Daiquiris or yoga while pregnant?


January 5th, 1937, Saint Mark’s Place, Manhattan, Maggie’s diary continues:

Grace (Maggie’s domestic help) was sick so very domestic day.  At a little after three I met Bobbie Sutton in Macy’s baby Department where there was a sale going on. She helped me buy necessities—diapers, shirts, sheets, pads of one sort and another, stockings; then we repaired to cocktail lounge of the Pennsylvania Hotel for a daiquiri.  She said Van Etten delivered  a 9 lb child yesterday, but not his fault it was so big. Said her daughter getting cute and agreeable, but she’s having a terrible time trying to find maid.  Had been seeing somebody at Macy’s about a job which she’s anxious for as she thinks this may stave off Donn’s going to Cleveland.  Cleveland is the next step up for him, but she doesn’t want to go anyway.  She told me about holiday parties with NEA big shots and Fergusons and with lots of rich old men from Muncie at a suite in the Vanderbilt one of them kept year round.  We considered taking the holidays together this summer, sharing cottage and maid, don’t know where. In evening Book on Cuba by Carleton Beals came, also The Trouble I’ve Seen by Martha Gellhorn about people on relief and very well reviewed.  M. said thought he’d read Beals, so he started on Webbs’ book. M amazed at complicated system of Russian government. He says you certainly can’t call it plain dictatorship.  He was amused to find that in addition to departments for Foreign Affairs, Defense, etc… there are also three departments for seeing to it that plans made by the cabinet are actually carried out.  I read Martha G. and very depressed.

And What About Her Granddaughter, yours truly?????

Imagine being eight months pregnant and, after shopping for diapers and sheets at Macy’s, repairing to the cocktail lounge for a daiquiri. Sigh.  Gone are the days when women were allowed to frolic around, drinking martinis while their ankles swelled and their wee ones pressed against their bladders.  That would have been lovely relief except, of course, it probably led to a slew of children who were addicted to daiquiris from birth.

Now pregnant women repair to the yoga studio. Here in Brattleboro we have Prakriti, where any day of the week you can go and take a yoga class that makes you feel like a happy rubberband. On Wednesdays, Peter and I go to Dante’s 5:30 class.  Dante is a very cool guy, who makes custom furniture and owns a gallery that shows the work of artists from all over the world. Dante is always in a good mood, even after a bout in the hospital or an almost-fatal car crash.  He likes to practice Spanish in the street and has been offering a donation-only Kundalini class since time immemorial.  Peter calls it Church.

So today, after a very long day of appointments and work, we got our mats (Peter’s is black and mine is pink) and repaired to the yoga studio. Dante lit candles and incense and played a crystal bowl for us, which sounds like a vibrating echo inside your body. And then he took us through a ton of pretzel-like postures and lots of Kundalini breath of fire which makes you feel like you just drank eight martinis.

After the postures, we lay there, breathing into our chakras and contemplating the universe, and Dante picked up his guitar and sang to us.  When Dante starts singing, I always slide over to Peter’s mat, put my arms around him and lean against his back, so I can listen to his voice.  Peter has a voice directly from God, which is how I fell in love with him.  It is not just sexy, this voice, it also makes you feel like nothing bad ever happened in the whole world and that you are going to be safe forever and ever, Amen.  Tonight as I was listening to him sing (May the long time sun shine upon, all love surround you, and the pure light within you, guide your way on…) I thought about how Peter called this our church, and I began to understand why people get married in church.  Maybe someone a long long time ago realized that the only way marriage works is if your spirits match, if your spirits know how to talk to each other.  It might be more important, even, than bank accounts or in-laws or whether you like to say tomaaato, and he says tomato.

When I first moved to Brattleboro, I didn’t know anyone at all in this town, and I was a little lonely.  Every day at five I went to the Solar Hill Mansion on Western Ave, and climbed the steps to their renovated attic, where I took yoga class. And in that quiet, while my body found the balance between relaxation and pushing myself to new limits, I started to get to know this thing called my spirit.  After class, because I had nothing better to do, I sometimes strolled around the Mansion’s gardens outside, looking at the phlox and chrysanthemums.

cutting the cake at the Solar Hill Mansion (I wore our very own Grandma Maggie’s 1940’s purple velvet dress with train).

12-8-2004 (3)-03

Many years later Peter told me to dress in my finest black shift, and then he blindfolded me and drove me around in a convertible.  When he stopped the car, we were at the Solar Hill Mansion Gardens. And I won’t go into the very romantic details, but he asked me to marry him. A year after that, we said our vows in the Solar Hill Mansion’s great room, right below where I’d found my spirit all those years ago.

So, what does this have to do with Maggie? Well, I’m just curious: If Maggie woke up now, would she go back to her old neighborhood, and repair herself to the yoga studio right next to the Saint Mark’s Hotel?  The women on the sign outside look like they probably had their boobs altered, but no matter, they’re offering a little church, right in the middle of the city, where spirits might be able to find one another.

Now, since P. and I are both happy rubberbands, we’re off to bed to sleep very well. Good night everyone, until tomorrow…

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