Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Musical Memories” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the A to Z Blog. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading! ♥
The time: Spring 1971
The place: Toronto suburbs, Canada
Okay, so I cheated a little in order to finish the story, which started with ‘I’ and progressed to ‘R’ (letters are clickable links, in case you missed them the first time around). Rather than a song title, ‘The Visitation’ is Chapter Three of The “She” Chronicles, jagged fragments of my life, using third person narrative, for the sake of emotional detachment.
Afraid to look at the car, yet consumed by a morbid curiosity, her eyes swept over the smashed body and peered inside. Bloodied glass everywhere. His blood! The news broke that very day. After lingering in the hospital for several hours, he succumbed to his injuries. A night of drunken carousing and life was over at age 21. How fortunate for her they had parted ways the month before. She could well have been a passenger in that vehicle of death! Ironically, she was just learning to drive. It affected her state mind and fuelled a burning need to see the wreckage.
There would be two days of visitation, followed by a Catholic funeral mass, then interment. This was her first brush with death and the grief overwhelmed her. She couldn’t face going to the funeral home alone and enlisted a friend to lean on. According to rumours, the family had insisted on an open casket, despite the severity of his injuries. Hard to find a sombre outfit! It was 1971 and her wardrobe was full of mini skirts and hot pants. That black maxi skirt in the back of the closet would have to do. Knees trembling, stomach tight; she waited for her friend to collect her.
As they entered the visitation room, she could feel all eyes boring into her. Some people were whispering and she guessed what they were saying. “That’s the slut he was involved with.” Older generation Italians didn’t take kindly to outsiders and she wasn’t even Catholic – the ultimate sin! Her friend gripped her arm and muttered: “Ignore them!” Shaking now. They slowly made their way to the casket. He was wearing his best dark blue suit, with a white shirt and striped tie. She’d never seen him in a tie before. This was the era of colourful printed shirts and open collars. On closer inspection, she realized the hair was a wig. Yes, it was black, but a different style! The face was barely recognizable under heavy makeup. Feeling sick and trying not to faint, she leaned in a little closer, then recoiled in horror! Part of his nose was missing, the side facing the mourners propped up by toothpicks. She stifled a scream and embraced her friend. “Please get me out of here.”
That spectre haunted her for years. She refused to attend any more visitations, until decades later when a close friend passed away. His was a peaceful death and there was nothing to fear, yet the feeling of horror returned. Visions of a broken face from long ago swam before her eyes and they filled with tears.
There aren’t any ‘V’ songs from that time, but for the sake of continuity and the playlist, here’s a great one from the year before. It brings back a memory of introducing it to Future Hubby when we first got together (several months after the funeral). How appropriate that Venus is the Roman goddess of love (because hubby is Italian).
Do you have a memory that haunts you for life?
Looking forward to your comments!
The Doglady’s Den #AtoZChallenge 2017 Youtube playlist: