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Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 10

Ramona, California. Mountain Top, Master Bedroom, August 2018.


“You aren’t going to tell them what happened during that year and a half that we were separated, are you?” My wife had just read a recent chapter and looked at me with a bit of dismay as she posed that question. I answered: “Well of course. It’s part of the story. I can’t just leave it out. It’s an important portion of the story, and if I’m gonna tell them the story at all, I have to tell it as it was.’


With eyes widening and a face full of dismay, she lifted her head off the pillow and leaned toward me in glaring disbelief.


“You can’t!” she gasped. “You simply can’t tell every reader across the nation—perhaps the entire world—our personal problems? What happened then is much too personal. No.”


Rather than argue, I tried to understand, which really wasn’t that difficult. “You can’t put that out there. It’s a matter of privacy and some things you just don’t tell everybody,” she continued. Her rationale was sincere and reasonable, I couldn’t help but hear her out.


All right, now. This is for all you readers. This is me speaking to you and in fairness to her, I have to take her feelings into consideration and some of what happened, is all too embarrassing. I will consequently be light on details and whatever she redacts, rest assured, has been redacted. As I mentioned earlier, perhaps this is the best approach. I will leave it to your imagination and let the poet in me speak through some of the most telling rhymes of that era. I’ll let your imagination do the work.


Hopefully, that will take us everywhere we need to go and ultimately circle back to the truth, or at least some version of it. Maybe or maybe not, but let’s let it spin in the hopes that my vagueness will ultimately tell enough of the truth to get everyone in the loop. You be the judge.


I will leave this story shrouded in poetry, words from that ghost-like poet that I have eluded to and quoted before. Rare words, seldom heard and left nearly unspoken, yet still remaining for occasions like this. If you would have listened to him then, this is all you would have heard in late 1978. I like that. That is when it was, and a rhyme in and of itself. Dark on the details out of respect for her (my dearly beloved wife’s) request and leaning heavily on your imaginations. Let them spin out of control and hopefully come full circle. Listen closely for what you will never actually hear.


Take a minute or two and breathe deep. Try to inhabit the moment and get into each second of what once was. Unleash your imagination and allow it to leap to its own conclusion. The original version is several pages and unsuitable to present here in its entirety. It is poetry from then, a personal version intended to take you from then until now, and ultimately to now and beyond.

It is late 1978, and I am in a bit of depression.

I Can’t Shake These Blues

I am a man with some problems at hand

But they don’t all exist in my fist

It’s not what I’ve planned and I don’t understand

But all I have left is this list


I’ve traveled through caverns from bedrooms to taverns

in treasures of pleasures of measureless measures

Climbing the ladder from bigger the bad-der

and I guess the success is the matter


The golden curls are good for holdin’ girls

and I’d smile for a while if I could

Histories mysteries somehow exist in me

but I can’t drink this drink that she’s mixin’ me


I use and I booze to numb up the bruise

Lean back to snooze but wake up to lose

and I guess at best it’s my dues

But I can’t shake these blues


Messengers bewitch me and then try to ditch me

but no man can outbitch me

I travel through gravel and shovel through rubble

Try to get out like air in a bubble

and I’m sooo… confused, and I can’t shake these blues.

There. Let me leave it at that. For the time being, that will have to do.

Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. Contact him at

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