“I prefer the mystic clouds of nostalgia to the real thing, to be honest.” Robert Wyatt
Dana, Mel’s ex had come to visit us in New Hampshire. And I had just broken the news that Bootsie, who we all had in common, had been very sick.
“Have you heard or talked to Bootsie lately” I asked
“No, why would I” Dana was a bit uncomfortable.
“Well, she’s been awfully sick, she has cancer.”
Dana was not even shocked. She laughed “Oh, she pulled that again?”
She laughed heartily until she saw neither Mel nor I were joining in.
“It’s true” Mel joined in the conversation “She was diagnosed in 1997 or 98”.
Dana still didn’t believe it. You see, Bootsie used to pull these sort of things…often. But Mel and I knew better.
I was the first to be told of her illness back in 1997. Because of the gravity, I confessed to Mel that Bootsie and I spoke and she was sick.
I hadn’t been the perfect partner to a less than perfect relationship. I had called Bootsie a few times since we had been in New Hampshire. I still cared for her, and after all, she really had been quite sick. Last I knew she was still in remission. But that didn’t deter her from using her illness to gain access to me. It broke my heart every time I spoke to her. She begged me to come to my senses, leave Mel and come back to her. She used her illness:
“Dianne, I may not live very much longer. Please I want to spend my last days with you.”
But she was doing well health wise, and I was committed to Mel. And when I commit, that’s it. I stay and work things out.
Dana was finally convinced, but still a little skeptical. She did promise to look in on Bootsie when she returned to Houston. But for the moment, the conversation veered to the here and now, the then and there.
“Ro and I are considering moving up here!”
OH GREAT! First Chris and Murphy, then Mel’s niece Susan, who’s next? And WHY? Why was Dana so interested in moving up here? It was only natural that I would be jealous. I had just found out that she and Mel had spoken a few times. What would make one’s ex move that far? New Hampshire was charming, I will admit. I loved it there and it was lesbian friendly. But still…
Dana spent more time talking to me than Mel, and she followed me in and out of the house. You would’ve thought at first glance that she was my ex-lover rather than Mels. But I felt a little jealousy. And Mel didn’t seem to mind that I felt this way. It was a bit hurtful so I didn’t mind her face souring at the sound of Bootsie’s name knowing I had been speaking to her. AT times I felt that the only reason she held on to me so tightly was to win that little war.
Dana picked up on this and drove it home.
“Yeah Mel, you have NO idea what Bootsie and Dianne were…no idea!”
I shot her an irritated look, but she continued.
“Bootsie could not live without Dianne. You know Mel, Dianne was ..IS the love of Bootsie’s life!”
I quickly steered her away, “So Dana – what’s all this about a move?”
“We hate Houston” Dana explained “And Ro and I have not been successful getting work.”
Dana had been going to Acupuncture school and knew that Acupuncture was a very accepted practice in New Hampshire and Vermont. I was dubious. Not only was I still concerned about the whys and wherefores of this entire situation, but work was not an easy thing in our area unless you have been transferred. And frankly, I was getting weary of our little haven being invaded.
The evening finally ended with them promising to keep in touch (yeah) and since they were leaving the next day that would be the last we would see of them.
I asked Mel to give me some extra morphine. I needed numbing.
Dana and Ro left with promises to return…permanently. I was wondering when MY people were going to invade...then one day I got a phone call:
“Is "Is this Dianne Lindsey from Wheeling Illinois?”
“Yes, but I haven’t lived there in almost 30 years.”
The caller said they were looking for my best friend, Nancy Restagno. She had disappeared and no one could find her.
Nancy and I met when I was 23, she was 21. We both lived at an apartment complex called “The Forums”. The day we met, I was on my patio on the second floor where my apartment was facing an inner forum area…thus “the Forums”. She had called to me from hers which was about 4 buildings over, but not really since we were kind of in a circle facing the left. She wanted me to turn my music up. She also was on the second floor. She suddenly disappeared from her patio and ran out the front door to just below mine.
She was an adorable little thing. Italian. She looked exactly like Joyce DeWitt (Janet on Three’s company) and she had the same crazy spunky personality. My other friends would say “she’s a little much”, but I didn’t see it. I loved being around her, I never had a bad time with her. My husband and I religiously spent time with three other couples, Mary and Gallagher, Debbi and John Neifhanger, and another Mary and Mark Schubert. We did everything together. But when I tried to incorporate Nancy and her husband Art into the mix, resistance was high. I know it was because they were uncomfortable with the chemistry between Nancy and me. And at times, I felt a bit uncomfortable as well.
Nancy was a sexual person. She exuded sexuality just in her presence. She would come to my apartment every morning with coffee and get me up. In those days doors were open and people just came and went. She would jump into my waterbed and wrestle me awake. She had a fantasy about her and I having an intimate relationship. I was beyond uncomfortable, but still, I wanted to keep her friendship so I would act as if I didn’t understand where she was coming from. And this worked.
Nancy was the key advocator of my art and she aligned herself as a sort of agent. It is because of her that my work had shown in so many venues and at one point, the Wisconsin State Fair. Oh ... the nostalgia of the smell of the oils, the paint brushes soaking in linseed oil, the canvases speaking to me.... I miss that.
Nancy and I stayed friends for years and my moving to Texas when I was 29 with my husband, didn’t change it in any way. We stayed close and I spoke of her in an earlier chapter, of how she immediately boarded a plane to Texas once she found out I had change affiliations and no longer was into men.
The last time I saw her, I had been visiting my family in Kenosha. It was 1994. I had driven to her house to see her new baby and meet her husband Remo. But her husband was none too happy to see me and they had a violent fight. I came the next day unknowing and the doors to one of the closets was smashed in. It was because of me. So I decided then and there, if she was staying in the relationship, I needed to leave her alone. I hadn’t seen her since.
Until one day I received a phone call. It was her.
“Dianne? Oh my GOD I can’t believe it, I found you!”
I thought she was most certainly dead.
When I told her the story about the phone call, she didn’t seem surprised. She had been through a lot and had actually been homeless almost losing her children. She had since recouped, but she was still struggling. She bought a home in Moline and we made plans to visit her at Christmas. But she decided to come before so we could have some private time before family was involved.
Mel went to pick her up at the airport. We had a truck with limited seating so I just waited or her at home.
When she drove up, I was a giggly mess. She hadn’t changed. I had. I was no longer the 5’4” 110 pound beauty with hair down to my ass. I was almost twice that in poundage, but Nancy didn’t care. Mel slept on the couch and let Nancy sleep with me. But Nancy was different.
She explained she had a grown daughter and that she didn’t want her daughter to know about “us”. The us that I talked about in an earlier chapter. The “us” we became after she flew down here in a huff about my changing “lifestyles” as I it were a choice.
Nancy talked openly about her affairs with men she met on the net, one in New York that was a sheriif. A man who convinced her to join the police department. A funny thing since, when we were younger she was quite outspoken about "the pigs". But, no, she felt that an affair with me, or any woman, would be the undoing of her with her daughter. Personally, I thinkany instance of intimacy is not for a child's ears, no matter what their age.
I was disappointed in this betrayal. Her shame meant I should be ashamed. She didn’t see it that way, yet she admitted that she discussed men she had affairs with her daughter, but could not possibly admit she had a lesbian encounter.
But I let that go. I was too happy to see her.
Beginning of Book
Yes, this is absolutely positively true. If you lived this wouldn't you write about it? Some of the names of characters in this blog are fictitious. This is an account of actual events. Some of the events have been compiled together for the flow of the story. Even when I read my own work, I wonder how it could be so. But if you study your own life and compartmentalize it into less than 200 pages, you would be surprised how interesting it really is!
TRUTH HAS WITNESSES (Dianne Lindsey) This material is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author. All rights reserved ©