Sunday, January 3, 2016

1990

Location: Springfield, Massachusetts

January 1990

The 80s ended with my first encounter with a woman named Diana E. She was 20 years old and was half black, half Puerto Rican. It was only a one-night stand.

And then I met Kacey C. I met her in a gay club same as Diana. Kacey was average height and slim with hazel eyes and long straight light brown hair below her waist. She worked rotating shifts at a chemical plant. Kacey was very private about her lesbianism. Hey, this was the 90s… barely.

Kacey lived in a nice duplex in a nicer part of the city. We didn’t last long, but we lasted more than a night.

February 1990

Spent much of this month hanging with Kacey, and my usual group of friends, which now included Tracy K. Tracy was big, ugly, loud and sometimes scary, but she was intelligent and had a great sense of humor. She could sweet talk and con a person into just about anything despite her less than pleasant appearance.

Originally from Philly, she lived with Bobbie and we met over the phone when we’d call to chat with Bobbie or Fran, who often hung out there.

With Fran and Tracy not exactly a great influence on me, and due to the fact that their moods and behavior could be unpredictable and they even dragged my parents into one of our disagreements, I pulled further away from them over time, trusting them less and less. Even Andy was hesitant to associate with them as much. They were just way too erratic in their ways at times and both were known and admitted thieves.

March 1990

Started working down the street at a little variety store/Laundromat under the table for $3.50 an hour, shit money even in 1990.

I accidentally left my journal in Martha's office, my current therapist at the time, and wondered how much of it she read until I got it back.

John R was an undercover cop I met who was also a security guard at the local hospital. I’d known him a few years and we’d chat by phone every now and then till he one day disappeared from my life. His last visit to me would be when I had a girlfriend over who was more than just a girlfriend. Maybe that was why, though I didn’t really care. John was just John, and I could live with or without him.

One day I was at the little variety store down the end of Locust and the guy there, Louis, hired me to work there. It was a boring but dangerous job being in a seedy section of town. When another female employee was robbed, I decided to quit before I experienced the same thing… or worse.

I fed George, Jai's cat, when Jai was in Virginia visiting Jenny.

Kacey decided to end it between us because she didn’t have the feelings for me that I had for her. To her it was mostly about sex. I was hurt and angry at first, but life went on.

April 1990

During one of Tracy’s visits she impressed me by “playing” the drums on my kitchen table. She used to play when she was younger. She drummed with her hands on my table to some music that was playing, and was pretty good.

Got a second guinea pig. This one was much larger and I named him Tiger.

Eto, this 12-year-old kid who came into the store I worked at, was skipping school one day. I don’t know why and I didn’t ask. We played a game of concentration that day. He was a nice kid.

I recognized Paula B the instant she came into the store. We had worked together briefly at the Harley Hotel in our late teens until she was fired for rude, aggressive behavior. Although just as attractive, I noticed two new things about her. She had a year-old son, and she was actually very nice to me. You’d never know she was such a mean bully.

She lived just a few buildings down from mine, also on the fourth floor. I visited her regularly, since it was easier for me to go to her than for her to come to me. She was on disability and her near barren apartment that wasn’t quite a one-bedroom, but also wasn’t quite a studio, was in disarray and screamed of how broke she was.

Dotty stopped in a little later. She worked weekends and after I left at 5:00.

Met this lesbian named Stacey, but we weren’t interested in each other for our own reasons. Hers was that I was feminine, and mine was that she was a druggie.

Got a gorgeous jacket for $86. It was black suede with fringes.

Andy and I went to the beach, but it was disappointingly cold.

We went to see Mrs. Labriola, an old lady I’d known since I was a kid who lived up the street by the entrance to the beach. She looked good, but for some reason I couldn’t help but feel she didn’t have too much time left.

After that, we went to Ames department store in Old Saybrook. I bought two tube tops, a shirt and Opium scented lotion, but it was awful.

Then we went to Tammy's. She looked ok, but seems stressed out. The girls looked adorable.

Later in the month, when working at the store one day, a guy came into the store and right away I sensed he was trouble. He came up to the register with two cans of soda, and as I was ringing them up, he quickly snatch my lighter. I grabbed his wrist, took the lighter out of his hand and said, "You want a lighter, you ask, and it's 59¢."

Andy and I went to the Pub Friday and Saturday nights during the last week of April. We saw Kacey dancing with Linda. Linda called a couple of times asking questions. I told her like it is. Or like it was.

May 1990

Tracy told Andy and I that if we called Fran and got his machine, all we had to do was press *37 and we could hear his messages. As wrong as it may’ve been, I tried it one day out of curiosity, and it worked. His messages were nothing exciting, and I was finished with both Tracy and Fran cuz of their bullshit. They were con artists who could explode about the dumbest things at any given moment.

Was thinking of returning to Dunaeff School of Performing Arts to continue my vocal development. Bill H was still there, according to Jean, the owner. He helped me in the past and was a really good teacher. He would help keep my voice in shape.

Early in the month, dad surprised me with a visit. We listened to music together, went to eat at Friendly's where Andy was working and we had a great talk and a lot of laughs.

Then we went to Brightwood Hardware in Longmeadow where I got guinea pig food and supplies and then to Steiger's where I got two shirts and a skirt. Lastly, we went to Blodgett's where I got a new guitar for only $138!! It looked and felt exactly like the Suzuki I used to have which was $215. This was a Fender.

Dad intended to buy me the jacket I'd wanted but since I already got it, he bought everything else, except I paid $70 towards the guitar and sheet music of Gloria's, even though I was better at figuring most things out by ear.

The following afternoon, cousins Boo and Max took me up to Brimfield where dad was helping his friends at their local flea market. The flea market was boring, but his friends made us all a really nice turkey dinner.

I went to Forest Park one day with this girl named Lori that I met at the Pub who was so ugly, but so nice. Later on she and her lover, Rose, came over to my place. Rose was much better looking.

Jessie and I went to the Holyoke mall around the third week of the month. I bought an awesome formfitting dress that was black with spaghetti straps.

Dropped down to just doing fill-ins at the store, like when someone was sick or tired or something happened to Allison, an epileptic that worked there.

June 1990

Met a lesbian named Lisa who was feminine and gorgeous. As fate would have it, though, I only saw her once.

One hilarious night I was fooling around on the phone just dialing randomly, and this guy answered. I hit on him, assuming he'd be all for it like most guys, but nope. I asked why he wasn’t interested and he said, "Cuz I'm gay."

I told him I was too, explained that I was just fooling around for kicks, and through the discussion I learned that he was a very well known regular at the Pub and Frontier. He went by the name of Dedra and dressed up in drag. I talked to another drag queen that was one of his roommates. A black guy who went by the name of Renee in which I immediately remembered having seen before.

The next night Andy and I went to both the Pub and the Frontier to see the lip sync contests in which Renee won. In 2nd place was this guy who looked a lot like George Michael who’s also a roommate of Dedra and Renee’s, and also a guy named Corinne. They were all very friendly.

The real shocker was that it would turn out that Dedra and company lived in my building! My very first apartment to be exact.

At the end of the month Bill called saying that Dunaeff School of Performing Arts was closing cuz the owners were retiring. Bill needed a place to continue teaching his students, so we arranged for him to use my place and in exchange he would continue training me for free.

July 1990

I won $125 between the Pub and the Frontier doing karaoke contests, a great way to start off the month.

Rehearsals were underway for a bigger competition at both clubs, where I would be the lead dancer for the opening song, Vogue, by Madonna.

I met my next door neighbor, 30-year-old Brenda S. She was dating an 18-year-old guy till they broke up and he moved out. She was 5’ 6” with dark eyes and dark hair to the middle of her back. She was a quarter Cherokee and much too thin, but I was too naïve at the time to realize she was a druggie.

I’d seen her around many weeks before we actually began speaking to each other and could tell she liked me. Eventually she came over and said, "I don't mean to be personal, but are you gay?" When I said yes, she told me she was bi and that she liked Tom but that he could be very immature at times since he was so young.

I also learned that she’d been married for 10 years in which she had a boy and a girl with that were currently living with her sister and BIL.

Brenda was attractive, though not in a way that blew my mind. We had lots in common, but she smothered me so much so often.

I had rehearsals at the club in the middle of the month. It was a lot of fun. The event took place on the 27th. Also, instead of $1,000 for the winner, they would get $500 while the runner up got $300 and 3rd place got $200, yet I didn’t win anything that night.

The voice lessons with Bill were going great. Paula and I would visit each other, and I still spoke with Fran, Tracy, Steve, Jessie, Dedra and of course Andy. We no longer heard much from Kevin.

Got into yet another argument with my mother, and was waiting to hear whether or not I would be hired to sing in a band called Cue.

Toward the end of the month I went to the ER. Turned out I had bronchitis. The air had been extremely hot, humid and polluted.

A girl Brenda’s age named Bonny moved in with her. They’d been friends for 20 years. Bonny was short but heavy, mean and ugly looking. Despite sporting that butch look, she was seeing some black guy that would hang out at the apartment a lot.

I began to feel more comfortable with Brenda and I appreciated all she did for me.

At the end of the month Bonny got pissed at me for calling her a bitch and came running out of the apartment as if to beat my ass, but Brenda and her BF blocked her. Maybe that’s why she chose that time? Because she knew she wouldn’t get very far?

I was having a harder and harder time sleeping and keeping a schedule.

August 1990

Played around on the phone with Andy, continued working with Bill, and then there was Brenda, as usual. She bought me 4 shirts and a pair of shorts at the beginning of the month. I polished her nails for her and we continued to hang out together, though I missed my space at times. In fact, I forgot to catch the return of Twin Peaks cuz I was with her. I was kinda pissed at her for distracting me from my usual things. I had a talk with her about her smothering me, and while I knew she meant well and truly cared, I really needed some breathing space. Even so, we went to Tammy's one day and I loved seeing Lisa and Becky.

Andy and I competed in the semi-final contest in which they picked 5 out of 10 contestants, and both of us won. The following week, the $100 winners were to do the same, and then the week after that the 5 semi-finalists who were chosen would compete against each other. We both felt like these contests were mostly fixed. If you knew the judges, you were more likely to win. Period.

Had a one-nighter with an EMT named Lisa. We met at the club. We talked a few times on the phone after our get-together, but never saw each other again.

I began to open up in therapy more often to Martha, hung out with Steve, and had fun editing our pranks and convos.

Went to the beach in the middle of the month and saw Charlotte and Mrs. Labriola. When I got back to my apartment, I ran inside as fast as I could to escape Brenda so she wouldn’t get the chance to pester me when I was drained and just wanted to be alone and get some sleep. We eventually returned to the beach with her and had a nice time.

Tammy turned 33 and I found myself getting depressed toward the end of the month. I began to feel as if all my dreams were slipping away, never to be realized in any way shape or form.

September 1990

Andy, Fran and I called Joe, Kevin’s neighbor, and played with him, his niece and her fiancée for a while.

Brenda and I went to see The Exorcist 3. I never saw parts 1 and 2, but wished I had.

Jai moved out, and Andy and I heard that Tracy was living with a couple of gay guys.

I listened in silence as Fran called Kevin at the Laundromat he was working at. I taped and edited their discussion; one Kevin wasn’t exactly thrilled to have.

Steve removed my two window ACs for me when the temperature dropped.

A guard was placed in Brenda’s cab to lower the risk of being robbed again. It was a pretty scary experience for her. She thought the guy was going to rape her at first.

She and I got into an argument over our differences, and I began to have more issues with my asthma and allergies.

In the middle of the month, my niece Sarah was born. I was thrilled yet felt a pang of longing for my own child.

Bill said Arthur, his husband, said I should be paid since I was letting him use my apartment for lessons, and that giving me free lessons wasn’t quite enough. He agreed and I was appreciative of the extra money.

Auditioned for a company that did musicals in the northeast, but did a terrible job because my allergies were going crazy that day.

October 1990

Hung out with Brenda and a lesbian couple, Gail and Judy. We all went to Jam's. We had fun, and I ran into Tracy there who said she broke up with Nancy.

Andy was with a guy named Miles at this time, but it wasn’t going very well.

I was discovering I had the ability to draw at least somewhat decently.

One day Brenda was at the office where she worked and the owner’s wife was giving away kittens. Brenda surprised me with a cute little orange and white tabby I would soon name Shadow for the way he followed me around.

The guinea pigs were a little jealous and depressed about him at first, but they got used to his presence.

I bought Brenda a pair of earrings and a pair of sexy underwear for her birthday and we went to her sister Donna's house in Palmer. I knew her husband Kevin before meeting Brenda. He was also a cabby.

Tracy K called Andy and I after we hadn’t heard from her for a while. She said she needed some space and some time to sort things out.

Toward the middle of the month my asthma attacks got severe enough to land me in the ER. It was terrifying. I’d never had attacks that bad and I had moments where I didn’t think I would make it. They took me in right away, that’s how bad it was. I was given oxygen treatments and the last time I had an IV. I was put on Prednisone for 12 days and Bactrim for 10 days. Was also on Theodur and Alupent, which is the same stuff in my inhaler.

I saw mom and dad on the 15th and we had a fairly good visit. They came up to my place for about an hour or so, then returned to their paradise in Florida.

They raised my food stamps to $114, so I did a huge grocery order and never had so much food in my life.

On the 23rd I watched the premier of Law & Order. Before this I saw In the Heat of the Night and Matlock.

Got my first speakerphone, which was a high-tech big deal to me back then, and something I would certainly abuse here and there, haha.

On the 27th, I took the police exam, mostly because I was curious to see if I could pass the thing.

The landlord had to fix the heat after I froze my ass off for a couple days.

I loved watching my hamster run around in his ball while the kitten followed curiously. Bonny had given me two hamsters a while back.

Andy visited, who was having a stressful time in life with man and money problems.

On Halloween, Brenda took me to get some errands done. While waiting for Brenda at Food Mart I saw Allison from the old store I used to work at. We chatted for a few minutes.

During a call to Tammy, she told me that mom told her, "I don't want Jodi alone for her birthday, Chanukah or Thanksgiving."

Tammy tried to explain to her that Bill was working long hours and it wasn’t that easy to transport me back and forth with 3 kids to raise.

I wasn’t totally alone, though. I had Brenda. Besides, even if I had been, it wouldn’t have been the first time. I'd spent holidays alone before like when my dear aunt and uncle invited me over for Thanksgiving the previous year, then conveniently forgot to call or pick me up.

November 1990

Was pissed at my landlord for the way the place had been freezing for 5 mornings in a row. The kitchen radiator would be clanking away and sometimes it would get so hot in the apartment that my windows would fog up.

I had a great visit with Tammy and the kids, and John R visited and met Brenda and Bill.

Went to Hair Performance to have my hair trimmed.

Andy visited and we did something we hadn’t done since kids at the beach… played Crazy 8's.

December 1990

Brenda and I decided we got along better as just friends. One night she and I were lying in bed when I suddenly came out and said, "Someone lost money."

She said yes, a guy in CVS. I told her it was a $20 bill and she said yes, it was, and a lady picked it up for him.

I turned 25 and Brenda and I went to Tammy's. I got the upright vacuum I'd been wanting from mom and dad for my birthday, and Tammy and Bill and the kids gave me a gorgeous necklace with matching earrings, another pair of earrings, and some perfume.

Andy moved in with me so we could save money and eventually move to Phoenix. Unfortunately we didn’t get along as well as we thought we would.

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