Friday, July 6, 2012

"Forbidden Memoir" by Diana Weeks

I have wanted to donate my personal journals to the University of Houston Women Studies Department since they let me do research in the archives there. I discovered they actually collect woman’s stories about how lives have been lived here in Houston. You don’t have to be famous! A Cow town girl…I refused college…If you had to go to college to get a husband I just pitied you. Married in the fifties two weeks after graduation from high school, got pregnant in six weeks…became mother of three by 24…having our boy first! We had our own home…furniture and car…I’d done what society expected of women then… but in private I’m thinking “What have I done to myself?” My husband kept the kids so I could go to night school at U of H to take playwriting and many journalism classes. Mostly I’d audit…got no college credit, we couldn’t afford to pay tuition. I loved college…with no grades. My kind professor Alex got me on with CBS TV covering space shots at the beginning of space travel. I was staked out at astronaut’s homes in NASA with a dozen other reporters from everywhere, at the ready to interview the wife, if the space ship blew up. Not on my watch, thank heaven. That job leads to worthy contacts in a very fun career in news. I didn’t even get close to a glass ceiling but had excitement galore. I want all young women to enjoy their life as much as I do. I found a journal from decades ago when I managed The Palmer House in exchange for free rent. Now I’m old and forgetful…Was it really as much fun as my memories? I had run away from our suburb home into the big city to be a full time writer after the children married. The four-plex in Montrose housed women upstairs …men down…three writers and a visual artist. Our home was full of benighted drama and travel at the least excuse! I read from the old journal… ”Liz has broken up with Daren AGAIN…He had taken her to a family reunion. His mother is calling him daily to give up Liz… his older woman…and find a potential mother for HER future grand children. Liz wants them to open an art colony.” “Eddie, a widowed playwright friend has invited me to go on a cruse with him. Why not? …I’m in “lust” with the guy. He’s a magnetic kisser and has dancing fingers for my pleasure. Wow….” “Liz and I went downstairs to the artist’s “full moon” party Monday night… I left when we notice the handcuffs hanging on a nail by his bed.” “Liz went out for a smoke with our Russian translator for her play, Tolstoy is Dead. I haven’t seen her in two days.” Yea…Mr. Journal…”We got a grant to go to Athens, Greece for a World Wide Women’s Playwrights Conference… with layovers in Paris, France coming and going. What could be more fun? Recently…During a heart attack scare…I casually mention to my two grown daughters visiting me at St. Luke’s Hospital my desire to donate my personal writing to the U of H women studies Archives. My oldest daughter sighs, “Just don’t write an autobiography.” The younger moans…”Mom” in righteous indignation “Now…I’ll have to read everything in all your journals to see what needs to be blacked out.” THE END

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fikry Botros - Archway Gallery

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Grade

First Grade
A short story by Diana Weeks

First grade, it was all my neighbor and best friend, Ruth Junior, talked about the summer of 1941. Her mother, Ruth Senior, was telling my mother “Betty, I can barely wait for school to start…Joseph is on my last nerve.” Ruthy’s brother Joe is ten. We’re six, me barely.

My mom …never shy…spoke up. “Joan” that’s me…”says he’s been killing the girls’ horned toads”. .

We were collecting horned toads because they were mascots for Texas Christian University, our cow town’s higher education school…It was my Uncle Pinky’s idea…to collect horned toads.
He wanted them to dissect for a science project…they ran out of frogs.

My red haired Uncle “Pinky” lived with us…Pink marches with the TCU band. …Grandpa pays his room rent. His clarinet playing… got him a college scholarship.

Ruth sighs. “Joseph denies being a horn toad murderer…he claims it was an accident.”

Mom coughed. “The stolen red brick from the pile at the new house down the street…accidentally… fell squarely on the frog in the center of the girls back yard path… to your house…where our innocent girls… would… for sure find it”

Ruth sobered. “Well, I’ll have to tell his father…but the toads life was going to be taken by science….the toads weren’t going to escape and join the circus.” Mom gave a thumbs down sign…that means she doesn’t except the excuse. Both women laugh…Ruth Sr. adds “I don’t think Joseph was mad at the frog…he was mad at Ruthy for eating the last cookie yesterday.

Ruthy stood just behind me… huddled against the yellow flower covered paper on the hall wall… where we hold our breath and listened to grown ups talk. No crime is discussed in our presence.

Their next topic concerned where to have the doctor vaccinate us, a necessity to start school. Ruth Sr. did not want a big round scar on her daughter’s upper arm…where people can see it…like Joseph’s small pox scar had turned out.

We have appointments with the same doctor this afternoon. School starts next Monday, but we had to wait for payday to get the three dollar shot. I don’t care where I’m vaccinated just so the needle doesn’t hurt. They say it won’t… but it always does.

When our mom’s started talking about recipes…we quietly back away to cut out paper dolls in Ruth’s room.

Ruth has her own room. I’m back in my parent’s room since Uncle Pink arrived. Ha, he says I’m disrespectful for calling him “Pink” instead of Pinky.

Joe comes to the door of Ruthy’s room with his hand behind his back. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry.” Then he hands her a candy box and runs outside. Ruthy opens the box and screams…and drops the box and a green snake peeks out.

I picked it up. “Shhhh, it’s just a grass snake.” I dropped it out a window.

Ruthy made a fist. “We’ve got to get Joe back….We’ll tell him the snake escaped to Mom and Dads’ room… we’re for- bidden to enter!

Good idea I agree. “That will make him sweat. And that’s always fun.”


Sunday, July 10, 2011

War Time

War Time

A short story by Diana Weeks

I was supposed to be listening to “Terry and the Pirates” on the radio with Buddy… my black mailer brother… but I was leaning towards the radio to give a “glance over the shoulder” reassurance look…I was listening to my mother and her close friend Gertrude talk…about the war with the Japs and the Not-zees”.

I’m not allowed to ease-drop…but that only makes it more fun…more a game that can be won or lost… Mother did not allow any talk about the war at our dinner table “War… is not… a fit subject… for children. We were always sent from the room… when an adult came into a room I was in… with another adult. I had to walk out or wait 10 seconds and get kicked out.

Mother might slowly say “Children, go play monopoly” to us and in a slight whisper she’d tell her companion…adult conversation is forbidden…for children

No argument about the unfairness…we live here too…Children are children and adults are adults…as adults they are given “free will”…do they give us children any “free will”…No “free will’s not for youth…kids need to be sheltered.. reality needs the wisdom you gain by living any way you want to…but not kids…they don’t know anything.

Me and my best friend Patricia. Pat is the niece of my mom’s best friend, Gertrude, whose two boys aged ten and six were on the floor close to the radio exiled like us…But they didn’t care to listen to women talk when Terry and his Pirates…straight from the funnies…were adventuring. Personally, I was “Brenda Starr”

I heard Gert thanking Mother and Daddy…he in absentee…for saying she and the boys could come stay at our house because of the housing shortage. Our house is a frame two bedroom, painted white with green trim. The war started just as we moved in. We did have the highest see – saw in the world.

I went to get a drink in the kitchen… to use the phone to call Pat and tell her the forbidden secret…that Gertrude was still in love with Uncle Al who was coming to visit us in a few months…he’s a civilian engineer with T B scars on his lungs.

Well she wasn’t even surprised as she had secretly read a letter Al had sent Gertrude. ..yesterday. But she didn’t know my mother and dad were going to let she and her boy move in with us.…at least til Al gets here…or…What if Gert’s Navy husband’s boat sinks?

Pat had taught me how to steam open letters. When we weren’t together …we were spies …trying to figure out what reality is…I have to practice and learn so when…? I do grow up…”I’ll free will… all over every body.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Phoney Bride

The Phoney Bride
a short story by Diana Weeks

I met Marian at a rich friend's pool party . Her stunning presence and innocent girlish laugh, made me wish I was straight.
My older favorite aunt wanted so much for me to marry before she died. She knew I had always lived with male room mates. But in her heart she didn't want to “in able a sinner”..she believed the right Woman could “turn me”.

Auntie Addie had a million dollars worth of texas panhandle oil land..her estate was careful thought... To her feelings. She did pay for my university education.

I teach for a community college and make a so-so-living and get a bit of respect.....My last companion died of aids after 12 years together. If auntie did... Leave me her money... I could move to the penthouse at the Edison lofts, hire a house keeper and travel.

I'm thinking... What could be so difficult about landing a woman..I love to fish.... Just to put... Aunt Addie's mind at peace.
Aunt Addie was determined to insist I find the right woman... Because she just couldn't force herself to have her heir... A queer.. She was convinced the “right woman” could show me the joys of the right kind of love.

Not that this was ever discussed.....Certainly not.

I crossed the room to meet this lovely lady but she had on a wedding band. I introduced myself. She said she liked my name... Marvin.

“You are a good liar” I told her and she grinned. ”I was hoping you were single I whispered. “ I was going to ask you to dinner”.

“Where were you going to take me” she asked?.

“Where ever you want to go” thinking I had plenty of plastic in my pocket”?

She slipped the ring off her finger and dropped it in my hand. “I'm an actress...I'm just pretending I'm married... I'm auditioning for Maggie in “Tin Roof”. Next week.

I took her hand and put the ring back on her third finger.“I've got a gig for you”. She frowned. “It doesn't involve a donkey does it. ” I bust out laughing...We're just going to make an old lady happy...You'll play my new shy bride...For one fancy dinner in Abilene. She bubbled giggles..and assured me “ I'm good at blushing”

The End
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Shared a Bathroom with 150 men

Born on the Tundra