Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Disappearance of Dreaming Daisy Mae

My daddy wrecked a Chevy that was top-of-the-line,

A four-speed positraction four-oh-nine,

Now there’s nothing left to wreck, I was born too late,

All I can afford is a pair of skates, I’m goin’

Rollerbladin’! ‘cuz I gotta do somethin'

Rollerbladin’! It's better than nothin'

Rollerbladin’! I might hurt myself!

Rollerbladin’! Or maybe somebody else!

Watch out! Don’t knock anybody down!

(copyright 1995 Tom Dark)

"HAVE A GREAT DAY! (smiley face)

"To Mr. Tom Dark,

"I’m very interested in your music. I was wondering if you had any information on other songs or things you may have created from a comical mind, such things like T-shirts, hats, etc.

"If you’re planning on a tour or a personal appearance any time soon, I would much like to know so I could see & hear you at the same time.

"Keeping with your great musical ideas, please send in some more songs to the radio show and I’ll be listening intently.

"Your Fan

"(S. L. B.)

"That’s a.k.a 'Daisy Mae.'"

This kid-perfumed letter came one day in a hand-decorated envelope, postmarked July 8, 1995. Daisy Mae lived in Rialto, California, one of the little flatland burgs between San Bernardino and the southern California coast. I sent her a cassette of my novelty songs for it. She then wanted to learn all about "the comical mind" from me. She hoped I wouldn't mind her questions about how to make people laugh.

I judged Daisy Mae to be about twelve. Her handwriting was big and round and careful; her lettering had a timid light touch and lots of self-conscious little happy-faces. You can't get more charming than that without stick-ons of big-eyed kitties and fluffy bunnies.

I saw something else in her handwriting, too. Here was a highly intuitive little soul. I bet she dreamed lots of vivid dreams. I wanted to find out. I answered her letter saying yes, I'll tell you all about how to be funny, but for your payment, you must tell me dreams. See if you can dream about where I live and what it looks like around here, I replied.

A week or so later came her letter. She said she had traveled to the mountains in a dream, all green and tall pines. She saw me standing in a yard wearing a green sweatshirt and khaki shorts with big pockets. I was playing a white electric guitar. The little pooper had accurately dreamed my farm on a hill among the sugar pines, the color and shape of my electric guitar, the horses nearby and... she didn't understand why the nearby mountain was colored blue.

In those days I'd stroll around the front yard absent-mindedly exercising my chops. I still wear that green sweatshirt, though I’ve replaced the khaki shorts often. The little house was in the shadow of Blue Mountain, where the High Sierras begin.

A good skeptic might protest that she had looked up my address on a map and seen Blue Mountain. Of course she'd know by my address I lived in Northern California. But the other correct details were a bit much for lucky guesses. She would dream a good many more “lucky guesses” in the five years to come.

Daisy Mae had also written me a dream she said kept happening over and over. It bothered her. She was at the ocean shore. Across the sky was written this date: May 5, 2000. Then a huge wave would leap out of the sea and take her away. It was recurring even now.

I wrote her back: have you ever heard of the famous French seer Nostradamus? May 5, 2000, was one of the dates that people interpreted from Nostradamus' cryptic quatrains that the world would end, I replied. Maybe it was a worry-dream about the end of the world, as this worry had increased so broadly since atomic weapons were invented and used. But Daisy didn't know who Nostradamus was, nor what "quatrain" meant. She didn’t think about things like the end of the world.

My other thought was that her own world would end by May 5, 2000, five years from now. For instance, my friend and music partner Gary killed himself, unbeknownst to me, not long after I dreamed the ocean swelled up and took him away. Others had told me similar dreams over the years, seeing friends or relatives taken away by ocean tide or wave, which also seemed to have precursed their deaths.

What to do about sweet little Daisy Mae? Surely her mother would not be delighted by some big hairy stranger writing to her daughter that she was going to die in a few years. So I didn't do that. I did vow to remain this little sweetheart's pen pal for a long while. Maybe, if the dream did herald a serious problem for her in eventualities, I could offer some kind of help.

Daisy Mae’s letters became a dove-like presence in my mailbox from thereon. She continued sending letters decorated with hand-drawn critters and greeting-card-like slogans, telling me about her friends and foibles and dreams that were correct in physical detail. I became a kind of dream-dad.

One day Daisy asked if she could talk to me on the phone, so I decided to give her my number. I'd gathered along the way that her family was poor (thus the hand-drawn envelopes) and knowing me was quite a big deal for her, being a celebrity so far as she was concerned. Aww… let's give her a boost of confidence. She can talk to her big radio comedy star and have something to be proud of among her friends. When she called, I hung up and called her back to save her the phone bill.

It turned out that Daisy Mae was twenty five years old. She told me she’d taken her phone out to the garage so her husband couldn’t eavesdrop. In a few minutes, her husband stalked in to discover her hiding there.

She'd been married to this complete religious nut since teenhood. She hadn't known any better. Her fanatical religious marriage had left her so naïve that, from this distance, her letters and expressions had seemed like a little girl's.

After a few minutes on the phone, her husband stalked in to discover her hiding there in the garage. He started preaching loudly. JESUS this and JESUS that and doesn't JESUS want her to get off the phone and come into the house right now? For does not Samuel chap 11, verse 2-6 say blah blah blah? And Matthew this and Mark that?

Poor Daisy was mortified. Yet she bravely stayed on the phone and talked over the lunatic accusing her of doing the Devil's work (chap, verse) by talking to an evil Hollywood star (the show was broadcast from Hollywood). She would not back down. For once in her life, it was clear, she was talking to somebody important. Bless her heart, she finally managed to chase her loony husband out of the garage and we ended our call in peace.

That night I dreamed I visited a virtual Christian concentration camp and helped a woman escape. This dream echoed a series from years before, where I was the priest who helped several Jewish women escape a Nazi concentration camp.

In time, Daisy's Brave Phone Call proved to trigger things for her. She left her husband, moved in with her mother and got her first job, a counterperson in retail sales. She was a newly independent woman with the emotional naiveté of a twelve year old. But she'd catch up, I thought.

Eventually she bought a computer and hooked into the internet. She still wrote me through postal service, letters all decorated. She still wrote me dreams. I too dreamed of her -- but none of mine matched her literal reality. In mine, she now lived happily on a farm in the Pennsylvania Dutch days, for instance. In another, she'd married a nice, simple fella named Charlie and moved to the northern California woods. I guessed they were good-wish-dreams, maybe toward her finding a new mate, to whatever else they may have alluded. I hadn't forgotten May 5, 2000 and the swelling ocean taking her away.

Not long before I left my end-of-dream-road adventure in Northern California, Daisy wrote me a dream where she was making love to, and deeply in love with, a man of certain height, hair color, and so on. Her description resembled me, although she had never seen a photograph of me. It included being "in need of dental hygiene” – which I had been. How she loved this dream-man. I worried, could that be me? Had I let her crush on this somewhat imaginary celebrity go too far? Also, Daisy had no idea, awake at least, that I was then deciding whether to live the rest of my life in that place, as in my “dream map,” or move on. But no. No diddling with my fans, particularly this one.

A year later I moved to Tucson and sent her my new address. In the interim, after getting into the swing of things in chatrooms, Daisy told me, she found the love of her life. After one single evening of typed chat with him, Daisy Mae decided that she would be "Mrs. Dirk Jones" from then on. She tore off to Los Angeles from Rialto in her beat up used car to meet Mister Dirk Jones. He was jobless. He was in need of dental hygiene. But not to worry: Dirk was an ex-Navy seal, he’d told her. His resourcefulness would pull them through. Daisy started printing “Mrs. Dirk Jones” on her letters, plus the flowers and happy bunnies and homilies.

She mailed me a snapshot of this Dirk fellow. I'd say he matched her description from a dream very well.

Daisy Mae hadn't remembered this dream, or any related to the emerging event now in her reality. She was so far head over heels about being Mrs. Dirk Jones that she didn't blink an eye when he had told her he had to stop in at the local police stations wherever they went. This was because "he was legally required to register his hands as lethal weapons."

Oh, dear.

The new bride Missus Dirk Jones believed him. I warned her to be careful: Dirk might not be what he said he was. Nobody’s required to “register his hands as lethal weapons” anywhere. They are required to register as sex offenders, if they’ve been convicted. She took this kindly from me, but it made no difference to her. It was probably true that Dirk had to register at the local police station wherever they went, at least, but his given reason was surely a cock-and-bull story. I didn't hear from her for about a year.

About a year later I got another hand-decorated letter from Daisy. She apologized for not having written in so long. She had been hit by a car while crossing a street, her leg broken, and she and Dirk had been living in homeless shelters all this time. Mister "lethal hands" had apparently been none too good at finding a job. They had bummed around from place to place, Dirk dutifully "registering his hands" wherever they'd go. Yet Daisy sounded as unflaggingly cheerful, even delighted, as ever. Something great was going to happen. She knew. She'd had a dream.

In this dream, Daisy Mae and Dirk strode together over a pile of dead and rotting bodies into a field of daisies. It was now springtime forever. That’s where she and Dirk were going. Daisy bid me adieu with a line of "xoxoxox's" and I never heard from her again.

May 5, 2000 came and went, no word. Weeks went by, and months, years by now, and I searched for Daisy by her real name, chatroom moniker, relatives, known addresses. Nothing.

No obituaries, no crime reports. The girl who'd written me at least weekly for five years had disappeared. Daisy Mae does show up in dreams now and then, but not from anywhere I know of here on earth.

I eventually looked up Dirk Jones among the internet lists of registered sex offenders. His real name was unusual enough to be unique. I found two. One of them was listed as a sex offender living in Southern California, not far from where Daisy Mae once lived.

Just yesterday I came across that last postal mail I got from her; it was dated April 12, 2000. On the envelope she'd written "May 5 is just around the corner!"

I've omitted many details from this story -- not to conceal anything, but I have run it through my mind so often over the years I'm afraid you may be as tired of hearing it as I am, dear reader.


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8:03 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

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8:03 AM  
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8:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

No, not at all. I just edit out the bullshit sales so it looks like I'm getting lots of compliments from anonymous people. The novelty is wearing off, though.

8:22 AM  
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6:23 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Uh huh. And I'd want semi-literate people flocking to my blog for the pictures because why?

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Jinshomaru said...

What a sad ending. :-(

8:39 AM  
Blogger KathyB said...

I'm sorry that Daisy Mae disappeared. Maybe she went off the grid, similar to the dream of her being on a farm without electricity.

Never have had dreams like that. Shared one once, at least a flicker of it.

Growing up we were told that if you shared a dream before breakfast it would come true. The intent was to keep "bad" dreams away from the table, pretty sure.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Been studying all this "in the field" for, I dunno, 30-odd years. How rare to hear of a family talking about dreams. I know it was once common, but became reduced to whispers after Freud and company were popularized, and dreams became like suspected commies to lots of people.

Daisy Mae was one of many people I've encountered who showed this kind of ability but never seemed to take advantage of it.

After all this time, and a lot of searching, I am still guessing that she either did die, or encountered some situation with that idiot that was so embarrassing that she just plain sank out of sight. But we were confidantes enough that the latter would surprise me.

Anyhow, my "mission" has been to get people to just plain talk about dreams again. No wires, gizmos and self-styled specialists needed, just attention. Well, lots of it.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dreamed you were a know-it-all asshole - Goofy

12:44 PM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Isn't that funny! I dreamed you were too stupid to stay out of the way of that truck.

1:08 PM  
Blogger KathyB said...

It was more like a superstition, if you talk about scary dreams before breakfast they will come true.

Folkways, like raising your feet when you cross a railroad track riding in a car, stuff like that.

Country fun.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Well sure, but I hardly ever hear about a family going so far as to even have a superstition about 'em.

Will remember to raise my feet, next RR crossing.

11:16 AM  
Blogger KathyB said...

Could have been a way to calm an overexcited child too. Shove that memory down in the hole and get on with the next day kind of thing. Simple Southern repression :)

Good dreams, happy dreams were welcome at the breakfast table. We are talking over fifty years ago, but still.

Didn't have screamers.My daughter did and sometimes does. Lots of therapy and prescriptions have lighted the way to better rest. Horrible violence directed at her person no longer the mainstay of what should be restorative time.

My mother told me that she never dreamed. Of course she also claimed that she rarely slept. I have gone long stretches in adulthood with no memory of dreaming. I usually think of dreams as working shit out while the brain is free from tending to other things. Like standing up, talking, moving, communicating with others.

I like dreams that bring visits with loved ones no longer around.Sometimes know it during the dream, but usually just smile when remember it.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

I have a distinct memory: my mother asking Grammaw if she ever remembered dreams. "I don't dream," Grammaw announced, like someone saying "I never shit, and if I did, it wouldn't stink."

Ever after, the rare times the subject was broached, my mother didn't dream, either.

She mentioned one of me once, and so too did my dad.

The story just before this one, about my best pal Paul, took years to piece together dream and reality. I learned to pay attention ever after. Actually wound up saving a few lives.

8:02 AM  
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5:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Notice how all these "anonymous" commenters write with foreign accents?

5:28 PM  
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6:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Hey! Thanks for letting me know there's such a place as Kingwood, Texas! And that they're courageous over there!

6:41 AM  
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6:32 AM  
Blogger KathyB said...

Sorry to pay attention to the A* post but my brother lived in Kingwood TX for several years. Worked for death merchants - Brown and Williamson Tobacco. Finally had to leave. Moved back to Kentucky. I never made it down to Texas for a visit.

His only child born there though. Fourth marriage. Now on his fifth, but happy. If this one comes to an end he will not see it coming. Unlike the last one.

Child is grown with hubby and child of her own. Stepdaughter went through all of high school and college in Texas.The grown girls like about 200 miles apart and very close to their mother.

You don't need all this useless detail, but Kingwood was the light bulb.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Lived in Houston a couple years, myself. Son born there. The humidity makes it too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

A client spent the night here couple weeks ago. Jonathan Winters' best pal and head writer. He and his wife live somewhere in Harlan County, KY.

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5:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Uh huh. Who are ya?

5:39 AM  
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7:17 AM  
Blogger KathyB said...

Sorry you are getting spammed. Should have the power and authority to delete posts. I guess that is what monitored posting is all about.

I've never spent time in Eastern Kentucky. My ex son in law was from Floyd County. My sister's husband is originally from Wolfe County. I get the willies driving on I-75 through the mountains. Flatlander for the most part. Not super flat, but nothing too sharp in altitude either. As a child I remember finding fossils in Western Kentucky and being thrilled with the idea of where I lived once being a sea floor.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Oh, sure, I can delete these posts. But I'm just deleting what they're advertising. That seems more effective.

Were we separated at birth? Just up north in Ohio I spent a lot of my kidhood hunting for fossils. Lots of brachiopods and anemonae. I made my own paleontologist kit with a nutcracker and screwdriver and little hammer and stuff.

5:31 AM  
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6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:37 AM  
Blogger KathyB said...

Ignoring the "visitors" and posting what is on my mind

Weird dream last night. I was speeding in a car, not necessarily unusual even though excessive in this instance. Car went airborne, like very high over fifty feet, from a level and straight surface. Knew it was not going to end well and interrupted the dream. Remembered it though.

Did not seem connected to the spot a half mile away where three high school seniors died in a crash over a year ago. They crested a hill at ridiculous speed and driver tried to slow for a left turn.

Not apropos of anything, except is was a dream. What I think of as a conscious dream because I deliberately cut it off. May have awakened but don't remember doing that.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Tough to pinpoint without being familiar with the usual flux and flow of your daily life.

There's a small roster of dream symbols I can rely on. Driving is one of them. No brakes! eek! Driving backward for one needed reason or another. Too slow. Too fast. Also, what year the car is, whose it is or was, all that mixes in.

Any of it means how I'm doing just now on the highway of my life. Need to back up. Need to stop. Need to bull my way through. If it's my car from 1984, that means things are now like they were in '84 when...

Sounds like you, too dream like this; keep your eyes peeled, could be unexpected trouble.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did you graduate high school?

10:18 AM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Odd question. And why are you "anonymous"?

11:12 AM  

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