Pandemic Diary 4: The Streets Where I Lived

A small major detail from my life history has left my brain: the second address in which I lived.

A look at the map of the neighborhood and its suburban collection of descriptive names, which do not correspond to any physical reality—”Meadowview?” If one has sight, everything is a view, but is every front lawn a meadow? “Saddlerock?” Why is every street name in that development composed of three unrelated syllables?—triggers no memory. I remember the home, but I could not find it on the map, so do I remember it? I think I typed its name above, but the great American tradition of picturesque suburban street names concealed it from me in the uniqueness it shares with all the other road names around it. The names are each alike in their uniqueness.
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3500 Days of Somehow

I do not recall July 14, 2010, which was three-thousand five hundred and one days ago today. (Five hundred weeks! That number just jumped out at me.) What is more, I did not post or share anything on social media that day, so I do not even have a “Mark is feeling :-)” smileyness that I may have typed that morning on Facebook that could spark a memory.

Of course I looked. I looked just now with a grimace of anticipation on my face in the worry-slash-hope that I would find something I had written that day to someone about anything at all. Nope. No blue thumbs-up for any of my friends from me that day, either. (In fact, there is little that I typed before July 15, 2010, that I much enjoy any longer for reasons that I hope will become clear.) There is no journal entry, no blog post.
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A Christmas Tree

How (not) to cut down your own Christmas tree.

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Tree trimming was my least favorite type of trimming when I was young. I still lack the eye-hand coordination required to decorate a tree correctly; in fact, I believe that almost every tree I have attempted to decorate was quietly fixed upon my departure.

A beloved girlfriend one Christmas credited me with the expansion of her notions of tree decoration—she said, “You’re the first person I’ve known who does not put all the decorations on the ends of the branches,” which is true, I sometimes place them on the middle or sometimes closer to the trunk; and 2. We found that I had overloaded one section of the Christmas tree with the same color ornament (albeit on different sections of the branches!) and this needed to be quietly fixed.

Christmas can be a challenge for someone so rarely festive, like me.

One winter’s day long ago, a dear friend enlisted me in a project to cut down a real live Christmas tree from a local Christmas tree farm so that her son could experience a Christmas just like the one she and I had never, ever had.
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Tricks, Treats, Poughkeepsie

The Martin Prosperity Institute released what it called its “annual survey” of Halloween in America five years ago. This was its third annual Halloween survey, but it has not produced a sequel to this seminal study of all things creepy, ghostly, and scary since. My hometown broke it, I believe.

The Institute’s work in the field of Halloween enjoyment, a study not seriously undertaken by most people older than eight, led in 2013 to many national news articles that expressed shock at its conclusion, which was: the best place for Halloween in the United States of America is Poughkeepsie, New York.
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A Father’s Day Memory

For #FathersDay, ‘A Father’s Day Memory’ by @Mark_S_Aldrich. Happy Fathers’s Day to my dad!

The Gad About Town

Some memories are of the photograph of an event and no longer of the incident itself, but some feel to the rememberer like they are a photo, with the details so clear and so accessible. This is one memory … it feels like I could count the rocks in the creek bed if I would just take the time.

Today is Father’s Day. It is a difficult day for my girlfriend, as her father died in February, a sad fact that brought us together in our house-that-is-becoming-a-home.

My father will be 81 next month. That sentence, while I know it to be factually accurate, has the effect of making me feel like a child lost in the mall. Where am I? Where have I been? If August 15, 1935, is known for anything, it is not known for the birth of my dad but for it being the date that…

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JFK at 100: A Personal Reflection

President John F. Kennedy laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 1963. The photo at top is from that day, May 30, 1963. By the end of that year, President Kennedy joined the company of dead service members buried there.

President Kennedy would be 100 today, which coincidentally is this year’s Memorial Day.
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On Broadway!

A continuing series: How to Be AwkwardTM, by Mark Aldrich.

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Noises Off is one of the most popular comic plays of the last forty years. If you have ever seen it performed, you know it can be hilarious; the film version proved that there are some plays that can not be made into movies because they are so completely theatrical.

This is a story about the original Broadway production and an apology from me to Victor Garber, who starred in it.
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Better and Better

A friend told me about eating out with her “sarcastic” friend—we all have one—when the two of them saw a toddler, bundled up in winter layers, bounce off a closed glass door and fall because the child had not perceived the door.

The sarcastic friend said, sotto voce, “Get used to that, kid.”

Life is a clear, freshly cleaned, plate glass door that I haven’t noticed is a door, even with a shiny metal door handle at every-door-you’ve-ever-seen’s-door-handle-height on it, because I have been too busy thinking about life (or “thinking” “about” “life”) until I bonk into it. Loudly.

When are we too young to learn that? or too old to be reminded?
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