Archive for the ‘Marta LaRue’ Category

Marta and Charlie and Charlie’s Tchotchkes

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

Charlie and Marta, September 2018

For the four decades (1940s-1970s) that I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California and Southern California were worlds apart.  Different climates, different lifestyles, and a “fur piece” to travel.  So, we seldom did, even though we had friends and relatives throughout SoCal as people began to call it.

When son Charlie made Cal Arts his choice for college and made animation script writing his choice of careers, we both knew that it was a sort of parting of the ways.  He has lived in the LA area ever since – more than forty years now.  I, perhaps, compounded things by moving up to the Northwest — though we didn’t visit back and forth much even before that.  Four hundred miles was four hundred miles, after all.

Charlie’s Tchotchkes

Marta, my daughter-but-not-by-birth, on the other hand, has remained in the Bay Area – in Oakland, Berkeley, and mostly Marin.  Our non-California friends sometimes remark, “How nice.  Do they see a lot of each other?”  Those in the know don’t need to ask. They understand that Charlie and Marta see each other seldom – mostly when both of them manage to get up here to Oysterville for Christmas.

So, last week when Marta was visiting a “long lost” friend in LA, they took the time to have lunch with Charlie.  Marta hadn’t been at Charlie’s house for years (maybe twenty) and she called later to report.  “I’d forgotten how big it is!” she said.  “And I’d forgotten that he keeps his Emmys in that hidden-away cabinet with all his other tchotchkes!”  And we both shook our heads and laughed.  Not that I could see her.  We weren’t skyping.  But I knew.

Charlie’s Tchotchkes Some More

She sent me a couple of pictures.  When did Charlie turn into his Uncle Jim?  How is it that Marta still looks like she did a gazillion years back?  And why am I thrilled that they are still as goofy as they were when they were little kids?  I do wish there weren’t so many states between us.  But… I console myself that Christmas is coming, with or without the tchotchkes.

MartaRoonieBobs: Girl After My Own Heart

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Marta at Five

Marta came into my life in 1959.  She was five-going-on-fifteen; I was twenty-three-going-on… about the same.  Her dad brought her to the little cottage on Henry Street, Berkeley, where Charlie and I lived.  It was May 30th and we were celebrating Charlie’s third birthday!

I don’t think there has ever been a year since that long-ago party that Marta and I haven’t spent at least a little time together — school holidays and vacations during the years I was married to her father and, after that, Christmases, family get-togethers, perhaps a rendezvous for dinner, and once a  tour of England in a VW bug with Charlie and my folks, all our luggage and… did Marta have her guitar?

Charlie and Marta, Christmas 2017

This Christmas, though, has been the longest time we’ve spent under the same roof in decades.  Three weeks of fun, laughter, heart-to-hearts, even a tear or two!  I have been reminded over and over again of the little girl, the teenager, the young rock star — all the faces of Marta that I have known through the years.  And, from the beginning, she’s had that uncanny ability to know the right thing to say, the perfect words to smooth over any ‘situation,’  just the right way to divert or to distract or to zero in on the heart of the matter.  Where did that come from, Rooners?  You’ve always been wise beyond your years.

Marta, Christmas 2017

She tells me that I’m the one that named her “Rooney” but neither of us knows why or remembers when.  She tells me that my wardrobe in the sixties and seventies — Carnaby Street and mini-skirts and granny dresses — influenced her sense of style. I love the thought though I can’t imagine that it’s altogether true.  No matter!  I want to be just like her when I grow up!  And I hope it’s still vice-versa!

Today we are off for the Portland Airport to say our goodbyes until next time. I’m hoping for a summer visit but that’s the busiest time for her new pet-care business.  Whenever it is, I know it will be a time full of activity and energy and getting things done.  MartaRooneyBobs is just that kind of gal!   How in the world did I get so lucky?


Windy with a Chance of Tree Falls

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Arborist At Work in Oysterville

I don’t much like the wind.  It unsettles me and makes me feel anxious.  I worry about trees falling and branches flying and downed power lines.  If this was the 19th century instead of the 21st, I’d worry about sailing vessels and shipwrecks and imperiled sailors.  As it is, I think about anyone who has to be out in the storm and wish them safe travels.

Yesterday was the stormiest day of the two weeks Marta has been here.  Not all that bad by Oysterville standards – rainy, to be sure, with winds of 24 mph and gusting to 40 – but not overly scary.  Even so, we were glad that Arbor Care took a break from their work across the street and it seemed a great relief later in the afternoon when the wind died down.

Splashers in Oysterville

More and more, I find excuses not to go out on blustery days.  I’m turning into one of those old ladies who peers out the window and has only a limited view of the passing parade.  So, it is that I’ve noticed the Arbor Care trucks across the street for the last few days (until the wind revved up) and watched one of the climbers (was it Jon?) find his way up into the branches of the old deciduous tree in front of the W.D. Taylor House.  A fruit tree?   I don’t remember.

Rainy Day Project

Later, I spied Tucker and Carol’s granddaughters, Danielle and Gabi, romping and splashing with great delight in the ‘Church Pond’ across the street.  I tried to take some pictures but they didn’t come out satisfactorily and, anyway, there is no zoom possibility for capturing their exuberance and enthusiasm.  They seemed oblivious to the wet and the cold, and when I talked with Tucker later he cheerfully reported that they were ‘soaked’ and he was building them a fire so they could dry out.  (Not warm up, mind you.  But, then, kids have no built-in thermostats…)

Marta seemed content to stay indoors with me – sorting and polishing silver.  Industrious, companionable, safe from the wind.  Perfect!

Convergence and Compromise

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Charlie and Marta, Christmas 2016

The ‘kids’ are here!  Let the holiday fun begin!  Never mind that the kids are in their sixties and (ahem) a bit set in their ways.  It’s a little late in the game to expect the house rules to apply automatically when they cross the threshold.  Yet, I’m always a bit unprepared for the difference in our lifestyles – particularly when it comes to sleeping.

The crux of the matter is that Marta and Charlie are night people; Nyel and I are day people.  We are all a bit long-in-the-tooth to be changing.  Take yesterday, for instance.  Marta had flown in to PDX and we fetched her in time for our Friday Night Gathering.  Charlie was ‘expected’ in time for a late supper.  He arrived sometime close to 2:00 a.m.! YIKES! (We ate without him.)

“Tongue in Cheek” – Cover Band, 1980s

Nyel crashed first – about nine.  Me next at tennish.  Marta, who seldom goes to bed before 1:00 waited up, cribbage board and dice for Farkle at the ready.  It’s a ‘family’ tradition for the two of them to play games and ‘catch up’ well into Night One.  I did wake up about midnight-thirty and waited until Charlie rolled in before going back to bed.  The ‘kids’ were still going strong at four and, needless to say, I don’t expect them to surface today until noon.

“How did this disconnect with ‘normal’ sleep patterns occur?” I ask myself each time we converge.  I don’t think Marta became a night owl until she was a young adult.  She had her own band for a number of years (no need to say more, really) and during the lean times supported herself as a waitress and bartender.  In recent years, she’s had daytime jobs, though music is always just under the surface.  I think she manages with less sleep than I find necessary.  Most people do…

Charlie, on the other hand has always been a nighttime kinda guy.  I had THE worst time getting him up in time for school, even when he was in Kindergarten.  Fortunately, his career as a free-lance (mostly) writer allows him to follow an upside-down time schedule.  And, now that he’s acting in live theater… ditto.  His lifestyle and sleep patterns are a good fit — usually.  He and I have talked about our different sleeping styles and circadian rhythms and the whys and wherefores and have never reached any satisfactory conclusion as to what causes us to be so different.  Why am I getting up each day about the time he goes to sleep?

Charlie at Hanna Barbera, 1979

And then… voila!  This morning as I began reading Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey, I found the answer.  Maybe.  Bed was a charming place at any time, but if one was so sleepy that neither riotous bell-ringing nor the wails of a colleague made any impression, then getting up must be torture.  Welsh, too, probably…. Celts hated getting up…

Charlie’s full name is Charles Morgan Howell, IV.  ‘Morgan’ is as Welsh as Welsh can be.  There you have it!  Thanks, Elizabeth MacKintosh (who wrote as Josephine Tey.)  You’ve answered a very basic question.  It’s his father’s fault.