Lillian Rudolph Higgins came over for lunch. This was the first time we've seen one another in 9 years.
We met at a Book Discussion Group at Pastor Ron Billings' condo in Horsham, PA. He's since moved on. Just found a poem I wrote about him.
I remember visiting one of Lilliana's several houses. I wrote a poem about the old Victorian house with a hot tub in the back yard. It'll take a lot of searching to find that poem.
PS - just found it and am publishing it below. Wrote it in 2006.
I also recently wrote a short story called Hot Tub, which I'm hoping to get published on line. Two warring women drown each other in the tub!
Lillian now lives in her 1863 masonry home which has been converted into apartments. She owns the building and lives with many people: her daughter, Pam, and four grandchildren, ages 11 to 6. In fact, one of the scooters I found on Ball Road, near my dog Pal, will go to the youngest, Danny.
Her town of North Wales is a wonderful walking town with plenty of eateries and lots of excitement, unlike my place here on Cowbell. Shhh! Don't disturb the silence.
Lillian likes all the noise on her street. Pleasant noises. I'm going to introduce her to poem/song by Samuel Barber called Knoxville Summer of 1915, all the sounds on the summer night.
Unfortunately I can't find my new pink camera where I took loads of photos.
Please send any ideas of where you think it is.
Lilian and I are friends on FB. There's nothing like seeing the real person. We're sitting here on my red couch - she's wrapped Luther Sanders' blanket around her and our stomachs are making happy noises from our delicious and healthy lunch.
We decided to be activity buddies. She and I both like museums, the Ambler Theater, plays, unusual restaurants.
She'll find the GROUPONS, something I could never figure out.
She loves Thai, as do I. Scott can't stand Asian food nor does he like going out to eat!
Colonial Quy-Bau French Asian HERE WE COME!
When Lillian, who has four children, was ready to leave, she lifted up her purse and - lo! - there was my camera underneath.
She also has three dawgs, which is one reason she doesn't eat meat.
Just b/c a woman is ready to leave doesn't mean she IS gonna leave. In fact, we sat back down to chat.
I told her - what brought this up I'm not sure - that both Scott and I love movies, esp. film noir, and also documentaries about Hitler.
"Me, too!" said Lili.
I was shocked.
Her father, Bruno Rudolph, left Germany with his family when he was five years old.
Ah! At last I could speak freely. At last I could tell someone.
Last night I watched on YouTube the son of Josef Mengele, the doktor who did grisly experiments on Auschwitz patients. There were two interviews with the son, Rolf Mengele. The Times provides a good summary.
Just woke up from a nap while watching Good Morning, Miss Dove, with Jennifer Jones. The film was directed by Henry Koster, who escaped from the Nazis.
Here's our delicious salad I made for lunch. Served it with a platter filled with Triscuits, which happened to be Lili's fave crackers, and three choices of toppings
Fresh peanut butter from Whole Foods
She has to hide her Triscuits so she won't gobble em all up. Moi aussi.
I remembered the story from long ago and heard it in detail again.
Below the poem about Pastor Ron is one I wrote about Lillian's house in Horsham, PA.
The trail of breadcrumbs led me
to a living room in Pennsylvania
part of a development whose name escapes me.
They had a gas fireplace in the living room
and islands of creamy white Corleon countertops
in the kitchen.
It was a book discussion group,
led by Pastor Ron, his home
before leaving for the temple.
There were eight of us gathered around
The usual seven plus a new man who sat beside me
I watched him from the side. A face like any other,
large nose, hooked a bit,
curved mouth bespeaking ill fitting
but ardent false teeth.
He spoke and his arms waved in the air,
I watched those arms, followed them
wherever they went,
like an orchestra conductor,
nearing crescendo with swords.
standing on his mountain in Canaan
his people to behave themselves.
And then from my seat beside him
I saw the way his shirt cuffs
were unbuttoned at the wrist,
Unbuttoned, so he could be more comfortable.
And I wondered what it was like
to love a man so much.
It was really a Bible-discussion group but they
didn’t call it that. They called it a book discussion group
And they were all moved by the call of God,
except for the man with the shirt cuffs.
He lived in a house by the water and walked
along the beach. He didn’t say it,
but the man was looking for God.
And Pastor Ron said, “I was called to the Lord
when I was eleven years old.”
He lived in Oklahoma back then,
still had the twang, huge as a smile,
and round eyeglasses.
You could see him under those vast Oklahoma skies,
more sky than earth,
a boy swinging on a tire swing, round as a Cheerio.
And the pastor spoke and he was telling his story
and you wondered how many times
he had told that story,
a man with the face of the kind of boy
you’d sit next to in the third grade
and never in a million years pick
for your side of the baseball team.
And he looked out into the middle of the room,
maybe at Lillian or Herman,
his beautiful wife Shari of
thirty-three years sat next to him, her face
radiant, this was her husband Pastor Ron speaking,
she sat in a flowered chair with a look
that can only be described as rapture,
and I sat there, too, watching her rapture.
Ron was leaning forward in his chair,
one of those little
mock rockers that look like a real chair
when you sit down.
And he looked at me sometimes
and I sat there taken in,
oh, boy, was I taken in,
consumed with white fire
- it did no harm – just
seared my insides hot to the touch.
He wasn’t talking loudly, mind you,
not spewing out spitlets that glistened in
the lamp’s glow,
but just reporting,
just put himself back there when he was eleven years old
and the Lord came calling one morning
and swallowed him whole.
STRAIGHT UP FEARLESSLY INTO THE NIGHT
On the occasion of visiting the Horsham PA home of Lillian Higgins, July 3, 2006
I’m a house
sloped like a woman
my strong legs the casement
toes pressing concrete
for more than a century
a female Atlas
shouldering the world.
I’m a house
to the lives of the hundreds
still dwell within.
Like the elm at my elbow,
I know all.
But say mothing.
Many tenants too busy
to see me,
they dream their useless
drifers ono the rivers of time
whose lonely lives
walk the stairwells
while down the highway
once horse-trod dirt
now two-laned pavement
striped by an endless
the cancered, the tumored, the legless
would change places
if only they could.
my cantata breasts of
I hold firm
nursing them equally
Mine to possess
till their tenure is
My towers and turrets
beam eyes that are
booming like warm drums
testing my strength.
I am more than a century
but fail not my tenants
who staire from their
beds at lonesome ceiling fans.
over drug overdoses
over water drawn
from the well;
I’m a church
a table spread with wine.
toes like a pea-hen
squawking in silence
o’er my brood
until the wrecker’s ball
Fearlessly I rise again
into the night,