Pooey! Others’ significant others, and my roommates

I ain’t gonna work and I ain’t gonna study, Just gonna toke up with my buddy.

roommatesI believe this is the end of the Ask Roger Anything questions for this round:

New York Erratic queries:

What have been your best and worst room mates?

Oh, I’ve had a LOT of bad roommates. In New Paltz, NY, I had two guys, both named Mike, who, for some reason, hated each other. I mean, throwing chairs at each other disdain. I ended having to play interlocutor for them.

Any of my roommates who smoked inside; that was a drag. (Pardon the pun.)

I had one roomie who wasn’t bad, but his estranged wife calling at 4 a.m. was no fun.

I was in loco parentis for a 17-year-old when I was 25. THAT was a mistake. And the third roommate was an artist, so when I’d walk into our apartment, I’d get yelled at by people I didn’t even know because it made some nude model in the living room, who I didn’t even know would be there, cold.

Romantic entanglements muddle the question. There have been people who were great in sharing the space, but emotional stuff got in the way. Or conversely, the Wife, who is otherwise great, but puts away my stuff so that, not only I can’t find it, but SHE cannot.

My best roomie was probably my first one in college, Ron, who was tidy without being oppressive, and we left each other’s stuff alone.

When someone has a pooey spouse or SO, what do you do? Butt in, say nothing, or some other option? Why?.

Pooey? Really? What does that mean?

Well, it depends on what way they are “pooey” AND how my friend feels about it. Are they just loud, or obnoxious, or have crummy politics? I can overlook that.

If my friend has a jerk for a boyfriend, I’m not going to say anything, unless he/she brings it up. That is unless I believe the friend is in danger of being harmed, or kids in their care might be imperiled.

I’ve actually been in the situation a few times, usually women in relationships with men who were not worthy of their time and energy, though the reverse has also been true. The guys were emotionally abusive, but not physically.

There’s always that tricky line between being helpful, and being patronizing. Adults have the right to make bad decisions unless real damage is possible. And what is “real damage”? One tends to decide this on a case-by-case basis.

Now, I have also been involved when someone was actually abusive and was supportive in getting her away from him.

You wanna give me some examples?
Arthur inquires:

What ONE thing always pops into you head when you think of your university years?

For some reason, the phrase “your university years” made me wish I had a tweed jacket.

Anyway, it is the college alma mater:

New, New, New Paltz…
New, New, New Paltz…
New Paltz is good enough for me.
I ain’t gonna work and I ain’t gonna study,
Just gonna toke up with my buddy,
New Paltz is good enough for me!!!!!!

OK, it wasn’t the alma mater. In fact, I could not tell you the NAME of the alma mater, if you offered me a million dollars. THIS song, though, was well known on campus in the 1970s, since it was such a druggy school, and, as it turns out, it still is. This news surprised me because the narrative is that the administration was “cleaning up” the school.
Thanks to all of you who participated!

Occupation: writer

I guess I am a writer, in that I write.

One of the fascinating things I’ve observed for a long time is how well – or not – people know each other, even when they see each other on a regular basis. I was reminded of this last month, during a break at church choir rehearsal. I made an offhand remark about the trials of being a librarian. One of the choir members, who’s been there a couple of years, said, “But you’re not really a librarian, are you?” And I looked at another choir member, who has been to the office where I work as a librarian, with a mutual puzzlement.

“Oh, yes, I am,” I noted. And the other choir member confirmed this. “Oh, I thought you were a writer.” I said that I’ve been doing the librarian thing for over two decades.

But being mistaken as a writer – even a writer she evidently didn’t read, or read often – is NOT the worst thing in the world. I guess I am a writer, in that I write. I don’t get paid for writing very often, probably not at all in 2013. Still, I WRITE. Somehow, this tickled me.

Now, you all know I’m a librarian, right? Some of you – you probably know who you are – DO know me better than people I see every week, or even every weekday. I find this an endlessly interesting sociological phenomenon.

Grandmother Agatha Green, found at last

Her greatest contribution to my development was that she taught me how to play canasta.

When my parents moved downstairs at 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY, my paternal grandparents, McKinley and Agatha (nee Walker) Green moved upstairs. Her name, BTW, was pronounced a-GATH-a, not AG-a-tha. Yes, it is I who she is holding.

Grandma Green was almost certainly my first Sunday school teacher at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church, only a couple of short blocks from our home. She had a certain refinement and bearing. While my maternal grandmother would nag me, this grandma gave me the parameters she expected, and I pretty much did it.
It’s rather like some Bill Cosby routine. Grandma Williams was Cos’ mom, “Go to bed, because it’s important for…blah, blah.” Grandma Green was like Cos’ dad: “Go to bed.” OK, grandma.

Of course, I visited her and Pop (my grandfather) virtually every day. One time when I was three, I fell down the flight of stairs from their dwelling to mine. To this day, the hair will grow on an area of chin, just below my lower lip. (Also odd: two of my co-workers fell down flights of steps when THEY were three.)

She was the eldest child of some half dozen kids, and I recall when her father died; I was around 7, so it would have been about 1960. He was this little tyrant, even at his advanced age, and all of his kids were afraid of him, though he was nice to my father and to me.

Red threes

Her greatest contribution to my development was that, when I was six or seven, she taught me how to play the card game Canasta. It’s an arcane game, but I learned to love it. I then taught my great aunt, my mother’s Aunt Deana, how to play. I’ve been playing cards ever since, though the last time I played canasta was against my high school girlfriend’s father over four decades ago.

Then suddenly, at the age of 62, she died. I no longer know from what, though I assume now it was a heart attack. I remember going to the funeral, and the burial. What I don’t recall is ever going to her gravesite afterward, even though her husband and her son lived in the area.

Floral Park

In fact, I pretty much couldn’t remember precisely WHERE she was buried until my niece came across Paul R. at Find A Grave, who is “retired so I have time to walk through the cemeteries and take pictures. In mid-July 2010 I started a project to record as many memorials for the cemeteries in my county (Broome, NY) with pictures that I could.” He added this record on 10/29/2010. She’s buried in Floral Park Cemetery in Johnson City, the village adjacent to Binghamton, and within walking distance of the house that the family moved to in 1972.
Thanks, Paul R. You’ve cleared up part of a family mystery.

When I went to Binghamton in mid-July, my family went to Section M and found the headstone. It was next to a newly-dug grave of her sister-in-law, Jesse Walker, who had died a few days earlier. The SIL was known as “Earl’s Jesse”; my grandmother had a sister named Jesse Walker, and so their brother Earl’s wife got the odd appellation.

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