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YOU’VE BEEN EXPEDITED!

Well, I’m back!  Back from a cruise on a big ol’ fancy ship to Northern Spain, Portugal, the Island of Majorca, Gibraltar, and Rome.  Went to celebrate 40 years of marriage with my man, “WW” (White and Wonderful) and my birthday of 71 years.  I had a blast ‘cause my man knows how to treat his woman—Oh yes, Jesus, he does!  He had been organizing this trip for two years, and it was outstanding—first class all the way!

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk/Bilboa, Spain

Talk about acting like a “balla”—for two weeks I was a committed hedonist.  (For the uninitiated, a “balla” [baller] is someone like a successful basketball or football player who lives like she is queen of everything—a Serena Williams or Beyoncé with so much money to burn that one’s lavish and outlandish lifestyle is de rigueur.) The way I acted over the course of those two weeks onboard the cruise, you would have never guessed that I was born a poor-Black-child in the inner-city of Cleveland because I took to being pampered like a pig to slop or a Trump. 

Everything was just perfect, and I can see why people prefer being rich rather than poor.  For me, this lifestyle was temporary, but if I could have stayed on an eternal cruise on this particular ship, you bet your sweet tuckus, I would have. That’s because humans—especially Americans—are prone to the seductive life of getting our own way when everything is how you want it, when you want it, and where you want it—a.k.a. easy.  In other words, my “idealized persona” (what Carl Jung calls our mask, and what the author Mateo Sol of Loner Wolf describes as “…what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world”) was livin’ the dream on this floating luxury resort.  That is…until I boarded the plane in Rome to return home, and I got into a rip-roaring fight with my “shadow self” which is still whimpering today as I try to wean myself from all that rich food and pampering.

What is a “shadow self,” you might ask?  First of all, we all have one.  Mateo Sol* describes the “shadow self” as “an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions and embarrassing fears.”  Carl Jung furthers Sol’s definition from his book: On the Psychology of the Unconscious:

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses—and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster.

Spoiled Brat meme/Sylvester me.me

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BELOW IS THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE FIGHT WITH MY SHADOW SELF WHO HAD STOWED AWAY UNDERNEATH MY SOUL AND STAYED HIDDEN AND SILENT UNTIL MID-WAY DURING THE TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT HOME AFTER THE CRUISE.

SHADOW SELF:  Psst!  Wake up!  Wake up, Fool!! Why the fuck are we in coach?  This is not what I signed up for.

MY PERSONA:  Oh, my God—where did you come from?  I thought I left you locked in the closet at home.

SHADOW SELF:  As if!  Where you go, I go.  Do you hear that nasty-ass old man hacking up loogies sitting just three seats from you?  He’s been doing it all night. We’re going to catch “p-new-moania” from this dude and be bedridden for weeks.  We’re almost 71 years old.  We can’t be putting ourselves in this kind of danger.  Now, on the other hand, do you hear anyone coughing and sneezing in First Class?  Did you notice their lovely hot meals (three choices—each with hot soup options) served on linen table clothes along with champagne and copious wine and hot fudge sundaes on trays in front of their lay-down beds and massive TV screens that tilt for maximum viewing? It’s a different world up there — a world where we definitely belong.  A world where people have been “expedited.”

What did we have for dinner?  A freezer-burned gluten-free cardboard chicken piece in a tin (half cooked) with unseasoned veggies (also freezer burned).  We are in a seat with a TV screen on the back of the seat in front of us which is the size of a postage stamp.  I tried to pee an hour or so ago and there were at least 250 people lined up to use the toilet.

MY PERSONA:  Listen, SS, we discussed this before I left.  We used all our Benjamins for the cruise and all our frequent flyer points for the flight to London.  You’ll survive this return flight from Rome. I know it’s like being in a can of sardines flying in coach, but unless you are Trump or a televangelist with a fleet of private planes, you’ll just have to suck it up.  Besides, this is why I thought I left you home.  I don’t want to hear any whining after such a fabulous vacation.

Used by permission: 212692_600 Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald, NE

SHADOW SELF:  There is always room for improvement, Chickadee.  The cruise line showed you the blueprint.  I keep dreaming of that ship and how this is the first time you’ve really treated me as I truly deserve.  The cruise ship had me at “hello!”  Remember the entry-way to the ship when one of the stewards looked at your ticket and said, “Oh, you don’t belong in THIS LINE, Mr. and Mrs. Tomczyk.  Come with me to the VIP line because “you’ve been expedited!”  God, I love the sound of those words:  “YOU’VE BEEN EXPEDITED!”  We were swiftly escorted onto the ship with not another person ahead of us which meant no lines and no waiting.  (Bitch, you know how I hate waiting in lines!)  Then, before I could say, “Let’s locate the martini bar,” a waitress gave us our choice between straight champagne or mimosas as we toured the ship — champagne in hand.  Didn’t even have to pick up the keys to our suite…just told to go to our lodging at our leisure where we’d find the keys in our mail slot. 

MY PERSONA:  I must say that was nice.  So easy. So expedient. Kind of makes you wish all of life was like that, especially the DMV.

SHADOW SELF:  Exactly.  See…now you’re thinkin’ like me.  That cabin was just to die for, wasn’t it?  A bathroom that was big enough to throw a party in with a bathtub the size of a six-person Jacuzzi.  And remember what was waiting for you when you opened the door?  MORE CHAMPAGNE! And not the cheap-ass stuff either.  Slap me some Moët, Baby…Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to me, Sister-Friend! 

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

MY PERSONA:  Ummm…and the delicious chocolate-covered strawberries—so sweet, they made my toes curl.  And the flowers…weren’t they precious?

SHADOW SELF:  Yep, if only everyday could be like that, right?  Now my favorite was when we heard the knock on the door and in walks our own private butler.  Lawd, have mercy, I almost fainted!  I thought to myself: This po-black-chil’ done hit the lottery!  Remember what he said to you:  “Welcome Madam.  Do you find everything to your liking? I’m sorry that I didn’t have a chance to sprinkle the rose petals on the bed, but I can bring them later, if you’d like.  I’m on-call to serve you 24/7.  Also, would you like to be addressed as Mrs. Tomczyk, Eleanor, or Madam?” Sweet Jesus, I just knew we had died and gone to Heaven.  I was hoping you’d choose to be called “Madam” so I could pretend we were in an episode of Downton Abbey.  This would be the only time in my life that my Black-ass would be called “Madam” by a White butler.  BUT NOOOO…you went all egalitarian and shit on me, and said he could address you as “Eleanor.”  But I forgive you, because the butler was so hot.  Him with his silver-fox hair and Ukrainian accent—looking like a bleached Denzel Washington.  I knew right there, he would be just perfect for all my needs.

Stock Photo: Butler similar to one on cruise

MY PERSONA:  Would you cut that shit out, SS.  Did you forget I’m married?  I did not perceive the butler like that.  He was nice and attentive.  That’s all I noticed.  That and the fact he offered to do my laundry anytime I needed it done—for free.  I would have taken him home just for that.  Anyway, enough of this.  You know that the downside of any wonderful experience or gift is the sin of ingratitude. The worst part of the cruise were all the habitual cruisers (people who cruise every three months or so) who brought along their shadow selves and bitched and complained about everything under the sun (“it’s too hot, it’s too cold, this isn’t as nice as the other cruise, I don’t like the entertainment, why did they change the private bar area, why is the elevator so slow, where in hell did my butler go…”).  Get yourself together because if you think today is bad, wait until I get us back home and put us on a diet to take off all the pounds we gained over the past two weeks with a butler who would bring us any food and drink anytime we wanted it.

SHADOW SELF:  I loved that the first activity you did on the ship was get an 80 minute massage. I liked that almost as much as sampling the six different specialty restaurants with chocolate desserts that would make a grown man weep, and the premium drink package that could stock a neighborhood bar.  I figured if we started drinking at breakfast and kept going straight on to dawn, maybe we’d be able to use up all that drink package, but you wouldn’t even give it a try.  I kept nudging you to “go for it,” but after a while you kept choosing hot tea instead of pina coladas.  Where’s the fun in that, Girlfriend?

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

MY PERSONA:  Because after the third day, my body was saturated.  I can only take so much rich food and alcoholic drinks.  Pretty soon the mojitos and creamed lobster artfully placed on a Sriracha aioli and partitioned by figs and fried marigold flowers have to be replaced by a juice cleanse and salad or I would have rolled back into town weighing 300 pounds. Besides, I wasn’t touring Spain, Portugal, and the like to just eat and drink.  I loved seeing the history of the towns (especially Sintra, Portugal).  I loved discovering their Jewish quarter and learning about Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches, a Portuguese man who issued thousands of visas for Jews to escape Nazi Germany against the wishes of his own king.  It was fascinating to learn how a large group of Jews appeared to assimilate into the Portuguese culture, pretending to be Christians (hidden in plain sight), and even inventing a sausage as proof of their conversion.  What the authorities didn’t know was that the sausage was made of cooked chicken, bread, spices, and tomatoes to give it a “bloody” look, but it was strictly kosher.  The sausage is still one of Portugal’s most sumptuous delicacies. 

And to top it all off, when I turned a corner after leaving the Old Jewish Quarter, I thought I saw Barack Obama waving to me from an apartment window as he stood with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  I almost fainted at the shock!  For a minute he looked eerily real, and another American tourist, an Australian and I teared up and waved back.  The White American from New Jersey said out loud to the other nationalities longingly gazing at the picture in the window: “We’re sorry we couldn’t give you another Barack Obama.  It’s not personally my fault, but we’re working on fixing it.  Please, please don’t give up on America. Ignore the clown masquerading as our President in the White House.”  That’s when I knew, this cruise was only a momentary fun event and brief respite; once I got back home, it was back to the grind of reality and into the resistance movement I had signed up for to help undo the national nightmare that had engulfed our country.

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk in Sintra, Portugal

SHADOW SELF:  Fine.  You went for the culture, history, and inspiration, I stowed away for the pampering and the spoiling.  I want you to figure out how the phrase “You’ve been expedited!” gets me rollin’ like a balla when we get home.  If you don’t, I’m gonna raise bloody hell!  I will be unable to be lived with—do you hear me, Bitch! ‘Cause once you go coddled and pampered, you never go back!  You tell WW, your trip to Africa next year has to at least be business class or I’m gonna throw a stage 4 temper tantrum in the terminal! 

MY PERSONNA:  Shut the fuck up and go to sleep!  You are officially on lock-down, Shadow self. I don’t want to hear another word from you!  Get yourself prepared to eat nothing but lettuce wraps, exercise incessantly, and attempt to write the next great American novel because my “idealized persona,” that I am a disciplined writer and in control of my flesh, is my modus operandi when I’m state side.

SELAH (MEDITATIVE THOUGHT FOR THE DAY)

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WANT TO READ MORE?  CHECK OUT AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS:  “Monsters’ Throwdown,” Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles:  Podcasts From my Miseducated Self”—on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com

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REFERENCES:

https://lonerwolf.com/shadow-self/*

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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WELCOME TO THE SEVENTIES!

Do you know what I discovered this weekend?  I TURNED 70 FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD!

How Old Begin of Blog

WTF?!  Who and what gobbled up my life, and how did it happen so quickly?  It feels as if I was 19 just yesterday.  What the hell happened?  I woke up on June 9th with a 19-year-old’s spirit in a 70-year-old’s body that said, “Let’s go, go, go, go, go, Girl” but my old-woman body instantly responded:  “Oh, hell to the no, no, no, no, no, Girl”!!  (I had done some extra cardio the day before and everything on my body—including my earlobes and my nipples—was writhing in pain.)  But no one knew how to comfort me.  Part of the problem is that I don’t look 70 (thank God!), therefore, absolutely no one has sympathy for me.  I look good—owing to the fact that “Black don’t crack,” expensive make-up, and an unlimited supply of fashionable wigs.  I can still see well, hear well, walk several miles a day, and lead a coup against racist assholes when they try to take over my community.

I’ve started working on my fourth book, and I’m thinking of going on tour as a storyteller (move over David Sedaris).  So what’s my problem?  Why do I feel like I want to break out into a drunken sloppy rendition of a Frank Sinatra song:   “And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…?”

Facing Death Stephane Peray Thailand

Cartoon used by permission: Stephane Peray, Thailand

I called a nonagenarian (my mentor of 54 years), and I told her I didn’t want to turn 70 years old. In fact, I was truly in a funk about it.  She replied:  “What is your alternative?”  Then she continued with her kick in the ass:  “I’m 90 years old.  I can’t see, I can’t hear without hearing aids, I can’t walk without a walker or a cane, I can no longer eat salads because they give me gas—but praise God, my mind is sharp as a tack, and for that I give him glory.  Otherwise, I’d kill to be 70 again—I was still driving then!  

“If you had told me when I met you at 16 and I was 36 that I’d still be alive to smack you upside your head and tell you to get over yourself as I did when you were young, I would have laughed in your face.  But here I am, on the phone with you, having to pee for the 5th time in an hour because my bladder no longer functions at this age.  So before I rush off (more like waddle off) to the ladies room, here’s the 911 about old age:  Lord willing, you’ve still got another decade of get-up-and-get-to-it-ness (although, none of us are guaranteed another minute of life past this moment).  It’s between 80 – 85 years old when the body starts to really drag you toward the dust, and no amount of wishing and hoping will curtail it.  All most of us manage to do during that time is get up, eat, poop, nap, remember the old days (if we’re lucky), rinse, and repeat.  Today, I suggest you put one foot in the front of the other, take each day at a time, don’t moan over what you’ve lost, but celebrate what you have left with every ounce of your being because none of us are guaranteed any tomorrows.  It’s all about the attitude, Little Girl.  Now, I’ve got to go pee.  Love you, Doll!”

what the hell happened

Birthday Card for the Aging

My mentor was right, of course.  I couldn’t let my pity party continue. Even though I felt I hadn’t yet reached all the goals I had set in life, one conversation with my kids helped me see that I had done more than I thought, and they admired me for it.  I had conquered internal demons as well as external ones.  I was a survivor of abuse—more than a survivor—a conqueror!  I was a mentor to both women and men.  According to my kids, they still see me reaching for the stars as if I were 19, and it blows them away.  They see me as someone who refuses to put up with religious stupidity and is not afraid to say “no” when others try and steer me off my true course in life.  They see me as someone who is not afraid to speak her mind.  They still see me as a fighter—still a badass in their minds with a sweet touch of Jesus.

Throat Punch Someone

Most of all, my kids see me as the love of their father’s life, and they say that we are their life’s aspiration.

On my birthday, 39 years ago, I gave myself a fabulous b-day present:  my man. Six years after the Supreme Court passed Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage, I saw my future husband at an audition for a play, and it was intrigue at first sight.  A month later we went on our third date, and he knew he wanted to marry me.  Twelve years after the passing of Loving v. Virginia, my man and I tied the knot in front of an audience of hundreds of well-wishers in a cow barn turned into a hippy church.  It was the best choice either of us have ever made—law or no law.  When you’re a baked potato and you find your stick of butter, you lock that shit down!  Happy Birthday to me, and Happy Anniversary to the Tomczyk us.

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The author and her husband (June 9, 1979): Photo credit—Bill Clarke

Anniversary pic

The author and her husband: 39TH ANNIVERSARY SELFIE

Est 1979

Best 39th wedding anniversary present ever

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT GROWING OLD (ER)

“To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent—that is to triumph over old age.”Thomas Bailey Aldrich

“While I am in this world, I am resolved that no vexation shall put me out of temper if I can possibly command myself. Even old age, which is making strides towards me, shall not prevail to make me peevish.”—Samuel Adams

“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

 “Old age is no place for sissies.”Bette Davis

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THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK:  “The Fetus Chronicles:  Podcasts From my Miseducated Self” is on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com 

 WANT TO HEAR THE AUTHOR’S LATEST INTERVIEW?  Check out the podcast interview with Leo Brown: http://breadboxmedia.podbean.com/e/what-if-it-is-true-can-you-find-faith-in-darkness/ 

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Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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WHEN ELLIE MET JACKIE

Do you know what I discovered this week? This weekend I will be celebrating my 38th wedding anniversary and my sixty-ninth birthday. (When I say “weekend,” that is not a slip of the tongue—I plan to party for three days straight!) I am so thrilled to have something else to think about other than Donald Trump.  He is turning out to be such a consummate liar, grand manipulator, and narcissistic, racist muckraker that I can barely breathe.  I am convinced he is a very mentally unstable person, and I can’t help wondering if God has quit his day job because the more King Trump/Bannon reigns the more I feel as if we’re slip-sliding into Hell as a country.  One of the things I’m going to do during my birthday weekend is see Wonder Woman, and boy would I love to be her for just one day, and be left alone with Trump.  Me and my truth-telling lasso would do some serious damage against Herr Trump.

Wonder Woman RJ Matson Roll Call

Cartoon used by permission: RJ Matson Roll Call

Of all the things that Trump has done that upsets me the most is how he has been like a pied piper to the racist elements in our culture.  I was feeling pretty sad this week about that until I ran across the most amazing article in the NY Times by Sheryll Cashin about how “interracial love is saving America.”* WHAT?  She has this premise that even though it looks as if our country is sinking into a racist quagmire, interracial couples are “chipping away at White supremacy” in a way that makes you want to stand up and cheer.  Cashin cites how Thomas Jefferson stressed with great emphasis that interracial sex and marriage should never be allowed because it would “stain” the White race since he considered the Negro to be “inferior in mind and form.”  (I have two words for you Thomas Jefferson—you hypocritical dog, you:  Sally Hemings—slave and mother of six of your children.)  Ms. Chashin states that it was love that overturned the miscegenation laws in America in 1967 (Loving vs. Virginia), and now at least “one quarter of Americans have a close relative in an interracial marriage,” and when polled, “91% of respondents said that interracial marriage was a change for the better or didn’t matter at all.”  Boy, we’ve come a long way, Baby, from our forefathers’ days!

INTERRACIAL COUPLE HOLDING HANDS ofcommonsense dot me

Interracial Hands: http://www.ofcommonsense.me

Suddenly it dawned on me: I am part of the “salvation” of our nation—me and my man (WW—“White and Wonderful”)!  Hot damn!  And since our 38th anniversary is coming up this weekend, I thought I’d meditate on our love story and share the hope I feel with my readers that no matter how things look now—the killing of innocent Blacks, Muslims, Hindis, Latinos, and Asians—we are never going back to the days of our ignorant forefathers.  Interracial love and understanding is here to stay, and it is growing.

Below is a snippet of our love story of hope.  Enjoy!

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“Ellie and Jackie”/Photo Credit: William Clarke

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WHEN ELLIE MET JACKIE

(A Story of Interracial Love)

Forty-five years ago, a Black girl from the inner city of Cleveland and a White boy from the sheltered suburb of a New England town bumped into each other in a hippie commune in the early 70’s.  Those were heady times and full of experimentation, but just because their paths crossed didn’t mean they should have been attracted to each other.   Most of the White people the girl had known (except for an occasional student in college and a couple of teachers along the way) were ones she feared or hated because of their cruel and horrid treatment to her.  In fact, the girl was often heard to say to anyone who would listen about her views on interracial dating that:  “There ain’t nothin’ no White man can do for me, Chil’!”  The boy grew up in an all-White neighborhood, and even though there were a couple of Black kids in his school, the only Black person who ever came to his house was the mailman, which the family dog continuously chased and tried to bite because the dog “didn’t like Black people,” or so the story goes.  (The dog never chased anybody else—just the poor Black postman.)

The girl belonged to a theater club in her hippie commune, and one day she snuck into the dark hallway of the balcony of the theater during auditions.  She wasn’t in a position to see the actors who were auditioning but she could hear their voices.  When a booming voice that sounded like the voice of God and resonated like James Earl Jones filled the auditorium, the girl’s heart skipped a beat.  She had never heard such a mellifluous voice.  The girl instantly knew that only a Black man could have a voice like that, and in a community that had no Black men but scores of White men, she scurried as fast as she could to see what fine Black male specimen encased that heavenly voice.

our skin color doesn't define us

Stock Photo: Google

The boy’s white skin wasn’t the only thing to surprise the girl.  When she introduced herself to him, she discovered that his name was “Jackie.”

“What kind of name is that?” she said.

“It’s a New England nickname for John,” he said.  The girl looked into his gorgeous blue eyes and almost lost her breath when he spoke to her.

“Well, my name is Eleanor although some people call me ‘Ellie’ which I really don’t like because REALLY—do I look like an ‘Ellie ‘cause seriously would anyone have called Eleanor Roosevelt ‘Ellie’ to her face and that is really who I’m named after at least that is what I’ve been told but then again my mother was crazy and my name could be Diana for all I know…” she said in one breathless run-on sentence.  (The girl was blushing but since she was a golden mocha color, the boy did not notice.  I don’t think the boy ever figured out when the girl was blushing.)

The boy laughed—a deep ground-swell of a laugh that the girl remembered thinking was of a timbre that Santa Claus would kill for.

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“Ellie and Jackie”/Photo Credit: E. Tomczyk

The boy won the audition into the theater club, but the girl was too petrified to talk to him after their initial meeting.  So she had her girlfriend invite him to a dinner party in which the girl would be present as well.

The girl thought the boy was arrogant as Hell.

The boy thought the girl was argumentative and pushy.

The girl said, “I hope we see each other again.”

The boy said, “Sure, I’ll give you a call.”

Weeks went by, but the boy never called the girl.

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“Ellie and Jackie”–14th Anniversary/Photo Credit: E. Tomczyk

The more the boy ignored the girl, the more she pined for him.

“I can’t believe he said he’d call, but I haven’t even heard a peep,” the girl said to her girlfriends one day.

“Do you like him?” asked one of the girlfriends.

“I don’t know… I just thought there was a spark there,” the girl mournfully replied.

“Then why don’t you call him and ask him out on a date.  This is the 70s, Girl!  You don’t have to wait for him.”

That is what the girl did.  She called the boy.  It turned out that his car was broken down and he had no money.  All he had was a beat-up company truck. He wanted to arrange a date where he picked her up in style and took her to a fancy restaurant.

The girl said, she didn’t give a damn about riding in a truck just so long as it didn’t leave them stranded on the road, and as to a fancy meal, if he could boil water, he could invite her over for dinner for a couple boiled eggs.

He made “Shrimp Wiggle.”  (Can of shrimp, can of Campbell’s mushroom soup, and a can of peas on toast.) All the girl could think was, “Oh, Lord Jesus, if this is how White people eat, then no wonder they don’t have any rhythm!”

The girl ate the Shrimp Wiggle and loved it because that night they talked for twelve straight hours.  As the girl’s roommates wondered whether they should file a missing person’s report, the boy and the girl spoke about their fears, their abuses, their rejections, their pain, their scars, their ambitions, their likes, their dreams, and their goals.  They looked into each other’s souls and they loved what they saw.

The next morning when the boy took the girl back to her apartment, they both knew they had met the love of their lives and that one day they would spend the rest of their lives together.  The End.

Anniversary Couple

“Ellie and Jackie”: Happily Married for 38 Years

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ELEANOR’S “SELAH” (“AHA”) MOMENT

I am discovering that my man and I are pushing back bigotry and racism one interracial love at a time.  There once was a time when neither of us could have imagined our life together.  Now that we have lived the reality, we know that “perfect love casts out all fears.”

Oh, and Happy Birthday to me.  (The girl and the boy married on the girl’s birthday in 1979.)  I gave myself the greatest birthday gift a girl could ever get:  the love of a very, very good man!

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               QUOTES TO CHEW ON

“I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry Negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with Negroes.”Abraham Lincoln, The so-called “Great Emancipator” (1858)

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red, and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix.”—Virginia trial court Judge Leon Bazile, who heard the case of Richard and Mildred Loving in 1965 and ruled against their interracial marriage.

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”—The 1967 Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Loving v. Virginia

“The secret to a happy marriage is if you can be at peace with someone within four walls, if you are content because the one you love is near to you, either upstairs or downstairs, or in the same room, and you feel that warmth that you don’t find very often, then that is what love is all about.”—Bruce Forsyth

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WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT “ELLIE AND JACKIE”?  CHECK OUT THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK:  “THE FETUS CHRONICLES: PODCASTS FROM MY MISEDUCATED SELF” ON AMAZON!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE: www.eleanortomczyk.com

Birthday Anniversary Celebration 

REFERENCES

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/opinion/sunday/how-interracial-love-is-saving-america.html?mabReward=ACTM_TC4&recp=7&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&region=CColumn&module=Recommendation&src=rechp&WT.nav=RecEngine *

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/05/18/528939766/five-fold-increase-in-interracial-marriages-50-years-after-they-became-legal

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

IMP. NOTE:  Author is taking a break.  Last blog until July 12th!

Do you know what I discovered this week? Within the month of June, my husband (WW, a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”) had a minor operation, we sold a house and bought a new house, my witch of a doctor refused to turn over my medical records to move with me so I filed a legal complaint against her, I launched a 2nd book (Fleeing Oz) and reworked my website to support that book. I am launching an advertising campaign, while trying to maintain a humorous blog (getting not so funny by the minute), and I am turning 67 on the same day I celebrate my 36th wedding anniversary with the love of my life (I got married on my birthday). I am also trying not to have a heart attack!

stressed meme

In the midst of all this higher than normal stress level, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a couple of items of outdoor furniture online for my lovely new home, have them sent to me in the old house, so the movers could load them along with the rest of the household goods and plant them nicely on my new screened in porch and deck. If I do say so myself, I have exquisite taste and I went right to the outdoor rich-bitch furniture store catalogue. I picked out a charming porch set consisting of one dark wicker/aluminum couch, two love seats with ottomans, one rather large coffee table, and an expansive patio set with six “rocking” chairs, a massive stone-carved table, and an eleven-foot umbrella. Did I mention that the wicker set was offset by copious “simply-to-die-for” sky-blue cushions, topped off by a shameful overindulgence of floral throw pillows? All I had to do was convince my husband that this was a necessity for the new house. But that was the problem. WW was in no mood to hear about me wanting to spend more money after what it cost to sell our old house and purchase our new one.

Now normally, WW is a very generous man, but there are times when he becomes quite parsimonious—a dyed-in-the-wool Ricky Ricardo, and I become (out of necessity) a “crazy, conniving, lost her marbles” chocolate Lucille Ball when he starts to worry about the bills and ties a knot in the purse strings. During those situations, desperate times have to call for desperate means by moi.  After 36 years I always know how to get what I want because WW has a weakness: if you get it on sale—whether you need it or not—he’ll acquiesce. (I could buy a mink coat to wear to Saudi Arabia in the middle of a heat wave if I got it on sale for 60-75% off.)

Lucille Ball and Ricky

MOI:      Hey Babe? [The wife has waited until the husband is preoccupied with reading the news on his iPad.]

WW:      Hum?

MOI:      You know, our new house has such a lovely, HUGE deck and that great screened in porch; wouldn’t it be great if we got some new furniture to make the deck and porch just pop? I mean, wouldn’t you just love to mix up some gin and tonics and sit back in cushioned rocking chairs while we gaze out over the nature preserve that our deck overlooks?

WW:      What happened to our old furniture?

MOI:      That’s just it—it’s oooooollldddd! Besides, it’s gone. I gave it to the Junk Man—I paid him to take it away.

WW:      You did what? You gave away our great furniture? That furniture was still good. I had just broken in the seat cushions to just where I like them to cup my butt. There is no “testing, testing, testing” as I ease into my spot; I had broken the cushions in so that I just aim my butt to the general location and it guides itself in like a heat-seeking missile. We could have used that deck furniture until Jesus came back, and it would have been fine by me.

MOI:      Seriously, Dude? That furniture was sooooo ghetto. I can’t go living around White folks in that gated community you’re moving me to looking like I’m on welfare. I’ve got a rep to maintain. I’m pretty sure our outdoor furniture is the reason Jesus is tarrying—he’ll come back when he has something decent to sit on.  Take a look at the gorgeous furniture sets I want from Showoff Magazine—the mag for people who have more money than God!

WW:      Uh-huh, and that’s not us. This furniture costs thousands of dollars. You need to sell a hell of a lot more books, Cutie, if you want to get this because there is no budget for that kind of extravagance.

MOI:      Humph. What was that quote you told me about from the retirement seminar at work?  “Money is in motion when life is in transition.”

WW:      I knew I was going to rue the day I ever told you that saying. Yes, we are in transition but our bank account cannot move too much in the downward direction or we’ll have to come out of retirement. Can you say “Fixed Income” twenty times front and back—it works either way.

MOI:      Well, what if I could find what I wanted at a cheaper price—say 60-75% off?

WW:      Really . . . 60 to 75% off? I’m listening.  [The wife looks into the camera with a wry smile as if to say to the audience, “What did I tell you?”]

MOI:      I found the same porch and deck sets at our local big box store with free delivery!

WW:      Yeah, what’s the catch?

MOI:      No catch. Just “some assembly required,” [The wife says in a soto voce manner] which I’m sure a man as brilliant as you will have no trouble putting together. The way the description reads, there will probably be no more than two boxes—tops!

. . . AND THEN THE FURNITURE ARRIVED . . .

(This is how I imagined my lovely furniture would arrive . . .)

USPS NEWS CONSUMER AFFAIRS

Photo credit: USPS News Consumer Affairs

This is something like how my furniture did arrive (in about 20 different boxes—crushed, torn, and open) delivered by two “fresh off the boat” Africans, barely able to speak English who kept saying over my screams, “LADY, WHAT DE PROBLEM? No worries. Boxes a little broken, but hey, if problem, call us back, we take away, bring you others. Happens all the time with us. It’s okay? It’s all good. Sign here. We go now.”

Delivery Packages

Photo Credit: CBS http://www.newyork.cbslocal.com

I was standing in the garage trying to figure out how to camouflage my 20 crushed, mangled, and dilapidated boxes of furniture so that my husband wouldn’t have a heart attack when he saw them, when I heard his footsteps in the driveway as he yelled, “CUTIE, YOU HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO! WHY DID I JUST FIND A STREAM OF NUTS AND BOLTS ALONG WITH SEVERAL ALLEN WRENCHS TRAILING DOWN THE STREET AS FAR AS THE EYES CAN SEE? WOMAN, WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN US INTO?”

As I sheepishly handed WW the paperwork to the 20 boxes of furniture pieces, I tried to moonwalk back to the house as he looked down in horror at the four pages of “some assembly required” instructions. I could have sworn I saw a tear course down his left check [The wife looks at the camera and whispers: “If you remember from an earlier episode, being a handyman is not WW’s strong suit”]. I am absolutely sure I heard a string of guttural swear words I never heard come from a human before.

Some Assembly Required

WW was inordinately quiet, and just when I thought I was home free, I heard my husband softly say (you know, that kind of still, small voice that you better not mess with, because that person has had it up to his eyeballs with your manipulation and shenanigans): “Eleanor, you will be helping me with this debacle for the six days and nights that I am sure it is going to take us to put it together—that’s if we have all the parts of which I am doubtful. Please bring me several different sizes of Allen wrenches, all of the regular wrenches you can find, several screwdrivers, my tool belt, my tool box, and a stiff drink!”

I gave him that classic Lucille Ball look that she always gave Ricky when one of her schemes had failed, and I quietly returned in my work overalls (my fat jeans with my “Ask Me About My Book” oversized t-shirt), with a handfull of pliers instead of screwdrivers (who knew, I thought they were the same thing), the tool box, a stiff drink, and no “Steve wrenches, honey, because I couldn’t find them.” I had no idea what an “Allen wrench” was—just remembered that it was a man’s name—so “Steve wrench” sounded good enough to me. WW let out a huge sigh, quietly went to get the Allen wrenches himself, and hugged me when he came back, and we began to dig amongst the boxes for bits and pieces of furniture parts to try and build beautiful furniture together. Whew! Good thing this man loves me, that’s all I can say.

Lucille Ball spider face

Lucille Ball’s classic “spider face” after a screw-up

***

MY A-HA MOMENT FROM MY LUCILLE BALL SHENANIGANS THIS WEEK!

I am discovering that marriage cannot be entered into with any hope of success unless both parties realize that they come together with “some assembly required” labels. Some arrogant wannabe pastor once told me that people have to be two perfect wholes before they can marry and make a success of it (he had an affair and divorced his wife within a year of that stupid statement). There is no such thing as a totally perfect human being. When we fall in love with someone, there are nuts and bolts dripping out of both parties, squished cardboard packaging covering our frames, some of our pieces might even be missing, and it takes a lot of spiritual wrenches and screwdrivers to make the two humans fit together in a cohesive manner that over a lifetime will make a beautiful endearing entity.  Marriage takes a lot of hard work!  If a couple has the glue of friendship, it will go a long way in building a strong unit, and if they have the screws of “stick-to-it-ness” they may even leave a loving legacy for their kids to follow.

HAPPY 36TH ANNIVERSARY WW (“WHITE AND WONDERFUL”). I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANY WORDS COULD EVER EXPRESS. THANKS FOR NEVER GIVING UP ON ME.  JE T’ADORE!

***

TO MY READERS: I am going to take a blogging break so that I can actually survive June! The next time I see you, I’ll be in my new home, in another city, with a lot of chocolate Lucille Ball stories to regale you with as I try to start a new chapter in my life. I will probably return in early July! Until then, be good, tell all your friends and relatives about my new book, Fleeing Oz, and God bless!

 Marriage Imperfect Human beings

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“Maybe what we say to each other is not so important after all, but just that we are alive together, and present for each other as best we can be.”Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son

“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”Franz Schubert

“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”Friedrich Nietzsche

“To keep your marriage brimming,

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;

Whenever you’re right, shut up.”—Ogden Nash

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”—Homer

Love and Marriage

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK, FLEEING OZ? BUY NOW AT AMAZON!

LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT www.eleanortomczyk.com

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Anniversary Toast

AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKBMProof FleeingOz

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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I DO, I DO!

Blush and yellow Hibiscus

A glimpse of E. Tomczyk’s garden | photo by “WW” Tomczyk

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  It is just days before my thirty-forth wedding anniversary when I’ll celebrate being married to the most amazing human being I’ve ever met:  WW (a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”).  So it seems like a good time to take a couple of weeks off and hang out with my man and revel in those gorgeous blue eyes—contemplating how blessed I am to know such a man of integrity, strength, and courage.  I want to celebrate love with a man who has spent our entire married life helping to heal all the wounds my childhood haters inflicted.  To do this, I will need to step away from the news (Farewell, M. Bachmann: there is a God and you just got schooled by him), step away from my blog, and tune out all my trolls.   I plan to sit amongst my flowers with my man, read some books, drink lots of wine, thank God I’m alive, and work on my memoir—especially the love story of WW and me which is the book’s last chapter and rivals anything Nicholas Sparks has ever written (yeah, Baby!).  And then I’ll swing back in a couple of weeks to pick up where I’ve left off and see if my readers have kept out of trouble.    In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on marriage.

Anniversary Interracial Marriage

Cartoonist:  Kevin Siers | The Charlotte Observer

What’s your secret?  That is the most commonly asked question I get when people hear that I’ve been over-the-moon, happily hitched for thirty-four years (plus six dating years) to a white dude.   Anyone who knew me in my youth knew that my mantra was that I would never marry someone who was white, because “there was nothin’ no white man could do for me.”  (Good grief—the arrogance of youth still makes me shudder!)  In previous years when asked what I thought made a successful interracial marriage, I’d say all sorts of cliché bullshit that first popped into my mind without giving it much thought:

“Communication”

“Loving God”

“Weekly date nights”

“Great sex”

“Must have things in common”

“Being each other’s best friends”

“Learning how to pick your battles”

“Being a good listener”

Early on there was also the Herculean task of ignoring the racist naysayers when they tried to thwart our marriage by saying stupid shit like:  “A robin can marry a dolphin, but where will they live and what about the children—they won’t be fish or fowl!”

Loving day wedding bands

The children (ages 29 and 30) did just fine—they neither have flippers nor wings—and WW and I didn’t have to summer in a nest at the top of a tall tree or winter beneath the waves of the Caribbean Sea to survive.  While the list above contains some truths about sustaining a marriage, none of them were ever any guarantee that our marriage would form into the rock that it became.  I’ve known Christian couples who claimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior every other breath, could quote the Bible backwards and forwards, went to church whenever the doors were open, were religious about a date night every Friday, preached against Gay marriage as a sin and a detriment to heterosexual marriage, and yet they were the nastiest piece of work toward each other that I’ve ever had the unfortunate opportunity to witness.

Somehow, being at peace with the concept that one has found the right person who aligns with one’s spiritual and aspirational goals is half the battle.  But making damn sure that one is truly in love with the individual and not “in love with being in love” is the hardest plumb line to adjust to—especially for women.  Between our little girl dress-up fantasies, our Cinderella and Prince Charming fairy tales that we’ve grown up with all our lives, and now the “keeping up with the Joneses” Pinterest, women can get pretty screwed up when it comes to what is real or what would make a great “pinned by______” on the photo-sharing website when it comes to getting married and staying married.

Anniversary marriage thelaughinghousewife dot wordpress dot com

Cartoon from:  www.thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com

I am discovering that I do know (after 33 years) what makes a good marriage go the distance—no matter who you are, and even if you’re a robin who married a dolphin:   It is grace, respect, and a sense of humor.

Grace:  to be able to accept the things about each other that drive us nuts without developing a nervous tic whenever our spouse’s peccadillos emerge.  Grace doesn’t work without forgiveness and therein lays the stumbling block to it—grace takes daily exercise.

Respect:  to never, ever, ever cross the line of contempt, disdain, rage, or abuse when it comes to dealing with our lovers.  Those are flesh-eating zombies and very difficult to survive.  But if it should happen, having the grace to immediately, and genuinely, ask forgiveness, along with the grace to do whatever it takes to never cross those boundaries again.  No amount of love can keep a marriage together without an equal amount of respect.

A sense of humor:  the ability not to take oneself too seriously—about anything!  The ability to laugh uproariously—in the moment—about our own imperfect humanity!

Anniversary humor

Cartoonist:  Walt Handelman|Newsday

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

“Every good relationship, especially marriage, is based on respect. If it’s not based on respect, nothing that appears to be good will last very long.”—Amy Grant

“People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this:  Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”—Paul Sweeney

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

E. and “WW” Tomczyk| Photo: Tomczyk Archives

WW and I:  many anniversary celebrations ago . . . a little more hair, a little less “fluffy-nutter,” but very much in love.

Love Birds

E. and “WW” Tomczyk| Photo: C. Tomczyk

Ebony and Ivory:  34 years and counting . . . a little less hair, a lot more ass, but still very, very much in love.  Thank you Loving v. Virginia (Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man) for paving the way.  WW and I are eternally grateful to you and I know you cheered us on in that great cloud of witnesses!

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
19 Comments

Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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