When I think about happiness I think about my childhood – the beautiful house we grew up in – the 6pm dinners my mother made – the meatloaf casserole – the roast beef – the iceberg lettuce salads and grapefruit halves before every meal – I think about the trip to korvettes with my father where he was hurrying us along – stop dawdling – I think about my sister’s pink shaggy rug and pink flowered wallpaper – the French country wallpaper downstairs – playing the piano and my grandmother sitting beside me – practicing the violin in 4th grade

 

I think about sitting in the den and watching old movies with my mother in the big leather chair and my brother in front of the tv set trying to change the channel from a Betty Davis movie to Hercules or some extravaganza – I think about my obsession with the Beatles in our house on Canterbury Road and all the dolls and posters I had in my room

 

I think about horseback riding lessons and long walks to the slot car races with Joan Miller and stopping for 1 piece of butternut crunch chocolate when we had saved enough money to buy it and eyeing the bottle of Jean Nate pour le Bain when we passed by the drugstore on every walk and hoping to have enough money someday to buy a bottle of it

 

I think about my room with green striped wallpaper and green carpeting and how I was always jealous of my sister’s pink room, but it had been my choice to pick the green when Carlton asked me and showed me samples – I think about the drawing Carlton once made for me

 

I think about the drawer of baby clothes and barbie diaries I kept for years – until my mother threw them out when I ran away from home – I think about the love letters to Jeff Redford I would write in the diaries – he was the kid who used to smoke cigarettes by the rocks

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I think about going to the football game in my torn jeans and hair in front of my face and walking back and forth in front of the bleachers trying to be cool and having my sister who was a cheerleader walk over to me

 

I think about the jealousy I felt for my sister starting in my childhood as she was always “popular”

 

I think about the stories I would tell my sister when we lived in Yonkers when an ambulance would go by about a bad dog fight I would see when I looked out the window and how I would scare her this way

 

I think about playing tennis in hot weather at the club and my crush on Anthony Fiorino, though he never really even knew I existed, and how when I got older – 15 – I saw him pull up to the club

in a bright red sportscar

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I think about walking by Mr. Pope’s house and pointing out it was Pope’s house each time we walked by, as we thought he may be a mobster though we never really knew what he did

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I think about the long days spent at the Grey’s pool with all the mothers talking away and going for a swim which would bring their attention to me for a minute

 

I think about all the chicken parmesan dinners at Tina’s Casa De Ville’s every Sunday night or the diner/coffee shop dinners every other Thursday night – I think about the juke box there and playing Johnny Angel and thinking about Jeff Redford

 

I think about green grass and sitting in the sun and my mother on the phone at breakfast and the long walk to school – my Latin class and spelling tests and math fear

 

I think about the car ride – with Adam and Bob and Allen and one of the friends who killed himself – in Fishkill – I wonder who he would have been if he had stayed alive – I wonder who he was then

 

I remember the ballroom dancing class and the lindy and finding it was something I could do well – also, going to Diane’s house and listening to her mother practicing French – I think about the beautiful pink ballerina painting in Betsy Brant’s bedroom and her father’s National Geographic magazines that we would secretly look through – I think about Johnny Carson’s kids setting fires down the street and the bell Danny Mills’ mother would ring to get them to go back home for dinner – I remember talk about Kathy Kings’ father being a radio newscaster and on The Edge of Night and my mom not wanting me to play with Tex Fletch’s daughter – I remember Melissa – my best friend – who was Oscar Hammerstein’s granddaughter and Allie whose father owned a comic book company

 

I remember smoking in the bathroom in school at 16 and running away from home in 1967 – I remember the whole world changing after that

 

Back to 2020 – taking a yoga class trying to stay in the present – what do I want – what do I need – walk around room read writing out loud – when you’re finished notice where you are – notice how it feels to walk around – think of color – pink ribbons – allow myself to bring color in – pink ribbons – Indian dress – hitchhiking on a highway – get a ride in a truck – I write you to a space where – stillness – where you can move around – eyes closed completely – a space you’ve never been to before – do you know anything about life?

 

Robin Graubard

New York City

December 17, 2020

An exhibition by Robin Graubard

at Montos Tattoo, Kauno st. 1a - 408 (4th floor), Vilnius

Opening: 16th of April, 6 - 9 pm

Visiting hours: Fridays 6 to 8 pm
or by appointment: info@montostattoo.lt

 

The exhibition is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture