Saturday, September 24, 2011

Alligators Can't Climb Trees

I have a friend who sometimes borrows my memory. I really do have a rather remarkable memory. I can even remember things that never happened. I picture my deathbed much like the movie “Big Fish” with my kids trying to find out what parts of my life were true. That’s why I love that movie. It glamorizes liars. I try to tell the truth, but the truth grows. I justify my creativity by claiming that honesty is overrated. Just because a person is being honest doesn’t mean he knows what he is talking about. If we really want honesty in relationships, it’s not what we teach our partners. How did we expect the boys we dated to become good husbands?  

My friend asked me the other day if I would remember something for her. I wondered what she wanted to know. She looked a bit puzzled and said she thinks she has a memory of spending the night at my house and going to a party and there seemed to be a tree house somehow involved. Then she looked me in the eye and trustingly asked, “Did something like this actually happen?” 

Yes, and I remember it in detail. You were wearing my red bell bottoms with the big white polka dots. I wore a pale blue pair with a big Tshirt. We both wore sandals and long straight brown hair. We were going to Mike Mayo’s party. I was going to be with Clyde and you were with Jackie, I believe. Yes, he was very adorable. Or maybe it was Mike. He was cute too. We were probably about fourteen years old or younger. 

When we arrived we went into the garage and Innagadadavida was playing on the stereo. The boys asked us if we wanted to go for a walk. We did. We walked down by the river and sat on a sea wall and looked at the moon and stars reflected on the water. My white sandals were so bright against the dark river they almost glowed. It was a beautiful night. It’s so cool having a boyfriend. Do I really want a boyfriend? How do I know if he really likes me? Do I really like him?

Then the boys asked the question. Each of them asked the same question. Each of them asked it intimately; quietly; privately. It was the first time I had ever heard the question and I must admit a pivotal experience for me. “Do you want to go and see the alligator?” I instinctively knew this was some kind of code that would lead to heavy petting. I also knew this was a great way to find out how serious I wanted to be about this guy. So we all four walked back up the dirt road and past the garage and near a pond with a big tree next to it. Without discussion we all climbed the tree up to the tree house. There was enough room for three couples. 

We didn’t expect honesty. We liked our guys to be cute and creative and a little bit sly and deceptive. But then later we decided to really rake them over the coals for being all of those things. It’s funny really. I wonder how many of us would have gone if our boyfriends said “lets go up in the tree house and make out”? I suppose Mimi and I probably would have. It was just so much more fun to pretend and make it all more naughty. We were good girls doing bad things with cute boys. I guess that’s about as normal as rain.



  1. I love your writing and I love the title of this blog. Would like to link you to my blog if you don't mind.

    You have a very nice "voice" when you write. Must be in the genes.

  2. Please link to your blog. I appreciate the exposure. My career as an internet porn star wasn't really working out but the blog seems to suit my need for attention.

    Thanks for the hat tip to my dad. I don't know if I write like him particularly but it's probably his fault that words roll around in my head continuously weaving memories into emotional tales at least based in truth as I remember it. Living with my father created an obsession with words and images. Imagine that. Oh that's right, you are haunted by the same demons.

    I know you recognize your father for your good looks, but he doesn't get credit for any of you guys' careers, does he?

    ~ Patti

  3. Wow. You're revealing the girl code. I'd reveal the guy code but it seems to published in every sports blog on the planet. Of course that means we're safe, but still, you can never be sure.
    I love your stuff.

  4. So true, "normal as rain." I love it, Patti! I don't think my memory is as good as yours. But this brings back a bit of my youth, that exciting feeling of brand new, fresh experiences with boys! I can't wait to read more of your writing. It's a fantastic idea to revisit pieces of your life in this way. Thank you!

  5. Betty, My memory is not exactly accurate. I have always tried to make it clear that what I write is what I have taken from my memories. I have often written about some event and later found out I got all kinds of details wrong. So if by "memory as good as yours" you mean willing to take liberty with the truth that may be true. I admit I sometimes remember things that never even happened. It's MY truth, not THE truth. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you decide to blog