Transcript of 22nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Christina Herald, Thursday, October 30, 1997 at 5:00 pm.

Ms. Herald: Is there a doctor in the house?
Dr. Balis: Oh, very funny. Come in and sit down.
Ms. Herald: Thank you. Doc, you look stressed. Is something wrong?
Dr. Balis: Oh, no. Nothing. Nothing at all. How was your week?
Ms. Herald: Not too bad. I spent a lot of time with the rest of the tenth grade teachers planning our interdisciplinary unit. It should be interesting, it focuses on the environment and conservation efforts. For my part as an English teacher, I'm having the students read some naturalist stuff, mainly Thoreau's Walden. The other teachers are doing stuff like conservation problems, and the science teachers are leading a field trip. It's a lot of work, but it's going to be fun.
Dr. Balis: You sound excited about it. It's good to see your work making you so happy.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, it doesn't suck. My personal life is picking up a little bit, too.
Dr. Balis: Oh? How?
Ms. Herald: Oh, it was kind of a strange situation, actually. For the first time in a long time, I went back to the bar with Bessa and Robyn, and I saw that guy again.
Dr. Balis: Which guy?
Ms. Herald: Oh, the guy who used to be a bartender there. His name's Decker, as it turns out. I hadn't seen him the last couple times that I'd been there. In fact, I hadn't seen him in ages. I don't think he remembered me, though--kind of an ego blow. I mean if there's one thing I'm not used to, it's being forgotten. I tried to prod his memory--I mentioned the conversation about my cat and the double bock--but it didn't seem to help.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Herald: Anyway, once we got past the fact that he didn't remember me, things went well enough. I probably would have tucked my tail between my legs and scurried back to my table, but I had baseball on the brain and by chance mentioned the World Series. He seemed to perk right up, the conversation went better after that. It turned out he'd been hanging out in Chicago on vacation for the last month or so.
Dr. Balis: Ah. What did he do in Chicago?
Ms. Herald: Normal vacation things. He said there were a lot of good restaurants, but the traffic was even worse than here, and the people weren't very friendly. He mentioned passing Wrigley Field, but then he said that he'd never actually been to a baseball game.
Dr. Balis: Sacrilege.
Ms. Herald: Don't be sarcastic. I thought it was kind of weird. Between Oakland and the Giants, most people here get to a game at some point in their lives. And stadium hot dogs are not to be missed. I waxed rhapsodic about the hot dogs for a few minutes, and he just laughed. A really quiet guy, he just kind of stood back and let me rattle on. Then I told him about this exhibit I'd heard about--some stuff from the Baseball Hall of Fame that they're taking on tour--and it's coming to the Bay Area this weekend. Before I really knew what was happening, we'd agreed to meet up at the museum on Saturday. I don't know if I'd really call it a date or what, but it should be fun.
Dr. Balis: I hope you have a good time.
Ms. Herald: I think I will. He looks a little different than I remembered--he used to have kind of long hair, and now he's got his head shaved. I hope he doesn't turn out to be some sort of a neo-Nazi or something. My hair's a lot shorter now, too. I wonder if that's why he didn't recognize me.
Dr. Balis: Well, I wouldn't fret too much over it. If he didn't remember your conversation before, he'll probably remember you now.
Ms. Herald: Yup, you betcha. Oh hey, I finally got that trunk of my great aunt's stuff from my grandmother.
Dr. Balis: Oh, really? Is it all you'd hoped?
Ms. Herald: It's wonderful! You wouldn't believe some of the stuff that's in there. There's this really great pair of open-toed red shoes with that little forties-style platform and the sling backs, and they fit me perfectly. I'd never dream of ruining them by wearing them out somewhere, but I've walked around the living room in them, much to Lancelot's amusement. That cat has a really strange sense of humor. I blame it on my brother. But let's see, what else? Photographs, lots of them--one of my great-aunt and her uncle Karl, and several of her and this absolutely foxy guy with big dark eyes you could die for. If that's my great-uncle, then I can't blame my great-aunt for jumping on him.
Dr. Balis: Chris, you're incorrigible.
Ms. Herald: Yes, it's part of my charm. What else? Oh yeah, this locket was in there. There's no pictures in it, but there's a lock of hair. I'd open it, but I don't want it to fall out and get lost.
Dr. Balis: I understand. That's really lovely.
Ms. Herald: I know. I haven't really cleaned it yet, but I think there's an inscription. I'll have to get some tarnish remover and see. But besides this, there's a length of net that grandma says was part of her wedding veil, but she never got to wear it. I asked why not, and grandma just kind of clammed up and changed the subject. I think there's a story there. Maybe all those notebooks will tell me.
Dr. Balis: Notebooks?
Ms. Herald: Yeah, notebooks. A whole bunch of them, in one form or another. Some are those really fancy blank journal books, and some are regular composition books, and some are just scraps of paper shoved in between the covers of notebooks. But there are a hell of a lot of them. Grandma said that she did her best to put them in chronological order. I haven't started reading yet, but I intend to tonight.
Dr. Balis: This could become a very interesting project. It's always fascinating to delve into one's family history.
Ms. Herald: I know. It's all so beautiful. There's lots of little stuff in the trunk, too. Some postcards, programs from a symphony performance, what looks like a wedding invitation, some silk lingerie--it's like a treasure chest! The arrival of the trunk was better than any Christmas morning that I can remember. I hope I can keep my cat from trying to eat something.
Dr. Balis: Ingesting mothballs could be bad for him.
Ms. Herald: You're right, of course. But it's selfish, too. I don't want any of this stuff getting destroyed, even though my mother would love it. She'd just consider it proof that grandma never should have sent this stuff to me instead of her and that I had no right to have it. I mean, come on. It was grandma's to do what she wanted to with it, and she said that she thought I'd love and cherish the things that were in the trunk and what it all meant more than anyone. Sarah agreed. But Mom had a fit, saying that by rights it was hers and I didn't have a clue about what this meant to anyone in our family--yeah, give. Like she's been a part of the family. She trotted off to England to marry Thaddeus. God, sometimes she just amazes me. She's completely immature and selfish. Totally Daisy.
Dr. Balis: I remember the Great Gatsby comparison from a while ago...
Ms. Herald: It's still more than apt.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you're enjoying the gift from your grandmother. You'll have to tell me more about it as you discover what's in the journals.
Ms. Herald: Oh, you can bet on it. I'll be too excited to keep it to myself. God, this trunk really made my week, along with meeting this guy on Saturday and the interdisciplinary unit going so well. I'm on the move again. Life's fun. Now if only Drew would stop giving me the morose look every time he walked past me in the building...
Dr. Balis: Who...oh, yes, the man who's getting a divorce.
Ms. Herald: The divorce is still being drawn out. I'm tired of it. If I hear any more, I'm going to throw up. So I try to be cool to him, and he gets all maudlin and holes up in his room all day long.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Herald: Drew'll get over it all. Hey, it's only about another week or so, Doc.
Dr. Balis: Until what?
Ms. Herald: You know, the cat.
Dr. Balis: Oh...oh, yes. The cat.
Ms. Herald: Any thoughts?
Dr. Balis: I'll let you know. I'm still kicking it around. No, I won't be kicking the kitten, don't give me that look of mock-horror.
Ms. Herald: Oh, speaking of which...
Dr. Balis: Uh oh. What are you pulling out of there?
Ms. Herald: Ta dah! Happy Halloween!
Dr. Balis: Cupcakes? Thank you, they're cute.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, and that plastic spider thing sitting on top is really a ring. You could maybe fit it on your little finger or something? Anyway, that's your problem now. I have to go; I must go shopping for a Halloween costume tonight. Anders is taking me to a party. But before that, I get to see his new cabaret for the first time! Thrill!
Dr. Balis: Happy Halloween, Chris. Have fun.
Ms. Herald: Thank you. Happy Halloween, Doctor.
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