T.S. Elliot, the great English poet, said in his epic The Waste Land, that April is the cruelest month. Being born in April, I have to wonder if he was right about that. March strikes me as crueler.
(A caveat to March. It was the month my wonderful mother was born until a few Octobers ago took her away from me.)
But March this year also marks the sixth month I have been banished from publishing in Hagadonia, even for free. I wrote for free, for years, just to give a voice to the miners up here – men and women too exhausted at the end of a long shift to put words to paper, but articulate nevertheless. All I did was take notes.
The miners and timbermen create the fat-cat economy people in Coeur d'Alene and Spokane and Seattle and Missoula enjoy. Burn up the saw-mills, pull down the headframes, your need to drive metal cars and live in wood houses prevails.
Coeur d'Alene offends me.
Rather than restore the fine old steamships that used to ply the lake, they burned them to the Plimsols and let them sink, to much hurrah. Louise Shadduck, a dearly-departed friend, wept. When Hagadonia acquired the Elizabeth, New Jersey, Daily Journal, one of its first moves was to haul 200 years' worth of newspaper archives to the garbage dump. This action against New Jersey's oldest newspaper led to a strike nobody wanted. I was there.
Whither history, then? From where comes the voice of the working man making history right now? Or is the working class beneath and above them an embarrassment to the putters at the Coeur d'Alene Resort?
On to my dearly-departed Mother. Patty was her name. She was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, but as a kid all I knew was that she could stuff 50 kids into a 1955 station wagon and take us anywhere. She was a community organizer in the real, not presidential sense. She led me to believe that reading good books was the best thing I could do, and she helped me through the flash-cards we had to do for arithmetic.
Mom hosted a University Women's meeting every Wednesday at our house on Vancouver Island, and I would sneak down the stairs to listen to these elegant ladies discuss nuclear disarmament, Nevil Shute's “On the Beach,” Ike's deals with Tito and Kru. Mom turned me on to writers like Norman Maclean. She never quit giving.
We talked every week, up until the time she died. Her ending is too horrible to write about. Imagine a great big beached fish, flopping about on a hospital bed, unaware, and having to pull the plugs out of your best friend.
She gave me a love of literature, from sitting on her lap and reading Dickens, to some great authors and poets in later years that she sent me.
Enough of that. I am crying. And enough of Hagadonia. They wouldn't get it.