Friday, December 18, 2009

Why I Am Jesse Wolfe

I’d heard stories about her most of my life. How she’d nailed her husband’s clothes to the floor when he wouldn’t pick up after himself, or, when she was caring for her daughter in the hospital, he had an affair with a ‘floozy’ so she kicked him out after she drained their bank accounts and sewed the money into a chair cushion.Those were the days before women could have bank accounts in their own names. She never granted him a divorce and continued to refer to his companion as ‘the floozy’ for the next 52 years although she visited them in Florida regularly. She lived to be ninety-six living in her own home, with the only bathroom on the second floor, until the last nine months of her life.

She was my father’s aunt, my great aunt. Somewhere along life’s path my father and she had had a falling out which resulted in me not getting to know her until she was in her late eighties. I understood after meeting her why she and my father locked horns.

Over the years I was told by some family members that I should really go see her, one favorite cousin, inparticular, really pushed it. Finally I decided to go but I was told I could only stay twenty minutes because she couldn’t handle more than that. I drove the three hours to her house wondering why I was doing this and what I might learn in twenty minutes.

I knocked on the door and was greeted with, “I’ve been waiting for you a long time.” I was on time. I knew I was because I had waited around the corner ten minutes making sure I didn’t come early. I let it pass and gave her the flowers I’d brought.

She made tea. We chit chatted for twenty minutes. Every once in a while she’d throw in a barb about a family member which made me laugh. I felt at ease with her but got up to go in the proscribed twenty minutes. She made a gesture for me to stay seated.

“Did they tell you that you could only stay twenty minutes?” she asked.


She gave me a wicked grin, “Everyone wants to see me because I am old. They think I know something they don’t know. If I don’t like someone then I don’t have to put up with them more than twenty minutes.”

I stayed six hours and we didn’t stop talking. She told me family stories and she gave me a sense who i was in the universe of our family. She was at times impatient, curt, blunt and to the point. She was also psychic. In the course of that first day together she told me that she had heard about me all my life, that she,that she knew I was one of ‘her line’ that she’d been waiting for me to come to her. I believed her for I had been waiting all my life to meet a kindred soul, someone in the family who would get who I was.

I loved her.
I am Jesse Wolfe

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