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Entry 7 -- Good Kids, Bad Kids, and Other Kids
I lie in bed with Orel after the party at the Goldfarb's party Saturday night. We have "the discussion" about whether taking a side in a school bond issue local political fracas will help, hurt, or do nothing for the business. On the one hand, people don't want to pay more taxes. On the other hand, people know what kind of a son we have...well some do. On the third hand, some will support the measure, some won't and either stand will probabl be OK. After some rumination, Orel decides that the third hand is probably the right hand.
"You going to make a sign for them?" he asks me.
"Yeah...At least they picked a good message: More High School for Your Money." I laugh. The message is upbeat and the person who suggested it was Clare Jameson. Clare is interesting and sad in the way that all mothers who have daughters who go wild are sad. She reminds me of my own mother. Yes, I was the daughter who made her sad, but that is another story. Maybe I'll tell it some day.
Clare's oldest daughter all ready did the sad making. She is sixteen and has a three month old baby in a trailer at the Resettlement. For those of you who don't know, the Resettlement is a "communmity" set up to resettle those whose towns were polluted to death when coal companies took the tops of mountains to get at the coal underneath. Sometimes this happened in here in Kentucky. More often it happens in Virginia and West Virginia. The coal companies paid to resettle the families who had polluted land in area similar to what they left and in a clean environment. Coal all seems to be somewhere else around here or what there was here is played out. We have factories instead of mines and they are modern clean factories. Factories are good for the rest of business. Factories are good for the Jamesons who a generation ago were miners. Clare says she lost her father-in-law to black lung. That is a scarey thought and a sad one too.
Koli who is Clare's secon daughter is nothing like her older sister. Clare is glad to have a college bound girl. She'll even send her daughter east if that is still what she wants and she can find a way to get a scholarship. "It's a better deal than the army," she explained. Clare's husband agreed though I think to him the whole idea of kids getting in to very competitive schools is so much pie in the sky.
As much as I want Oisin (and later Stasch. I think both boys are going to burn up the world academically.) to have all the French and mathematics and science he can take in high school, and as much as I think we have a shot at that and will work for that, I hated the party last night.
Yes, Ruth Goldfarb loved my cake or at least admired it. The kids mostly ate it but that is fine. Kids have big appetites, even girl kids. The problem is we started talking about how our fourteen year olds were all good kids, special kids, stars. A part of me became fourteen years old again and asked: "What about the rest of the kids?" I even voiced this. I said no one really likes stars. They like football stars, but also envy them. They like football stars because there is a game to watch. There is no game here.
"Yes, but other kids can take French after ours do," answered Mr. Goldfarb, and that was how we got the conversation steered at least for a time to making this a campaign that would appeal to a broad group of people, not just eight sets of parents. Of course though the conversation always drifted back to how good and special our kids were.
"Our kids aren't good!" I felt like shouting. "They are just good at school subjects." That is a good thing to be good at for sure. It will keep them out of trouble. It will lay the foundation for skills that earn big money. We are lucky parents, but other parents of other children are lucky too and other children have other gifts.
Maybe if I had a child of my own things would be different. I'd stop thinking of myself at fourteen or a piece of myself at fourteen which is what I sometimes think of when I deal with Oisin. Maybe once a baby comes out of your womb you're an adult all over not a person trying to treat a kid right from what you remember of your own being that age.
Do I have to say that sometimes I feel like an imposter as a parent. Being at the Goldfarb's tonight made me feel that way.
"You wanna try?" Orel asks me as we lie side by side in the big queen size bed in the apartment over the print shop's master bedroom. The lighs are on. Orel is naked and just has the sheet over him. He is a big, broad shouldered man who is already going grey. He reminds me of that king in the story of Queen Esther. I can't think of where I've heard that story. I think of the rabbi and burst out laughing. I could ask if the story is in the Bible. I could check the Bible myself.
"What's so funny?" asks Orel.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," I tell Orel and slip an arm around his neck. He cradles me like a baby. We always begin our lovemaking with lots of snuggles and cuddles. Orel is a gentle and affectionate man. He must have been a great husband. What kind of bum of a wife threw him away?