Posted tagged ‘nostalgia’

Art History

June 3, 2018

32470988_10204579634648307_341078857807298560_n

Recently, I posted an photo of me, my parents, Florence and Frank, and my siblings, Glenn and Pat in the living room of the house I grew up in. That room was the center of my universe from the time we moved there in 1952 until I went off to college. When family … grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins … visited, we sat in the living room. Dad would often move the table from our smallish kitchen to the living room to give us more room for Thanksgiving. Christmas trees were decorated and presents opened there. I told my parents that I had proposed to my college sweetheart there. Dad took countless naps while reading the paper in the chair by the door and I learned my love of classical music listening to Mom’s records on the stereo under the picture window. In my college years, Mom and I would sit up watching Johnny Carson and talking on the sofa under “Dad’s mirror” (he never walked by it without a little gavotte). More than once, he’d call from their bedroom at the end of the hall, Would you two keep it down out there?

(more…)

Advertisements

Coffeetoo

June 1, 2018

073103100106169368741.png

As I get older, I find that the poignant feeling of nostalgia is becoming a regular companion. I suppose that 74 years of experiences … tastes and smells and what Jackson Browne calls the fragments of the songs carried down the wind from some radio … give me ample opportunity to touch some nearly forgotten moment.  I remember as my Dad was pushing into his eighties he became a sentimental old guy who would tear up regularly over memories. I know now that those weren’t usually tears of sadness but of gratitude for a good life.  This morning, as I was getting ready to go to the park, I had such a moment.

I do not go lightly into the park. I bring a briefcase full of electronics, pads and writing instruments. I bring a camera, and today, a light lunch, quickly assembled in our kitchen. I bring a large vacuum cup, usually filled with Diet Coke from Mickie Dee’s but today I didn’t want to stop so it was full of lime fizzie water from Trader Joe’s.  As I loaded my paraphernalia into my car, I remembered that I had a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen, so I went back for my travel cup. I’d left it upstairs, and as I retrieved it from the vanity, my wife Muri, said, Coffee, too? And instantly I was a child again, in my Mom’s kitchen. Dad was having a cup of coffee and I was having a Coffeetoo.  No, my Mom didn’t give me coffee.   She used to stir some Eclipse Coffee Syrup in a glass of milk for me.   The first time she made it for me, she said, Buddy, would you like some coffee, too? And from that day on, it was alwayscandy-cigarettes_1 known as Coffeetoo.  These days, I see kids coming out of Starbucks with their Moms carrying five buck concoctions of I don’t know what.   But that can’t hold a candle to my memory of a Coffeetoo with Dad, made especially for me by Mom.  And, by the way, nothing topped that off like a candy cigarette on the way to school.

Have a great weekend.

 

Christmas Mornings

December 25, 2017

wreathThis is my 73rd Christmas Morning.   My oldest memory comes from a picture I have, me sitting on the floor with a train set I got for Christmas in my parents first aparment in New Haven, Connecticut, and I remember getting a red Columbia bicycle our last year thereelectric-train before we moved to the little house in East Haven that would be home until I got married.  My wife had her first Christmas tree in our apartment in Rhode Island the year we got married (she was jewish) but we returned to my parents house for Christmas morning until we moved to California in 1971, going from White Christmases to Warm Christmases.   And from family Christmases to best friend Christmases with our friends Don and Jackie and their kids.  Once we adopted our two kids, Aaron and Amy, those were some of the best Christmases ever.   As our kids grew into adults, as often happens, Christmas Mornings lost some of the magic.   There is nothing like seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. (more…)

Old Music

November 16, 2017

art journalThis fine Southern California morning I am in my office.   I have just finished the wash for a watercolor painting.  OK, it’s not so much a painting as a visual journal entry, paint going where it will until something hopefully emerges.  So far it hasn’t.   That is one of the points of art journaling, to teach creative patience.  I have been listening to music and came across an old favorite I haven’t heard in a long time, Desafinado by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.   I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much music slips into obscurity over time, sometimes because tastes change (I don’t listen to much Neil Young any more) but just as often because there is so much music in our personal soundtracks (you do have one of those, don’t you?) that we can’t possibly listen to them all.   That seems a shame. (more…)

The Eclipse Curmudgeon

August 22, 2017

Clipboard01When I was a boy, I saved up my money and bought a 3 inch reflector telescope from Edmund Scientific.  I believe it cost $29.95, which tells you how long ago it was, in the 1950s.  I don’t remember how old I was … I would guess twelvish.  With this telescope, from the hay field behind our house I could see the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, some of the larger nebulae, double stars and of course, incredible detail of the surface of the moon.   Nobody ever told me not to point my telescope at the sun.  Nobody had to.  I was a smart kid.  But when I learned about sunspots and heard a report of exceptional sunspot activity, I certainly wanted to.   I don’t know where I found the piece of green plexiglass that became my solar filter.  To the eye, it was opaque but if I held it up to the sun, I could see the sun through itplexiglass … which gave me an idea.  Using my Dad’s jigsaw, I cut a circular piece the size of my telescope tube and taped it over the open end.   Wallah.  Sunspots at 60X power.   I seem to remember watching a partial eclipse using my improvised solar filter, too.  Those was the good old days … or the bad old days, depending on your point of view.  No one checked the transmittance of my plexiglass disc, checked if it was compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.   Was my tape job sufficiently secure to assure the filter wouldn’t fall off, vaporizing my eyeball?  Yep, it was.  I still have two working Older Eyes.

(more…)

A Father’s Day Story

June 18, 2017

buddyWhen my Dad got out of the service, we moved to small apartment on the Boulevard in New Haven, Connecticut.   As I recall, it was a refurbished Army barracks.  My mom told me that when the wind blew, you could feel it through the walls.  I am fortunate to have some pictures of our years there but my memories of the Boulevard are sparse and dimly lighted.   I do remember them as good times.   There were tons of kids to play with, my parents had lots of friends (many of whom they kept touch with through most of their lives) and there was lots of space to play baseball or tag on the apartment grounds, even if it was mostly dirt.   What more could a kid ask for?

(more…)

Motown Memories

September 2, 2016

yearsI am an introspective sort of old guy.  Being old … seventy-two, to be specific … is an advantage for an introspective man, providing lots of life to introspect (no, it’s not a word … consider it senior literary license).   I am also a lucky man.   As I move inexorably into my seventies, I am, as they say, comfortable in my own skin.   No, I am not quite perfect … defects of character and irrational prejudices still haunt me … but for the most part, I manage not to act on them.   Mistakes?  Yes, Frank Sinatra, I’ve made a few but I’ve tried to learn from each of them and I think I am a better person for the effort.  Pardon me if I pat my own back and say I have an examined life, which, according to Socrates, makes life worth living.   These days, I find myself looking back over the years not in judgement but in curiosity, trying to understand what made me turn out as I am.  So let me ask you this.  Have you ever asked yourself, What was was the most significant year in determining who you are? (more…)