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   s e x    a n d    t v    w i t h    a u n t    m i r i a m    1 9 4 5

--- R O B E R T   S W A R D

Part 2

Fifty-two years later

(Part 1 of Robert Sward's Sex & TV With Aunt Miriam - 1945 appeared in Xconnect, January, 1997. Part 2 of this work is new and we are linking to the first portion of Sex & TV because what follows grows out of what came before)

"Oh, my God! I can't stand it," she said, hearing my voice. "How are you, Eddie? I've been trying to find you. You're a missing person, you know?"

"I write, I've even published," I said.

"I talked to that publisher of yours. Famous you're not."

"I know, I know. And what about you, Miriam?"

"I got some health problems. I go to temple, the B'nai Brith."

"And Uncle Jerry?"

"Dead. That's why I'm calling, Eddie. He's dead. Fifty-four years we'd been together." Uncle Jerry, the handsomest man in Chicago, circa 1945, singer on Chicago's WGN Radio.

"No one thought it would work. Fifty-four years and we yelled all the time. What does anyone know about anything?" she said.

"You stuck it out," I say. "That's good."

She's twenty-one, twenty-two,
pale, pinkie-brown where I put my lips.

"Enjoy yourself, Eddie. Life is to enjoy."
"What about Jerry? What about Uncle Jerry?"

"Listen to me. People go up and back between loving
and not loving.
Do you understand, Eddie?"

My lips here, there...
She's teaching me. "This is how you do it."

"See," she says, "see."
I'm thirteen and not wanting to. Then

"I want to."

"Woof, woof."

"That's Koko. That dog has a weight problem. She doesn't want to move so I let her sleep on our bed. Koko is on morphine."

"Your dog is on morphine?"

"Did you ever hear of such a thing? Listen, you're all I got, Eddie, you're all the family that's left."

She wants me to fly to Chicago to see her. "Do I have to draw you a picture? Come, Eddie. Come and see the sights."

We lie together... Betty Grable mouth
and red red lipstick
watching some old movie.
Listening at the same time to the radio.
It's the second half of a doubleheader.
Cubs versus the Pirates.
and the Cubs are ahead 4-3.

"That's good, Eddie. That's good.
"It's The Star Spangled Banner,
"O God, don't stop,
"It's The Stars and Stripes Forever.
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
"God Save the Queen!
"Do you understand?
"Don't stop."

She's pushing eighty, she says, and sells Avon. "It's a living."

I'm grateful, I want to say. I'm grateful for the arrows. Whatever else has changed, I will always remember.

The aurora borealis,
and dawn's early light.
That was the year the Cubs won the pennant.

I understand, Miriam, these are the ties that bind.
Broad stripes and bright stars.
America the beautiful.
Purple mountains and spacious skies,
the screwed and sweetly screwy,
this our family, and this our country,

sweet land of liberty,
O fruited plain, O amber fields of grain,
from your apartment house to ours
('til Mom found out)
of thee, O darling, of thee I sing.

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