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Author Topic: On This Day: Your History  (Read 71044 times)
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #405 on: July 31, 2023, 03:33:16 PM »

July 31, 1989 Because overseas loomed, it was the last day for three weeks I’d be spending with my paternal grandparents, and that morning my grandma showed me how to make a delicate sheet of paper by shredding Kleenexes into strands of fiber, soaking them, them pressing them out and letting them dry. I cut mine up into bookmarks and decorated them by potato-stamping on ink designs, then passed them out to people I liked. Because we’d moved that summer and I was given extra time to acclimate to the new house, I hadn’t been sent away to Ireland in June like usual and held out hopes I wouldn’t be at all, but I was leaving the next day for almost all of August, only a month instead of ten weeks, coming back right before school was to begin. Other kids were lucky enough to get Disney World or the beach or camping, or just spent summer hanging out with friends, but me, I got sent to a rainy land where I went to daily Mass, twice weekly confessions, said nightly rosaries, and had to sleep with my teenage aunt in her bed, but where I must admit there were fun times with my cousin Magda, and with Sarah, and trips around town with my grandfather, and all that seems golden in memory since those days are gone now and will never come again, which makes me wonder why we so rarely appreciate the present while it’s with us. Still, that night I was depressed to be leaving my new friend Gina and my new home, and I did not want to go the next day, so my ten-year-old self laid in bed indulging an overdeveloped feeling of self-pity.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #406 on: July 31, 2023, 11:16:17 PM »

August 1, 2003 The first of August has the peculiar distinction of being the birthday of both my husband, and Gina, the girl who was for many years my best friend. Because Gina was celebrating with her parents on her birthday in 2003, I promised her I’d take her chocoholic self out for Godiva-glazed crème éclairs the next day, and went to Landon’s twenty-seventh birthday party at his house near the riverfront.

Lots of people showed, including Landon’s cousin Vince and his wife Lindsey, whom I liked, and it was a fun time right up til when this drunk hot girl there, who’d shown up uninvited and whom I learned had something going with Landon maybe a year before he met me, made a big scene by offering to “do” something for Landon for his birthday. She even demonstrated the nature of the offer and left the neck of a beer bottle smeared with lipstick.

She was so luridly, loudly, obnoxiously forward that all activity froze until Lindsey came out of the kitchen and offered to drive her home, and when the staggering-drunk girl refused, Lindsey helped her out the door to the sidewalk, just as a Newport cop car was passing, so at least she did get a ride someplace that night.

Mostly the loud offer was laughed off after the girl left, and I asked Lindsey about her and she said, “Would you believe she’s actually a paralegal at a law firm that employs a former mayor of the city?”

I guess she was just one of those types who went wild with a few shots in her....and liked my future husband.

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« Reply #407 on: August 01, 2023, 06:32:07 AM »

1st August 2018.

After around 30 years of wanting to, I finally got to play Kings & Things. Me, Kristi, Tina and Anders all sat around the very table I am sitting at alone right now. I don't recall who won the game, but I do remember Tina's face when she marched her massive army into an unknown hex only to reveal it was a sea tile and all her troops drowned. She was not amused.

1st August 2013.

My American wife who had sworn to me since the day that we met that she hated shopping and had a three-shop limit, went out shopping for 8 hours. This would be a taste of things to come. She had woken up and confused me by asking me to shave my moustache off, mostly because I hadn't grown one. It turned out she'd had a dream that I was elected President of the Moustache Club.

Whatever or whoever the hell they are. Real men don't need facial hair, only pretenders who desperately need to fake it.
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« Reply #408 on: August 01, 2023, 09:11:08 AM »


Whatever or whoever the hell they are. Real men don't need facial hair, only pretenders who desperately need to fake it.

Or men like me who are too lazy to shave daily.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #409 on: August 02, 2023, 05:26:57 PM »

August 2, 1990 Denis, my youngest maternal uncle, took me to the races in Galway for the first time, a huge event every summer where jockeys in bright silks sat above nervous horses that sweated white foam and stomped their hooves and in general got keyed-up before they ran.

Along also came some of my uncle’s friends and one of their brothers, a teenager named Oisin (“Oshawn”) who was missing his right eye. It was “sea windy” enough to flush my cheeks red, and while the races were short, the wait between them was long, and after the first excitement I was bored enough to make a game of counting hats on women in the stands behind us. (“Rich folks’ seats,” Oisin contemptuously declared them.)

Uncle Denis bet on a horse called Master Swordsman, who did not win, in fact I don’t think anyone had much luck, and it was a good thing we took a lorry there, as my uncle and his friends got drunk on “car bombs,” shots of whisky dropped into glasses of stout. (I think the name came from the fact they foamed up like a bomb going off…?)

Back at the house my grandmother jumped all over her eighteen year old son, still living at home, going: “Denis, look at the example you’ve set for your American niece, for saint’s sake!” (When she chided someone my grandmother honestly sounded like a character in a novel.) She seldom failed to remark on my nationality either as she viewed Americans as living in a perilously sinful land, from which most would surely be chucked into the wide mouth of Hell.
 
My poor uncle, though, from car bomb-swilling man about the racetrack to scolded teenager in a couple hours’ time.

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« Reply #410 on: August 03, 2023, 03:47:32 AM »

3rd August 2017.

With my long-serving work shoes finally succumbing to the ravages of time and use, I finally gave in and went to get a pair of new ones. I tend to avoid getting new ones for as long as possible due to breaking them in being rather painful, but I spent the rest of the day wearing them. Halfway through the day, I'd to go to the med centre as walking was getting a bit painful. When I got home and took the bandages off, this is what it looked like:



The black stuff is where the sticky bits of the plaster they'd put on had grabbed part of my service-issue black wool socks. A veteran nurse with decades of experience ran out the room when she saw that injury. That is someone who'd dealt with wounds in Afghanistan and Iraq. I feel vaguely proud of that.

3rd August 2014.

Mum and Elizabeth were up for the annual raft race. The usual stalls and faire was there. Since my younger brother had terrified my sister at a young age on these rides I made an effort to teach her how to enjoy them. I even got her to have a ride of the ghost train, something she'd refused to for twenty years previously.



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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #411 on: August 03, 2023, 10:50:34 AM »

August 3, 2001 His wife Sally was at a wedding in New York, and my friend in Austin, whom I’ll call Hugh, (why is a private joke), was sitting on his back patio having the sort of beer-propelled philosophical talk that went with being out late on a Texas night so hot and humid you forgave winter its worst sins, when he segued into the first time he had sex, how it was with this much more experienced girl in Connecticut who had a jock boyfriend who was possessive to the point she got her kicks sleeping around on him and holding this information back for times she wanted to make him mad.

I said, “Jeez, that sounds like playing with matches at a gas station.”

“Yeah,” Hugh said, “but try living under the shadow of two older brothers who’d hit every hot shiksa in town under twenty, so without taking their leftovers I didn’t have much to choose from.”

“Hmmm.”

He went, “Don’t ‘hmmmm’ me, that’s what Jewish guys do, we have fun with shiksas and marry in the tribe.”

Anyway, he said his problem was the exact opposite of most males getting their first time at bat in that he couldn’t complete the occasion no matter how he tried. “So this girl, Jessica, finally blurted out, ‘Goddammit, what’s the focking matter with you?’”

“Oh, that’s terrible,” I told him. “And after that you actually had the courage to go on and have sex with other girls?”

He was like, “Yeah, but not til December, because after an argument with her jock boyfriend Jessica pulled my name out of the hat as the one to tell him about and make him mad, so he and a few of his football team friends paid me a visit while I was jogging and I got my arm broken in two places and had a big clunky cast on for the next four months.

“They broke your arm in two places for that?”

“No, they broke my arm for doing a good job of fighting back. I busted her boyfriend’s nose in front of his sycophantic friends. I finally got a girlfriend in November but she wouldn’t do anything with me while I was wearing the cast because she said casts were gross.”

“That’s rough.”

“Plus it turned out the girl I lost my virginity to, Jessica, lied and had actually slept with both my brothers, so I might as well have taken my charms elsewhere and saved myself a broken arm.”

My first thought was same girl all three brothers, but then I realized he had given me an archetypal Jewish story: disappointing, sad, grim, cynically-told, but ultimately triumphant in the face of persecution.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #412 on: August 04, 2023, 07:32:02 PM »

August 4, 1989 My maternal grandfather took me ‘combing’ along the muddy banks of the Corrib River, seeing what we could find. He did this himself a number of times every summer and had picked up some interesting objects here and there, with a man he knew finding a Viking Age silver coin five years before. I found mostly junk, and modern junk at that, (the Irish are truly pathetic litterers), but there were so many old clay pipe bowls that after a baggie full I quit taking them.
 
In retrospect I’m glad I spent time with my grandfather those summers I was over there, because he’s gone now, and was someone I came to admire. He was a humble, well-read man, very different from my sometimes cocky paternal grandfather back home, and I loved to hear him talk about the importance of the river to the local history, and how in late Medieval times the bay was a Spanish trading hub, defying the power of the English to uproot it, and that Spanish presence, he said, accounted for the many “Black Irish” along the coast, those hints of Spanish genes sprinkling among the fairer Celts to dot the population with occasional olive skin tones and dark hair and eyes.

It was a cold, gusty day with the salty smell of the Atlantic vying with the tang of the river, and I, who was still acclimated to the ninety-plus degrees and humidity of back home, regretted not taking a sweater when it was offered (truth was it was full of hair from where I’d petted Smoke, my grandmother’s fluffy gray cat), so by the time we got back I was chilled and actually had the sniffles for a few days after. But of course I wanted to go looking along the river again soon, a treasured undertaking of the summers in my young life.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #413 on: August 05, 2023, 10:04:23 AM »

August 5, 1997 It’s possible to be so sleepy you don’t remember the day you just got through, and that night in my car it had been too hot to sleep, so by sunrise I was drained. I took a shower at a university fitness center by convincing the glassy-eyed girl at the desk I was a student who’d forgotten her ID, then slept a few hours in the air conditioned library: Heaven!

As I left I thought it didn’t have to be like that, I could have been in another state, preparing to start at the well-regarded university that had accepted me, but which that spring I’d shocked everyone by turning down. I could also have still been in Ohio living with Brian, or been “home” with my dad, or off on my own, or any of so many other scenarios, but instead in the aftermath of all the stress boiling over in me, I’d taken off. (My Aunt Jude seemed to like the derogatory term “run away” but for the millionth time that summer I wondered how someone who was legally an adult could run away.)
 
It was strange how fast your idea of fun could change when you were removed from all the things you used to do, and I had the best time that afternoon walking around a mall with this guy I met and knew for exactly one day. His name was Boyd and he was getting his paycheck from Sears and asked if I wanted to go bowling with his sister and her friends and him, so I went, he bought us all pizza and Cokes, and before his sister showed up he said, “I want to tell you, she’s big-ass overweight, the token fat friend of her group, but she’s also fun to be with.”

I thought with her own brother saying that about her this girl didn’t need enemies, but Boyd treated her nicely and he was right, she was fun, a junior in high school, and even with my life in not the best chapter I’d ever lived through, it was a good time hanging out with them that evening.

It really was.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #414 on: August 06, 2023, 12:04:45 PM »

August 6, 1999 Went with a friend and saw The Blair Witch Project, which grew on me in the future but which only seemed OK that first time watching it, though he loved it and called it “a cinematic achievement.” (We’re more cynical today but you could still say that back then.) Although officially we’d been apart for months, after the movie I got a wild hare and drove by Brian’s, in part because I knew he was in Florida visiting his sister and mom, and walked around outside his house where I’d once lived, and even opened the gate and went out back amid the buzzing insects and tree frogs of nighttime, then in the dark sat on the patio swing where he and I used to look at the stars together, feeling a mixture of shock and angry sadness over not being part of life there anymore, things messed up because of my work, though I told myself one day I would be living there again, there was just no way he and I were really done. I was as sure of that as I was the sun would rise on the morrow. Instead in a year, like some twisted wish fulfillment from a Monkey’s Paw, ownership of the house would be offered to me by his father, but I said no, and today a family with five children lives there, knowing nothing about all that went on in the house long ago.
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What does not kill me makes me stranger.
ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #415 on: August 07, 2023, 09:20:12 AM »

August 7, 2006 I was playing host to a friend of mine from my college days, Diana, the younger (half-) sister of a boy I knew from those times named Greg. She came and stayed a few days and that morning we went to King’s Island, and she got me to say hi to her brother on the phone, which was pleasant since I considered him among the nicest people I ever met.
 
In bed that night I watched one of the most engrossing programs I’d ever seen, an episode of The American Experience, with Kenneth Branagh reading the diaries of Joseph Goebbels. No commentary, no peripheral intrusions, only the words of that disturbed and disturbing man, rolled out to provide a trip into his horrible mind.
 
I was so impressed I called my friend Hugh in Austin to tell him about it, knowing he was fascinated with the Second World War, but he was upset because a much-loved friend had just passed away in a VA hospital, and he told me he didn’t know what to make of it, but the last time he’d spoken to this man, a day and a half earlier, his friend told him he had lost all fear of dying since he was surrounded by deceased loved ones who said they were there to walk him into Heaven.

He told Hugh he saw them as plainly as he did any living person in the room, and Hugh, who was an agnostic, said he sounded completely at peace.
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« Reply #416 on: August 07, 2023, 12:08:55 PM »

7th August 2017.

I had flown down to Henlow the night before in order to be as fresh as possible for facing the med board. I took a care in preparing my uniform that I hadn't done since finishing my basic training. My accumulated injuries were to be assessed. Potentially (although I thought this outcome was highly unlikely) they could say I was damaged goods and could no longer serve in the forces. I got up early and found where I'd undergo the boarding. I reported to reception, got asked to take a seat and waited there in my pristine uniform.

The time for my board to start came and went. I was used to the admin and medical sides of the military not being as punctual as the rest of us, but this seemed odd and disrespectful considering how important this meeting could be. After about 15 minutes or so a sergeant came out, looked at me quizzically and asked me if I was Flight Lieutenant someone or other. I glanced meaningfully at the stripes on my shoulders that indicated my rank and said no, I am Corperal Corbett. He vanished back inside and then reappeared a few minutes later to inform me my med board had been cancelled months ago. He then asked me if no one had told me this. Felt like replying "Yeah, but I thought what the hey, I'll come down on a jolly anyway." My flight home and transport to the airport wasn't until evening time, but I called MT, explained the situation and got them to take me back to Luton.

I think the only airport I've ever liked is Oslo. The others are terrible. At the bottom of the list though is Luton airport. It is dull, grey and smells bad. On this occasion, it was filled with huge numbers of Hasidic Jews. Maybe it was some sort of pilgrimage or something. I didn't mind them, but there were more of them in the airport than I have ever seen in any place. Anyway, I went to see if I could get an earlier flight back home. British Airways will move you to an earlier flight for free if there is a space, but I was travelling with EasyJet this time and they wanted me to pay £170 (basically buy a new ticket), so I spent 9 hours waiting in that stinking excuse for an airport reading whatever book I'd taken with me.

My actual med board would end up not happening until 2021 and due to the pandemic, would be done by phone. I would still pass it. I could pass a modified fitness test that took my injuries into account and could still be deployed into a war zone if required. I did chuckle when they told me that they would review my medical condition on the 4th of July 2023. I had already decided that I was leaving and that would be the very day I'd be leaving. I didn't mention that to anyone at the time though.
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« Reply #417 on: August 08, 2023, 01:51:52 AM »

TODAY. i just found the email that says i'm approved to take my social security as of november! YYYYAAAYYYY!!!!!  Cheers
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #418 on: August 08, 2023, 06:18:43 AM »

August 8, 2008 Played twenty questions with my future husband.

Landon: “Animal, mineral, or vegetable?”

Me: “I have no clue. What’s a blimp actually made of?”

Landon: “You’re thinking of a blimp.”

Me: “You are so brilliant.”
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What does not kill me makes me stranger.
ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #419 on: August 09, 2023, 04:20:00 PM »

August 9, 1996 I was off on a trip with Gina’s family to Charleston, South Carolina, parts of which were almost surrealistically gorgeous, but much of the city was made up of neighborhoods full of desperate looking people, all of it surrounded by the same fast food places and strip malls you’d find anywhere in America. I saw Fort Sumter on that trip, and met a bunch of Marines from Parris Island: not recruits, they were stationed at what they termed “the Depot.” I got excited about hearing NASA’s announcement that a meteor found in Antarctica might have contained the first known sample of extra-terrestrial life, but as I remember that hope later fizzled. Stayed out late on the beach outside the hotel that night, Gina’s brother Mark and me trying to psych each other out about the fact so many shark attacks happened in shallow water right after twilight, though we both swam out fairly far, something that creeps me out more now than it did then. My dad gave me a hundred bucks spending money for the trip but I brought it all home again and asked if he wanted it back: he didn’t, yaaaay.
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