Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Allie's Journey

For the next several months this will be dedicated to information pertinent to Allene M. Maddock. Her care has been assumed by Hospice as of 06Apr12.

Please feel free to call or write her. If you call be patient and take time to explain who you are. Currently she remembers, but you have to help her focus so she truly knows who she is talking to at the moment. We have to do this too, and I frequently say something like, "Yes this is Scott, your oldest."

Her phone is area code two-zero-six, and the number is 216 3816.

Her Address:
Allie Maddock
c/o Queen Ann Manor
100 Crockett Street
Seattle, Washington
    98109

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Dust Jackets

Too maudlin and too busy to rewrite, but some stuff I want to think on later. Actually written 04Sep04.

Back to the garage, going through a couple more boxes today. This process has become progressively easier for two reasons. I have realized it is iterative, which releases me from a need to get all the junk tossed the first time around. I'm reducing piles by 75% as I go through them, so the next round will be easier and faster. Having given myself that license makes it easier to toss things, thanks to my contrary nature. The second reason I've discussed before, simply realizing my life is more defined by my relationships and the present than musty memorabilia.

I hit a couple particularly difficult boxes today. Most of the items are papers, making for many items needing individual handling. There were stashes of letters and cards. I tossed quite a number of these, and there was still a pang when discarding anything with my paternal grandparents writing on it. Two of the people I have tried to model my life on since I was a teen, and who I was very close to. I spent lots of time with them in college, because of my love and admiration, and did not want to ever feel regret for not taking the opportunity to be with them. They were wonderful conversationalists too. Like my folks now, all my close friends and girlfriends met and loved them. I discarded those notes with a feeling of triumphant pain. I still kept letters and cards which related to memorable events.

I found a surprising number of letters from girls. I was even more dense then than now, most of them were quite taken with me. As I was thinking what a fool I was, I felt like I was intruding. Reading those cards and letters seemed like I was invading someone's privacy. Strange how looking at yourself in the past feels like looking at a strangers personal things. I suppose there is also a little discomfort because even though I sort of opened the door, I still distance myself from intimate relationships.

The first box stretched from photos I took in 1964 as a seven year old to my college years. The second box had what is left of my old vinyl record collection and some stuff from the Navy. Lots of things, like copies of Proceedings a professional magazine for Naval officers, were easy to toss. Going through all the official messages to see which I wanted to keep, and which of those destined for the dump needed to be shredded. The military does like social security numbers. I will have lots more of that kind of stuff to sort through, after spending nearly ten years active duty.

I found letters from the first Gulf War, including five or so which were written to 'any service member'. I was reminded how much those letters meant. I was actually getting a number of letters from family and declined the letters written to any service member, so that troops not getting letters would have more to choose from. I also felt they should go to the troops that were in the field. As aviators we were billeted in a very nice hotel, and though we did face significant danger, I thought the letters should go to the folks living in rough conditions. Finally one of the Commanders said, "Lieutenant, everybody has letters, these aren't going anywhere else and these people took the time to write to you." Surprisingly, I was touched by the letters, and wrote back to every one with a return address.

It was boring when we weren't working on a mission and I wrote a lot of letters to family back home. My Great Aunts were dedicated and wonderful letter writers. I wrote at least three letters to my Great Aunt Irma, who was an active vibrant woman in her late eighties, though I think she was ninety-one at the time. It turns out she had died suddenly, going to bed feeling like she was coming down with a cold and never waking up. A passing I wish we could all have when the time comes. Her son had written a letter which followed me from post to post as I moved around during the war. It was with a sense of irony I finally read the letter Easter weekend. Thinking how it was usually the other way around, wartime letters being returned to the sender because the addressee was deceased. I had the distinct feeling she was smiling somewhere at the dark humor of the situation.

In the first box I found a letter from Betty, my ex-wife's mother. It was written in 1974, before I met Tambra, and nearly fifteen years before I ever thought of asking her daughter out. It was following a church camp in which we were in the same small intense encounter group, and it was a very nice letter complimenting me on becoming such a nice young man. I don't even know if Betty is alive. I think I met most of the family before I met Tambra, and didn't even realize it until after I had asked her out. They were nice folks, and I hope they are all doing well.

I aim to have all the sentimental items like that eventually pared down to 4 medium moving boxes or less. I don't feel defined by the stuff. On the other hand it provides insight and recollection into the years I spent as a profoundly unhappy person. From the time I grew up at seven, until I once again discovered joy in life thirty-five years later. I can't understand how I lived so isolated from the world and my identity. I'm not bitter about it, which convinces me I have reinvented myself. That's a popular notion, though it is more accurate for me to say "I discovered myself." Would I love being an actor and artist half as much now had I been supported and encouraged in the arts, and allowed to be a child? I honestly don't know. I do know while my history no longer defines me, my perspective has been shaped by it.