s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 3 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
You've read 6 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We hope you've enjoyed reading your 10 free articles this month.
Continue reading with unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you!
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for your interest in award-winning community journalism! To get more of it, why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Take the next step by subscribing today!
Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app, and support local journalism!
Already a subscriber?

West Side Stories: Loss, transformation, and ‘fighting the good fight’

X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Login

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

LoginSubscribe

WEST SIDE STORIES

This true story by Mary Carouba was recorded live on April 4 at Sonoma Portworks, as part of West Side Stories, Petaluma’s popular monthly showcase of spoken word performances, hosted by Dave Pokorny. Each month, willing storytellers are randomly selected from the audience to tell a tale based on a theme – this month’s theme: “Fight the Good Fight” – and the audiences selects their favorite. The theme for next month’s West Side Stories show, to be held on May 2, is “The Squeaky Wheel.” For tickets and information, visit WestSideStoriesPetaluma.com.

I’m going to tell you three very short stories about fighting the good fight, and then I’m going to tell you how they’re all connected. And the first story I’m going to tell sounds sad, but it’s not.

When I was a kid I had this hellacious upbringing. Hellacious. It was like Lifetime Movie of the Week hellacious. I was pretty much born exactly the way I am now. I pretty much came out of the womb like that. I was never, ever going to be good, docile, and submissive, serving the men, being quiet, being modest. It just wasn’t happening.

So My father did what he knew to do, and he tried to beat the spirit out of me.

Which actually was the single most powerful thing — as I see it now — that could have ever happened to me in this lifetime, because it builds such a spirit, and such a fight, and such a lack of fear, that I actually have no regrets about any of that. But I had a lot of bad feelings about him. Really bad feelings.

I became like a wild banshee, fighting back, and it got so bad that the state of California had to step in, and they made me a ward of the court, and sentenced me to reform school when I was thirteen. And I never went back.

Following that was years of drug addiction, living on the streets, living this incredible life. When I think about it now, it’s hard to imagine that it was ever actually my life, that I lived that life. Then came years of recovery, years of being clean and sober, counseling, therapy, spirituality, sweat lodges, aura readings, chakra cleansing, you name it. Getting naked into hot tubs with weird pervy “healers,” I did it all. Whatever it took, I did it.

Oh yeah. Harbin Hot Springs. Don’t even start with that. The “water movement,” whatever.

“Would you get your d—k off me, while you’re ‘healing’ me, if you don’t mind?”

Wait! I’m digressing.

Okay, so anyway, I really worked hard.

And somebody told me, this one spiritual teacher said, ‘You’re going to have to come back in lifetime after lifetime with your father - if you don’t heal it.”

And I was like, “Oh! Okay. Let’s get to healing. ‘Cause I’m not having that.” So, I reconciled with my father in my 30s, and worked very hard, but it was a lifelong kind of thing.

In June of 2011, this young boy name Eli Korol went on a trip with his family to Yosemite. He was 14 years old, and he was training to be an Olympic swimmer. He’d get himself up every morning at, like, three-thirty, and he’d go swimming for hours. He was just a really cool kid who was from Russia. They were Jewish, and they lived in a kibbutz in Israel for a while, and then they ended up in San Diego.

They were driving back to San Diego, and the dad was driving, it was the middle of the night, everyone’s asleep, and a big gigantic semi-truck broadsides them. Everyone in the family ends up with, like, concussions and bruises and broken ribs. Except for Eli Karol, the 14-year-old, nice, Jewish kid, who was braindead.

WEST SIDE STORIES

This true story by Mary Carouba was recorded live on April 4 at Sonoma Portworks, as part of West Side Stories, Petaluma’s popular monthly showcase of spoken word performances, hosted by Dave Pokorny. Each month, willing storytellers are randomly selected from the audience to tell a tale based on a theme – this month’s theme: “Fight the Good Fight” – and the audiences selects their favorite. The theme for next month’s West Side Stories show, to be held on May 2, is “The Squeaky Wheel.” For tickets and information, visit WestSideStoriesPetaluma.com.

Right on the spot.

And the next day, the family had to make the decision, on the worst day of their lives, to donate his organs. And that day, I got a call from UCSF, because I was in liver failure. I’d just been in a coma for a week, where some family and friends came, and whispered in my ear, whispering goodbye.

I had a near death experience then, ‘cause I was so ready to go. I’d lived a big life. I was tired. I was ready to go. And then I had this near death experience where I saw that when you leave this world and go to the next, the only thing you take with you is love.

There’s not one other thing. There’s not a resentment, not a petty feeling, not anger. It’s just not there. It’s only love. And in that experience, I sort of lost a sense of valuing anything other than that.

On October 8, 2017, my house in Fountaingrove burned down, burnt to the ground. Just gone. It was gone. It was unbelievable. I left out of there with my dog, my beloved dog, a little white dog named Feather. I was clutching her, and we left as flames were approaching.

I went back, when you could go in to look for things. I went in with a hazmat suit, and the respirator, and the goggles and the gloves, and the boots I bought special for that. I had the bucket, and the sifter, and I’m ready to find s—t, you know.

I got up there and took one look around, and I was like, ‘There’s nothing!’ It was like a bomb had gone off, a big bomb. Anybody here, if your house burned down too, you know what I mean. It was all ash, and maybe some tiny rubble, but nothing you could recognize.

So I was there in my whole suit, that I’d spent so much money to pull together, but I didn’t even touch one thing. I was like, ‘Oh, f—ck this!’

And then, as I’m leaving, dragging my bucket and my shovel behind me, I see something glittering in the sun, and it was the gold rim around a very delicate, completely intact, Turkish saucer. And sitting alongside of it were two other, perfectly intact Turkish saucers. They are like, this big [makes a gesture with her hands], and so thin. And all three came from my father’s house, when he died - exactly a year before.

A friend of mine in Canada — who’s very psychic and ‘witchy’ and just knows these things — she tuned in to my father and she said, ‘Now that he’s on the other side, he recognizes the harm he did. And he was apologizing to you in a way you couldn’t write off as coincidence.’

And I was like, ‘S---t, that’s pretty good!’

‘Cause that would be a pretty amazing coincidence. That from a two-story, three bedroom house, full of stuff, the only thing that survived were three perfectly intact, delicate, Turkish saucers that came from my father’s house.

And I haven’t been upset one day since my house burned down, and losing all of my things. I didn’t know, back during my near-death experience, that the change I had was permanent. I didn’t know. But the morning of the fire, when I walked out of that house, I left with my life, I left with the liver of this beautiful 14-year-old boy who saved me, with his own life. I left with my beautiful dog, and I left with an apology from my father.

I walked out of that house with everything of value I’ll ever need.