6.20.2017

Journal, December 13, 1976 AM

My days have been very full since I arrived in Madison {WI} Friday night. I have done nothing special, except get back together with the family and adjust myself to their pace. They are very energetic, active folks, every one. I had half forgotten.

I was the last standby passenger to get on the last flight out of Chicago on Friday. <I’m not yet ready to credit it to Sofia’s cross, but it was very fortunate.> Jan met me at the airport in a borrowed car. It turned out very fortunate that Mom & Dad did not come down to meet me. They’d have been waiting impatiently 3½ hours, or perhaps given up on me & gone home.

Jan took me to her place & we drank hot chocolate & talked with her roommate, smoked a joint and went to bed. In the morning we went down to the campus (of University of Wisconsin) and meandered about. I bought a Spanish-English dictionary at the bookstore and checked out electric calculator prices. There was one for $39 that has about what I want. I think it will be a good investment as I should be able to sell it when I leave Costa Rica at a small profit.

We went into a head shop so Jan could buy (Continued at 2:30 PM, after Dad got tired of discussing with me & went to sleep.) cigarette papers and I was confronted by something the U.S. has which Costa Rica and other Central American countries definitely don’t, a store totally and openly dedicated to selling all of the accessories needed (or that one might desire) to smoke marijuana and hashish. I picked up my lower jaw quickly so as not to be too conspicuous.

In Rennebolm’s {pharmacy} Jan & I had a hot chocolate, and were discussing Costa Rica & the business of learning a second language, when the woman sitting next to me put in that her husband was Mexican and told us about some of the problems he’d had trying to learn English. Jan says Milwaukee and Madison are becoming important centers for the Chicano movement, and that they have acquired significant Hispanic American populations.

Anyway, I saw Bruce about 1:30 when he showed up to take us home. Still, I was lost in thoughts of the past that kept swimming through my head. Everything I saw brought back an association from 2+ years back. My perceptive powers molded what was there to fit my memories surely, but also nothing radically unlike my past experience broke the mood. Bruce didn’t break it. The fact that he was driving a car I’d never seen before, the folks’ “new” Comet, didn’t alter it. Landmarks along the route from Madison to Friendship were largely unchanged. The house looked the same.

My first big jolt was lying on the couch in the living room as I strolled in. I had already greeted Carla. She was bigger, and showed physical signs of blossoming womanhood, but the voice & manner were unaltered. Anyway, as I walked into the living room, I noticed a young man lying on the couch. He saw me as well, and got up nimbly and came rapidly toward me, extending his hand and saying, “Dean, how you doing boy?” I was momentarily stunned. I took his hand and replied, “Good to see you, Tom.” But actually, I half expected to be told he was a neighbor or friend or . . . As I expressed those thoughts, everyone smiled & nodded knowingly. Yes, Tom had grown a lot, and his voice had changed. He had filled out some. I must have sounded like a broken record the rest of the day, talking about the new Tom. I still find myself kind of looking sideways at him and cautiously studying his movements, seemingly to reassure myself that I am dealing with one person in two time frames instead of separate people! Also, he is the most interesting family member to study in terms of personal development. I’ve always had high expectations for him, & it appears everyone else in the family does also.

Saturday night Bruce and I tipped a few beers at his favorite place. Bruce has become the responsible big brother of the family, smoothly and completely. He told me he could never bear to see the farm go out of the family’s hands, and that he expected that if something sudden happened to Dad, or if no one else took it over, that he would take over the farm. He’s matured almost more than I would have wished. But clearly my cutting myself off so completely from the folks & farm was the crucial factor in it. I’m both feeling a little guilty that I dumped on him the responsibility I had borne, and feeling very proud and satisfied with the way he has borne that responsibility. He’s even recognized that Jan has a major problem because she can’t sustain satisfying relationships with men. The younger kids are beginning to analyze and propose solutions for the problems of their elder brethren. It’s good; it’s very healthy. I must strive to avoid playing the overbearing older brother.

My parents also please me. Dad tends to dominate conversations as much as ever, but the breadth and depth of the things he is thinking about are impressive: tax laws, local& international politics, the importance of choosing a good woman, birth control, education, transferring the farm to the next generation. The farm remains firm as Gibraltar in the center of Dad’s universe. It was “the living” for his parents, his family, he & his wife, and for our family. We must keep it in the family. This is not a threat or an order directed at me, but a statement of unalterable belief & faith, even a kind of pleading, as he’s well aware that we the children will decide the fate of this piece of the Earth in which he has invested so much of his once boundless energy. Now at 55 he would like to be already started on transferring it to his heir. I sense that I’m still his choice, & that Tom ranks above Bruce. Bruce however is my bet to do it. He’s already told me he’s found the woman, & she’s "a lot like Mom."

Mother never says much, but she exudes moral & mental power. Dad admits she has always been the support & counsel he needed to do what they have. But he told me today, “She will never make a business decision, she always has left that to me. I have decided everything.”

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