Wednesday, June 22, 2011


About the title of this blog: In 1985, I was overnight program host at a small big-band station in central Florida. A radio station in the pre-dawn quiet is a magical place, and as I idly spun the rack of commercials at my elbow my eye was caught by a label for a product I had never noticed before: “Stardust Bed.”

Five hours into my shift, it was easy to imagine a lovely gossamer bed, a bed of clouds; I pictured myself weightlessly floating through space on a bed made of stardust.

Knowing the reality was probably much less enticing, I held on to my fantasy and avoided playing the tape for two days. Then a script appeared in my production box for Star Heating and Air Conditioning. The script gave the words I was to read over what is called in radio a musical “bed.” The music would be Haogy Carmichael’s old tune Stardust. “Look in rack,” said the sales manager’s note. And I learned that two minutes of instrumental music was the only “Stardust Bed” that awaited me.

Yet that phrase, so full of possibilities, stayed with me over the years: in a short story about a fat girl’s hunger for weightlessness, in a poem about an itinerant jazz trumpeter, and finally, last year, in a blog about death, that bed on which we will all ultimately float among the stars.

First my father had died, then my husband, then my mother. Death surrounded me, leering like the villain in an old horror movie. Death was also holding out its hand to another person I cared about very much, and as the Oregon winter got grayer and grayer so did my viewpoint, my poems, my blog.

But life is what we have, not death. And life is good. Of course, it probably helps that I just spent five weeks in the sunshine of Miami.

And so I embark upon my newest life, selling or giving away as much as I can bear to part with, and even a bit more, ready to see what life offers next to a 66-year-old with a whole lot of been-there-done-that, a powerful storehouse of memories, a small white motorhome, and the warmth of Florida in her heart.

Stay tuned.

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