Donna – Keep On


Donna died at age 16 in 1976.  There’s a huge collection of poetry she wrote before she died.  This is one.


A lonely girl

sits in her room –

late at night;

by herself,

silently smoking,

and thinking.


She listens to the night time sounds, as her legs curl together for warmth.

She is lonely.

Oh –

so lonely.

For she misses her loved one.

And she keeps on…


D. Lehr 9/26/75


Different as Corn and Watermelon – A Torrent Love Affair

When I was young and still a hillbilly, I had a torrent love affair with an Anglo-Saxon Greek named Michael Angelo.  He was older, wiser, and towered authoritatively over my tiny 5’3” frame.

It was the Anglo side of him that made him physically big.  He was 6 foot 5 and about 225 pounds.  When he entered a room, everyone would stop to stare, waiting for him to do something important.  He said that this expectation that people had of him was a curse.

It was the Greek Orthodox side of him that made him a chauvinist.  He insisted that any wife of his would stay home and iron his button down shirts.  We fought about this.  There was no way I’d be someone’s slave.

Still, I worshipped his intelligence.  His confidence was wildly sexy and irresistible.  And though he was extremely conservative and didn’t believe that women should have many rights, he had a fun side to him.

Once he flew me to Florida from my small hometown in Maryland.  He was already at the tropical airport, anxiously waiting my arrival.  He was wearing khaki shorts and Wafarers  and driving a rented convertible Mustang.

We zipped around West Palm Beach, hair flying in the humid air, while drinking White Russians from a 7-11 cup.  I don’t remember much else.  We were always drunk.  He didn’t worry about the risks of drinking and driving.  He was wealthy and had connections.

He thought he was cool.  We’d “walk like an Egyptian” in his living room while swigging hard liquor.  We’d dangerously drive the back roads of Virginia and steal signed Neil Armstrong portraits right off of the wall from Your Father’s Mustache Restaurant in some little backwards town.

Once he bought me flowers.  Then I said that I wanted to travel the world, see Europe, splash through the warm waters of Bali.  He threw the flowers into the fire.  He was so emotional.  And controlling.

If I smiled too broadly at a retail clerk, he’d accuse me of flirting.  He didn’t understand why I wanted to take a weekend trip with my girlfriends up to the mountains.  He thought that was improper.

One day I accidently found out that he was still seeing his ex-girlfriend, the school teacher.

I stopped by his house one day to find her standing in the drive-way, classy yet tired looking.  I knew it was her because she was dressed like a school marm, proper skirt down to her ankle boots.  She didn’t wear makeup.

I was 19 and fresh from the fields.  My tight jeans were worn, my eye makeup too black.  We were as different as corn and watermelon.

I grieved the betrayal then moved to California.  Two years later, he tried to bribe me to come back by offering to put me through college.  He knew that was what I dreamed of – going to school full time.  But the offer came with strings; it had to be an all female college.  And I’d have to live by his rules.

I said no thanks.  I opted for freedom instead.

He later married when he was well into his 50’s.  Over twenty five years later, he still has the same phone number.  Sometimes I’ll call it and hang up.  It’s my message to him that I still think of him sometimes.  I hope he knows what a great life I’ve come to lead.

When In Amsterdam, Do as They Do….

The Grandness of the CanyonI travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I travel for travel’s sake.  The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson

I crave the experience of living amongst other cultures, the smells and sounds and foreignness of it all.  Travel and surfing are the two activities that allow me to truly live in the NOW, in the present moment.

My entire life has been arranged so that I am able to travel just about anytime and anywhere I want to.

What I love most about traveling:  The adventures that keep me grounded in the NOW, in the present moment, that make me feel more alive than being alive.

About eleven years ago I went on a four month trip around the world, alone.  Many exciting, scary and wonderful things happened in that time period.  Here’s one that I can laugh about now:


A Real Wooden Table

Dylans First Birthday at the TableIt’s six a.m. and the world is quiet.  I am in the kitchen, writing to the warm flicker of a vanilla scented soy candle and the harrowing sound of a crying love-song by Jai Uttal, which is playing on my iphone.

Seated in my hard chair at the West facing spot at the table that no-one else is allowed to sit in, I face the four foot long pane windows and enter my morning routine.  Despite that the curtain-free view outside is of the back house of my car-enthusiast neighbor, I enjoy the morning light that floods through the window and the glimpse of bougainvilleas draped over the fence separating our properties.

The table I work at is old but made up of real wood, Continue reading

Oh, San Clemente (A sort of Poem)

Oh Spanish Village By the Sea,

I found you late in life.

Driving the sixty miles from Huntington Beach to Carlsbad every weekend for years

I’d pass by you, and even at seventy miles an hour, I was drawn to your terraced, hillside homes that reminded me of Europe

I was longing for community and a place to belong Continue reading

I Never Wanted to Marry (because men rule the world)

What a happy family looks like!

What a happy family looks like!

At the age of ten I had vowed never to be married.  As a teenager I would make fun of girls who dreamed of their wedding day long before they even met the guy they would marry.

My parents’ marriage was painful.  They fought with fists and guns.  My mother unfairly lost most battles.   Dad would cheat, then come home and become violent.  For my mother, marriage was prison.

She got her revenge.  She taught her five beautiful daughters to hate men.  Men unfairly ruled the world, and our only defense was to stomp on their hearts and be cruel.

Don’t ever get married” she drilled into our heads.  “You’ll be trapped, washing dishes and doing laundry while your husband is out running around.”

Her influence was dangerously Continue reading

A teen’s First Job: Shocking what you’ll spend your money on

Tree uI was fourteen when my older sister asked me if I wanted to take over her house-cleaning job at the Goldman’s.

Mr. and Mrs. Goldman lived in a large, modern home.  They were minimalists, and back then, I don’t think we even had a word for that.  The upstairs foyer opened wide into the living room, which flowed into the kitchen.  Instead of walls, there were windows.  A greenhouse was  off of the kitchen, so Mrs. Goldman could grow her own organic vegetables.  At that time, we didn’t know what organic was, either.

Hardwood floors lined the house, which was unusual in Maryland.  Instead of furniture, they had several 6’ fig trees in their living room, with just a small couch to sit on.  Those trees became a nuisance to me, because I had to pick up every leaf off of the floor.   The only thing the Goldman’s had in excess were books, thousands of them, contained in one room in the house. Continue reading