3/16/2010 Writings regarding my life - Short Stories. © by Cecil Herring Passiing of Teresa Stein ' 49 by Cecil Herring© March 16, 2010memoirsaboutmylife.html Almost every day now, someone I know is added to my passed on list, Getting these stark names by e-mail, makes me think it is like the crossover function for computers to upload data or images. Left is the name and on the right the final list already uploaded with arrows going back and forth in the middle. You highlight the name and click the arrow. Sometimes the process is right to left. It doesn't matter, that right or left list is the final list or is it? I take a sip of my second cup as I listen to Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B-minor, Op. 115. "Hi All, ...Once again, it is my sad duty to report the passing of a classmate." ...the e-mail read.. Jim Young, my high school classmate sends death notices peridiodically and now more regularly. "Oh No." I thought. "Who is it this time?." I quickly glanced to the right to see the name - Teresa Stein. My lightning thinking back tracks in time to when I last saw her at a reunion. Nope, this is not the place. Then, I time traveled to when I first saw her. Still bad at math. I do some subtraction on a scrap of computer paper. I come up with when I first saw Teresa Stein. . . my mental movie screen comes into focus: Teresa, age 6, is in a white dress. We are with our mothers, and I think near the school playground. Introductions are being made. I am holding a pen filled with liquidy ink - a fountain pen! I am so fascinated with this new toy, I hate diverting my eyes to the people in front of me. I fiddle with the pen and pay no attention to the traded niceties. I pay no attention to Teresa and her Mother: I do not look upward or outward. I am fascinated with the pen. "Say hello to Mrs. Stein, Tootsie," My mother, prompts me. I pay no attention even as I hear her and feel her hand shake my shoulder. A girl and her mother stand directly in front of us, Mrs. Stein, faceless, and by her side, her daughter, Teresa Stein, 6 years old with her budding facelessness, her niceness, kindness. She either wears glasses now or later. I can't remember. It is a detailess Milton Avery tableau, a painting. of four - two grownups and two children facing each other, simplified in every way. I play with my new pen. Squirt! Suddenly, Avery's simple tableau is marred forever with a dominating big black blob on Teresa's white dress. There are words. Someone says, "that won't come out." Someone else says, "Yes it will."Milk." "Someone says, "Cold water." Handkerchiefs come out. Water is produced and daubing begins. It gets worse. I have a sinking feeling as I eye the spreading black ink by now indelibly becoming a modern design down the dress front. We can never be friends or know each other or be bosom buddies. Mrs Stein, the mother, Teresa Stein, the daughter, 6, my mother, forever judging the STAIN! Black ink all over her dress and I did it! Gasps all around. Of course my mother overreacts. She has a big fit and I think as I always do now that she beats me on the spot or was it later? I remember I did get hit, yes I think it was right then. Anyhow, it was bad. Later, over the years, in gradeschool, junior high and high school, always we avoid each other. Teresa goes on to be an exemplary student, tapped for the CADETS, honor marching drill team who naturally wear flawless white pants, gloves and socks, fine black leather shoes, snappy blue jackets with gold braid and buttons, all polished to perfection. Oh yes, and a shiny black cap I think with a feather. Actually I did not mean to do it. Not being of a mechanical nature then or now, I fiddled with something, pulled a plug or pushed some lever to make black ink squirt out all over her new pure white dress. It was a silky shantung little girl dress with sash sewn in side seams. It wrapped around her square 6 year old body, tied in a big bow in back. Now, it was decorated with a black Rorschach ink blot, a big Sumi, a caterpiller with splashes that made catepillar spines around the segmented body. Yes, Teresa, you were forever marked, Rorschached, branded with my mark, my tattoo. Now, many years later, you are gone and I am remembering you in my special way. You became my first real art!