In this, her second memoir, New Prairie Woman is Susie Rosso Wolf’s depiction of her journey from Los Angeles to the historical town of Three Forks, Montana. On these pages you will discover the grandeur of “The Last Best Place” through her writing, poetry and photography, the challenges of living in a twenty foot trailer in sub-zero temperatures and how love, perseverance, and the miracle of faith can lift a soul up from the depths of the deepest, darkest waters.
Born in Santa Monica, California, I was raised in the small bedroom community of Sunkist Park that borders Culver City, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista and Venice. I attended Venice High School, West LA Community College and California Institute of the Arts. My studies included English, English Literature, Poetry, Creative Writing, Choir, Classical Voice, Shakespeare, Musical Theater, Television and Film Acting and Art History. In 1980, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and in 1982 I married Kurt Wolf in Corvallis, Oregon. During the course of our long journey together, I have remained devoted to not only my husband, but to my friends and family, and the arts. What defines me most is my passion for expression through art. I’m an avid reader, writer and poet.I also enjoy painting and photography. Additionally, some folks consider me a pretty good cook.
New Prairie Woman Susie Rosso Wolf Chapter Five, con't
Love parties. Off the top, it was somewhat shocking to me that Robert had passed this Rosso family tradition down to his children. It seemed remarkable that the love he learned from my mother and father while he was barely able to talk was something that remained instilled in him today, even after his startling transformation from the sweet, loving, darling boy, to the man he seemed to be now. Or, was I wrong about him? Is it possible that I have figured him completely and utterly insanely wrong? Have I lost my mind or did the man who ripped our hearts out, have a heart, after all? Love parties were a celebration of our love for one another during the time period of my mother’s last days with us, before she passed. Too ill to leave her room, we would gather as a family climbing into bed with Mother and onto Father’s bed too while we watched television, ate popcorn or ice cream or whatever we had on hand. It wasn't at all about the food, but rather, being together; we would laugh and tell jokes and play pranks and basically bond with love for each other. It was a special time that my mother enjoyed and looked forward to so we had the love parties as often as possible, mostly on the weekends. It was a long time ago, when life was simple and sweet. Evidently, so sweet that Robert never forgot the love he was given and the love that he gave. The term “love party” was created by Mother; it was what she would say when she needed love and attention. “Come in and visit with me, and let’s have a love party!” And so we would spend time together, with Mother, as we bonded as a family.
And now, I sit in an airport with Robert’s small angelic children climbing onto my lap and Kurt’s lap and Brenda’s lap, back and forth to share their love in our own little airport love party. Asking questions about “Grandpa Rosso and Grandma Rosso” and if we are a “good family” or if we are a “bad family” and questions about “how did he die?” and “how did she die?” as they looped their arms and hands through mine and Kurt’s hands intertwining us back into the possibility of love, that everlasting love that knows no judgment, no ridicule, no hatred, no animosity, no selfishness, no greed, no betrayal. Their love was penetrating. Creating a surreal forgiveness that washed away all sin, all accusations, all blame.
After nearly forty minutes of waiting, it was I, who first noticed the brim of a white straw cowboy hat before the others. “There he is,” came out of my mouth with an “Oh my God” under my breath. “Look up, Snowflake,” I said now more audibly.
“Daddy! Daddy!” They both screamed as they ran to the escalator. His feet just landed on the top step as he looked out and then down to the row of chairs we were seated on and in that millisecond, I knew that Brenda had informed him that we were coming to see him. His eyes connected with mine for just a blink, and then he dropped them down in a strange, uncomfortable kind of manner that was bordering on guilt and shame. Maybe it was me, maybe I was all wrong about it and wanted to see that within him, but to this day I’ll swear on wild horses that the man felt shame for what he had done and was in shock that we were there to repair what had been broken. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind though that he had expected to see us. I knew, I felt it in my bones, I just knew that she had spilled her guts but I didn’t hold it against her, at the time anyway. I understood the mother’s loyalty to her son and I could even respect that. And I knew it was going to be okay the moment he flashed the smile of contentment that he could not control. No matter how big or strong or manly he may have been. He may have become some kind of Montana cowboy now, but he could not hide his pleasure in the fact that we were there, loving him. The gleam in his eyes said it all as he picked his girls up, one in each arm, and they wrapped their arms around his huge neck and shoulders. He walked forward towards the three of us, now standing to greet him and while still holding onto the girls he bent down to embrace me. It was one of the great times in a person’s life, one tiny moment that goes down in the history books of one’s own legacy as the most unforgettable Moses parting the seas kind of experiences. Indeed, to this day, I have never forgotten the act that wiped the slate clean with love.
Kurt extended his hand to shake Robert’s while Cricket latched onto Robert with her legs and arms, safe now in her daddy’s embrace. Robert leaned in to hug Kurt while Brenda stood back with tears pouring down her face as she muttered, “Thank you Jesus, I praise you, Jesus,” over and over and over again. We were all crying, actually, and so many people looking on appeared to be in awe of what was taking place, as if they knew something very special was happening.
Once we all landed on the ground and came back to reality, we stood and chatted about nothing important for a few minutes then I asked Robert if he was hungry. His face burst into a broad smile; the final clue that indicated to me that he knew what was waiting for him in Blackie.
“I brought you a bite to eat if you have time in between your flights.”
“Thanks, Aunt Susie, I have plenty of time and I’m starving, all I had on the plane was peanuts.”
“Well then, let’s make our way out to the parking lot and get this party started!” The girls screamed in agreement with me as Robert finally placed them both on the ground. Snowflake raised her arms back up to him as she pouted a little whimpering sound, wanting to go back up into his strong grasp.
“Honey, I can’t carry you two all the way out to their truck.”
“Yes you can!” They both cried together. And we all laughed as he held onto their hands and Brenda led the way out the automatic sliding door and into the night air.