Belinda Blue Has Her Say
Laura was on the verge of starting another blog project, writing one memoir vignette per week, but I talked her out of it. She’s finally going to step aside and let me have my say, and I’m rarin’ to go. Some of you might remember me as Bernie’s wife, the one who took a shine to two orphaned wolf-dog pups, abandoned because a bunch of grown-up wolf-dogs in their pack killed their owner, or should I say caretaker, Jake the Wolfman, who was my husband Bernie’s fast friend. You can read an edited version of that story in The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song or you can check out the first version, the one that came right out of my mouth, in this blog’s archives.
Anyway, I think you’ll be happy to know that after adopting only two more wolf-dog pups—that we had to drive all the way to Montana to get, by the way—I have vowed not to get any more of them, no matter how thoroughly mesmerizing they are. And that is no small commitment, I have to say, beause it’s like standin’ by a big bowl of Jay’s potato chips and dip at a party and being able to grab only two. Near to impossible, right? You can always walk away from the food at a party, though, and I can’t exactly walk away from our pups. So I’m living with that discomfort of longing for more a fair amount of time, but I do my best to put the thought of bringing more of these critters home out of my mind.
Now, I really just brought up the wolf-dogs in case you might remember me. I have lots of other things to talk about, like number one, I have a name. I’m not just Bernie’s wife, although I am happily married and proud that he’s been my husband all these years, decades now, in fact, and I did take his last name, Brown, when we got married, which went against the women’s lib stuff I felt a kinship with at the time, but all the gals in North Bend were still taking their husbands’ names when they got married, and pretty much still do for that matter, and I saw no reason to stick out like a neon No Vacancy sign on a dark road. I’d been away from town for a while and just wanted to blend back in like a spoonful of honey in Lipton tea.
But sayin’ I’m Mrs. Brown, even though I am, would be pretty much the same thing as sayin’ I’m Bernie’s wife, and that doesn’t sit right with me, so I’ll let you know I’m Belinda Blue Brown, well, actually Belinda Blue O’Brien Brown, O’Brien beng my maiden name, which I like better than Brown but never use anymore. I’m just Belinda Blue Brown to everybody in North Bend, even though I don’t like having two colors in a row like that.
Now you might think my folks gave me the middle name Blue because I have blue eyes or something, like Bonnie Blue Butler in Gone With the Wind, but that isn’t so. My eyes are gray, no speck of blue in ‘em anywhere. My middle name is Blue because I was a blue baby. Nowawdays they call kids with certain heart defects and some environmental disease blue babies, and they might have been called that back in the 50s, too, but there was also a group of Rh positive babies born to Rh negative mothers who were called blue babies. We had to have transfusions as soon as we were born, you see, because our moms developed antibodies in their blood that attacked us. Some of us didn’t survive, some of us were left with brain damage, and some of us turned out more or less okay, and as far as I can tell I am in the third group.
Why my folks commemorated the whole ordeal in my middle name, I have no idea. There’s a vaccine now that they give Rh negative moms when they’re pregnant and right after delivery, too, and that takes care of the antibodies problem. So what my family went through is a thing of the past. See, my older sister, Corinna Mae, was Rh positive, but she came out just fine because my mom hadn’t built up enough antibodies to harm her. Then I came along and needed a transfusion. Next, my brother, Bobby Jerome, was born real small, and he needed a transfusion worse than I did, but eventually he turned out as normal as anyone. But the fourth child, Bessie June, she was one of the unlucky ones. She didn’t live more than a day, and so my folks just stopped having kids after that. “I just can’t bear the heartache of losin’ another baby,” my mom said. And my dad said, “Heck, five mouths to feed in this family is plenty anyway.”
There’s just no explainin’ why some people do the things they do, like namin’ their kids after a medical crisis. I’ve made a number of odd choices myself, though, so who am I to complain or criticize anyone for what they do, you know? That is, unless it falls into the category of those awful criminals the good people on CSI and Law and Order and NCIS and Criminal Minds are always tryin’ to bring to justice. I have no idea why I like to watch those shows. I know they drag me down, turn me into Eeyore, and this is usually right before bed. God only knows what those shows are doing to my dreams. So I guess I need to walk away from them, like walking away from the potato chips and dip at a party—and yes, we still eat potato chips and dip in North Bend, a town that’s a little too far from anywhere to even be a blip on the map. That’s what our Town Council says anyway, although there’s something odd about those folks. See, it’s the same families generation after generation on the council, and the kids look exactly like their parents, all of the kids born to council members, I mean, so it’s like we’ve had the same people on the council for more than a hundred years.
Plus every time the council meets, there’s always the same amount of money in the treasury, no matter what the expenses have been; month after month, year after year, it’s always a surplus of $15,034.62, which is either reassuring or freaky, depending on how you look at it. Another thing about North Bend is there are no road signs pointing folks our way, so unless somebody’s been brought in as a guest, or is a returning citizen like I once was, nobody from outside ever comes here. There are other things going on, too, that are a little unusual, and maybe I’ll tell you more, unless folks find out what I’m doing and decide to slap me down on account of their privacy concerns, but half the people here don’t even know what a blog is, so I think I’m okay on that score.
So I’ll be tellin’ you some stories about my life here in North Bend, which is a little place that you might not think is worth the time, like what’s her name, oh yeah, Gertrude Stein, you might say theres no there there, but wherever people are, there are stories, right? It’s just a matter of digging around and finding ‘em. I don’t know if I’ll be any good at diggin’ up stories, and I guess I should let you know I’m a liar half the time, and sometimes I know I’m lying, and sometimes I don’t realize I’ve lied ’til months or years later, and after a while it’s hard to keep track of what’s real and what isn’t, but I do intend to come back here soon, because now that Laura has let me out, I’m not going to let her just stuff me away in a corner of her mind like she has been doin’. No siree! I’m gonna blab because I want someone to know I existed and that no matter how peculiar a place North Bend is, I believe we’re all doing our best, that is, when you take all the factors shaping us into account.
Jay’s potato chips photo by Thomas Hawk; No Vacancy photo by Anthony Citrano; Gertrude Stein statue photo by tattoodjay.
Note: If you don’t see a comment section below, click here to leave a comment. Also, in the right-hand sidebar, you can sign up for my newsletter and/or blog updates. They are two different things.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Laura McHale Holland