Jon And Charles And A Ballet Dork in a Mini Chef Hat

September 22nd, 2010

I was sifting through some old emails today and I ran across a few that I have saved for over ten years.  They are from Jon and Charles.  Jon – being Jon and Charles being ‘Dear Charles’ who is the advice columnist for this here blog.  But long before Jon was ‘Jon’ and Charles was ‘Dear Charles’, they used to be two guys that I knew while I worked at a cooperative grocery store in Lawrence, Kansas called The Community Mercantile or the ‘Co-op’ or ‘The Merc’.

Everyone that worked at ‘The Merc’ was something of an odd character.  It was practically a job requirement to choose an alternative lifestyle and to live it with great gusto.  I was sort of normal for a Mercantile employee as I preferred the opposite sex, but had not yet given birth to a child on a pile of organic turkey feathers while all my friends and neighbors watched.  I went to church, albeit it was a charismatic church headed by a Swedish pastor with a heavy accent and even though I was a member of the church dance team whereby I would occasionally get up in front of the congregation with the other dancers during certain praise tunes wearing a purple tunic, gold sash and black circle skirt and dance before the Lord, this was still considered pretty mainstream by Mercantile standards.  Besides, I was not an artist, a vegan, a feminist, an organic farmer, an activist, nor a wild-crafting herbologist who had the ability to heal chronic sinus infections with incense, ear candles and onion poultices.  I had no tattoos, no facial piercings and I maintained my natural hair color, wore make up, used deodorant and coordinated my clothing.  I also put white sugar in my coffee when no one was looking.  How I got the job at ‘The Merc’ I will never know.

It was during this time in my life that I met Jon and Charles.  Jon is an artist who back then specialized in painting skies and creating miniature sculptures of people’s faces in a medium called ‘sculpey’. He worked just enough hours at The Merc to cover  his rent and his groceries and he rode his bike to work every day.  Jon and I were both cashiers and Jon was hilarious.  He made me laugh so hard sometimes the store manager would have to come out of her office and tell us to calm down or sometimes she would just glare at us from her office doorway or sometimes she would just send out prickly vibes from the produce aisle and we knew that we had better simmer down.

I knew Charles through his then wife, Susie.  Susie was an astrologer and one time she ‘did my chart’ and then she told me that I ‘was not a leader’.  She kept saying it over and over again, “Rechelle, you are not a leader.  You’re not a leader.  You’re chart says that you are not a leader.”  After a while I started to feel a little hurt.  Maybe I wasn’t a leader, but did she really have to rub it in so hard?  It was almost as if she was trying to make the chart true by repeating it over and over again like a hypnotic mantra.  You are not a leader, you are not a leader, you are not a leader…  But other than the the star chart incident, Susie was a great deal of fun and she was one of the bridesmaids in my wedding.  Susie was also a cashier with Jon and I until she became a manager and after that sometimes Susie had to glare at Jon and I from the produce aisle until we calmed down, but we knew that she was doing it because she had to and not because she hated us.

At some point, I began to edit the Mercantile newsletter and I had to ask Susie’s husband Charles to help me because Charles was already an editor and even though I knew how to put a newsletter together using Pagemaker, and I could certainly write a few articles on the latest organic foodstuffs in the store, I was terrified about making grammatical errors.   Grammar has never been my strong point.  Charles agreed to proof read the newsletter for me.

And that is how I came to know Jon and Charles and Susie and also how I learned that I was not a leader.

And then I got married and moved away and the only time I ever heard from Jon and Charles was through a series of e-mails that they wrote together on Sunday afternoons for a far too short period of time.  Towards the end of these Sunday afternoon letters, I must have sent them one of those ‘memes’ that require people to fill in the blanks on a series of questions.  This is how they responded…

NAME:  Jon and Charles

ANY CHILDREN?  One for every day of the week

LIVING ARRANGEMENT:  We pay our property taxes, and the government lets us live in our houses.

YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW?  “My Favorite Bolshevik”

WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?  A mouse turd

FAVORITE BOARD GAME:  Bestial Pictionary

FAVORITE SMELLS:  Old Jim Ghurkin’s hog farm in Western Kansas

WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD:  Stepping in hog dung on prom night

BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD:  About 15 minutes after insertion of heroin suppositories

ROLLER COASTER: SCARY OR EXCITING?  We find that particular song quite exciting.

HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE?  A large order of onion rings (approximately 12-15)

FUTURE DAUGHTER’S NAME:  (Substitute cat or dog) Latrina

FUTURE SON’S NAME:  Donghorst

FAVORITE FOODS:  2 frog’s legs over easy with brown hash, whole wheat roast, and a cup of sausage coffee, cream and sugar at Jim Ghurkin’s hog farm in Western Kansas

FAVORITE COLORS:  Dark black

CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA:  Yes, please

FAVORITE CANDY:  Freshly stolen from a baby

DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE?  Only when someone else is doing the driving

DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?  We can’t even get to second base with a stuffed animal.

STORMS – COOL OR SCARY?  Negotiable

WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?  Type AB negative

BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?Just finished Jim Ghurkin’s   ”So You Want To Be A Hog Farmer” last night

IF YOU COULD MEET ONE PERSON WHO WOULD IT BE?  Too late. We’ve already met more than one person.

FAVORITE ALCOHOLIC?  Jim Ghurkin

ZODIAC SIGN?  Herpes

DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI?  Right down to the ground

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED, WHAT WOULD IT BE?  Hog farmer

IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD IT BE?  We already CAN dye our hair any color

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE?  We’re just good friends

IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?  Which glass?

FAVORITE MOVIE?”  Tell Them Puss McCoy Just Left,” starring the Duke

ARE YOU LEFTY, RIGHTY, OR AMBIDEXTROUS?  Amphibious

DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS?  We type with our fingers on both the right AND the left keys.

WHAT’S UNDER YOUR BED?  The fiery pit of hell

FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH:  A good old-fashioned hog shoot

FAVORITE SONG:  “Whatever Happened To Rechelle Malin,” by Nancy Drew

SAY ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU:  She answers the phone promptly.

PERSON WHO YOU SENT THIS TO WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND:  Jim Ghurkin

PERSON YOU SENT THIS TO WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND:  Woodrow Wilson


And this is a photo of my ballet class when I was a kid. I am the one in all white in the back row with what looks like a tiny chef’s hat stuck on the side of my head.  Only I could make a bow look like a chef’s hat.

It takes skill people!

SKILL!

Please note our gorgeous hand formations.  What?  Have we all just painted our fingernails?  It’s like our fingers are broken or something!

Comments

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    Oh my! The little detached 3/4 length sleeves on the costume. It’s ok for little girls to be in short sleeveless tutus but no showing of the elbows! I couldn’t wear them–the elastic would bug me.

    I, too, type with my fingers on the right keys (except when I miss home row and they’re on the wrong keys!)

  • Kait:

    Haaaaaa haaaaa that IS a tiny chef hat. That is too cool. You are the only girl who had one. I bet they are all jealous now.

    • Joalvh:

      This is an hysterica post!
      PS. Where do u buy tiny chef hats?

  • It takes a certain kind of woman to rock a tiny chef hat! So, which one of you girls married Jim Ghurkin?

  • km:

    This is so Bugsy Malone Tallulah.

    I had my own Jon and Charles s.

    Rechelle, you are a leader. Look at all of us nutters who “follow” you.

    The kid in front looks like my family. I’m sure we’re related.

  • km:

    Also you look like one of your sons, the guy with the adorable dimples

  • Kiara:

    I didn’t know you sang :)

  • Cheryl Unruh was here yesterday for a visit and said I’d love your blog, since we share so many of the same thoughts, especially about religion. She was right. I love what you have to say….and chuckle. The satire of the The Pie Near Woman piece was absolutely priceless and merits front page coverage in The Onion. You hit that one right on the head… I’m gathering your paths have crossed.

    • Rechelle:

      Yeah – our paths have crossed. I visited your site today and am wondering exactly who John Walker is. The John Walker I found on google dies in the 1800s. The guy in the video you posted does not look even remotely dead. Loved the way he expressed his views.

      • Attorney John Walker is running for the 34th District of the Arkansas State House of Representatives. This was filmed at the October 3, 2010 American Association of University Women’s Forum in Little Rock, AR.