Friday, July 29, 2011


This morning a friend asked several of us if we remembered roller skate keys.

Oh, gosh, do I remember. Next time I see her, I'll have to ask what she remembers about roller skates.

My roller skate key, at the age of eight, was my key to the door of independence. At first it was up and down the sidewalk, and then around the entire block, and then . . . I often got at least a dozen blocks from home, along streets shaded with huge overhead trees, blocks of commercial and retails businesses, or boulevards of larger homes and churches, a world in which I was free to roam as long as I was home in time for supper.

Some years ago a popular singer came out with a song about, "I've got a brand-new pair of roller skates . . .," and I was obsessively delighted at the image. I totally ignored the naughty line about "have you got a key?" as I recalled my childhood days of carefree exploration, whizzing along the sidewalks of mid-town Kansas City.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lots of Ways to Lose Your Mind

There are plenty of ways to lose your mind. Some people lose their minds in a tornado -- that's where mine went.

At first, I didn't realize it was gone. All of us -- probably about 40 -- emerged from the devastated IHOP on Rangeline with scarcely a scratch. Of course, our cars were demolished and we had no transportation, and nothing could be seen around us in the twilight except a leveled landscape. Leaning up against a remaining bit of wall at IHOP was a sign (from across the street) proclaiming the building to be Arby's!

The first few hours were spent in making phone calls to other family members and friends, and once it had been determined that all were relatively safe and unharmed, falling exhausted into bed (not realizing that there were thousands who did not have beds to sleep in that night).

The next days I was like a zombie, absorbing new, terrifying, heartbreaking details of what had happened. My daughter, a neurosurgeon, came home from the hospital some 36 hours later. A friend, desperately looking for a nephew, called her, and I remember hearing her say that if she had seen the young man as a tornado-injured patient, she would have recognized him. Will Norton's body was found several days later in a pond.

I began to suspect that my mind had gone when my sister-in-law remarked that people who had been entirely outside the tornado's path were still suffering post-tornado trauma, jumping at sudden noises, wandering around the house wondering what they had intended to do.

That's me. Wandering around aimlessly, sit down at the computer, and can hardly remember which button to push. Unable to follow a chain of thought with anything more than two links.

I have some hope that my mind is beginning to return -- otherwise I wouldn't be able to blog.