realitybites (13041)

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Journal of realitybites (13041)

Friday June 24, 05

Life is list of meaningful occurrences

11:28 PM

Step one: Index life
Step two: Get rid of the bullets

This is the index of my life -- a list the meaningful occurrences that have shaped who I am and am becoming. Once I remove the bullets and add some filler words, then I will have my autobiography.

As I list the events that have made up my life, I realize that I am not a victim. Most of these things happened because I chose a particular path or made a careless/careful choice.

I take full responsibilty for my life.

When I was five (1972):

  • I looked like Shirley Temple.
  • I crossed the street for the first time.
  • I learned to ice skate.
  • I lived in a white house.
  • My mother drove a red Volkswagen Beetle.
  • I listened to Jefferson Airplane.

When I was 10 (1977):

  • I spent the summer on Bob's Lake in Canada.
  • I would not eat meat.
  • My mother went to work.
  • I hated my maternal grandfather.
  • My paternal grandfather died of a stroke.
  • My dad inherited my grandfather's boat.
  • I collected shells on the beach in Florida.
  • I played football with my brother.
  • I was on a swim team.
  • I learned to water ski
  • I developed a passion for boating.
  • I moved from Youngstown to Akron.
  • I lost all my childhood friends.
  • I realized that my parents hated each other.
  • I got drunk off of scotch.
  • I went to Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Geauga Lake amusement parks. I was finally tall enough to ride all the big roller coasters.
  • I listened to Simon and Garfunkel.

When I was thirteen (1980):

  • I got my ears double pierced.
  • I developed breasts.
  • I got my period.
  • I had a best friend named Dawn.
  • I smoked pot for the first time.
  • I shoplifted.
  • I snuck out of the house at night.
  • I rarely ate dinner at home.
  • I went to my first rock concert at Blossom Music center -- Pat Benatar.
  • I made a cake for my world history class.
  • I ate vitamins like they were candies.
  • I kissed a boy for the first time.
  • I was very angry.
  • I smoked a cigarette.
  • I delivered the local afternoon newspaper.
  • I dressed like a preppie.
  • I was in the Advanced Academic Placement Program.
  • I was in my brother's eight grade English class even though I was only in seventh grade.
  • My family took a road trip out west. We stopped at every national park on our way from Ohio to California and back. Among them were: Zion National Park, Hoover Dam, The Black Hills, The Grand Canyon, The Meteor Crater, Carlsbad Caverns, Devil's Tower, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Yosemite, The Painted Desert, The Petrified Forest... . Also, we went to Lake Tahoe, Salt Lake City, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm, Las Vegas... . May add to this as I remember more places.
  • I listened to Pink Floyd's The Wall.

When I was fifteen (1982):

  • I got arrested for driving without a license. The charges were dropped. I have NO criminal record.
  • I had sex for the first time.
  • I saw Journey in concert.
  • I moved from Akron, Ohio to Tampa, Florida.
  • Again, I lost all my childhood friends.
  • I started smoking cigarettes regularly.
  • I worked as a busser at The Brown Derby.
  • I fell in love for the first time.
  • My sister hit the carport with the Ford LTD.
  • My mother had an affair and left my father.
  • My parents divorced.
  • My dad got custody of us kids.
  • My dad drove a Jaguar.
  • I got drunk almost every night.
  • My sister went to Ohio State University.
  • My brother played Led Zeppelin II every day.

When I was sixteen (1983):

  • I got my first used car.
  • My father went bankrupt.
  • My family was evicted from our home.
  • I moved in with my mother and her boyfriend.
  • I got cancer.
  • I quit smoking cigarettes.
  • My boyfriend bought me Ghost In The Machine by The Police.
  • I developed a passion for making love.
  • I started taking birth control pills.
  • My boyfriend would spend the night at my house.
  • My brother moved in with his girlfriend at seventeen.
  • My sister dropped out of college and moved to California.
  • My mother and I moved into our own apartment because her boyfriend did not want to deal with me having cancer.
  • My boyfriend and I broke up.
  • I stopped taking the Pill.
  • My mother's boyfriend had blackouts from drinking.
  • I did not finish the tenth grade.
  • I was bald.
  • I lost my eyelashes, eyebrows, and pubic hair from the chemo.
  • I stopped getting my period.
  • I listened to The Police and U2.

When I was seventeen (1984):

  • I finished 9 months of chemotherapy.
  • I was told that I was sterile from the chemo and radiation.
  • I took my GED.
  • I worked full time at J.C. Penny's
  • I enrolled in Tampa Community College.
  • I moved into my own apartment.
  • I quit college after two semesters.
  • I moved in with the PR woman for J.C. Penny's and her local anchorman husband.
  • I moved out of their house and back into my own apartment in a seedy part of downtown Tampa.
  • I got my first waitressing job.
  • I lived next door to two very good looking, male hustlers.
  • I started dating a sports editor for the Tampa Tribune who was eight years my senior.
  • I had a fake ID.
  • I went dancing almost every night with my boyfriend.
  • I saw The Thompson Twins in Concert.
  • I was an exercise freak -- working out at least three hours a day at Club Olympiad.
  • I still wouldn't eat meat.
  • I learned to play Chess really well.
  • I listened to The Cure, The Smiths, R.E.M., and New Order.

When I was nineteen (1986):

  • My maternal grandfather died of emphysema. I laughed. I did not go to his funeral.
  • My menstrual cycle returned after a three year absence.
  • I saw U2 in concert.
  • I went to the movies all the time. I developed a passion for foreign language films. I saw Betty Blue and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. There was a great cinema near my apartment in Tampa.
  • I wrote a lot of poetry. Sometimes I would sit in a tree to write.
  • My sports editor boyfriend moved in with me.
  • We took aerobics classes together.
  • He spoilt me rotten.
  • I treated him like shit.
  • He and I went to counseling together, to learn how to deal with premature ejaculation.
  • I worked double shifts Casa Gallardos Mexican Restaurant.
  • My boyfriend and I wrote songs together. I wrote the lyrics and he put them to music with his Casio keyboard.
  • My brother had a daughter with his first and only girlfirend. They eloped.
  • I cheated on my boyfriend with an old boyfriend. I asked R to move out. I could not live with the guilt -- especially considering that he knew I cheated and was still willing to forgive me.
  • I started smoking cigarettes again.
  • I quit my job and started working at Wildwood restaurant.
  • I met an ex marine there named M. He moved in with me after R left and became my instant live in boyfriend.
  • M quit Wildwood and started selling cars. He sold ME my first new car -- a Subaru Justy.
  • We moved to Connecticut together. We both drove our new Subarus about 90 miles per hour, almost the whole way from Tampa to Hartford.
  • M got a job selling cars at the Subaru dealership in Hartford. And, I became the receptionist for the dealership -- though I was completely computer illiterate and could not type.
  • M started doing cocaine a lot.
  • M started to become obsessive.
  • I got laid off from the dealership.
  • I left CT and drove to Canton, Ohio to live with my aunt. M came to Ohio and begged me to return to CT. I moved back east and we got an apartment in Southwick, Massachusetts.
  • M and I spent Labor Day weekend in Montreal.
  • M continued to drink a lot and do coke. I packed my Justy and left for Tampa, Florida. I moved in with my mother and her boyfriend (same one). Her boyfriend was in recovery for alcoholism and was doing very well.
  • M followed me to Tampa and started stalking me. He waited outside my house and sat at the bar of the restaurant where I worked -- for hours at a time. He even followed me on a date to Chilli's restaurant and made a huge scene. He told my date, "She's a slut! She'll cheat on you just like she cheated on me!" That was a lie, as I never cheated on him.
  • I tried to get a restraining order against M, but was told I could not, as we were not married.
  • M called me one night and said I'm your worst nightmare bitch.
  • My favorite song was Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. I loved the video for Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses.

When I was twenty (1987):

  • I loved The Violent Femmes
  • I got my tax return, packed my Justy with almost everything I owned, and escaped from my worst nightmare.
  • I drove from Tampa, Florida to San Francisco, California. It took 3 1/2 days to get there -- driving sixteen hours each day. I stayed with my sister and her boyfriend -- once I arrived. M had no idea where I went -- I simply vanished.
  • On the second day after arriving, I got a job waitressing at a Jewish deli located across from the opera house. I made a ton of money in two weeks.
  • I quit my job at the deli, as the owner refused to give me a single day off.
  • I found another job working at The Sugar Plum restaurant. I worked all three shifts.
  • Two months after moving to San Francisco, I moved into a two-bedroom apartment with a girl from Dublin, Ireland. She was also a waitress at the restaurant.
  • I started dating frequently and went dancing every night at an alternative club on Haight street. How Soon Is Now? was the most requested song at the club and was played every night.
  • Three months after arriving in San Francisco, I met a man from Israel. He came into the restaurant one night around three O'clock in the morning. I had the flu but the manager begged me to work that night, as it was a Friday night. He put me in the front room in a smaller section with fewer tables.
  • My fate was sealed that night when just minutes before meeting Izzy, I told two men at the counter that I was going to marry a Jewish man because Jewish men are smart and successful.
  • Then I met Izzy. He was alone at a table. He ordered a bagel with cream cheese and coffee. He told me that he was from Israel but lived in LA. He sold wholesale jewelry to shops all over California.
  • Even though I was sick as a dog, I managed to flirt with this bronzed, longhaired man who was nine years my senior. He asked for my phone number. I gave it to him. The next day we went out for Pizza then took a walk along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific.
  • He moved in with my roommate and me three days later.
  • I went with my roommate to a clinic where she had an abortion while I held her hand. I was traumatized by how cold and impersonal the medical staff was. L cried. It was horrible.
  • I told Izzy that I was sterile from the chemotherapy. He said he didn't care. We were in love.
  • Izzy and I saw The Violent Femmes in concert in San Francisco. He turned me onto Talking Heads and Ofra Haza.

When I was twenty and 1/2 (1988):

  • I taught Izzy how to read and write English. He was an extremely quick study. He already spoke Hebrew and Spanish.
  • Izzy and I traveled to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, LA, Santa Cruz, and Chico, CA.
  • I quit working at the Sugar Plum and started working with Izzy selling jewelry. I made $600.00 cash for about 15 hours of my time, in just the first week. All I did was help him carry the jewelry cases and act charming.
  • Izzy and I decided to take a trip to Europe. His sister lived in Switzerland. He wanted to visit with her and to see his parents, whom he had not seen in five years. They lived in Israel. But we would fly there after our trip to Europe.
  • I was sleeping with an illegal alien. Once he left the US, we knew that he would not be able to return. His tourist Visa had expired five years earlier.
  • The FBI arrested my sister's boyfriend. He was convicted of armed robbery and sent to prison for seven years. He was robbing art galleries and reselling the paintings on the black market. We thought that he was a legitimate art dealer. He had fake business cards and a fake answering service. He was calculating and methodical. But, he was a vegetarian and the gentlest person. I would never have guessed that he was a thief -- not in a million years.
  • I sold all my vinyl records at a flea market to save for my trip to Europe.
  • I made love anywhere and everywhere with Izzy. We could not keep our hands off one another. I could smell him when he entered a room. His touch would send chills down my spine. We had so much passion. I had never experienced this before and have not since. I don't know that I ever will again.
  • Izzy and I decided to drive to Florida to try to sell my Justy. Because it was less than two years old, we knew that it would be difficult to sell in California -- especially because it still had a Florida tag. We would then fly to Europe from Tampa, Florida.
  • I got a passport. Yay!
  • We packed everything that we owned into the Justy -- including $30,000K worth of jewelry.
  • We drove to LA on our way to Florida. Izzy went to a bank there and emptied his safety deposit box. I did not know how much cash he had.
  • We stopped in Las Vegas. Izzy was gambling with $1 chips like they were pennies. It made me sick. I worked very hard to save money. He was tossing his away like he had an unlimited supply. Did I say that this made me sick?! I went back to the hotel and went to bed. He stayed out gambling the night away. He lost triple the amount of money that I owned -- in just one night.
  • On a Saturday, we got into a terrible car accident on the highway on our way to Chicago. The Justy was totaled. We were sent to the hospital. Izzy had a broken clavicle. I had a bad cut on my hand, nine chipped teeth, and was black and blue head to toe. The steering wheel saved my life. Izzy's seatbelt saved his.
  • The hospital staff inventoried our personal belongings. While I was getting x-rays taken, the FBI was questioning Izzy. A nurse found 30k cash in a money belt on Izzy. She called the police who then called the FBI. The smashed Justy was towed to the local Police Station. It was impounded and searched. Within hours, they found another 60K in cash in one of Izzy's bags. Also, they were suspicious of the jewelry. Everything in the car was inventoried -- including the color my panties. My tv was destroyed and all my clothes were lying on the greasy floor of the station. I felt naked and crushed like a bug.
  • While the FBI interrogated Izzy, a social worker counseled me. Then the FBI asked me if Izzy was a drug dealer. I told them no -- no way! He didn't even drink and was very much against drugs. The social worker believed that I knew nothing -- even if he were a drug dealer, I was not privy to this.
  • Izzy tells the FBI that it is his life's savings that he brought with him into the US from Israel five years ago. He was worried that if he told them that he earned the $ than the IRS would tax it heavily. He had all that money in that safety deposit box in LA -- unbeknownst to me.
  • We checked out of the hospital. The FBI confiscated $90,000K. They then called Customs.
  • We stayed in a hotel near the Police Station until Monday morning.
  • We met with Customs on Monday. They took possession of all 90k on the grounds that Izzy did not declare it when entering the country.
  • We used my savings to fly to Florida.
  • We got an apartment on Clearwater Beach.
  • My sister moved in with us.
  • I got a job working nights at a seafood restaurant. My sister and Izzy did not work but loafed around for three months while I paid the bills. All my money that I saved to go to Europe was now gone. I had nothing left.
  • My favorite album was Actually by the Pet Shop Boys. Izzy, my sister, and I would sing and dance to it around the apartment.

When I was twenty-one (1989):

  • Izzy fell into a serious depression.
  • He hired an attorney to try to get his money back from Customs.
  • Izzy ignored me, wouldn't make love with me, or kiss me.
  • On my 21st birthday, a girl I worked with named K, and her lover J took me out for crab legs. Izzy didn't want to go. We had become strangers. I went out dancing. For the first time in four years, I was able to use my real ID to get into the club -- I was legal.
  • I went to K's & J's friend's condo on the beach. We had a foursome. I slept with a woman for the first time.
  • I left Izzy and moved to Canton, Ohio to live with my aunt and cousin.
  • I got a job at Papa Bears Italian Restaurant as a waitress.
  • I met John and Joe at the restaurant. John would become the best friend that I ever had. I truly loved him.
  • Joe was living with the mother of his daughter, yet they were not sleeping together any longer.
  • I started sleeping with Joe.
  • John was in love with me. I loved him as well, but because we could not consummate the relationship, I could not consider him my lover.
  • John and Joe were educated. Joe had a BA in psychology and John was in his last year of pre-law.
  • John bought me a stack of Penguin Classics to read. I read 1984, Lord of The Flies, To Kill A Mockingbird, Animal Farm... . I became addicted to reading novels. I read a book a day.
  • I spent the night at a hotel with Joe. I forgot to call my aunt to tell her that I was not coming home that night. John came to my house that next morning looking for me. My family panicked. When I came home early that afternoon, my aunt was in a rage. She said that I would need to find some other place to live.
  • The next day, I moved in with John and his mother. We had our own bedrooms. But, we would lie in bed and kiss one another. We never were able to make love. Though I really, really wanted to.
  • I ate red meat for the first time in seven years and was sick as a dog.
  • The nephew of the owner of Papa Bears, was also the assistant manager. One night, he went through the pockets of my jacket, that was hanging in an unlocked locker. He found a condom and decided to announce this fact in the kitchen to all the cooks and wait staff. We got into a huge fight and I quit my job.
  • I found a job as a cashier in downtown Canton. It was a low paying, crap job. I moved into a little studio apartment nearby. I did not have a TV or a car and had very little money. I went almost two weeks just eating pasta with salt and pepper. John and Joe would bring me food from the restaurant whenever they got a chance. I lived at the local library when not working. I became obsessed with reading. One of my favorite books at the time was Dracula by Bram Stoker. It scared the daylights out of me.
  • Izzy drove to Canton to visit me. We made love. I missed him. He missed me.
  • John took me to see Billy Joel in concert. It was excellent.

When I was twenty-two (1989):

  • Izzy pleaded with me to move back to Florida.
  • John drove me to the airport. We cried and hugged each other goodbye. I never saw him again. Though I did speak with him on the phone, just a few years ago.
  • I moved into a beach house on Reddington Beach, Florida with Izzy and his friend Tim.
  • I got a job waiting tables at a seafood restaurant right on the gulf. One could drive to the restaurant by boat. Many did. It was a beach and boating community. I truly fell in love with the Gulf of Mexico and everything she had to offer.
  • Izzy and Tim were impossible to live with. They kept odd hours and loafed around much of the time. Izzy was a beach bum if there ever was one.
  • One afternoon while lying on a blanket on the sand, in our backyard (the beach), Izzy tells me that while I was in Ohio, he had sued my car insurance company. They settled with him for 6k. What??? He saw how I was living in poverty in Canton, yet got all that money from that lawsuit and didn't offer me a dime?!
  • I moved out two days later and moved in with my mom and her boyfriend (same one). He was now sober for four years. Yay! Unfortunately it was almost an hour drive to work each way, as they lived in Safety Harbor.
  • The following week, I moved into a house with a man named Paul who was from South Africa. This place was across from the beach rather than right on it. And it was only about 1/4 of a mile from the restaurant where I worked. I rode my bike to work every day, as I did not have a car at the time. BTW, Paul was a white man but he had a strange fetish for African-American women. Though, he never did bring anyone home while we were roommates.
  • I still talked to Izzy on the phone.
  • Izzy bought a van and decided to go to California to try to sell the remaining jewelry that he had left. He said that his attorney was still trying to get his money back from Customs. He said that we would make some decisions about our future when he returned.
  • One of the waitresses at the restaurant, named Karen, introduced me to her good friend B. It was lust at first sight, for both of us. He had a beautiful ski boat and would pick me up from work in it. When I was not working, I was out exploring the gulf with B. He taught me everything about boating. I learned how to drive a boat, pull a skier, dock the boat, get the boat on the hitch, make love on a boat... . I absolutely decided that boating was the most thrilling pleasure in the world. I was hooked for life.
  • Izzy was supposed to send me a ticket to meet him out west on my birthday, October 21st. But, he said that the ticket was going to cost too much. But, he would be back soon. He didn't know about B.
  • B and I celebrated our birthdays together, as his was on October 22. By this time, we were involved in a very passionate relationship. It was wonderfully joyous and carefree. I felt like I was 16 again.
  • New Order played on my Sony Walkman cassette player.

When I was twenty-three (1990):

  • I moved out of the house that I shared with Paul and moved into Karen's apartment.
  • Karen was sleeping with this idiotic creep named Peter. Peter and B knew each other from high school.
  • The four of us went out into the gulf one night. I was under the influence of LSD. No one else was tripping but me. Karen and Peter took a hit but couldn't trip as they had taken a hit the night before. I was having a bad trip. B started messing with me, as he was pissed that I took the acid. He was against it. So this was his way of getting back at me. Next thing you know, the boat starts taking in water. The swells were getting larger and it was getting dark. The boat would not start and the lights would not come on. I was in the middle of the worst trip you could imagine. Karen and I had to get on the bow to weigh down the front of the boat so that we would not sink. Peter and B bailed the water out of the boat. All I could think of was my mother. I wanted to be able to say goodbye. Was I going to die out there in the gulf that night?! Finally, Sea Tow spotted us. Thank God. We were rescued. They towed us back to shore. I continued to see B but never was able to look at him in the same way. I could never feel safe with him again.
  • Izzy returned from California. He tells me that he had his money returned three months prior. After Customs take and his attorney's fees, He gets a little over 60k back. He wire transfers most of it to a bank in Zurich, Switzerland, where his sister lives.
  • I was fumigating. That relationship was over. He was a cheapskate. And besides, I was in love with B.
  • Izzy would not give up. He begged for me to forgive him. He knew about B and said it didn't matter. He said he wanted to go to Europe. That we could finally fulfill our dreams.
  • I started sleeping with B and Izzy. Izzy knew but B didn't.
  • Depeche Mode was on my playlist often.

When I was twenty-three and a few months (1991):

  • I was in love with two men. I was having the time of my life, yet I also knew that this was not to last. Although Izzy was happy that I was sleeping with him, and was willing to tolerate me having an affair with B, I knew that B would not be so understanding once he found out. Karen was helping me to keep my dual lover status hidden from B. I started to feel a little guilty. But, I never once felt sleazy. That was not a concept that I bought into. Fortunately, the men I had been with also believed that a woman could have at least as strong of a sex drive as a man. This was true about me. I loved making love with a passion.
  • Izzy tells me that he wants to go to Europe. Karen convinces me that I should go. She said "You have a crap job, Izzy loves you, your dream has been to go to Europe, and besides what are you going to do -- marry B, a carpet cleaner's son?"
  • Izzy and I went to a travel agent and bought two roundtrip tickets to Amsterdam. I told him that I would not go unless I had a ticket home, in hand.
  • Izzy took me shopping. We bought matching black leather jackets.
  • January 14th, 1991. I told B that I decided to go to Eurorpe with Izzy. He was crushed. I felt horrible. Was I doing the right thing? I was still in love with B. Leaving would be a terrible sacrifice. But going to Europe was a dream of mine for so long. If I didn't go then, when would I get another chance to go?! I made the decision with my head and not my heart.
  • I called work and told the manager, "I quit. I am going to Europe. Later (assholes)!" It was like winning the lottery and being able to leave a shitty life behind. I felt hopeful and liberated.
  • January 16th, The Persian Gulf War starts. We fly to Amsterdam that same day. The flight was nine hours long. I listened to New Order's Substance. When the plane took off, Ceremony played through the earphones of my Walkman. I had a smile on my face from one ear to the next. Yet, deep inside I already felt a loss. I missed B, but this would have to remain my painful secret.

Europe (1991):

  • We arrived in Amsterdam late that evening and checked into a bed and breakfast, not too far from the train station.
  • We had some beers that night in the pub of the B&B. I met three drunk English guys who were dissing the French. One ended up peeing on the floor of the bar. Crazy!
  • The next morning, we went car shopping. By the end of the night, Izzy had bought a used Ford Opel. We now had wheels to travel across Europe. Oh goodie. He purchased a six-month insurance policy, got the tags, and we took off towards Zurich, Switzerland. We stopped in Luxembourg, Belgium, and France for five minutes.(They denied us entrance, as Izzy is Israeli and needed a Visa to enter France.) We turned around and went through Germany instead. One of the highlights of the trip was driving on the Autobahn. While the Opel would only go about 65 mph maximum, BMW's and Mercedes-Benz's were flying past us in the left lane, doing at least 100 mph. I had never seen so many Mercedes cars in my life. Ah, but I would see even more when in Israel.
  • We arrived in Zurich. We stayed in an apartment owned by Izzy's sister and her Swiss husband. They had a one-year old son named Daniel. Daniel was not circumcised. I felt bad, as it is a requirement for Jewish males to be circumcised. The husband was not Jewish, so they decided Daniel would blend into Swiss culture better if he was not cut. They feared that he would be discriminated against, as anti-Semitism was still flourishing. That was when I realized for the first time that it is uncommon for European men to be circumcised unless they are Jewish. All the males in my family are circumcised. Yet we are not Jewish. American males were and are still routinely circumcised. It used to be done for health reasons. Now I think it has more to do with aesthetics and custom.
  • We stayed in Zurich for about a month and a half. I hated it. The people were very unfriendly, stuffy, and too serious. I couldn't wait to continue on our travels.
  • We drove to Milan. Armed guards with Uzi's were all over the city. The Gulf War was in full swing. Next we went to Venice -- beautiful. The annual Mardi Gras festival was cancelled because of the war. This was a big disappointment. Though I did get to see the Bridge of Sighs. The highlight of Venice though was when Izzy and I got lost walking down one of the winding roads. We ended up making love in a corridor. Being the sex fiends that we were, we couldn't resist.
  • Next we drove to Florence. What a beautiful city destroyed by graffiti! Virtually every statue and bridge was marked. I felt sickened. We went to Galleria dell'Accademia and saw The Statue of David. It was breathtaking. As we left the museum, Izzy realized that he had been pick pocked 2k in traveler's checks. We filed a police report then spent the rest of the day getting the checks replaced at the American Express office.
  • Then we headed For Prague. This city was absolutely amazing. The country had just recently abandoned its communist roots. It was a city in transition. While almost all the colors there were dark and dreary, there was an atmosphere of hope. A band played Beatles tunes in the square at night. Just a few years prior, this would have been impossible.
  • Then we went to Austria -- my favorite country in all of Europe. It was awesome. The architecture was breathtaking and the people were extremely kind and generous. Vienna remains my favorite city in Europe.
  • My brother and his wife had their second and last child -- a son.
  • We returned to Zurich. The war was making it unsafe to continue to travel at that time. We stayed there for another month and a half. Izzy wanted to wait until the war ended so that we could fly to Israel to meet his parents. Who knew how long it was going to continue?! I was bored out of my mind. All I did was wake, eat, smoke, eat, sleep, wake, eat, and smoke. I was putting on weight. Before leaving for Europe, I weighed 105Lbs. I was at least ten pounds heavier now. Was it from all those Swiss chocolate bars? Or something else?
  • My frustration led me to make the decision to return to the US. I wanted to get back home ASAP. I missed my country and family. I wanted to go back to college and make something of my life. Israel drove me back to Amsterdam. We spent the night in the same B&B. We made love then cried. Was this the last time that we would ever see each other? Was it over for good?
  • I looked at Izzy, turned around, then boarded the plane back to the US. I was sad but hopeful as well.

Back in the USA (1991):

  • March, my plane lands in Tampa, Florida. Ah, is it good to be home. Europe is a lovely place to visit, but I realize that I am happy to be an American. America is so new, so clean, and so huge. I love my country.
  • I weighed myself that night, for the first time in over three months. I have gained 12 LBS. My mom asks, "Could you be pregnant?" "How could I be?" I ask. I was told that I was sterile. I hadn't used birth control for seven years. I used condoms but to protect against catching a STD -- not pregnancy. I only got my period three or four times a year. Hmmm?
  • The next morning, I took a home pregnancy test. It was positive! Oh my God, oh my God! Could I be??? What am I going to do?
  • I went to a Christian, free clinic that afternoon. I had a urine test done there. Sure enough, I was pregnant. I was excited and terrified all at once. The clinician gave me a bunch of pro-life pamphlets and counseled me on the pregnancy. She wanted to be assured that I would not have an abortion. I told her that I was going to keep the baby. Though I had no idea if this was true, at that point.
  • I went on a job interview that afternoon and got hired on the spot. I started working the very next day.
  • I called Izzy's sister in Switzerland and asked her if she knew where Izzy was. She said he was still in Amsterdam but didn't have the name or the number of the hotel that he was staying at. I told her to have him call me as soon as possible. She probed and wanted to know what the emergency was. I finally caved and told her. She said, "Oh you are too young to have a baby. You should have an abortion. I had one. You will be fine." What the hell??? I told her that I didn't want to make any decisions until I talked to her brother. What a bitch she was and probably still is. She was a mother of a one-year old. How could she be so cold and cruel?
  • That night I read through all those pamphlets and looked at the pictures of the aborted fetuses. Why oh why did I read that propaganda? How could I ever have an abortion now? I put my hand on my abdomen and realized then that I was going to keep my baby no matter what. It was a miracle -- I was going to be a mother after all.
  • It was a week before Izzy called. His sister told him the news. He said he wanted to keep the baby and get married. He wanted me to fly to Amsterdam then we could fly to Israel together and get married there.
  • I went to an obstetrician and had a sonogram done. I was eleven weeks pregnant. I must have conceived on or around, January 17. My baby was conceived in the Netherlands. Woo hoo!
  • The Persian Gulf War ends.

Back in Europe (1991):

  • I fly to Amsterdam. Izzy had sold the Opel. We fly to Tel Aviv, Israel. We stay with his other sister and her husband. We go to the US embassy there to find out how to get married and file papers for Izzy to immigrate to the US. They tell us that we cannot get married in Israel, because I am not Jewish. The Rabbis control marriage laws. A Jew cannot marry a non-Jew. What the hell? This was getting weirder by the week.
  • We took a boat to Nicosia, Cyprus and were married by the mayor of the city. No one was at our wedding. I wore white Capri pants and a striped tee-shirt. Izzy wore black jeans and a gray tee-shirt. The mayor's secretary was our witness. We bought wedding rings. But, I did not wear mine, as it felt too tight. Really, I didn't want to wear the ring. I knew this wedding was a big mistake. I could not deny the fact that I would not have married him if I was not pregnant.
  • We went back to Tel Aviv and filed the papers with immigration. All we needed was his immigration Visa, then we could fly back to the US and start our life together. A man at the embassy says to me, "Are you going to convert to Judaism? If you don't, your baby will be a bastard." I think my jaw must have dropped to the ground. I told him, "No. We are going to be living in the US. My baby will be better off not being Jewish." For the first time in my life, I felt true discrimination. I thought, that of all people, the Jews in Israel would be extremely tolerant, considering their own experience with discrimination. But this was not the case. Shocking!
  • We took a bus to Tiberias to stay with Izzy's parents until the papers were processed. There were at least a dozen soilders on the bus -- male and female. All were armed with either an M16 or an Uzi. I had never seen armed soldiers sharing a space so intimately with civilians. It was a sight to behold. I was clearly in a military state. It was a little scary. But even more terrifying was the way the crazy bus drivers drove the Mercedes buses -- fast around turns. I thought I was going to be killed in an accident, or that a bump in the road would trigger one of the M16's on a soldier's lap to go off -- shooting me in the stomach, killing my baby.
  • It was hot -- 106 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no air conditioning. I was in culture shock already and we hadn't even arrived at the parent's house yet.
  • We arrrived at Izzy's parents. They are so happy to see us. They hadn't seen their son in five years. They could not speak a single word of English. They hugged and kissed me. Izzy told them what the man at the embassy said to me. I was crying. They told Izzy to tell me that they love me and it did not matter that I was not Jewish. The mom patted my tummy. She was happy about the baby. She kept saying Madame Yaya. I started freaking out. Who was I? Where was I? Everything was foreign to me. I could not even recognize myself.
  • Izzy would talk to his parents in Hebrew, while I sat there completely lost. He would not translate for me. I was becoming isolated and depressed.
  • I took long walks by myself to keep sane. And I played soccer with the boys who lived next door. This upset Izzy's parents. They thought that I should not be exercising. I should be sitting down resting all day. I assured them that being active was good for the baby and me. They were so simple minded. They couldn't understand. Israel turned into Mr. Hyde. He was not loving and tender any longer. I felt so alone. I wanted to go back to the US. I needed to be near my family during this fragile time in my life.
  • Three months pass. Then finally the immigration Visa is ready.
  • We board a plane in Tel Aviv. I was almost six months pregnant now.
  • I was going home.

Back in the USA (July 1991):

  • Our plane lands in Tampa, Florida. My mom and her boyfriend pick us up from the airport. We plan to stay with them until we get an apartment -- which should be less than two weeks from then.
  • Izzy is ignoring me. He won't talk to me. He stays in the bedroom while we have dinner. My mom and her partner don't understand. A few hours later, after holing himself up in the bedroom, he comes out and asks to use the phone. He calls a cab. He packs his things and leaves the house. He says he is going to Reddington Beach to stay with Tim. He leaves.
  • I go into the bedroom, curl up in a ball, and hyperventilate for a very long time. I was abandoned. I was six months pregnant. How was I going to pay for my doctor's bills alone? How would I raise this child by myself? Oh my God, what was I going to do? My mom's boyfriend sat down on the bed and consoled me. He decided then that Izzy was the devil, and no matter what, he would never forgive him for what he just did to the baby and me. (And he never did.)
  • I called my obstetrician and explained that my husband left and that he has all the money with him. I told her, "I don't know how I will be able to pay for the birth." The receptionist tells me, "The $6,000 dollar balance is due in less than three months. If you cannot pay, then we will have to deny you services." She then said, "Have you thought about adoption? We have some very nice couples that would love to adopt your baby. They will pay for the birth." What the hell??? I could not believe what I was hearing! It was all about money. There was no way I was going to give my baby away!
  • I called several doctors in the area to see if they would be willing to accept payments. None would take me in as a patient, due to liability -- I was too far along in my pregnancy. I would have no other choice but to go to The Health Department for my pre-natal care.
  • Izzy calls from Tim's. I tell him that I need $6,000 dollars for the medical bills. After about one week of begging, he gives me a cashier's check for $6k. I open a savings account in my mom's name and deposit the cash.
  • I go to the Health Department for my prenatal care. They say that I will most likely have to have a cesarean, as my pelvis is so tiny.
  • August, I use part of the 6K to move into my own apartment. I buy a crib, stroller, baby clothes, and other essentials.
  • Pearl Jam's Ten is released.
  • Deanna, my sister in law, and I go to the clinic and I have an ultrasound done. The clinician tells me that the baby is a boy. I cry. I wanted a little girl. How would I raise a son without a father around? But, I accepted this fact right away, and told Deanna his name was David. She patted my abdomen and said, "Hi David."
  • September, Izzy spends the night at my apartment often.
  • I take a Lamaze class with my mom.
  • I see my new obstetrician at her office. She barely speaks English. She tells me that my baby is way too small -- that I need to gain weight immediately. He can't weigh more than 3 LBS! What??? I was due in less than three weeks.
  • October 3, Israel and I make love at midnight. At 5:30 A.M., I wake up, sit up, and my water breaks. I call Deanna. She has had two children. I explain that Israel is there. My mom would freak out if she knew I was sleeping with the enemy. I call the hospital. The nurse tells me to walk around and get the contractions started. But, that it was no rush to get to the hospital. It would be a while before I would deliver. I call my mom. She says she will shower then be at my apartment in less than an hour. I ask Izzy to leave. He doesn't want to. But, my mom and her partner HATE him. They will never understand him being at my apartment. He leaves.
  • At 7:20 A.M., my mom arrives. By this time, I am lying on the floor in horrible pain. I must have been laboring all night and was now in Transition -- the last stage of labor. My mom drives like a maniac to the hospital. It takes us 40 minutes to get there, in traffic. I thought I was going to deliver David in the car.
  • We arrive at the hospital at 8:00 A.M. The delivery/recovery room looks just like a bedroom; it is beautiful; it even has a sauna in the tub. And, it is a private room. The nurse checks to see how far dilated that I am. I am already 3cm. Ten minutes later, the doctor comes into the room. She wasn't my regular doctor. The bitty was on vacation and this,angel was filling in for her. Was there a God after all?!
  • She tells the nurse, "Call my office and tell them I will make my 9 O'clock appointment." What? Was she serious?! I was going to have my baby in less than a half-hour?! How was this possible?! What about those long drawn out labors you hear about? What about the cesarean I was supposedly going to have?
  • Next thing I know, I am pushing -- drug free, no epidural, pain meds, or episiotomy. Yay!
  • David is born at 8:57 A.M. He weighs 6LBS 13 0Z -- a far cry from the 3LBS I was told that he weighed.
  • The nurses all call me Speedy.
  • Israel came to the hospital to visit. He was with Tim. He didn't bring me a card or flowers.
  • David was circumcised the next morning then we went home.
  • I stayed at my mom's for two days. But, I was anxious to get settled at my apartment.
  • I turned 24 on October 21st.
  • David and I are both Libra.

When I was twenty-four (1992):

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