Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Brandy Danu Madison, WI One comment - "accepting one's station in life." I recall my mother's friend & her "white room." It was a museum type "living room." On the occasions we went there I stood at the doorway wondering about it. We were never "entertained" in there. I asked my mother about it and she said it was for special guests. My family, tho comfortable didn't have a room just for show or an occasional cocktail party. My mother would comment on her more affluent friends having a - beautiful home - with a kind of longing for an upgraded existence. We had a spill-proof Naugahyde couch. I recall going to a friend's new condo. Her young nephew was there and he said - this place feels like a hotel. Yesterday I was at an acquaintance's home. It was suburban and all the homes had the exact same type of grass, which was long and luscious. There were no fences so the backyards seemed more spacious than just me and mine. Of course the lawns were maintained with pesticides and commercial fertilizers. This kills all the natural microorganisms in the soil. I live in what was described as a "dusty old house" on the phone by the landlord, sight unseen I said "I'll take it" and I did. Built in 1908 with few recent upgrades in the kitchen or bath and not one closet on the first floor, I enjoy the house a lot with its big (dusty) Midwestern porch & swing and "wild" back yard. My furniture is "piecemeal," the overall effect is shabby, tho I like to think of it as some kind of chic. A humble Bohemian world, but mine.
In 1983 I moved to the very conservative Iowa County for a teaching job in Mazomanie, a bedroom community of the very liberal Madison, WI, Dane Co. and rented a farm house out in the country. 1983 was a presidential election year and I had to go to the home of the local county clerk's home to register. It was an old farmhouse that hadn't seen a lick of paint in years. The dining room was cluttered with craft supplies. The clerk was a friendly grey haired woman. We chatted and I filled out my voter registration form. I think she offered me some tea. On voting day I arrived at the polling place, registration postcard in hand. It was in a little wooden building about 12 feet square, staffed by 3 people who undoubtedly personally knew all of the other voters from this rural area. The voting booth had a gingham curtain for privacy, the ballot was on paper and was to be marked by an X and slipped into the little slotted ballot box. Angela Davis was on the ballot running for president (as a Communist?) that year and I was going to vote for her as a protest vote. (Just for the record, I am not now and never have been a member of the Communist Party). I'm a Social Democrat. Of course in all of Iowa County I doubt that there was one other person who was voting for Angela Davis. They had my registration card with all my information on it. The word redneck pretty much sums up the orientation of that area. My guess is the minority party (Democrat) population of the whole county was undoubtedly very much in the minority to say nothing of a down ballot black woman. It occurred to me that there could be some kind of repercussions from the vote on my - private ballot. I had visions of a drive-by in the night, shot guns firing away, hunting is very big in Iowa, Co. I doubted they would go to the extent of burning a cross in my front yard, but I didn't want to find out. I bit the bullet and voted for Mondale. Iowa Co. most likely went for Reagan as did the rest of the country...it was "Morning in America."