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Ross & Irene

5 · May · 2004

“But things just get so crazy. Livin’ life gets hard to do.
And I would gladly hit the road, get up and go if I knew
That someday it would lead me back to you.
That someday it would lead me back to you.”

- Maroon 5, Sunday Morning
from Songs About Jane

When my maternal grandmother died in 1986, I noticed the last name engraved on her burial marker was unfamiliar. Irene, or “Grandma Rene”, whom I’m named after, had apparently married twice. It was only a few years ago that I was told the story about this 2nd husband.

Ross B. fell in love with Irene who was at the time, a divorced, working mother of two. They courted for less than a year and got hitched. 1945 was an even more difficult time to be a single mom than it is today, so this was no small gesture that Ross made. Though my mother remembers Ross as a kind man who, when he was around, treated everyone with sincerity and respect, the relationship was short lived. Ross was a WWII Veteran who struggled with flashbacks of his buddies’ gruesome deaths in battle and when the memories became too vivid to bear, he subdued them with alcohol. Ironically, my mom says Ross often left the house to deal with his problems but always returned with exactly the same amount of money in his pockets. Though he was never abusive, he soon left Irene, my mother and her brother for good because he feared his inner demons would escape and cause irreparable harm to those he loved most. Irene never married again.

When Grandma Rene turned 62, which was not long before her death, my mother escorted her to the social security office to arrange collection of her benefits. At the registration office, the woman behind the counter informed grandma that she had a right to receive her husband’s social security as well since he was deceased. After some confusion on my mother’s part, it was confessed that Irene and Ross were never legally divorced and she was, in fact, Irene B., widow.

I don’t know that Grandma ever offered any clear explanation for this “over-sight” But I can’t help but wonder if a part of her always belonged with this man. Perhaps, in making no move to separate herself from him, she was subconsciously choosing to remain his wife. As I remember her, Grandma Rene was never one to do things without reason. I guess there is no way for me to know for sure.

I’ve become familiar with the feeling of being deeply linked to someone, yet all the while reviewing the case against them. But sometimes, while we conduct our public lives around logic, it can be the private chaos and illogical relationships that are most pure and intimate. I suppose the result of such attempts to repress the chaos varies widely, depending on how serious one is about being true to herself.

I Want More

Rhythmically tangled again
Forget the time, myself, my plans
As you move me into small devotion
I draw ultimatums in the sand

There’s fire in your name and in your touch
Yet the pastor always said that I should run
When the devil pokes his head into my corner
I only smile back and say “I’m done”.

You can dismiss me for not being who you dreamed
And I can cry you’re not who I thought you were before
But every time I say I’m never going back to you
It only makes me want you more. I want more.

The moon pulls close the ocean to his breast
And she never asks why or tries to fight
The way the earth dances with the sun
Well, no one ever wonders if it’s right

While we clock the stars and kiss the rain around us
We claim our bodies’ ignorance of truth
But if we cannot trust what stands right before us
I wonder what are we supposed to do?

If we think our days really are unending
When we live like this, what’s the message we’re sending?

You can dismiss me for not being who you dreamed
And I can cry you’re not who I thought you were before
But every time I say I’m never going back to you
It only makes me want you more. I want more.

Sometimes I hate you for being what I need
Though I doubt I am the girl I was before
Every time I say I’m never going back to you
What I really think is more. I want more.

Penny Rene’

Posted by Penny Rene at 01:37 PM | TrackBack