Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My 1957 survival kit




It sure was the best of times.

Ahhh!! The bittersweet passage of time.
Recently my sister notified me that the house I grew up in had been sold. It had been the family home for over 50 years. She said she had found some interesting stuff in the attic, basement, and storage shed. She had also found a trunk in what used to be my bedroom.
I had forgotten about the junk trunk. My mother had saved some mementos of my youth and I had thrown some stuff in there myself.
Could my long lost baseball card collection from my youth be in that chest? I will tell my sister to send it to me, all of it.
I waited with great anticipation for the arrival of the goodies.
My New York Yankees cards, My Mickey Mantle baseball cards were probably on their way back to me. Dollar signs danced in my head. Mickey Mantle rookie cards. It would be a financial bonanza. Our family "Ponderosa" had been sold.

The package had finally arrived and it did have plenty of stuff from the 50's. My Mickey Mantle road to riches bonanza was not in the package.
I had some baseball cards. I had Ray Jablonski, Rip Repulski, Ted Kluszuski, Moe Drabowski, and Bill Mazerowski. Nobody named Yogi, Mickey, Casey, Babe, or Honus. No "Stosh" either.
Apparently I was putting together a polish baseball team.
I am a record keeper so I got out my pen and paper and itemized my find.

I had some newspapers. The Albany Times-Union. Hmmm! What happen in 1957 in Albany and the World.
  • Francois "Poppa Doc" Duvalier became dictator of Haiti. That name seems to ring a bell. He sees no reason why Haiti can not be a vibrant and lively country.
  • Hamilton watch company introduces the first electric watch. The watch cost only $29, but the cord cost $142 and it was unruly.
  • A kid named Elvis Presley appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show". A really big shoo that night. The kid is a flash in the pan. He won't last critics are reporting. Religious groups are calling him a messenger of the devil.
  • Wham-O toy company came out with a plastic disc called a "Frisbee" named after the aluminum pie plate from the Frisbee Pie Company of Bridgeport, Ct.
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers are moving west next year. Baseball starts playing musical chairs. Giant's are moving to San Fransisco. Yankees stay in New York.
  • July 6, 1957* Paul McCartney and John Lennon meet for the first time.
  • Leave it to Beaver premieres on TV. These stories are about a sulky youth named Beaver Cleaver, making the Nelson family seem like saints. Beaver was always in trouble of some sort. Ricky Nelson, on the other hand, always had a gig and appeared be the bread winner in the family. His father, Ozzie, seemed to be unemployed. He just would walk into the closet and stay there awhile. He would wander into the kitchen and ask Harriet a stupid question, laugh at his own folly then head next door to see "Thorny". It seems to me like he should be filling out applications or making some phone calls. Find a job, Oz!!!
  • Vanna White is born in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Her parents go to store and buy her a vowel.
  • I look at the comic strips. We have Dick Tracy. I tried to read that comic strip but it was just too crazy. A two way wrist radio? Come on, get real, not going to happen. A fantasy world. I must enjoy comics that are much more realistic, so I read "Henry", which is about a bald-headed kid. His head is large compared to his body. Bigger Brain? Nope!!! I also read Nancy and Sluggo, Little Lulu, Buzz Sawyer and Ozark Ike. Ozark Ike was about a slow witted but talented athlete. I could relate to him.
  • On TV during this era was programs like Dragnet, where Jack Webb could showcase his acting ability. I never knew that "just the facts, ma'am" could be said so many different ways.
  • Steve Allen does his last "Tonight Show". He is replaced by Jack Lescoulie. Jack Lescoulie!!!!...????..really? Wow!!! Roy Rogers goes off the air after he accidentally runs over his dog, Bullet. The dog recovers, the program doesn't.
  • Gas cost 24 cents a gallon, eggs are 28 cents a dozen.
Moving on, I go to the sports page and I see that our local catholic schools had a baseball game.
Final Score: Our Lady of Perpetual Persnicketiness: 2, Our Mother of Perpetual Motion: 0.
Rumors abound. Monsignor O'Malley got in a fist fight with the umpire. His star pitcher, Mary Margaret McManus was a girl. A rather boyish girl who threw a Brylcream ball which is very much like a spit ball or a wildroot cream oil ball. Illegal.
I notice my secret stash of Annette Funicello pictures. She is in a provocative poses. She is wearing funny ears and is developing. She is a babe.

Hmmm! I have found my high school notebook. It has the initials MM written everywhere. Melita Mongooze, my big crush from 3rd grade to 10th grade. I always tried to get a desk very close to her, but not in front of her. I always wanted a good view of Melita. I just figured early on that if I was in close proximity to her that she would eventually notice me and then turn to me and ask, "Would you like to have sex with me?" I thought this could happen until 10th grade. Then one day a Senior walked up to her and queried, "Would you like to have sex with me?" and off she went as my world disintegrated like a sandcastle at high tide. 7 or 8 years of planning down the drain. Since that day I have never had long range goals. It just doesn't pay.

Hey, There is my report card. Hmmm! I had better burn this before my wife gets her hand on it. I did get an "A" in Physical Education, I might add.

What is that? Oh....Ok...I have sketched out some plans for building a fallout shelter. Yes, that was a brilliant idea. After the bomb falls you sit in your shelter for 6 months. Then you run out of food and water. Then you go outside, your head swells up, your hair falls out, you end up looking like a comic book character that I seem to remember, then you mutate and die.

Yes, It was the best of times. no worries. I have this little story in my head. Everything was just wonderful.

I wonder what ever happened to Melita Mongooze? It's all coming back to me now. I think she ruined my life. I wonder if it is too late to ruin hers? I haven't been right since 10th grade. That's a long time.
My head now feels like Henry's head.
I can't look at this stuff any more. very painful. (sniff!...sniff)
Burn it.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The writers (bloggers) block


Writer's corner.....30 seconds after I stood up.

This has been a busy Christmas season for the little French lady and me. She takes a two week vacation during this time of year. We do things that will entertain both of us during the holidays.
I have been doing a little bit of geocaching in the previous months. At first, I didn't think she was interested. I was wrong. She had been sneaking a peak at my preparations for my adventure. One day she decided to follow.
Hmmm! I will bring her into the woods, walk her through mud, make her slither on the ground like a slug, I will make sure it is hell for her.

Well....That's not exactly what happened. We arrived near the geocache location and entered "the jungle" I had chosen. I had my little GPS in hand.
My wife said "Where are we going? How far is it? Let me see that GPS." That was the last time I touched the GPS that day.
I was looking under termite infested tree trunks, climbing trees, moving rocks that weigh more than I do, kneeling in drainage ditches, poking at animal scatology, rolling in ant hills and walking through a leaking cesspool. It was hell for me.

My wife loved it. She purchased her own GPS the next day. I am the official crawler of the team. My wife will touch no geocache that requires that her knees touch the ground.
During this vacation we have discovered 36 caches within 4 miles of our house. It kept us busy. There was not much time for writing a blog.

When we weren't geocaching we were playing Qwirkle. This is a simple game for anyone but to be good at it takes concentration. If your mind wanders, you're beat.
My wife beat me 10 times in a row. My mind tends to wan....what was I talking about?
I think I have DAD (deficit attention disorder). I may be dyslexic also. As I like to say, "Dyslexic untie" , our battle cry. This has also blocked me from writing my blog.

The biggest obstacle to writing my blog is losing my creative writing nook. That would be my Milan Puff chair w/Ottoman. I am not quite sure which day I lost it, but it's gone.
Wilson and I had a tacit agreement that the chair would be exclusively mine but he could use the ottoman at any time.
He respected this agreement for many months. Then, one morning he breached the contract. I removed him from my chair and put him on the ottoman. He kept going back to the chair. Before going to bed, I would put the ottoman on the chair. This prevented him from using the chair while we were sleeping.

One morning I came downstairs for breakfast. I looked in the chair. He was scrunched up in the chair behind the ottoman. He had the look of defiance, the attitude of Houdini after a miraculous escape. His demeanor said it all, like "nice try, Bucko!!!"
I had seen that cattitude many times.
well, I guess I am going to have to share.
Didn't happen!!!
If I get to the chair first and I am blogging on my laptop, he gets on the side of the chair, pushes his head under the laptop and lifts and he keeps lifting until I dispose of the laptop.
If he sees me walking toward the chair, he will run to chair and hop in it and glare at me.
If I stand up to look out the window, which only takes 5 seconds, when I turn to sit down again, he is in my spot in the chair.
I think it's Wilson's favorite game.

One day I whined to my wife, "He is ruining my creative flow. He has taken over my chair, he has ruined my life. I am done as a writer, a blogger. I am sure Hemingway didn't have to put up with this problem."

My wife started laughing.
" Now your comparing yourself to Hemingway? If you're Hemingway, I'm Bill Gates.
Do You mean Ralph Hemingway? Incidentally, Ernest was a big fan of cats and he probably did have this problem. Stop your whining. Fight for your chair. Work it out among yourselves."



We did.
After much bickering, threats and cajoling we came to some sort of agreement.
As I write this from the kitchen table Wilson sits in my? chair. I am blocked from my writer's nook.
Writer's block indeed!!!!