Saturday, August 9, 2008

What are Crazy Jugs?

I was raised by a single mother. She was raised by an alcoholic mother. We moved around a lot throughout my childhood. When ever someone asks me, "Where you from?" I always stumble. I used to say, "I moved around a lot as a child."

To which people would then consistently respond, "Oh, was your father in the service?"

I would answer, "No, my mother married and divorced a lot."

As I matured, I realized this was not something to share. It was something to keep privately.

I did move around a lot. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, my parents then moved to Cincinnati when I was two years of age. This is when my father fell in love with a red head friend of his from med school and told my mother he wanted a divorce. My father then moved to live and plant roots with his new love in Saltville, a small town in central Ohio. I now tell people that I am from Saltville even though I only lived there from ages 14 to 17. From the day I was born, I didn't live in a town longer than two years.

Every time we would move, ever since I can remember, my mother has placed the crazy jugs prominently in our apartment. I can barely remember making my own crazy jug with my mom. I must have been about five years old. I do remember wanting to make another one and asking my mom over and over to make another crazy jug with me. To this day, I have a stash of small items that I collect hoping to make another crazy jug. Small mementos, like political campaign buttons, little favorite toys or anything that might resemble some sort of a pop icon or special memory. They are then stuck on a sort of caulking substance that is spread all over a wine bottle. To me, they mean a lot. I have examined them even meditating on them for decades.

To an innocent person, they may look like junk. Trash that was smeared on an empty wine bottle. As I continue to mature, I realize that these crazy jugs symbolize three generations of women struggling to find fulfillment and survival. Through the struggles of a variety of mental illnesses and both personal and interpersonal conflict, these crazy jugs prove to withstand time and change even though the actual bodies and minds of the women who created them do not.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Channel said...

Yes, absolutely, there is a book in here somewhere. I'm no publisher but I'm a reader. And I read a lot.

Keep going!