Posts in Freaks

Gradually and then suddenly, or whatever

published by Fran Shea

Remember when your little sister was born so your parents sent you (and your impossibly short shorts) and your little brother to stay with your Aunt Patricia on the Cape?? REMEMBER THAT??

Oh… THAT WAS MY OWN PERSONAL MEMORY.

I think Ernest Hemingway said something about going bankrupt gradually and then suddenly – isn’t that the way with so many things?? First you are just a sister and the next thing you know, you’re on an airplane telling an old woman that you will for sure write to her but then feel guilty about talking to a stranger and crumple up her address and throw it in the Boston airport trash can.

Speaking of old women (wait, what?), here’s a Valentine. (Wait, what?)

Dear Zeichen Press,

published by Fran Shea

In the 1950’s, my Mom wrote (and sent!) postcards to her family and I have them (just for blackmail.) Ahh, the 1950’s… all the dads hula-hooped to work and the moms fixed wounds and cracks using silly-putty! (That’s historically accurate.)

•      •     •     •     •     •

Dear Zeichen Press,

I have kept up on all happenings by watching YouTube and censored dot tv videos and am I tired!

Francis had to go further to get ice to crush because the service station nearby was burned by the peaceful protestors.

Ask Jen to forgive me for never writing to her.

Love,

Fran

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ENOUGH OF THESE DISTRACTIONS!!  

En français s’il vous plaît!

published by Fran Shea

Sometimes neighbors can be enemies – just like Canada! J/K, Canada is not our enemy! Mexico is! Too political?? 

There was a granny who lived down our block and every other weekend her grandkids came to stay with her. Their last name was Bestman but we secretly called them the Worstmans. (It might be because we hated them?? Once my older sister and her friend pointed corn cob holders threateningly at them across Vincent Avenue. It was just like West Side Story without the Tony Award-winning music, choreographed dance numbers, Puerto Ricans, and doomed love!)

The “fight” fizzled out (aka Mrs. Heefner asked us what we thought we were doing) and the next Winter the Bestman house caught on fire and all of their Christmas presents burned up! My Mom told me that one of the boys (Miles) was playing with matches in the attic.

I guessed my parents didn’t know about our turf rivalry because they bought them a bunch of stuff. I was jealous but acted like I wasn’t because I had already had my First Confession/First Communion.

IRL

published by Fran Shea

Every 25 years I like to feel disturbed so I watch Matt Damon bludgeon Jude Law to death with an oar and then cuddle his dead body in the bottom of a little boat before sinking it with a pile of rocks.

(Happy Halloween!)

#Oldestintern must know how attracted to that era I am because she entrusted me with 166 pages of inspiration. And by “entrusted me” I meant she forgot an old magazine at my house. (Sorry, Madge!)

But the 1950’s fashion DID inspire me!

ALSO,  after a whirlwind of (Jen) printing and Dinah (detachedly) choosing paper and envelopes, I can finally stop being such a social butterfly and photograph the new cards. PHEW!

I want everyone to feel included, so here’s a card I posted to Instagram this week:

Memento Mori!

published by Fran Shea

Dan the Man (number one) knocked on my door and brought me a heaping pile of curried potatoes on a paper plate, introduced me to the music of Tori Amos, and listened to our kitchen-conversations because our windows were so close. (HOW COULD HE NOT?!)

Dan the Man (number one) also played classical guitar, had a big belly, long curly hair, and wore red suspenders. With OR WITHOUT a stained white t-shirt.

I used to babysit for my baby cousin when Dylan was also a baby (Note: I knew he ate the cat food over there because his poopy-diaper smelled like a litter box). We were picked up in a taxicab three mornings per week

by a hippie named Dan the Man (number two),

and while we buckled up in the backseat (carseats were for suburbanites), he would tell me all about the best items to eat at the Old Country Buffet. Thanks Dan the Man, that IS useful information!

Oh, I carpe diemed like crazy in those days.

Field Trip+!

published by Fran Shea

Our 1983 Field Trip to the Art Institute ended tragically when some naughty eighth-grade boys smuggled in their skateboards and much to the museum docents dismay, rode them up and down the herringbone wood-floored hallways. These same boys also smoked cigarettes and at least one of them had a super-tall mohawk… Lucky for everyone, I looked like this:

My Mom threw caution to the wind and signed ANOTHER permission slip for me the very next year. This time it was to Como Zoo/Park. I made sure to pack my tunafish sandwich and wrap my Shasta in tinfoil just like my sister. It went off without a hitch. For me. One boy in our class was not so fortunate because he decided to avoid the gate and slipped while climbing over the pointy, cast-iron fence. His corduroy pants and bottom were never the same… He walked around holding his derriere and I was, of course, scandalized.

Speaking of school… I made some graduation cards:

And speaking of Field Trips… without permission slips (WHAT??), Lucy and I went to the Arboretum yesterday with Aunt Clare to see the Dahlias and have a picnic. (WITH NO SHASTA?!) Also, we saw Edward Scissorhands stumble out of this grapevine-creation:

And PER TRADITION, I made Jen a birthday card and PER TRADITION we avoided seeing each other. DON’T BE JEALOUS!! 

Sightseeing in Minneapolis!

published by Fran Shea

If only someone would spray paint a clown riding a unicycle on the Washburn Water Tower. 

Wait, someone did that in 1989 and I spied it on my bicycle while I wasn’t procrastinating writing a paper on the Shroud of Turin!

Here is an an artist’s rendering (mine) because I didn’t have my fanny-pak (Franny-pak) filled with an iPhone/camera and, sadly, only had the image seared into my brain via synaptic plasticity:

The only difference between the artist-rendering and the real graffiti is that the clown’s legs didn’t end with feet and were just magically stuffed into the wheel-hub. Did this give me nightmares??  Why would it??

I haven’t even thought of it for the past 30 years.

Fall Cleaning!

published by Fran Shea

We sat on the rug every day while Ms. Stringer read a story to our second grade class — I felt jealous of the girls that planted themselves behind other girls so they could “play” with their hair. Why don’t they ever play with my hair? Sigh… Oh, well… Hey, WAIT!! Someone IS playing with my hair today!! Okay… Don’t move or they might stop… Just listen to the story… This feels pretty nice!… Okay, story is over… Turn around and see which girl it was… ACT NATURAL… Waaaait, that is NOT a girl!!! That’s an icky boy!!! I casually walked back to my desk and felt my hair… Maybe he DID braid it?? It does feel kinda funny… Um, no. NOT braids. HE TIED IT IN KNOTS. KNOTS. 

I don’t know why that memory pulled this Mother’s Day card out of me. PULLED IT OUT OF ME JUST LIKE I PULLED THE KNOTTED HAIR OUT OF MY HEAD AND SECRETLY SHOVED IT IN MY DESK.

On this day…

published by Fran Shea

Facebook is so good at reminding me of important dates, LEST I FORGET. Normally I’d chisel a statue to honor a significant event, but I settled on creating a letterpress greeting card and ALLOWING the Intern and Jen to print it. 

It will be added to our much anticipated Spring Release. And I’m sure if Prince were still on Planet Earth, he’d whisper a thank you and dance away in his tiny high heels.