Throw me Thursday: Factory Girl

My husband found this picture lying on my desk after I’d gone on a rampage ruffling through drawers. “I throw you this for Thursday,” he said. It was Tuesday. He doesn’t do Twitter or Facebook or blog so I won’t send you out looking for him, but I’ll say this, he’s my first and strongest supporter. I’m proud to fuse my forever with his.

This is me at twenty-one. Fifteen years later I still don’t know a thing. That little bat-eared kitten is gone, left us just this last August in a mid-morning sleep. She’s found her purchase on a tiny plot of land. The kids sang her inappropriate songs that show how little small children understand of death.

At twenty-one I was doing the things American girls tend to do at that age, namely trying to make sense of the wide world we’ve plunked ourselves in. That summer I worked a temp job at the General Motors plant that ran our town and our family for so many years. For three months I followed in Dad’s work boots, punched the clock at 7 am and bruised up my arms so bad union reps would stop and ask questions. I had a lot of time to read on the heavy duty line. Every hour I got an ergonomic reset, sat on a pile of tires and shot the shit with the guys. I was reading Tom Robbins and Allen Ginsberg. I left odd quotes on neighboring work stations.

The only thing I know, is that I know nothing.

The guy who worked across from me was allergic to every animal except human beings, though with his less than stellar disposition, I was half allergic to him. But Zacko loved cats. He’d tie catnip mice to ends of fishing line and string circuitous routes along his living room walls ending at the couch where he could raise a beer and a cat simultaneously.

Those are times not easily forgotten. Back home GM was the golden ticket, you were “in like Flynn”, if you get my drift–3 day weekends, union pay, health insurance, pension, affordable cars with great trade-in value. The thing is, most of the people I met working there spent their time bitching and moaning about everything from the top down to the dirt between their toes. I don’t know if they worked to buy their boats or bought their boats to forget about work, but neither seemed like it did much good. Money or no, pig roasts in the parking lot, the lunch time bar, it was all working to get and what they got was more debt, more beer.

Now, I’m going to tell you right here, I’m not being fair. I’ve always been one of those annoying people who wax long and hard about the possibilities in life, how if you have a dream you gotta work, work, work to see it through. You can do it if you want to, you can go, go, go. But most of us can’t keep going like that. Not everyone feels that burning potential rising out of them like a steam vent in January. Life is immediate, families need. Some choices don’t look like choices at all.

I didn’t stick around after that summer. I’m not a factory girl, I’m too…impatient. I took off and got an earful from a brother-in-law who would have killed for that chance. “What were you thinking?” he said berating me for being idealistic, “You could have made real money there. You’re stupid to quit that.”

“That’s not my kind of living,” I said. “That’s not what I want for my life.”

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About E. Victoria Flynn

E. Victoria Flynn is a mother and a writer living in Southern Wisconsin. Published in a variety of venues, Victoria is currently writing the first in a series of three fantasy novels based on Cornish folklore. When not taking part in a shrieking dance party or engrossed in her own little fictions, Victoria is keen on art, the natural world and people unafraid to explore their own brilliance.
This entry was posted in Burning bridges, Dad, memory, Throw me Thursday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Throw me Thursday: Factory Girl

  1. Tiffany says:

    Levi! Loved that little, itty-bitty kitty. I’ve never seen a kitty so small or so adorable in her quirks.

  2. Lisa says:

    Love, love, love this, Victoria!! What a wonderful photo, followed by beautiful and candid writing. Big hugs to you…

  3. Beth Hoffman says:

    This is a wonderful post. Simply wonderful. Knowing what we don’t want in life is just as important as knowing what we do … sometimes more so.

    I’m an animal lover/rescuer, and the pic of your little kitty touched my heart, as did the story.

    • pennyjars says:

      Oh, thank you, Beth. I agree with that. Cheers!

      And she was a great little fuzzball, though I also have to say, she was my first cat and I wanted a Siamese so much I didn’t know about breeders and what they might do to make a little cash. She was never in the absolute best health and given to respiratory and eye infections. I’ve learned a lot from that little kitty. 🙂

  4. Eglentyne says:

    I love the stark honesty in this post. And the purply tint in your hair. 😉

  5. pennyjars says:

    Awe, thanks, Dani. And man, that stuff washed out so fast I worried for rain.

  6. I love this throw me Thursday (well, I love all of them!), but I really understood what you were talking about toward the end when you said some choices don’t look like choices at all. Now that, honey, is wisdom. You are a fabulous writer 🙂

  7. pennyjars says:

    Ah, Rebecca, you’re always so kind. We all do what we have to to get by and sometimes we’re lucky enough to be able to chuck it all and go the way we want. That is, if we even know what *it* is. 😉 Thanks, Lady!

  8. Beth Lowe says:

    Really great writing, Victoria. It’s take-no-prisoners, muscular writing. Lots of writers strive for that and never achieve it. I love this: “Not everyone feels that burning potential rising out of them like a steam vent in January.” I have to disagree with you on one thing, though. I think you do know a thing or two. That’s what comes through in your writing. And, man, do I love that picture of you. xoxo

    • pennyjars says:

      Thanks, Beth. Throw me Thursdays are great to write because I never know what’s going to happen until, dare I say, the ugly hours of the night. By that time I’m just desperate to get something out and if I’m lucky, it will have a little heat. 🙂

  9. I loved “fused my forever with his”. That was so, so sweet. I am glad you followed your heart and did what you thought was best, despite what anyone in your family thought. Loved the picture of you and that sweet kitten, too.

    BTW, so happy you stopped by my silly blog last week and read my post about the spilled hot chocolate at Barnes & Noble. If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here in all likelihood. I am now following you. 🙂

  10. pennyjars says:

    Hi Kelley! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. I’m thrilled I was at your blog last week and will be again.

    And thanks for following 🙂

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