07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Monday, February 27, 2017

Recycle Day

By Courtney Pierce

In the summer of 2011, my ex-husband and I committed an act of treason. We decided to deal with our stuff in the attic. Not a feat for the faint-hearted in the steamy heat of Houston.
For twenty-five years we moved around the country to grab the swinging ring of a promotionmostly minebut without children, uprooting was an easy decision. Always moving forward. In each case, we had only a weekend to buy a house in an unfamiliar state. The corporate movers would swoop in to pack up everything in too much paper and send us on our way: San Francisco to Portland to Minneapolis to Houston. The boxes in the attic went with us—all of them—even my vocal scores from my college days in the seventies, tangible dreams of becoming an opera singer. We moved the beta hifi machine that didn’t work, along with the six boxes of eighties music videos and recordings of Dallas and Falcon Crest. All unplayable.
But the last move, back to Portland, would whisk us away from the corporate grind. With no deadline, we took the time to sort through the aging relics of two aging relics. Our modern-style home in Portland had no basement or attic. Treasures morphed to junk when there was no place to put them.
The banter sessions during the shedding process were hilarious and pricelessand uncomfortable. Tough love was tough. These markers of time had shaped who we were as individuals, and as a couple. When I opened the boxes in the corner of the atticthe music of another lifemy heart sank. The brittle pages had been chewed beyond recognition. A tiny dead mouse, full of melody, had already made this gargantuan decision for me without my permission. A portend of things to come, but I didn't know it.
I lugged the boxes outside to the curb for the scavengers. Hourly, I padded to the front window to check on their welfare. The music sat untouched, their thirsty pages drinking in the humidity that gave no life. The dead scores were alive only to me.  
On recycle day, the rumble of the truck sounded like an approaching storm. I dashed outside to witness the aspirations of a younger woman grind away in the hungry teeth of the metal cruncher. In slow motion, the recycle man launched the boxes, one after another. When the last one missed the mark and hit the rim, a cacophony of musical notes floated to the pavement in an ugly symphonyMozart mixed with Stravinsky; Bach melted into Brahms under a final aria of Bizet. Carmen had shattered her knees as she crumpled in a heap.
I didn’t know what to grab first. I scooped up as much as I could hold in my arms. My wild eyes met the recycle man’s in search of empathy, an apology, anything to acknowledge the disrespect shown to my failed dreams. Instead, he said, “Thanks, ma’am. I shoulda aimed higher.”
As I turned back to the house, alone and dejected, I spotted one soiled page in the gutter. The truck had moved on, its whirling blades out of reach. I stared at the opening of “Laudate Dominum” from Mozart’s Solemn Vespers; my debut solo back in 1979. The penciled notations for sounding like an angel had faded but were still visible. How nervous I’d been in front of those hundreds of people. But when the downbeat had started, I'd gone to another place. That same year I had married as a twenty-year-old bride. We grew up together, grew young together, grew apart together. A wipe of the smudged mud from the paper straightened my shoulders. I took a deep breath. The melody kept time with my steps back inside the house.
A magnetic pull floated me upstairs to the special drawer in my grandfather's bureau. I tucked the page beneath my lingerie. A romantic memory was added to its significance that day; the day I almost let go of the music. It would become a small reminder that I had, indeed, aimed higher. Now, at the age of fifty-seven, a new man in my life appreciates that music, my dreams, and me. For the rest of my life. We’re getting married in June, and I can't wait for life to start anew.

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her bossy cat. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, She Writes, and Sisters in Crime. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com
The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more
trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in early 2017.


Diana McCollum said...

Congratulations, Courtney, on your new life with your new man! I'm so happy for you.
It is hard parting with our memories of what might have been. I'm still lugging stuff around too. That is one of my goals for the year to start de-cluttering and getting rid of "stuff'.

Great blog post!!!

Barbara Strickland said...

What a lovely post. I'm not a keeper but over the years I've regretted letting some things go. Clutter or de-clutter, that is the questions.

Robin Kramme said...

Who we are.
Who we were.
Who we want to be.
Who we want to be with.
Great post! Thanks.

Sarah Raplee said...

Congratulations on your engagement, Courtney!
Beautiful post. Wow!