacted my sister – not me….my sister.

But I got even when I was pregnant. Once he called from the bus station- but I didn’t want to see him so my husband went down and talked to him. So who got even with who? He did spend some time with my sister and her family but I just couldn’t or wouldn’t go there then.

Then came the time when he drank so much even my sister wouldn’t let him come into her house….and then he punishes us all and took his own life. In a dingy little apartment he hung himself on the closet door. He left an inheritance for my sister and I: 800 dollars partly hidden in some dirty clothes and partly in a pair of bedroom slippers on a closet shelf. The rest of his legacy is a feeling of horror for what he did, partly for an old drunk, regret and a loss that can never be found ever again.



Fresno Times N°13 Charleen Aple Worried By Matt Carlson

Charleen Aple sat at the edge of her bed and worried. She worried about her faithful dog MacBeth lying at her feet – cause she was getting old, she worried about her two kids Jeffrey and Tabatha – cause Jeffrey was a wild one and Tabatha too introverted, she worried about the bills – being able to pay them or not for the next month – she worried about her parents as they were getting on in years too, she worried about her health and living with MS….She worried, she worried and then she worried some more.

“Fuck off!” She screamed suddenly out loud. Thankfully the kids were not there. “Fuck, fuck, fuck! ” she screamed again. It felt good to be vulgar and angry, spewing that out with the frustration to the walls. She bent down and gave Macbeth a big hug, telling her that Mommy just needed to ventilate…

It seemed that one image seemed to set off a thought or a memory, and then before she knew it, even her past was there too in her head alongside all of the worries. Was it ghost night or what?? As usual it was hard to go to sleep and those chocolate coverered raisins AND Doritos certainly didn’t help, though they were on that list somewhere of acceptable comfort foods! Then she started worrying about her diet, was she eating right?.. “Fuck!” Not again. Didn’t she have any control of her thoughts anymore?…

She began to consider her age. She was almost 55 and that was alot of years in her head; memories that stayed with you. The more years, the more memories….No wonder old people got so confused after a while. And she wondered about all that “data” and how it could be better organized? How could she put things in their place so that they stayed? And only come out when she chose it…

She thought about computers and their libraries, files of organizing stuff like photos, documents and so on. Couldn’t she do that too, but in her brain??

Her phone suddenly squeaked. She had downloaded a cute Minnie Mouse squeak noise on her telephone. It was Brad. He wanted to see her. Was this a booty call? She thought that things were moving toward the back door, which finally wasn’t such a bad thing after all. He seemed to have almost all of the qualites that she was looking for in a man, but still….there was something not right. Something that she just couldn’t put her finger on. SO she began to worry about that…….!

Fresno Times n° 9 ‘Leaving Home’ by Matt Carlson

It was May 1980 and Gelledge’s 1975 canary yellow volkswagon bug sat out in front of the small aparment complex on Circle Court East road. Jane Snitly and her youngest son Snickle of eleven years stood on the cement porche with big eyes, the two of them. They looked at each other, to the right and then the left, not sure how to deal with these next few moments. Gelledge was finishing up loading the small bug with his belongings, helped along with his boyfriend Zoe (pronounced zo ee). It was a sunny californian day with no wind & blue skies.

“Well, I guess this is it Mom,” Gelledge looked at his Mother, excited for this new beginning, a new start with the man he loved. But it was bittersweet as his role in the family had been so much more than just a son. Jane Looked at him and though she knew she had been on a tirade these last few months, totally unprepared for her son’s departure, now, well, she still wasn’t ready, but she could let him go. Her heart felt clogged up, her breathing too. Her son Gelledge was really going to leave home. She didn’t want to believe it. But had taught her kids to be independent, they had to go out and make their own way in the world. For her gay son, it would be very tough in so many ways, she couldn’t imagine (and didn’t really want to) all of the many bad things that could come about, but living in a society that hated homosexuality, well some of it was easy to imagine without trying.

“Oh honey, you know how much I love you. You’ll always be my son and I’ll always be here for you. If you ever need to come home or what ever, I’m here. You know that right?” She reached out and clam held her son to her. He had always been her strength too, somehow. Taking over much of the role as caretaker of her youngest son Snickle. They were so close too.

“I love you too Mom. Don’t worry, I’m gonna be just fine. And I’ll only be in San Diego – it’s only 6 and a half hours drive away.” Their tears were abundant already, goodby’s like this were once in a lifetime goodbyes; something that you never forget.

Snickel and Gelledge turned to each other and hugged. Gelledge loved his little brother more than anything, had sacrificed already a great deal in order to help his Mom take care of him. Three years earlier he had let go of an amazing opportunity in Morro Bay and returned to Fresno with his Mother. A disastrous engagement to a high school sweatheart, he had turned out to be an alcoholic (again!) and unstable. Gelledge had never been so happy living in Morro Bay; an excellent tennis program with possibility of winning their high school division plus making best friends. It had been a a life changing decision.

“You know what little guy? We’re gonna see alot of each other! You’re going to come and visit me, we’ll go to the zoo and see the dolphins at Seaworld. I promise!” Gelledge was being stronger than he felt.

His little brothers’ eyes brimmed with tears, it was overwhelming for him. Gelledge had always been there. Had replaced a Father that had never been there, had never cared. They hugged each other tightly. Their connection was a strong one. Zoe stood off to the side a bit, not expecting so much emotion before leaving.

“Yea,” he added and we’ll be back before you know it! It’s not that far! We’re not going to the moon”. Everybody smiled and lots of well wishing was said between the tears, smiles and the seemingly never ending hugs.

“I love you,” they said.

“I love you too,” Gelledge replied. Their voices cracking, their tears steam rolling down their faces, Zoe had taken the wheel and slowly pulled out.

“Drive carefully Zoe! You take good care of my son – or you’ll answer to me! Get there safely….We love you!!” And away the little beetle drove off. Gelledge would never forget the image of his Mom and little brother on the lawn waving goodbye, their faces puffy from crying, but well wishing at the same time…

The drive was a long one, but finally the tears subsided and the joy of being in love, being together took over from everything else. Zoe and Gelledge held hands, talked about their future life together. It was going to be wonderful….Several hours later they had arrived. The secret was kept until the last minute! Zoe drove into the small city known as Ocean Beach, parked into a small driveway of a tiny apartment complex. There were palm trees and succulents.

Gelledge couldn’t believe it: salt air! They were only a 30 second walk to the ocean!! It was gorgeous!

Life was beautiful! And they were so much in love…