Charmagne Westcott
In the 1940’s she danced on TV with my father. She wanted to be a movie star and maybe he could make that happen. He dressed her in elegant sequined gowns with taffeta skirts that flared when they did the foxtrot. He took pictures of her looking down at the camera, dressed in pointy push-up bras, short shorts and strappy heels. From that angle her legs went on forever. Her hair was bleached blond and perfectly set, her red lips plump and pouty. He had an eye for what was beautiful.

My mother stopped dancing after my father died. A deep empty pit formed inside her. I was afraid to let myself get close to her, not even close enough to peer over the side, for fear I might fall in. Later, when she started smiling again, it seemed like I was the only one who noticed it wasn’t real.
Sheila is in the bathtub now, so Henry is inside his kitchen cabinet, under the sink, listening to her through the wall. This is where he hears her best. One arm is wrapped around the drainpipe; the other pulls his knees in tight against his chest. He is motionless, pleasantly confined. His cheek is wet against the chalky wall. He breathes softly. The warmth and the dampness penetrate him. He imagines the steam of her bath and he is with her – unable to move until she does, unable to breathe until he hears the water respond to her. They are so close.

He hears her say, “roses.” She is on the phone. He imagines her wet skin, a drip of water running down her knee, her thigh. He opens his mouth to taste it.
I am a female in my mid 30's, single with no children. From what I have come to understand about today’s society - most of my knowledge admittedly gained from Must See TV - it is perfectly acceptable to be me and there are plenty of others like me. I am a woman free to make my own decisions without compromise. If I want to eat a pork chop, a bag of bite-sized Twizzlers and a lemon flavored Luna bar for dinner, I do. If what I eat makes me gassy, my cat may choose to leave the room, but she will never tell. I decided a long time ago and without any outside influences that no piece of furniture in my house would be black, gray or chrome. Nothing would light up, flash, make synthesized noises or spin around by remote control.

I read. I exercise. I attend cultural activities and social gatherings. I have friends, a positive relationship with my Mother. Life is pretty good. Yet sometimes, for no apparent reason, people I hardly know pat me on the shoulder sympathetically and say, “Eventually everything will turn out okay.”

Personal Essays...
The latest...
9/26/2013: My mom and I were interviewed today for an hour-long show about storytelling on Boise Public Radio. It airs Thursday (Oct 3rd) at 7:00 PM and Sunday (Oct 6th) at 2:00 PM on FM 91.5. The interview was short - we're just a small part of the special, but so happy and proud that they asked us back! Click here to go to the story on Boise State Public Radio's website.
6/28/2013: NPR's StoryCorps came to Boise, Idaho and the reunion story is now archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress! Click on "presentations" above to hear the version that aired on Boise State Radio as well as the full unedited version.
6/2010: I presented an abbreviated version of my memoir at Boise's own Story Story Night (our version of NPR's The Moth). The theme was "Gullible." Click on "presentations" above to watch the youtube video.
You must voice your stories to get beyond them. - Lisa Dale Norton
10/03/2013: Boise State Radio just aired, "Idaho StoryCorps Special: Telling The Story Of Us," an hour-long special on storytelling. My mom and I were asked to interview for this project after recording our story with StoryCorps. Click here to hear our interview and the rest of the hour-long special on Boise State Radio's website.
02/09/2014: I started a blog because I am super introspective and not at all lazy. That said, call me first before you come over, okay? And give me at least a couple of hours to clean up. You know what? Forget it. I’ll meet you somewhere.How about a beer? My treat.