The Legend of Cloud and Her Mama, Part 5

My Mama, Caron McCloud, recently participated in one of our online classes, Leading A legendary Life. During the course there is a fair amount of writing that needs to happen — and she wrote this incredible story. The next five mondays you will get one chapter of Cloud and Her Mama delivered to your inbox. Are you ready for the insight into my creative beginnings – well here is more than you ever wanted to know! My mom, is my best friend, and I am humbled and tickled by these sharings…thanks Mom. I am super blessed and I know it.

The Legend of Cloud and Her Mama
By Caron McCloud

Chapter Five

Cloud always made the best of things. After all, she was an artist and artists were innovative. She made a game out of being the “New Kid in School.” When people asked her where she was from, she would answer “Highway One O One.”

When a little girl Cloud’s mother always dressed her in plaid dresses as all of her school pictures will testify. In only one is this classic standard substituted with a black turtle neck. When her cousin Bridget saw that one she exclaimed, “How did Cloud get out of the house without being plaid?!” Some say Cloud’s mother dressed her that way so she could “pass” and make people think they weren’t as wild as they were.

They always shopped for school clothes at Macy’s and for quality rather than quantity, during which Cloud would be thoroughly indoctrinated with the reasons for doing so. She would have preferred the quantity, but over time she came to understand and agree with her mother’s wisdom in these matters.

One year, following one of their moves, as September loomed on the horizon and she was to start a new school, she asked her mother when they would be going on the shopping trip.

Her mother sat down with her and explained that she needed every cent she had to re-invent her design business and their budget could not accommodate the classy Macy’s wardrobe she had come to expect.

This came as quite a shock to Cloud and she said she wasn’t going to school. It was apparent that this was a right time to address the subject of finances and career and her mother told her that if she wasn’t going to go to school she would have to get a job.

Further consideration revealed that there was not going to be any employment available to Cloud that she considered up to her standards. Cloud said that in a few more years she would join the service. Her mother told her that would be fine but further consideration revealed the rigorous hours and the wardrobe would not suit her standards either.

Cloud said she was going to marry a rich man and her mother told her that would be fine and that they needed to get to work on her immediately so that she could become all the things that a rich man would be looking for in a wife. Well the idea of having to become something specifically to please “some man” was definitely not in accordance with Cloud’s standards.

“Okay Mom,” Cloud said with no sign of further frustration or disappointment, “just give me what you can. I’m going shopping.”

When Cloud returned she had totally re-invented herself. She was delighted and delightful modeling the treasures she had gleaned from second-hand stores, and so was her mother. Among her outfits were red paisley pajamas bottoms with a black T-shirt and a blue and grey striped silk neck tie. A fuzzy pink fifties angora sweater with raggedy jeans and beat up cowboy boots and an impressive assortment of bracelets and chains. Cloud had gone “Punk Rocker”.

She enrolled in the new really “straight” school in upscale Walnut Creek, got the low down on all of her teachers and before classes started, went around and formally introduced herself to each of them.

She walked into the history class with her blonde hair streaked with various shades of red and black and in permanent BOING. She walked right up to the teacher and introduced herself. “So nice to meet you. I’m Cloud, and I hear you don’t give out A’s in your class.”

He had no choice except to shake the hand she stuck out with the four-inch band of little pieces of string from under her bed all braided and woven around the wrist, as he said in a stern voice, “Very rarely young lady.”

She said, “Well, I just want you to know you are shaking hands with the ‘young lady’ you are going to be giving A’s to this year.” And he did. He had to, because Cloud worked hard for those A’s and he was quite happy to have someone to give them to for a change.

When she told her mother about this her mom said, “Honey, why did you want to set yourself up like that?”

Cloud said, “Mama, the next time he sees a kid come in that doesn’t fit his pictures, he’s going to remember me, and he’s going to think twice before he passes judgment.”

When her mama had told her that she thought Cloud was working too hard to try and pull this off, Cloud said she was working for those other kids. According to folks, who claim to know, Cloud is still working too hard for those other kids whether they come from Walnut Creek or the wrong side of the tracks.

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Caron McCloud writes and performs poetry, and is a member of the Washington Poet’s Association where she has been a semi-finalist in the “Bart Baxter Performance Poetry” competition three out of three tmes entered, and in 2000, besides winning a “Carlin Aden Award” for her Alexandrian sonnet, Last Trump Tango, she was 1st place winner of the “Charlie Proctor Award” for her poem Holmes Ranch Hags, which she also read as the introduction for the Alice Walker/Sue Sellars event “Neighbors and Artists.” She was a participant in the “PoetSpeak Reading Series” at Frye Art Museum in Seattle, with poems published in “PoetsWest Literary Journal.” Her poem Common Ancestry was 1 of 14 of the 400 contest entries selected to be included in the poetry contest periodical, “Saltwater.” She has been a guest on several radio shows, and was a reader for the poetry collection by J. Glenn Evans CD, “Windows in the Sky,” which is periodically played in Washington on PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, Besides publications in various other venues she has over a dozen chap books to her credit, and has recently published RACHEL’S BAG In Search of the Qabalah of Our Mothers, a book about the radical actions of Old Testament women, for which her youngest daughter Shiloh did the introduction, the cover, and the illustrations. McCloud is currently working on a book on Qabalah, Living the Tree of Life, to be used in a workshop format.