Thinker

I am a thinker. A thinking researching explorer of human life. I consider words and actions and emotions and myself and others. I actually do all of the previous things for far too much of my time. To a fault more than likely.

My grandmother used to glare at me, chastise me and then giggle, guffaw and want to strangle me at times I am certain.

When I was a little girl it was my job to clean the wooden stairway from the bottom to the top. I had to use hot soapy water to wash the stairs one by one with Murphy’s oil soap and make sure to not leave the water to set because it might leave water stains on the wood.

In my same container as my towels were various dry brushes and a bottle of turpentine and a bottle of alcohol.

One time I opened the bottle of alcohol and stuck my finger in it and simply looked at the wood. I was probably about 5 years old. I was thinking that I might use the alcohol to perhaps add it to the mudpies later in the day and create a crater in the middle. I’d see if I could create a rainbow, perhaps.

Well, you would have thought I set off a nuclear device by sticking my finger into the alcohol bottle and thinking about a rainbow in my future mudpie. The entire house erupted into chaos. Renita Dawn Nunley! don’t you dare put alcohol on those stairsteps!

Inside of my head, I thought “are these humans really seriously thinking?” even then, I knew over reactions happened quickly and swiftly in adults that didn’t understand the curiousity of children. When I am tired now, I do it too to my own children.

As an adult, I still look and look and look again at things that are interesting to me. I ponder and glance and stare and wonder at interesting things that do not matter at all in the grand scheme of things. They mean absolutely nothing to anything. They hold no meaning. There is no clue. I’m not sending a sign. I am just naturally a curious human. I sometimes just can stare at colors and the way they are beautiful together. I am that woman. Somedays it’s that simple. Other days I am much more complex.

My grandmother still wrings her hands, still she smiles. Where ever she is.

Happy Wednesday.
Still Renita.

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Butterflies in the 70s

I used to sleep nestled on a hardwood floor every night. My mother would lay blankets on the floor and we would lay together. She would tell me, “Neatie, let your mind drift away, think of a magical place like Disney. Think of a beach or a forest. Dream some place magical up even. Drift away from here, visualize your special place. Build your own lands and you go there when you need to go. If you ever need to escape from this harsh world that is where to go! That is dreamland!”

My mother saved me every night from nightmares. Mostly she did. Some nights I was awakened by dad coming in, a demon on his back, riding him.

The nights I did escape, which were often, I would dream of magical lands. I dreamed of records and I dreamed of lands that were very much like ours but older. Some days I woke up with “butterfly stomach”. I still do.

In 2011 I woke up with the worst case of it since dad had died.

Let me explain, because I know I speak a different language. Yes, I know. I do. Butterfly stomach means I’ve had a premonition. Someone is coming into my life to change things or I’m about to change things or a change is coming. Period.

Butterfly stomach happened to me on April Fools day 1987. It snowed that morning. My father died that morning. They revived dad. He was on a ventilator at Adena Reginal Hospital. I felt the moment he went. The moment he came back. I was furious that he left me. I walked out into the snow. Yes, it snowed that day. Knee deep. Even God was furious. Biddie Cox came to take us to her house so Kenny would have somewhere to stay while Jerry came to take me to the hospital to sit at ICU.

2011. The Brewing. Stirring. Bonfires into 2012. Butterflies. Into 2013.
Lone Wolf

I think back to my grandmother laying on the couch watching me as I would rise. She would whisper to me “come”
I’d crawl to her and sit at her feet and take her lotion and rub her legs, only down so I wouldn’t hurt her. Circulation and all. You never wanted to rub up, just in case a blood clot was stuck. Only rub down Renita. That’s what she said. Rub down. So I would rub her legs and tell her my dreams.

Some days I would dream I was in battle, with the men. My head would be shaved with only a tiny bit on top. I would be wearing skins. Fighting right along with them. Covered in blood.

Some days I was in the bayou chanting, hearing screams. smelling smoke. I smelled corn and foreign smells and spices. Languages I didn’t understand. I saw sights I didn’t understand. I saw alligators and I saw chickens and I saw blood and guts and saw women vomiting and babies dying and men doing horrid things and I cried and cried and she would hit me and tell me to stop crying and to understand who I was. That I was to just get over what I was. I was to just get over it.

I didn’t know what I was and I was sad. She was mad. So I just rubbed her feet and dad would just tell me to come on in to make coffee and the butterflies would just keep coming.

Though all of my life I have struggled. Humans have never understood me. I don’t understand me. It’s easier for me to just sit alone and observe most of the time. Stay quiet and try not to get pissed. I try to be a good person. I prefer children to adults most of the time because they are honest, most of the time. If they are lying it’s because they have a core need. They want love or food or to play. I undertstand all of that. Manipulation? I do not understand because I don’t have time for it. It’s gross and I don’t like gross. If I am gross? It’s because I’m exhausted.

That’s all I have today.

Peace and Love.

R

The Duke of Earl

I pretended to rule our house when I was a little girl. I traipsed around following my mama wearing a bodysuit and black ballet tights. Actually, I remember during this specific time period gold and red were my very favorite accessories. I thought they were “to die for”.

I loved feeling like a little blues 70s “go go” cat dancing through the living room with my mom, sliding across the couch with my smooth tights slippery on the cushions.

My mom played all of her favorite music for me. When she was in school she had been what would be now the equivalent of a person that was in “Glee”. My mama could sing! She danced. She could play some music now. Wow.
She showed me broadway in our living room. She taught me the blues. She about Cats! Nat King Cole and Billy Holliday. ELVIS! The rain in spain stays mainly in the plains. The Bee Gees.

I regress.

The Duke of Earl.

It was raining that day. I was pouting on the couch because I had wanted to go outside and just make come mud pies. Dammit.

I had put on some ugly cut off shorts and an Elmer Fudd T-shirt. My mom didn’t say one word to me, instead, she walked into our living room stood in front of me and gently tossed my tights and my body suit over onto the couch. I looked up, mom turned to the front window, looked out at the rain and smiled. She said ” It’s Ohio Puss, might as well dance.”

She walked over to the stereo and started some music. I don’t remember what the first song was because I was putting on my clothes. ( We ALWAYS got dressed for our dancing, a dancing queen must be dressed for her dancing and singing events!) Then, it happened. The Duke of Earl.

My mom. I can still see her right fist come up into the air. Her microphone hand. She sang into her fist like she was singing to thousands of people. Her voice was like no other. I stood beside her singing my heart out. We were magic. Red and black. The Duke of Earl Baby!

Who cared about the damn old rain anyway?

Happy Monday
Duke

Love, Renita

A Sunday in New Orleans

Sunday Afternoonish in New Orleans March 2000

I walked through Jackson square looking at the people. Watching the tourists drink. I was alone. I ended up at a church or cathedral. I was surprised they had let me in. I suppose they did it because I wasn’t dressed like the other people and didn’t carry beads and trinkets. I smelled like Ohio.

A lady asks me if I was catholic. I told her I was not and she smiled and said, “Everyone is catholic now girl.” And she laughed so loud. I remember thinking she was so happy! I was just so sad. I missed my kids. I told her that. She just smiled again and held my hands and said “You? Are going to be just fine. I feel it on you. You are protection. You ARE the protection girl!” I didn’t understand. She laughed again and then ask me if she could give me a big hug. I was still all raw but I needed a hug bad. She was a beautiful African American woman that radiated love so I opened my arms and embraced her. I instantly felt relief.

Later that day was the first time I visited Marie Laveau’s Grave… and my entire life perspective changed yet again.

Thank you. Taylor’s IGA

I grew up in Chillicothe, Ohio. I love Chillicothe with my whole heart. 🙂

My daddy always said “Neat, there is no place in this big old world that is like home” and I have found that he is right. There are beautiful places and there are beautiful new homes and beautiful new hometowns that I have come to love because I love Lancaster and I loved Circleville and Jupiter but, today, I want to talk about home.

As a little girl, I lived on Eastern ave. Our local grocery store was a mom and pop place and it was called Taylor’s IGA. Back when I was a kid I remember ashtrays sitting on the shelf right along with the boxes of macaroni and cheese. I remember walking in with our glass bottles of coca-cola returnables, walking straight into the back room raising my arm to say “hey Tim!” like it was no big deal to be walking back into a back room of the store, and then carrying on with my day.

We were a family. This was my hometown. Our neighborhood.

In 1978 when the blizzard struck Ohio, my mom bundled me up and put me in our little red rider wagon and basically drug me through the snow forever it seemed to get up to Taylors, in hopes that he might possibly be open so that we could by some food and batteries to make it through the storm. Of course, they were open. Tim and Janet always took care of the community. Maxine was there to check us out.

One year Tim and Janet ran a lottery of sorts. I think it was “save your receipts and get so many points for a chance to win” a ten-speed bicycle! Guess what? My mom saved her receipts! Guess what? I was the lucky girl that won her chance to actually own that bicycle! 🙂 I had never been prouder in my life! I stood beside Tim that day and felt like I was the queen of the entire world.

I hope Tim and Janet realize the freedom that they gave me that day. I rode that bicycle for hours and hours and hours. I escaped my father’s pain. I was able to exercise and feel the wind in my hair. A young girl was able to have freedom just because they spent the money on a bicycle.

Thank you.

Love,

Renita

Dear Amy ;

I wish I could have been friends with you. I wish that you and I could have talked. I wish that your story wouldn’t have ended.

Perhaps we could have put an exclamation point right after that semi-colon.

I hadn’t read about your life until today, I didn’t know about your heartache. I didn’t know about your pain.  I want you to know that your legacy is one of triumph and you have made a difference in our world even in your life ending. You made a difference! You mattered!

You started a beautiful movement that gave hope to a generation of humans. You gave a simple grammar mark a purpose for mankind. You gave mankind a reminder. LIVE! Remember, LIVE and love and carry on!

I too have struggled throughout my lifetime.

In my youth, I have ridden hard.

Many years ago, I found myself in a hotel room in Houma, Louisianna. I was alone with a bible and a gun. I had no car. I stared at the ceiling fan wondering what to do. I stood up and grabbed my green duffel bag and walked out of that hotel room. I threw the gun into the big ole trash container ( after taking it apart, thank God). I then took a Grayhound bus into New Orleans. I chose to live! I walked through fat Tuesday in 2000 and into my new life. I was terrified, but, I did it. Trust that the following bus ride on into Ohio was much harder.

Oh, and by the way Amy? The gun? I was scared shitless. A girl, traveling. Alone. But, don’t tell anyone. I have a rep to protect.

Be blessed sister. Be proud of the work you have done. Your work here was beautiful. Love, another soul sister.

xo ; !

Always

Renita

 

Love and my people

I have been thinking all morning about love. What is it?

What does the word even mean? Love.

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It’s so complex. I love a whole bunch of things. I LOVE my freedom. I’ve learned that very quickly. I suppose that is truly not a “thing”. Hm.

As I was pondering I reflected back to my parents and to my past as I always do.

I am a haunted human. I have been diagnosed with C=PTSD. However, I can reflect and learn. This is good.

Love. My parents.

Throughout their lives, my mother always worked so hard to earn my father’s love. My mind was perpetually blown by this because she was amazing to me! She was beautiful and smart. In her youth, she had been an excellent student. She excelled in music and had been a church-going woman. I saw every single pin and saw every certificate. So, what in the sweet hell was she doing?!
I was baffled as a little girl. Dumbfounded.

As for my father, He was handsome and funny and brilliant. A masterminded genius mechanically who could mathematically solve any problem placed in front of him. Unfortunately, he was born poor and his father had been a soldier in the first World War and had come home with PTSD and a nasty drinking problem. My father chose a life of drinking as well. By the time I was born he was on trial for involuntary manslaughter.

I often just tell people that my mother and father are the epitome of Sandra Dee and James Dean. I loved them more than the sun and the moon.

Carrying on.

I once ask my father why he couldn’t give my mother the love that she craved. Why he was so damn mean. Yes, I said those words because, I was trying to understand love, even then. My father explained “Neat, I fell in love once, in Germany, I loved her and she didn’t want to leave her home and I can never love the same again. I love your mom but, it’s just different. love is complex. We are all different. We give what we can. Go do your homework and breathe a little. Relax”
That’s what he left me with. Bud Nunley wisdom at it’s best.

We love different people different ways. We give different people different pieces of ourselves. We give different friends different pieces of ourselves. This doesn’t mean we are chameleons or that we are liars or fake. It means that we are more comfortable talking about certain pieces of our soul with other souls. We get one life. One.

Find the soul you want to love and spend the most time with and go live your time with that one if they want to spend the most time with you. If they don’t? Be prepared to go it alone. That’s ok too.

Love and be love.

That is my goal.

Peace Love and Chicken grease. xo

Love, Neat xo

 

That Purse

That Purse my mother carried was black. She filled it with quarters. I’ll never forget it. I always wondered why she filled it with quarters. Rolls and rolls of quarters.

I was standing in the bathroom watching her put on her mascara that day in the bathroom and we were listening to Diana Ross sing “Aint no mountain high enough” and my dad walked in and said, “Why in the hell are you putting all that makeup on to go to work?” Wash it off! Now!  Then, he threw a washcloth at her and started toward her like he was going to hit her. and like a flash she pushed me behind her and swung that purse at him like wonder woman.

She knocked him out quicker than Mike Tyson knocked out whoever he was fighting that year. ( or whoever was the fighter that year lol.)

My mom had finally won the damn war of her life.

Dad? Was in the bathtub. Out. Cold.

We walked straight out of that room like queens. We didn’t give two shits what he was doing. We didn’t care if he was cold. We were fine.

That is where I am today.

I love but, I’m tired. I shaved my damn head. lol.

Christ. Women are crazy.

wow. Just WOW.

That is all.

Red Clay in a Pie Pan

As a little girl, my grandma was my caretaker. She never cursed and she never drank alcohol. She baked and she always wore a house dress. Her name was Addie Nunley and you could never ask for a better role model.

My grandma taught me to clean the window sills with soapy water in the spring and to spray the pothos with dish soap to keep out the spider mites when I was done.

She taught me to lay down newspaper on the kitchen floor when we were baking all day to keep up all of the flour so it wasn’t so hard to sweep up at the end of the day.

She taught me that we could use old books that we had read ten trillion times by putting notebook paper in them and writing recipes on the paper.

This was my life on the avenue and I wouldn’t trade that life for a million dollars. No thank you.

My name was Renita Nunley back then and I used to love making mud pies in old pie pans. The mud always baked in the sunshine. It baked into a red clay.

Ohio dirt is mostly clay down in Ross County. Well, it’s a good balance. It’s either pure black gold dirt, which is great for growing some great sweet corn, or it’s wonderful for some red clay pies. Either way it’s a Buckeye Win!

This is why I love Ohio. 🙂

Happy Thursday. ❤

Love,
Renita

Hey you

Hey, You. Yes, you! Mr. Postman. Thank you for always being nice to me when you deliver my mail. I look forward to seeing you every day because you are one of the people that I can count on to smile at me without needing me to do something for you.

I am a woman. A mother, a daughter, a sister and a lady that has walked many miles in darkness alone hoping someone would dare to come out of the shadows to attack.

Hey, You. Yep, you. Mrs. PTA mom. Thank you for making my children’s classroom parties nice the years I couldn’t even manage to sign the paperwork because I was so mentally tired.

I am the mom that decorated fences for the baseball team. I am the mom that painted faces for the cheerleaders. I am the mom that created the gift bags for the parties that year, but, these past few years I have just been too damn tired.

Hello there, Cashier. I always remember you. You were the nice lady that saved me when I was lost in that big old chain store the first time I tried to walk through it alone without mom there with me. I was so afraid. I’d never been afraid of anything in my life and I was so embarrassed. You knew that feeling and understood what was happening to me even when I did not. Thank you. I won’t forget you. Ever.

Soon after my mother died I experienced something I had never experienced. I walked into a store and the walls closed in. Literally. My mother had talked about such a thing and I had shaken my head and imaged that she was making it up and being a “drama queen”. I had thought that she was just trying to get attention.

I was wrong.

I remember standing in the coffee aisle and thinking “shit” I’m going to tear down this aisle. Instead, I gritted my teeth and started making my way toward the front of the store.

I thought I could mentally will myself through the experience because I had always powered through every other mental challenged in my life. However, this was not to be.

I literally almost dropped. I stopped in my tracks.

I had no idea that this was a classic panic attack. This was my introduction to them. A cashier saved me that day. She was paid under $9 to save me.

Angels among us.
I’ll never forget her.

She said “Just breathe”

So I did.
Be Blessed my friends.

Never ever look down on anyone. You never know who can save you.

Happy Tuesday.