A Birthday Present from Carole

Dear readers,

This blog deals with mystery. I haven’t been able to write. I don’t know why, I just haven’t. It’s a mystery, and I’ve learned to let things open up, rather than to try to force it. So rather than try to push it, I thought I’d share something about someone else.

So today I was thinking of my dear  late friend Carole. I was truly blessed to have her in my life. We had a lot in common, particularly as we were both writers and liked cats and a somewhat bohemian – not hippie or flaky but just a little off-center – way of looking at things.

She used to say “We’re both from the same planet,” when we talked about our affinity for one another.  We used to say that we both fell in thrall to someone with the “P” word – potential.

Carole was in a relationship that was challenging, since her husband  lived with both addiction and mental illness: he was brilliant and erudite when he was able to function. That was where the potential figured in. There was a lot of love and mystery between them. Strong pulls of the chaotic kind. Neptunian and changing.   Of course love defies reason, and definition. I’ll say only that , like there is for many of us, a theme united them, but which alas was unsustainable.

When she developed breast cancer, the two of them were able to reunite, however once she reached stability, their paring fell apart again. Later she developed and succumbed to pancreatic cancer, after he left her for another woman.

Carole was funny, beautiful with big green eyes and a bent nose. She fought on behalf of animals,  volunteering at a nearby wildlife sanctuary.

Carole was often short on money. Fortunately she looked good in anything she wore, so didn’t need to shop for clothes. She did love shoes, but not pedicures (too much touching).  Her nails were short and polish-free. She wore minimal make up, and her hair was naturally curly. And she was absolutely stunning.

She talked about her father who had played baseball, but who would take her to a movie and leave her there so he could go drink. She’d watch it 3 times, then try to figure out how to get home walking through the ‘hood alone, at age 11. She attained from this experience a wise-cracking street savvy, and fell for men of that ilk.

Her youth was spent in New York, Buffalo to be exact, and she had a New York street kind of wit with a similar accent. She also studied French and went to the Sorbonne for a year.

She worked in “the business,”  – the Hollywood term for the film industry, in a sort of secretarial position, but she wrote in her spare time, in between bouts of marital drama. Her writing about her life was imaginative and funny.

So I thought I’d share one of my favorite gifts of all time: a darling story she wrote for me on one of my birthdays. I miss you dear Carole. May be shared but not changed in any way. May not be copied without written permission of Suzanne.




So, there’s this magic genie in a bottle, see? His name is Geno, and there’s this gal who’s got a birthday today, right? Her name is Suz, you get it? Anyway, she’s walkin’ out into her backyard, y’know, to catch some rays and listen to the radio play some golden oldie song by one of those singers that went  down in an airplane Anyway, there’s this empty bottle layin’  out in the yard. So, Suz goes to pick it up cause like she’s real fussy about junk in her yard, y’know, so just as she picks it up Geno starts his rap.

“Yo. How y’doin’ doll?”

And right there, Suz knows there’s somethin’  strange about this. She knows you don’t talk to no bottle – Rule Number One!

So Geno figures he better act fast, so he says, “Hey you good lookin’  thing. Ever make it in a bottle?”

Suz was not impressed, nosiree, she just goes over to the trash can and gets ready to give Geno the heave-ho on top of yesterday’s Lasagna. So now he lays it on her. I mean the coup, as they say. The piece de resistance.

“Help,” he yells.

She, bein’  the kind and caring sort, gives the old bottle a second thought. Geno takes his cue. “Save me and you got three wishes.” By now Suz cops to the fact that this ain’t your ordinary talkin’ bottle. She’s wise to the fact that she’s lookin’ at some entrepreneurial opportunities here.

“I’m listening,” she says real cool like.

So Geno figures  he’ll wrap it up in five and be back on the island in time for nude grape smashing.

“No lie,” he says. “I’ll  grant any three wishes you make, then you gotta let me go.”

So Geno figures she’ll do the usual I-want-a-million-dollars-and-world-peace number, right? Well, Suz’s mother didn’t raise no fool. So she whispers two wishes into the bottle, meanwhile her trusty old feline Aura-cat  is watchin’ all the action from below thinkin’ how telephones are gettin’ weirder by the day. That song’s still playin’ on the radio, and Suz makes a couple of nice personal wishes – she ain’t sayin’ what – and now just one more and Geno can  say Ciao, Baby. But Suz gets this smile and starts hummin’ along with the song,  thinkin’ about how she loves to travel,  y’know, and hear people talk funny and eat weird food, and stuff. So she makes the big number three, and get this – the babe gets to move in with Geno. Yeah, you got it. Now she gets to travel all over the world – on every birthday. Geno gave her this thing called teleportation. I think it’s one of those high tech things where your brain leaves home without you. Sounds kinda weird to me, too. Geno said that Suz already had the gift of imagination so what else could he do for her?

Maybe wishes one and two could answer that.



love, Carole

copyright Carole 1987

Photos: Carole and me, 1987; Carole 1993

May not be copied without written permission of the author.


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