Thursday, June 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Marjorie Kathleen Porter

A short tribute video

Yesterday was my sisters Margie’s birthday. She’d have been 40 if she was alive. She died when she was 18.

I liked my sister very much and tried to be a good big brother to her. We went to Hyde Park Elementary School in Cincinnati after moving back from Europe in 1976. My folks divorced, when we got stateside my Dad moved to Atlanta and we moved to Cincinnati, all very foreign after six years of being little kids in Europe.

Margie loved to talk and talk, her family nickname was Motor Mouth. She had an old raggedy ass stuffed Steiff Bunny Rabbit named Frau Hassa.

We chummed a lot when we were kids, the two youngest of 4. Once she rode her Tricycle down a steep hill, ran into a telephone poll, beaned the fuck out of her head, had an egg size protuberance from her forehead and needed to be hospitalized. Of course this was on my watch. . .hell, I was six years old. . . shit, my nickname was “ding a ling”, and you’re gonna leave a kid 2 years my junior in my care. I probably thought it looked cool to see her speeding past me like a comet, little plastic shit flapping in the wind from the red, sparkly, rubber coated handle bar end covers.

We grew up fast in our house. Too fast. Not a whole lot of happy childhood in Cincy. High school, I dropped out, moved to NYC, to street perform. Margie, married with a kid by the time she was 17. I didn’t approve and I told her. She invited me to her wedding. I was living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she was getting married in my mom’s home to a guy older than her who I didn’t like. How could my mom let this happen, or Norm for that matter. Were their no fucking grown ups around. Sadly, no. We ran a muck not giving a fuck.

I thought by not showing up for her wedding, I was making a statement about what was right. 2 years later, she’s dead, and we’re all asking ourselves, what really matters with family and life.

I thought that if there was something positive that could come from this, that it might be, that our family, that was so splintered, tormented and pained with the fall out and reality of divorce, death and failure could come together as a family and reunite in the spirit of love and moving forward.

Fuck that, My older sister Caryn had already joined the Moonies (Unification Church) and was distant at best, like we didn’t know where she was for years, My brother Mike in some nut house (this was before the days of rehab).

If I had it all to do over, I would have gone to her wedding, and shared that happy day with her. I think she would have liked that.

I saw her 6 months before she died. She looked so happy, the new mother. She was loving playing grown up and her husband had joined the Navy. They were moving to Sardinia in the Mediterranean. She was killed in a car crash, survived by her baby daughter and husband.

My Mom and Norm took Nikki, as Gerry tried to figure out his life and make some sense of it all.

This was two years after I lived in NYC. I had spent a year in New Orleans and another in Boston when this all went down. I moved back home for 9 months before moving to LA (the first time). Trying to get a grip with the conflict and pain in my mind.

All of her stuff was shipped and stored in my old bedroom for a year before my mom could open the door. I on the other hand was not so patient. I opened a few boxes and looked at some stuff. I found a large envelope and on it was my mom’s handwriting and a date. I reached in and pulled out a large braided ponytail.

It hit me, all at once, my baby sister is dead and I’m never gonna see her again. I remember writing a poem about that room. All those boxes, all those painful memories.

But that’s what makes us human and unique. Our feelings and experiences. I got a lot of love in my heart and a lot a really good memories of more innocent times. I’m talking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a kiddy pool in the back yard on a hot day.

Margie was born in 1967. I can’t even imagine what she might be like at 40. In my mind, she is as young and beautiful as she was the last time I saw her at an airport with her infant in tow.

When I wanted to rip my fucking teeth out, from pain, confusion, grief and sadness; people told me “Time heals all wounds”. It took years and years, but in the end. . . . I guess. . . I don’t know.

Happy Birthday Sis, say hi to Mom for me. I love you both so very much.

I guess your having the last laugh as I enjoy a good cry.


Timmy Jimmy said...

Tom, great piece... I am going thru a similar time at present. Just lost my younger brother. He was 46, so in a way, got to live a good full life? Six kids and five grandkids and lots of drugs and alcohol, cigarettes and golf and fishing and working. He was my best friend as children. We were estranged the last seven months before his death. It hurts like hell to know that I did not get to speak with him before he bid adieu.
I read a poem at his funeral last Saturday called The Dash. You would enjoy it. So, I am glad you are able to focus on the dash that was Margi.
With much love,
your friend Tim

Nikki (the daughter) said...

Thanks for sharing that, Tom. Little things like that mean the world to me, and I have never seen those pictures (nor the ponytail, or much else that was hers). Little by little my dad has given some of her things... an old trunk for example. He has promised me a couple of other things, once they come out of storage. Gram gave me all of the condolense cards, which I have in a scrap book, and I also have some letters she wrote, not only while living in Sardinia, but as a younger kid, between her and a friend. You are lucky to have the memories you do.