Sweet Tarts, a French Kiss, and the Nickel Pickle

sweet tartsOnce upon a time, those three silly things could transport me to paradise.

Once upon a time, the little girl that I was couldn’t wait to be all grown up and on her own out in the wondrous universe. A universe without parents and their arcane rules and values. One without bedtimes or restrictions. I couldn’t wait to catapult into the picture-perfect adult world I knew awaited me.

Today I would gladly mortgage my only son in order to crawl back to the safety and security of my childhood world. I want to curl into a fetal position and retreat into a womb of innocence and dreams not yet crushed and hearts still unbroken.

I am envious of friends who have been married to the same person for years, friends who think their lives are boring and dull compared to mine. “You’ve had such an exciting life, and been through so much. You really should write about it, though no one would believe so much could happen to one person.” What I would give for twenty years of boring and dull. Boring would be my new black, my Nirvana.

As I sit amongst the flotsam and jetsam of yet another failed marriage, I question whether this really is some sort of lesson plan I laid out for myself before being thrust down the birth canal. Are all these painful experiences in love and relationships some curriculum I decided I must acquire to round out my soul? To fill in areas of spirit that were lacking in past lifetimes? If so, I demand that the cosmic powers that be better damn well hand me a doctorate, or three, post-haste.

What a tragic waste when two hearts, once so full of joy and optimism, discover that love has morphed into fear, affection into wariness, and desire into revulsion.

I’ve been dissecting past relationships and old boyfriends, examining them under the microscope of time and experience. This led me to remember my first boyfriend, Ted Ince. I was twelve years old and Ted became my boyfriend for one reason only. He was taller than my lanky 5’8″. Forty-seven years later, I’m not convinced my criteria for selecting a mate has become any more discriminating.

In the tiny Texas border town we lived in at the time, there was one movie theatre and it belonged to all the hormonally amped up teenagers for the Saturday matinée. Admission was one quarter, add a pack of Sweet Tarts for a dime, a giant dill pickle you plucked for yourself from an oak barrel for one shiny nickel, and a cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper and paradise was yours for the low, low price of 65¢. Throw in a stolen French kiss with the Ted’ster, and while it might not have been  “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights”, it was close enough for this young girl.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have chosen a life with the Ted’ster, or the Panamanian boy I was going to marry when I was fourteen. I could have saved myself the pyrotechnics and thrills of new relationships and shuttered hearts. But with that road not taken, there will never be a way of knowing for certain. And if The Gods of Karma insist on me returning here for yet another lifetime, I will have only one demand. I must be happily married to the love of my life and celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary.

I will now take a moment to congratulate myself on BLOG POST 100, despite the implosion of my world as I know it, the start-up of a business, an insane new job, and racing the clock to complete two books. Perhaps lost love is my jet fuel, the accelerant I need to blaze through my Vida Loca.


This is a repost of a blog from 2 1/2 years ago, when my life was unrecognizable from what it is today. I’ve been spending a lot of time recently pondering relationships, probably due to that meddling boy Cupid paying me a visit…once again. Can’t write, can’t think, can’t function. Can only smile…..

9 thoughts on “Sweet Tarts, a French Kiss, and the Nickel Pickle

  1. Great images. I agree. I couldn’t before, but now I can see how old people can face death calmly and be accept it gracefully.

  2. Ah, youth. Sigh. It was so much easier back then.

    Ah, love. Blech. The grass is always greener on the other side.

    From your posts about your life, it’s evident that you have always remained true to yourself, which is such a gift. Congratulations on that, and congratulations on your 100th post! Don’t forget to let me know about your first book signing! (And hang in there! I wish I had half of your strength and determination, girl!)

  3. I am so sorry you are going through this. But then, sometimes trees need to go through the pruning process to grow. And there is no dead weight quite like that of a failed marriage – I’ve had a few of my own, so I know.. Live through the unpleasantness and come out clean on the other side – my wish for you, Renee.

    In the meantime, could I ask a favor of you? (as selfish and arrogant as that may be… )

      • Well, I didn’t want to presume, so I didn’t ask the question. As a matter of fact, I don’t really know what the question is. I need a bit of advice and was wondering if you would mind listening. Can I email you? Thanks so much.

      • Hi, Renee. Thanks so much for your encouragement. It is so sweet of you and I greatly appreciate it.

        On to my question… I know you have told me that you and a lot of your “circle” (if that is the proper way to put it) are writers and editors. I am looking to go a little more “professional” and have been in touch with an editor (amazingly) who wants to work with me. I feel like a fish out of water, though, and was hoping you might be able to advise me a bit.

      • I am not even sure exactly what to ask. I have been looking for some way to branch out past the blog and actually look into getting some pieces published. I have been talking a bit with an editor who works for a publishing site called Silver Tongue Press. They are not a vanity press but they are print on demand. However, they do provide ISBNs and sell through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I am excited about the possibilities, but never having submitted anything before, much less been accepted or rejected, I have no clue what I am doing. Even worse, I don’t even know who to ask, on top of not knowing what to ask.

        Does any of that make any sense? 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE and commented:

    This is a reblog of a post from 2 1/2 years ago…when my life was unrecognizable from where it stands today. Relationships are in the forefront of my mind recently, probably due to that meddling Cupid…once again. Can’t write, can’t think, can’t function, can only smile…

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