Lifes and Loves
Mariam Lewis Heiny Cheshire
This book is for the Memory of
FRED DUANE HEINY CHESHIRE
December 22, 1945 - September 22, 2017
All monies received from this book
will go 100% to
Fred Cheshire Scholarship, account 5629
Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation
for students at Glendale Community College
Oh, Fred, come back.
You left too early to read a book that has the beginning of your Life Story.
I love you, mi hijo, more than words can ever say.
Te amo, mi hijo, más de lo que las palabras pueden decir.
FACT OR FICTION?
Chris will ask, “You made all this up, grandma, it isn’t really true is it?”
Well, Chris, yes and no. Most people have a Myrt-ty-Ky-Ly in their lives, someone they turn to when they want an answer on how to grow up. This turn-to somebody may not have golden wings. The questions may only be directed to the stars. But Louey was lucky because she had a dragaan she could talk to.
Was this my life? Well, yes and no. The happenings happened. I first soloed an Aeronca at the same time Allison began testing their jet at Weir Cook Airport, literally scaring the wits out of me. Both the good and the bad shown is based on my personal knowledge. Some stories have been enhanced, some have been limited in order to protect the innocent, as the saying goes. The description and history of the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s would be fact.
I truly believe that a Guardian Angel or maybe Grand-Myrt placed a golden net around the heart of “Fritz” so that only good came through. Even when wrong came about, he turned it into love.
Myrt-ty-Ky-Ly’s story? I sat at the keyboard and the words appeared on paper. Myrt-ty wrote her own story and you will need to ask her if it is Fact or Fiction.
Myrt-ty-Ky-Ly, the Dragaan Princess, begins to tell this history:
Several millenniums back, my tribe required that I, as the first-born-fem-Egg of the royal family, perform all the shallow duties with which my warrior prince broz did not want to be bothered. Most were OK. I participated with joy when I gave the Drak history to the young of the Pale-Sticks of this planet. Some chores made my skales crackle they were so disgusting. I had to don the princess royal crown and entertain the relic geeks of far-out clans. These yokels had long ago lost their flame but still tried to tempt me with their snorts.
This document will not allude to any of the above except in passing. This writing is for the purpose of recording the tale of two love affairs and one binding friendship. I returned from Lifes in another Solar System for this purpose.
Even though we abided in different time frames, our preparation for passion fell along parallel lines.
When you tell this story to others, please pronounce my name correctly – Mur-tee-kee-lee.
Louella tell her side of the friendship:
Please do not be upset with Myrt-ty’s rambunctiousness. Since she is the last remaining dragaan known to be on planet Earth, hopefully the reader will realize why she gets a bit testy at times. After all, if you were left behind to represent a species, you might relate to her moods. There is no doubt about her love for this world, for her scattered family, and for me, Louey. She considers that I represent (her words when she is being nice) the pale-skins who are the natives of this planet. I can now look back and understand that we were provided with the same desires and needs and questions of any fem, no matter the race to which one belongs. My only advantage in surviving my growing years: I had a dragaan, the only dragaan around, for a friend.
MYRT-TY TELLS OF MEETING LU-E
Lu-e and I came in contact in the red mud gullies of Virginia. She wandered down that valley of clay and found a stony slit that beckoned to her. After scooping with her hands until the opening grew larger she slipped inside.
This was my place to hide with memories. I had adjusted my size to accommodate this space and had made it my own.
She broke into my most secretive hide-away on a wet gloomy day. Lu-e was a young one of the pale skin variety, maybe seven or eight years on their register. Her limbs looked to be thin as sticks. Yellowish tangled hair framed her seeing and talking apparatus. The bright color had red gobs of the colored dirt matted into the snarls. She did not see me, could not see me, since her bright blue eyes were not adjusted to my color spheres. Later she would learn how to focus.
I watched her eyes widen as she saw my collection. I had brought my dreams and some of my memories here and they were tacked on the stony wall in a rather artistic fashion if I do say so myself. To the offspring of the feeble pale-skins there would appear notches and lumps of the clay that comprised so much of these forsaken hills.
I took comfort in relaxing, allowing my beautiful wings to expand and settle on the ledge around me, freeing them to the rays of sunshine from the skylight in the stone above. In these moments when I warmed my ancient skales, these brilliant moving scenes of bygone days were my consolation of Lifes well-lived and well-loved.
Lu-e went slowly, watching where she put her feet, so as not to trip over my casually placed food stores, appearing to her as large rocks. She sniffed thru that turned-up teeniest apparatus on her face. I knew she was absorbing one of the aromas that I had fetched in from the relaxing hills, the pines of my far away birthplace. When she reached out to the closest wall, the one she had slipped through, and put her hand right in the middle of one of my favorite memories, I gave her just the slightest wave of a shock. She would feel only the wall shuddering.
She jumped. Gave a small shriek. Her vocal accordions did not expand sufficiently to give much of a noise. I could have responded with the correct kind of a shriek and it would have blown her into bits. She turned in my direction and stared with no respect. The garbling of sound that she threw in my direction indicated that she did not have even the minimum of good manners. Her disrespect and blaring attitude showed lack of discipline. When her emotions came flowing toward me, I knew she was looking for her dreams, even at that youngest of age. Here was a skinny specimen of a race that my tribe had helped to survive. She would be causing me problems. I tried to shrug off the connection that grew between us but all that came was an unwanted bleak affection.
I knew she could not see me, so I let my brills subside further and lowered my lids and turned off the memories and watched. She looked at my ledge but she did not come closer. She threw more wailing at me that I did not bother to interpret. I received her emotion and that was sufficient. Then she slipped back through the opening she had carved in the mud.
LOUEY interferes with MYRT-TY’S dialogue
“Oh, come-on Myrt-ty,” and a voice came interrupting my memoirs as I am giving them to you, “I could see you. Even though that was eighty years ago, my time, I saw the sun lighting up your beautiful brills. I just did not know what they were. You deliberately hurt me, trying to scare me away. I didn’t know what you were but I wasn’t going to let a blob of mud spook me.”
Lu-e was bringing up a hash that she had let stay as a thorn in her tender skin. These years were long to her but only the moment of a slight sneeze to me. And that was the best way to handle her scolding. I sneezed. The yellow flames surrounded her and lit up her old face into beauty.
She laughed; the throaty sound that men of her race believe expresses joy. Then she answered with her usual spunk. “Myrt-ty, thanks for the warmth. But just because you give me some of your hocus-pocus, you’re not going to get away with stretching the truth. You agreed to this autobiography because you wanted to pass on accomplishments from the Dragoon race. But you gotta be honest about how it works. You can’t get away with showing me as a little worm that hasn’t learned to crawl yet.”
I gave her back one of my deep rich laughs which I tamed down considerably. My laugh, my mere chuckle, had aroused the male sex of my breed to delightful acts. “Face it, Lu-e-babee, just because I have taught you to assemble yourself with me, even our words will never give the same appearance to each other. You see me as beautiful only because I have trained some of your poor facilities to open wider. You admit that because of my training these hills of your western continent have become a scene of wondrous beauty that becomes part of your soul.”
She came back with: “Cut it out, Myrt-ty-bee. You have also trained me to recognize when you are giving me your so-called reptile flim-flam. You and I very well know that it’s close to the end of our years for both of us. No Draks from ages past will be left to give up your keys to wisdom. No one except me would put up with your cockiness.”
I gave her the smallest of my sighs, the one that breathed mother love to a child, that breathed friendship love to a dear chum. She felt it and understanding was in the smile she returned.
I told her, “You will help me store the wisdom of my learned family into a concept for your developing breed. It has been installed into my delicate dermis that I remain in this universe for that purpose.”
Lu-e-babee thought she hid her quickened breathing to my diplomatic response but my capable auditory range caught it. Lu-e-dear had learned from me but the student never catches up with the master.
LOUEY’S REPORT ON THE MEETINGS WITH MYRT-TY
My name is Louella Hortense Leward. Most people call me Louey. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. My father tried to better himself, to find his place. He had many smarts going for him but circumstances always seemed to be coming from the opposite direction.
Those were years that the roles of men, women and children were established. In our category poppa brought home the money, momma raised the children, the kids stayed out of the way. Six o’clock was supper time, with all present, hands washed and homework either done or a reason why. In our household, when Daddy was home, the meal consisted of one meat, one potato or noodles or rice and two vegetables. Vegetables were uggey tasteless and were either eaten at the table or child stayed there until it disappeared. If Daddy didn’t make it home, we had tomato sandwiches or mush in the kitchen which we all preferred and I think Mom too.
After supper before eight or 9 o’clock bedtime we kids played board games or card games (fish or rummy) and on the lucky nights, Mom played with us. Daddy never.
It was the early summer of the middle 1930s when we moved to the center of Virginia on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, that area famed for being built on seven hills. We three, Louey and Butch and Jaimie, were outlaws in that community. We were damyankees. One word. Children of neighboring families were not allowed to play with us. Mom said, “When school begins you’ll have other kids to play with.” I would be in the 4th grade. I guess I was bright for my age because they gave me a test and skipped me a grade.
I was almost nine, Butch seven, Jaimie not quite five, and that was the problem. My problem: I had to keep him with me, watch that he didn’t run out into the road or try to climb places he couldn’t climb. “Little pain,” I called him. I loved him but it wasn’t fair that Butch escaped where he wanted to and I was considerably slowed down.
That summer would be tough and tougher on big sister than on baby brothers who couldn’t or didn’t read. No libraries, not close to us anyway. I would die without books. “Mom, I need a whole lot of paper.”
“What are you going to make with that?”
“Not make. Write. Write my own books.” And miraculously a pad of yellow paper with lines appeared. She must have talked Dad into parting with one from his desk.
I sat cross-legged on my bed next to the window (I had to fight for that spot) and stories came from just staring into space. Sometimes I talked to the clouds. I might have been talking to God, I might have been asking a friend. There was so much I needed to know and then when I found out the answers, I would be able write about them. “Why am I here? I know I’m here for something and how am I going to find out?” “Why am I a girl instead of a man? Boys have all the help in learning and girls are ignored.”
The best time to talk to Mom was in the evening when she played the piano, but she just said, “You’re not old enough to be asking questions like that, just wait until you grow up.” And I never got up the nerve to ask my father. So I asked the clouds.
I kept the boys busy with our hunting games. We had folding army cots with canvas and the cross wooden legs. By putting our surplus army wool blankets crosswise across the bed we built a tent underneath the bed. Sometimes we were tribes of Indians living in our wigwam and we shot our arrows at a badman peering out from another tepee. Or we were spacemen. Or lions and tigers.
When warmer weather came we moved our playacting outdoors. We roamed as we pleased. The dirt road from the crest of our small town where the whites lived went past our house into a forest. A gully of mud ran alongside the rutted road, growing deeper as it went further into the trees. One day a glow came off to the side of the gully, past the first line of the trees.
I could hear Mom calling from the little stoop in front of our house, “Louey, Butch, Jaimie, come home, lunch is ready, come and get it.” She would have heated Campbell’s tomato soup and put a slice of pimento cheese on white bread. Her words came louder. “We have chocolate milk.” She knew it was my favorite when she made chocolate syrup for our milk. My stomach was growling. I wanted to turn around, run back up that hill. I couldn’t do it. Something stronger was calling me.
I took my two young brothers by their shoulders and pushed them toward home. “Butch, take care of Jaimie, don’t let him fall down. Tell Mom I’ll be there shortly, I just want to check if those are wild tomatoes in that patch over there.”
I had brought home many tomatoes and berries from the bushy pasture in back of our house. This was a great addition to our meals and Mom’s meager weekly budget. She wouldn’t worry. “Tell Mom to save my soup.”
I headed toward the slice of golden light. I could see deeper into those trees now. I had to struggle through scrub and brambles that had their stickers out for me. I ignored the scratches. The gully widened and one side became an embankment of stone and red mud. The gold glimmer shone more brightly as I approached the wall.
I tried to put my eye to that crack with the light but the glare was too strong. I had to blink and stumble back.
A handy dead tree limb hung down besides the shining opening almost as though it had been put there for my use. I jumped up and it broke in my hands. Using the tree limb to poke and my hands to grub the red clay away, the space became larger. I put an arm inside, trying to find something to hold on to. A knob was there. I pushed at it. The space began to open easily as though I had opened a door handle.
I didn’t think of being scared. My arm was inside. I put my foot through the opening and slid sideways through the gap.
Immediately the warmth came around me as though to welcome me. There was the faintest breeze of a smoky smell that brought a rain forest to mind. I now stood fully inside, standing and facing a blissful glow on all sides. Something was opposite me on the other side of the small cave. It . . . no, no . . . I knew this was not an ‘it’, this was a ‘she’. I could see her beauty, this was part of the glow. The pattern of . . . I could not make it out exactly . . . but I could almost see resting wings.
I turned slowly to the right to find the knob that had let me in. A scattered array of bumps and bulges, a faded rainbow coloring them, gave me no information. I reached out to touch the wall, if it could be called that, and it leaped at me, not ferociously but as a puppy who wanted to play. I let out a yell to tell whatever-it-was to back off. Then it shocked me, sent a hurting ripple all over me. Even though this was completely strange to me, I understood the beautiful wings over there controlled the knobs over here. Did she want to play? Or was she trying to tell me something? Could she be trying to scare me off?
Ever since we moved here I had been getting bad language shouted at me. Damyankee, NorthMonkey, Bully, were the least of those words. Mom said it would blow over, just give it time. She told me that there would be a lot I didn’t understand because we were raised different. Could this be what she was talking about?
I stood completely still, not moving a muscle, which was nearly impossible for me. The longer I stood the more I felt she would be my solution. She had many years of age. She had the knowledge I wanted. Suddenly she gave me another slight ripple and she was telling me not to bother her. But the warm golden that filled the cave had an accepting quality. She was a grandma and I was her granddaughter. She had to give me the answers I kept looking for. “Will you talk to me?”
The answer came from across as a rippling, almost an echo. “Why should I talk to you?”
I demanded, “Do you know the answers? Did you lead me here to give me the answers?” Nothing happened, only silence.
I called out, “Grandma?” A jab hit me, not hurting, but covering me, telling me in no uncertain terms, “NO.” She had no intention of being grandma.
I asked again. “Please help me. There is no one but you to help me.”
The throaty words came slowly flowing toward me. “You are too young to pester with such nonsense. Your procreators will furnish you with your needs. Your friends will slip you the current prattle.”
I hadn’t been able to make her understand. “My parents are too busy. I don’t have any friends in Virginia. No one is allowed to speak to me.”
“Be patient.” Although the cave did me no harm, suddenly a tiredness swept over me. There came a lurching jolt that in no uncertain language said, “Go home.” Again she used the sensations to communicate her commands.
I hollered at her, “You don’t scare me!” and I added just slightly softer, “You’re a sassy old lady and you think you know everything. Just because I’m not a dragaan that doesn’t mean you’re smarter than me.”
Wow, I don’t know where those words came from. A dragaan? What made me say that? I expected a big whack from her and I backed out of that crack in the wall quickly, knocking pebbles and clay and even a few larger rocks out of my way.
I stepped back. The glow was gone. The sun had moved further west and some of the shadows had become deeper. I spotted a whole climbing bush of tomatoes close by, handy like that stick had been. Since I climbed around so much, “the original tomboy,” my mother called me, I wore shorts underneath my dress. I could hold up my skirt and I came close to filling it with those beautiful tomatoes.
The path seemed easier going home. I looked back once to mark the spot of the opening to the cave. I couldn’t see it but tomorrow I would come back and ask that old lady some serious questions. Phooey! Who did she think she was anyway, giving me those mean jolts!
When I got home, Mom had saved my sandwich and milk and she was glad for the tomatoes. Mom never pushed me, she gave me the opening to talk if I wanted to. “You were gone a long time. You didn’t run into any trouble, did you?”
I blurted out my answer. “Are there any wild animals around here? Lions or dragaans or anything like that?”
She didn’t laugh at my silly question. “No, I don’t think there have ever been any lions or dragaans or anything like that. I don’t suppose you saw any, did you?”
“Nope, it’s just that there is so much foresty land around, it seems like wild animals would be hiding out here.”
I didn’t ask her about dragaans any more although I went searching for one particular dragaan and I knew she lived here someplace. I couldn’t find her again. There was no trace, not even a hint of the golden cave.
LOUEY’S LUCK TURNS. FRIENDS APPEAR.
Out of the blue, one Saturday morning, the two girls next door decided to defy their parents and be friendly. Georgia, a year older than me with Dixie, a year younger, came to the fence dividing our houses. “If you got a dime you can go to the movies with us.”
“I’ll get one if you really mean it.” I thought they might be joking me.