Ask the Expert interviews Cristine Dorn
- Louise Hay (wed-gie.com)
- Today I loved listening and seeing Louise Hay live! (todayiloved.com)
The next day I heard shouting, banging, bumping sounds coming from upstairs. I ran to see what was going on, when I reached the top step I saw Janet and Howard fighting the in the hallway. I watched in silent terror as they wrestled knocking objects over that happened to be in the way—until Howard hollered; “Go down stairs Heddy!” Once everything settled Howard said he was taking me home. It was clear that Howard was highly upset, but I didn’t understand why I had to go home. I never had seen him angry before, never heard him raise his voice, curse, or even fight.
Oh No, I thought, I have to go home without seeing Leon! I was downhearted I wasn’t ready to leave, I had to think fast. My heart was racing like it was in a NASCAR competition. I didn’t have Leon’s phone number, but I knew where he lived. I saw Howard walking down the staircase and stopped him as he reached the last step.
“Howard, how long do I have before we leave?” He looked at his watch.
“We’ll probably leave in an hour.” I quickly ran upstairs and threw my clothes in my little black suit case and zipped it up then ran back down stairs.
“I’ll be right back!” I hollered, then ran out the door across the street and walked briskly several blocks down to Columbus Avenue where Leon lived. I knocked on the door. His brother peaked through the window of the door then opened it slightly looking at me. “Hi is Leon home?”
“No, he ain’t here. Who should I tell him came by?”
“Heddy, tell him Heddy came by. I’m sorry to come by without calling, but I wanted to see him before I leave.”
“Before you leave—where you going?” He opened the door wider.
“I’m going back home, to Meadville. We’re leaving in an hour.”
He observed me carefully then said;
“Let me get your address, he’ll write you… Wait… let me get some paper.” He went back inside and got a pencil and a small torn piece of paper from a used envelope. He wrote down my address. I thanked him and said goodbye.Not seeing Leon before I left was deeply troubling me. I was afraid I would never see him again, but his brother promised that I would hear from him. From the very first time I saw Leon, I knew he was my handsome knight and shining armor. But I still wondered if I would hear from him or if he would simply forget about me and move on to the next girl in line willing and waiting for his attention and affection. The thought of losing him terrified me.
When I got back to the house Howard was ready to go. I said goodbye to Robin, and the other kids. Howard threw my suitcase into the trunk, we both got in the car then he backed out of the driveway and headed for Interstate 80 east. The drive back to Meadville was long. I was heavy-hearted and gloomy. It was quiet, neither Howard nor I was much for words. My thoughts centered on Leon. I hoped and prayed that I would hear from him again. And that his brother really would give him my address.
When we arrived in Meadville Mama was happy to see us. Howard stayed for a while and ate dinner before leaving. No one could refuse Mama’s good cooking. She wouldn’t let a visitor leave without feeding them and she always had leftovers in the fridge.
I ran up the steps to my bedroom and put “My Girl” by the temptations on my record player, then turned the dial to 45 and sat down on my twin bed listening to it over and over. Finally the music lifted my spirit and I got up and danced—swinging my hips from side to side and swirling around to the rhythm of the music. “My Girl” was my refuge. Every time I heard that song, I thought about Leon.
A week later I received a letter from Leon just as his brother promised. From then on he wrote every week. As soon as I got home from school and walked up on that long gray wooden porch, the first thing I did was check the mail box for a letter from Leon. When there was one in the mailbox my heart smiled with sheer joy, it made my day! It didn’t take long for him to write that he loved me. That was absolutely blissful. We both were in love his letters confirmed it. Somehow hearing it in person was different from seeing ‘I love you’ written in his own handwriting. That sealed it—it must be true! I thought. I was his girl and I always knew he was thinking about me.
Shortly after graduating from high school he wrote that he had joined the Air Force and would be leaving for basic training in Texas. I didn’t understand why he joined the Air Force especially during the Vietnam War. I worried about his safety and prayed that God would keep him safe. Leon kept his promise and continued to write weekly. Sometimes I received two letters in one week. I don’t know how he found the time to write so often especially when he was so busy training, but he did and I’m glad that he was a man of his word. It made it easier for me. I felt close to him, as though he were there with me, and I with him. We continued to stay in touch by mail and I always knew what was going on with him and he knew what was happening in my life. His letters came from Air Force Bases in Wichita Falls, Texas and Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The last assignment I knew of was at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.
Leon received a lot of training at those three Air Force Bases. He wrote that he was trained as a mechanic. His job was to fix the planes, even while it was flying in the air he had to go out on the wing to repair the plane. Daddy was a mechanic in the Air Force too! I imagined Leon standing beside an airplane just like a picture of Daddy I had seen of him dressed in his mechanic’s jump suite. Leon’s military career settled at Langley.
One night I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes. We had one of those stand alone white porcelain sinks with the double door cabinets underneath. I hated washing dishes; there was nothing to look at but the bare wall straight ahead. A black wall phone hung from the other side of the room next to the huge wooden cabinet that housed the dishes and food. The phone rang Mama walked in from the living room and answered it. She was talking for several minutes. I knew it was for her so I continued washing the dishes. After she finished her conversation, she called me to the phone. Puzzled that it was for me, I walked over to the phone as I wiped my hands dry and picked up the receiver from the cabinet Mama had laid it on.
“Hi Angel, how are you?” It was Leon—I was shocked and happy.
“Leon! I’m fine. Where are you?” I asked thinking maybe he was in Akron and he would be coming to Meadville to see me, I hoped. It had been twenty-two months since I saw him. The day I left Akron loneliness set deep down in my heart—I yearned to be back in his arms again.
“I’m still in Hampton.” My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m fine… I’m sending a picture. Look for it in the mail. How’s school?”
“School is good, I’ll be glad when I’m finished. My grades are great.” There was a Long pause. As I stood there waiting, I sensed something heavy was on his mind. I had no idea what it was, but I knew it was deep. I remembered how deep our conversations could get. So I decided to leave it alone and be grateful that he didn’t go into a long deep conversation. Something kept nagging at me, but I was afraid to push the matter. I felt something was seriously wrong and it scared me.
“What’s wrong Leon?”
“Nothins wrong Angel…” he paused again. I want to ask you something…” silence broke through and another long pause followed. This was the first time he had ever picked up the phone and called to talk to me.
“Okay just ask me.”
“No, I’ll wait.” What does he want to ask me? I wondered. It’s not like him to not speak his mind. He’s worried about something.
“I love you Angel.” I felt a rush of relief. He still loves me; it’s not that he doesn’t love me anymore, thank God. Silence fell on my ears again.
“I love you too Leon.”
“I gotta go.” He slowly said. “I’ll talk to you later. Be good.”
“Bye Angel,” he said softly as he hung up the phone.
There was something strange about his call; he never called me before in the whole two-year courtship. I always received a letter. And Mama didn’t say a word. That was too strange. I looked at Mama and wondered what she thought about Leon and me saying that we loved each other. Then I thought it probably wasn’t a problem since he was in Virginia and I was in Pennsylvania. That’s too far away to make a sexual connection.
Mama focused on me graduating from high school. She always told me I would be somebody one day. She made it her top priority to make sure I graduated from high school and NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING would stand in the way of her dream for me.