Dearie – 2

Dearie ©Bruce Louis Dodson

Chapter 1

Linda Descending

Spring 1959

It was my junior year at S.I.U. where Linda Meehan was an A+ student, majoring in math and sexy to the bone. She was vivacious with a charming personality and a sense of humor, bobbed black hair and hazel, green-flecked eyes. She’d been Miss February on the campus calendar, posed in a translucent drape.


There had been speculation as to whether she’d worn anything beneath it. There were rumors she might be expelled, but nothing came of them. She dated seniors, football stars  . . . big men on-campus. More than one of Linda’s sisters in the Alpha Gamma house was jealous.

My fraternity held pledge-revenge-day once a year, a twenty-four hour role reversal when the uninitiated could get payback for the daily torture and humiliation full-fledged members like myself inflicted on them. I’d been kidnapped one warm summer night, tied up with rope and left on the front porch of Alpha Gam’ Sorority. A pair of giggling girls dragged me inside, teased me a little, then began debating whether they should let me go or not. As they were starting to lose interest, I saw Linda coming down a staircase from the floor above, breasts bouncing happily beneath a snow-white cotton T-shirt. Tight green shorts were like an exclamation mark above her legs. I recognized her from the calendar taped to the wall inside my dormitory room. She knelt beside me, seemingly amused by my appearance in the house.

“Well, since you’re here, I’m going to make you look like you’re an Alpha Gamma girl.” She started putting lipstick to my mouth as I protested, at the same time loving every moment of such close proximity, feeling her body heat, her soft, warm touch. She put some curlers in my hair, then sprayed me with perfume, and did her best to make me beg for a release I did not want. I would have gladly let her do whatever came to her mischievous mind and was beginning to get stiff. I wondered if she noticed. Linda finally untied my bonds and let me go.

“For all you’ve put me through tonight, I think I’m owed at least one date,” I told her. “Do you like to dance?”

“Sometimes,” she said with a coy smile. “I’d have to know you better first.”
“Is there somewhere we could go for conversation? I asked. “Sometime when I am not tied up.”

“I guess that’s possible.” She laughed. “I’m going to the library tomorrow afternoon, around 1:30. We could see each other there and talk, but not for long. I need to do some homework.”

I was there a half hour early and had found a place where I could watch her entrance without being seen. She came in forty minutes later and began to lay her books out on a table. I flipped through some pages of a National Geographic, giving her some time to settle before making my appearance. “Hey.” I slid into a seat across from her.
She looked up from her paperwork, an enigmatic smile. “Hi, David. Did it take you long to find me?”

“Yes. A lifetime.” I said, wondering if she’d spotted me on her way in.

She changed some numbers on a problem she was working on, and then, as if a random thought had just occurred to her, “You never told me what your major is.”

“Fine arts, photography and painting—illustration. I’m an artist,” I said, wondering if it was true.

“I’m going to be a CPA,” she told me. “I’m more interested in numbers than in art.”

“You are a work of art, the number I’ve become most interested in.”

“Oh, really?” Linda arched an eyebrow.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“Chicago. You?”

Chicago worried me. The small town I was from had nothing much to recommend it other than refineries: Shell, and Standard Oil, Sunoco. I was searching for an adjective that might enhance the place. “It’s just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Called, Wood River.”

“Um.” She turned a textbook page and penciled out another problem with no hint of how she took my information.


Installments Every Wednesday

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Observing Sweden – Driver’s Test



 There are also math questions. Not easy if you’re unfamiliar with the metric system.




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Dearie -1

Dearie Final Cover


A Memoir In Series
Bruce Louis Dodson



The wife and I were clearing out a storage unit I had rented in South San Francisco prior to moving into an apartment in the Haight. “Most of this stuff is junk,” she said.
“I know. I’ve never been much good at getting rid of things. A strong foundation for a lasting marriage,” I suggested.

She ignored the comment. “What about these beat-up chairs?”
I dragged them to a dumpster left conveniently nearby for others like myself to throw away what we had paid for years to keep. When I came back, she had uncovered plastic sheeting from a storage rack with several canvases I’d painted long before we’d met. “All those can go,” I told her.

“When did you do this?” She’d found a four by two foot high collage done on a sheet of Masonite.

“My senior year at S.I.U.” A flood of memories appeared like ghosts from an almost forgotten past. Two images of diesel locomotives cut from magazines had partly peeled away from others that still held their place. The Katzenjammers peered out from behind a drawing of the Chicago’s Elevated, next to Mr. Snitzer at his desk behind a copy of the Wall Street Journal . . . Snitzer hated me.

A juxtaposed cascade of fading images displayed a host of characters against Chicago’s skyline: Max, the tattooed bouncer with a red-haired prostitute posed on a snow-white grand piano floating on Lake Michigan, and Marvin, looking smug, and Roman, with a laurel wreath atop his gleaming head. I brushed a cobweb from the upper right-hand corner where a black and white cubistic nude of Linda Miller was descending from a flight of stairs (inspired by Marcel Duchamp). Linda was my first true love, and lust. The two emotions damn near killed me.

A blue ribbon came unglued and fluttered to the floor. I picked it up and held it out for Lou to read: 1st Place—1960 Illinois State Fair, emblazoned in gold foil within the center of a ruffled, padded circle, and in smaller letters, Springfield, Illinois.
My wife’s eyes grazed across the maze of overlapping images as I removed an envelope taped to the frame and opened it, removing half-a-column inch of yellowed newsprint clipped from a Chicago paper. An obituary.

Berg—Ruth (Dearie). Died Miami, Florida, September 17, 1966. Formerly of Hyde Park, Chicago. She is survived by her brother, Harold Cohen and her mother, Shayna Cohen. Will be greatly missed by friends and family.


“It doesn’t tell you much,” the wife said, reading it with me.
“Not much that they could say. Most women didn’t work or have careers back then. She had no children.”

“So, who was she?”

“There.” I pointed to a collaged photograph of Dearie with a straw hat on her     head.      “She was my mom’s best friend. I stayed with her for two months in Chicago . . . summer break, before my senior year. I never saw her after that.”

“How come?” She bent to take a closer look at my now decomposing masterpiece.
“I joined the Army after graduation and went overseas. By that time Dearie’d moved to Florida . . . Miami. Left no forwarding address. My last year in the service was in Florida. I found her number, called her half a dozen times and finally caught her home, or she decided to pick up. We talked a while, but she refused to see me, said that it was better to remember her the way she was in 1959. She died a few years after that, an overdose of pills and booze—possible suicide. Nobody knew for sure. Her friends and relatives had also pretty much lost touch.”

“You want to try and save this? Patch it up? Have it re-framed?”

“It’s too far gone. I’ll take a photo of it and then trash the thing.”
“Are all those people real?”

“Oh, yes. Extremely real. The kind you don’t forget—synoptically indelible.”

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Somerset Maugham

S. Maugham

Somerset Maugham

Taken from: The Razor’s Edge -Published 1943

Do you remember how Jesus was led into the wilderness and fasted forty days? The when he was a-hungered, the devil came to him and said: If thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But Jesus resisted the temptation. Then the devil set him upon a pinnacle of the temple and said to him: If thou be the son of God, cast thyself down, for angels had charge of him and would bear him up. But again Jesus resisted. Then the devil took him into a high mountain and showed him the kingdoms of the world and said that he would give them to him if he would fall down and worship him. But Jesus said: Get the hence, Satan.


That’s the end of the story according to the good simple Matthew. But it wasn’t. The evil was sly and came to Jesus once more and said: If thou will accept shame and disgrace, scourging and a crown of thorns, and death on the cross thou shall save the human race, for greater love hat no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Jesus fell. The devil laughed till his side ached, for he knew the evil men would commit in the name of their redeemer.


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An Unhappy Medium

Take a trip to Brazil
I’m sure that you will
enjoy it.
Only 99 cents
Such exciting events
you’ll share.

So just listen to this
It’s as free as a kiss

MEDIUMAvailable at – You Could Do Worse

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Bukowski Poem

Bukowskithe great escape
by Charles Bukowski

listen, he said, you ever seen a bunch of crabs in a
no, I told him.
well, what happens is that now and then one crab
will climb up on top of the others
and begin to climb toward the top of the bucket,
then, just as he’s about to escape
another crab grabs him and pulls him back
really? I asked.
really, he said, and this job is just like that, none
of the others want anybody to get out of
here. that’s just the way it is
in the postal service!
I believe you, I said.
just then the supervisor walked up and said,
you fellows were talking.
there is no talking allowed on this
I had been there for eleven and one-half
I got up off my stool and climbed right up the
and then I reached up and pulled myself right
out of there.
it was so easy it was unbelievable.
but none of the others followed me.
and after that, whenever I had crab legs
I thought about that place.
I must have thought about that place
maybe 5 or 6 times
before I switched to lobster.

“the great escape” by Charles Bukowski from: Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way. © Ecco Press, 2004.  From Writer’s Almanac – Reprinted with permission.

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Observing Sweden 4 May 2015


Swedish For Immigrants

SFI Update 4 May 2015

SFI Jussi Fix
Last Look At Class B

I have graduated from Class B, but failed to make it to Class C. There was no way. My written test scores were okay, averaging around 80%, but talking the talk . . . not so good. I have been shunted in to Class X, which feels about right. No written tests here, more emphasis on talking. Class meets from 9 to 12, an hour less than before, and only 3 days a week – also an improvement. As always, I have interesting classmates. Two from Vietnam, two from Thailand, three from Syria, and one from Eritrea. Don’t know what has brought the Eritreans here. The rest of the class are from Somalia.

So anyway, I am back in the linguistic saddle again, and to make things more interesting I am now studying for the Swedish driver’s test. My U.S. license is no longer good here. The Swedish test is beyond belief. Must be around 600 possible questions – including questions about the environment, morality, and what to do if someone is injured, or if you run into a moose. 200 of the possible questions have to do with road signs, some of which are obvious, others, not so much.

DEAFDeaf People Crossing

A total of 70 questions will be asked on the test. One can request the questions to be asked in English, thank god, and there are study books in English. Unfortunately the texts have been translated by someone living in England where they really don’t know how to speak English. House trailers are called caravans, trucks are lorries, and one pips the horn. There are also interesting typos. “One must break in time to keep from driving the car in front.”
The tests are on computers, of course. One must score 63 out of 70. After passing the computer test there is a driver’s test, part of which is on some kind of slippery surface to see what you do when the care starts to slide. Then there are roundabouts, my greatest fear here, but I prefer them to electric signals.

How Swedes drive – From Wikitravel

Swedes are driving pretty calm compared to other countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece. On the motorways there’s not much respect for the speed limits and people will always try to overtake you.

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