#21 TOM ........... with an open door

Photo Credit:  amazon.com / Everessence Album cover
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the minds true liberation

~ lyrics to Aquarius by Hair

It's funny how someone that you meet for a "nano-second" or for a short slice of time from the pie of life can make a difference in how you live your life.  I bet "Tom" doesn't remember me..........if he does it will be "vaguely" at most I am sure.  I remember Tom.........and a few things about him vividly.

I was 9 years old,  Tom and his room-mate lived next door to us in the apartments we moved into temporarily when we left our house on Shelby Drive in Richmond, VA.  

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Two single guys in their 20's.  I don't know if I would think so today but to a 9 year old that lived a not so "cool" life........they were  "SO COOL!"   Tom drove a Volkswagon which was very much in vogue......but his was super special it had a purple opaque stearing wheel in the shape of a peace sign! :) It was opaque true......but hard...... almost like blown glass that doesn't shatter?  it had some bubbles in the make up of it that you could see in the center making it a perfectly imperfect piece of art.....   I don't think I ever got to ride in the VW but I did admire this steering wheel often, through the open  window.  I would reach in and touch it sometimes and pretend the car was mine.   I think this type of steering wheel is extinct now...... may even have been "outlawed" because I haven't seen once since and  I even did some internet searches for them for this posting and was not successful in finding it in  any form or anything close  to show you.

photocredit: wikipedia
Sometimes Tom and his friend would leave their back door open.  I wasn't allowed to do that , but I often wanted to...... there is such freedom in that.   I love the "open door" with warm air flowing inside in the summer time, yes with the air conditioning on......... I love the open door when it rains......... if there are precautions taken not to get the carpet wet........   I love the door open when beautiful sounds are either inside coming out or outside coming in..........either way............ I was introduced to the album of Creedence Clearwater Revival and the / musical soundtrack to Hair/  AQUARIUS because Tom and his roommate left their door open........their music came outside and I loved to hear it and dance to it in the privacy of my own little world.

photo credit:  wikipedia
I learned to create "love bead necklaces" and bracelets at Tom's kitchen table.  They were stringing beads, I was babysitting myself after school and I asked them what they were doing through their open door.  They invited me to make my own necklace.   I did on elastic stretchy string.  I thought it was the best necklace in the world.  I made it.  It was cool.  I wish I had it today.   I have made, bought and gotten gifts throughout the years of "love beads" on a string, none of which have held a candle to my tiny glass bead necklace that I made that day.  Each bead was picked out with great purpose.  The colors were separated into little clear bowls on the table.  We each took beads and strung them on needles which held the knotted string on the other end.  We didn't talk.  We concentrated and sang songs to the radio in the background.  They gave me a root beer and we just made necklaces.   I taught my girls how to do the same.  All of them, my biological girls and the girls that I babysat or have just hung out here when we were "stringing."   Even when I was a participant in the stringing I have kept the supplies in the house for many years so if the urge ever struck ....... it could be done.

photo Credit:  lifeisgood.com
Tom and his room mate played Frisbee with their friends out back in the "common" courtyards from time to time. They taught me how to throw one because my eyes stared at them so long I am sure they felt compelled to include me, even though I would be a nucence more than anything and take time away from their adult time I am sure that they were trying to have with their friends.   I wasn't good at it then , still not the best at it as an adult but something I am never "without."  I have taught my kids to play Frisbee and taken it on almost every family vacation.  I love to toss it around ........anytime........ My favorite Frisbee is a "life is good" frisbee i recently bought on the Eastern Shore my husband and I took a few years ago.

Another thing that I "took" from my short encounter with "Tom" was a love for fried chicken livers and gizzards.   The smells.......coming through that back door.........lured me in............ and I asked what smelled so good.  "Gizzards and Livers" was the reply.  They were drinking beers , eating these deliciously smelling food that I had never heard of and were dipping them in big puddles of ketchup on their plates.   I asked to taste one , which of course they said I could.  I loved them.  They were "seasoned up" much better than any of the bland foods that came from the kitchen I ate in next door.  They were a bit spicy, chewy and satisfying.  I loved them then and yep, I love them now.  I make them now from time to time, its the perfect frugal meal......... you can get full for under a buck! :)   I have learned to make a few meals using these little delicacies over the years.  I can guarantee one thing, there is never a time that I use, make, order or see them......... I think fondly of "Tom."
photo credit:  http://www.seriouseats.com/

There is another very vivid memory that I own because Tom was one day he had his shirt off .   I noticed he had purple scratches all over his stomach. He was a large man in height as well as body structure.  There were times he would grab me by the arms and spin around and around making me dizzy but I found this funny too, I laughed and laughed... ..... I felt weightless.  This particular day Tom had his shirt off and I got a view of his stomach from the air.......he had 4 maybe 5 large purple scratches on his belly.   I asked him what happened and he shared with me a story........ a story of the time he was walking through the woods and a tiger attacked him, he had to kill the tiger but before he did he was scarred.   I believed this story a long time, my mind made him somewhat of a samuri warrior ......... ah to have the imagination of a 9 year old again.....
My image was crushed when I found out that those "scratches" were "stretchmarks"  ....battle wounds of a much different type.   Funny, no one ever asked me about my own stretchmarks........ at least where they came from....... but if they ever do I am ready with an answer for them........ that tiger in the woods (not to be confused with "tiger woods"  gets around!

I took pieces and parts of Tom at a very young age to develop who I have been my entire life.  Its amazing that someone so remote from your own life and whats going on in it...... can impact your life in such a way that you remember the details, the smells, the sights, even the touch of what I experienced through Tom and his room mate I can recall very easily, just by drifting away in thought.   Thanks Tom............where ever you are

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