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Author Topic: On This Day: Your History  (Read 71031 times)
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #420 on: August 10, 2023, 05:10:09 AM »

August 10, 1992 My cousin Magda and I almost got into it after it was building up so much all summer you could feel tension in the air, so she got sent home from our grandparents’ and made a disapproving finger-gesture at me while she was leaving. We’d been having a good day which went sour when I wouldn’t tell her answers to her nosy questions. She said she’d told me everything and I said since I didn’t ask her to, so what? She called me some names then and glared.

What made her the maddest was being laughed at, so I did that to her instead of saying anything back, and she fumed and said I needed my eye blacked, and for one second I was waiting to get hit, knowing that was gonna hurt, but she just went off on me verbally saying I was an American blahblahblah (a bunch of bad things) and nobody wanted me there, so go home etc etc etc.
 
What was funny was it didn’t bother me at all that she stomped off and I was glad to get rid of her. Even nearly getting punched in the face was a pseudo-rush.

It was an old cycle, almost every summer it built up til she got mad at me for some reason though this had been our second worst time, with the worst being when she ruined my Easter dress when I was seven and fought her back.
 
I told my Aunt Sarah and my cousin Eonne about what had happened that day and they didn’t think it was funny and asked, “Do you know how lucky you were? Mags punches everybody.”
 
Which made me wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to avoid Mags for a while.

In actuality though we’d hug the next morning and finish the summer doing many fun things together, including me watching her casting supposed spells by an old well, something our grandmother would have lost her mind over and hauled us both off to confession had she known about.

Ah, Mags, I miss you, you goofy Irish slob.
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #421 on: August 11, 2023, 05:27:52 AM »

August 11, 2003 The news said it was 101 degrees in Kent the day before, the first time the United Kingdom had ever marked a temperature above a hundred, and if that wasn’t enough, Paris sported a life-endangering 112.

On this day my buddy Rob came over to hang out since we’d seen little of each other all summer, partly because his day and night sleeping cycles were all messed up, partly because of my job, and we watched Sid & Nancy, and then he asked if I’d like to see a picture of his new dog, the first he’d had since his old bulldog, Punisher, went off amid the fire hydrants of the Elysian Fields, so he showed me snapshots of Bow-Wowse (a pun on Bauhaus), a sleek black mixed breed, so full of energy he could leap six feet off the ground to snatch a treat held above him.
 
Rob said he found Bow-Wowse at the pound, and that about three evenings after he brought him home he was walking him in the rough part of the uptown where he lived, not far from the university, when several black guys carrying half-consumed forty-ouncers walked aggressively up on him and claimed Bow-Wowse belonged to one of them, that he’d gone missing, so hand him over. Rob said he tried to think how he’d feel seeing his lost dog owned by someone else, so despite having paid fifty bucks for him, he handed over Bow-Wowse’s leash, only to hear the guys start laughing and calling him stupid, and one said, “Man, you such a fool! This ain’t our dog, but now you gotta pay twenty bucks to get him back.”

And Rob did just that, he gave twenty bucks to get back his own dog, sullying the Mjolnir around his neck by letting himself get shaken down. He told the story like it was outrageously unfair, but personally I thought he was a wuss for letting it happen.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #422 on: August 12, 2023, 11:14:36 AM »

August 12, 2010 Straight up 100 degrees and so humid that when we had our all-night Perseids meteor shower viewing party which I call “Dog Day’s Night” everything from cars and lawn furniture to the surfaces of beer bottles ran with condensation, and if you took a swim and didn’t towel off, you stayed wet. The air was drunk on water, the night sodden with it, looking like it had just rained, which it hadn’t. Even the grass drenched your feet and made slushing noises when you passed across it. The clear skies made for excellent sky-viewing, however, and we saw many shooting stars, including a long-track one that not only streaked across the sky like a firework, but left behind a glow for seconds, burned on the black canvas like a halo, maybe the best I’d ever seen. Everyone who lasted til morning got a survivor’s breakfast and a couch to sleep on til noon. We were newlyweds and despite the grim news of spring, I was still alive after doing something daring in having people over. Life that morning felt very, very good, like a baptismal cleansing after some troubled months.
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #423 on: August 13, 2023, 08:17:58 AM »

August 13, 1996 Another day that holds a special spot in my memory.

My grandpa picked me up for our long-planned trip to the Museum Center at Union Terminal, and embarrassed me by saying, “Any day is nicer in the company of a pretty girl!”

The museum was located in an Art Deco masterpiece, an immense structure built to look like a giant 1930s Crosley radio, and was once the bustling main railroad depot in the city, seeing hundreds of trains and tens of thousands of people pass through daily, and as a high school student during World War Two, Grandpa had been a volunteer there, answering questions of service personnel passing through town, showing them where to go, running and buying them cigarettes before their train left, being an all-around personal assistant for anyone in uniform who needed help of any kind.

Grandpa kept pointing out what had been where as we walked out under the vast dome called the “whispering arch,” since you can hear a whisper there at a hundred yards, and showed me a spot where he said he saw a black man in 1943 running from two other black men and a white man, and the runner was so desperate to evade his pursuers that he raced right in between two cars that were passing in opposite directions on the street, and at least temporarily got away. He showed me where he once saw a pretty, “well-dressed” young woman faint and fall flat on her back, and people rushed to help her, and he never did hear what was wrong, because he stayed too busy to ask.

He said the feeling in the war years was so patriotic that soldiers would leave their belongings sitting unattended all day and nobody bothered them out of respect for their service. There was also a custom back then wherein people who lived in the area would have soldiers over to dinner, and Grandpa would match up soldiers passing through the terminal with families who’d sent word they’d like to host a serviceman for dinner. The people might say they wanted two young men of Irish blood, and he’d keep an eye out for them. Or someone might say they wanted a Marine just home from the Pacific. Or “colored” soldiers were often invited to eat with a well-known black minister at his church dinner in the West End.

It was a busy life and exciting, because so much went on. There were always “G-Men” looking for spies and Grandpa saw training films on how to spot foreign agents up to no good. “It sounds funny now,” he told me, “but they were probably there.”

And he said there were prostitutes aplenty cruising for soldiers with a little time and money, and mostly the police left them alone. (“They were always flirting with a dapper blond kid like me, but I gave them a long pass….”) There were families passing through, and wives waiting for husbands, and children waiting for daddy. There were swindlers and card sharps and confidence men, reporters and Billy Sunday style preachers calling out that a man going off to the fight should not go unsaved. There were also priests always in side rooms, day and night, waiting to hear confessions, and, sadly, he said, there were funeral directors picking up caskets, always unloaded out of sight in the back, while around the terminal’s south side were ambulances for taking wounded soldiers off the trains. Along with all this Grandpa told me about visits from important personages, like politicians, generals, and movie stars in the USO. He told me he lit Dennis Day’s cigarette, then asked if I knew who that was. Thanks to listening to old radio shows with Grandma, I actually did.

His work was volunteer, but he and the others were allowed to keep tips, and sometimes those tips were good. Once Grandpa received a five-dollar bill from a fat old man in a white suit with a Deep Southern accent, for whom Grandpa purchased a fresh pack of playing cards and a can of talcum powder and took it to him on his train. He said that was like getting fifty bucks would’ve been in 1996, and ten times any other tip he ever got.

He did all this from about spring 1943 thru to about Christmas time 1945, although after VJ Day he went less frequently. After the war, Union Terminal was never the same again, he said, and airports were never anything like the miniature universe of a train terminal during World War Two.

Then Grandpa bought us sundaes at an on-site “micro-batch” ice cream parlor called Graeter’s, probably a thousand calories but a nice cap for a day that was special then and moreso in memory now.

Yeah, my grandpa was a cocky sort who ruined his relationship with my dad, ran around on my grandma and lived a bit like Don Draper, but he was also one of the people I’ve loved most in my life.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #424 on: August 14, 2023, 04:08:05 PM »

August 14, 2008 While we were having lunch on the south bank of the river, at a place in Kentucky called Habanero’s, for the first time my uber-Jewess friend Edie invited me to go bris-crashing with her, something she did so often it was her hobby. I asked why I’d want to do that, and she said, “Because it’s free fancy food, and the wine flows like the Jordan?”

I couldn’t help but catch that she emphasized the “free” part, a word I’d noticed in the past always seemed to sing from her lips with an almost holy tone, but didn’t bring it up. I did say thanks but it didn’t appeal to me, and she demanded, “Why? It’s pretty much an open situation, you show up, you eat and drink. Under Talmudic law it’s a father’s duty to generously host all guests on the day his son enters the covenant, so most families go all-out.”

I said, “To be honest a festive occasion built around hurting a baby wouldn’t be my thing.”

She was amused and plssed-off both and said, “Well that didn’t sound anti-Semitic, did it?”

I thought she was being tone deaf, though, since wouldn’t I want Jews to feel pain if I was anti-Semitic? Duh?
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #425 on: August 15, 2023, 08:01:26 PM »

August 15, 2000 All summer I’d been withdrawn into grief, many days being with Brian’s dad in Brian’s old house, neither of us saying much, just sitting together staring into space, owned by loss, barely noticing when the sun went down, we’d just kind of look up and realize it was dark, that’s how bad it was, but for the first time in months I went someplace socially when I took Dana out a month late for her twenty-sixth birthday to Riverboat Row on the Kentucky side of the riverfront, where these steamboats were converted into floating attractions with a good view of the city, and I got her a piece of grasshopper cheesecake with a candle in it, then plied her with drinks while I nursed spring water with lime, kind of on auto-pilot, sadness by then my second nature. She told me jokes and made luridly funny observations about people around us til I finally did smile just to be polite, and she said it was good to see a grin crack my face again, even if it was fake. A family of ducks swam past our window, and some NKU fratters on a gangplank threw rocks at them, and I was thinking of going out and yelling but a bouncer beat me to it and chased them off. Neither Dana nor I brought up our dying grandpa across town, which heaped grief onto pre-existing grief----truly, it was just an awful summer---and after I dropped her off at her house and watched while she drunk-walked inside, I wondered why despite my efforts she had never liked Brian and he never liked her. I fell asleep wearing the dress I’d had on that evening, still in my shoes, not motivated to even care, and slid back into the cocoon of sadness that for weeks had felt like home.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #426 on: August 16, 2023, 09:04:13 AM »

August 16, 2003 Took nearly four-year-old Tyler off to lunch at Wendy’s where our Goth-esque cashier told us to: “Have a nice day, or else.” It was the best dismissal from a fast food worker I’d ever had. Very Anya-esque!

Tyler and I went back and did one of our pre-nap bug safaris, where we’d roam the yard turning over rocks and logs to see what crawled or slithered out. That noon we watched ants and found some “funakzoid beetles,” “crimmylots worms,” “goblinish maggots,” and followed a viceroy butterfly a good fifty feet before it flew up and away. We also watched a garden spider in some yew shrubs wrap up a moth that unwisely hazarded into her domain, and saw the most amazing sight of another spider floating at the end of a long strand as it navigated between two distant tree branches before crafting its web a dozen feet off the ground.

It was all amazing to behold, especially in the company of a child.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #427 on: August 17, 2023, 06:24:59 AM »

August 17, 2022 Ever had someone say something that shouldn’t get under your skin, but despite your best efforts it does?
 
“I was made to be middle-aged, you were made for youth,” Hugh, a man I’d once known well, claimed. “The best is still coming for me, El, but all you have ahead of you is looking back at what you were. Glorious, I don’t deny, but finished.”

I laughed hollowly in an attempt to show what I thought of his observation, but it bothered me, not because I believed it but because he did, and despite our friendship peaking years ago, his opinion still mattered.

I told myself he’d lost his looks, his self-identity, had sold his very soul to the job to the point he stared out at the world through burning raptor eyes, always sitting with his back to the wall, ever-suspicious of his own friends, his head full of secrets but now a morally compromised hull who deserved Hell if anyone ever did, and yet nothing I could think up quite tugged out the stinger of his claim. I could tell myself the sentiment was a sign of lingering resentment on his part going back almost twenty years when he never got the relationship he wanted with me despite how we felt about each other, I could tell myself I did not believe what he said, but in the end it was an observation only time was going to prove untrue, and it irritated me more than I would have ever let him know.

A year on it still does.
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« Reply #428 on: August 17, 2023, 10:33:22 PM »

August 17, 2022 Ever had someone say something that shouldn’t get under your skin, but despite your best efforts it does?
 
“I was made to be middle-aged, you were made for youth,” Hugh, a man I’d once known well, claimed. “The best is still coming for me, El, but all you have ahead of you is looking back at what you were. Glorious, I don’t deny, but finished.”

I laughed hollowly in an attempt to show what I thought of his observation, but it bothered me, not because I believed it but because he did, and despite our friendship peaking years ago, his opinion still mattered.

I told myself he’d lost his looks, his self-identity, had sold his very soul to the job to the point he stared out at the world through burning raptor eyes, always sitting with his back to the wall, ever-suspicious of his own friends, his head full of secrets but now a morally compromised hull who deserved Hell if anyone ever did, and yet nothing I could think up quite tugged out the stinger of his claim. I could tell myself the sentiment was a sign of lingering resentment on his part going back almost twenty years when he never got the relationship he wanted with me despite how we felt about each other, I could tell myself I did not believe what he said, but in the end it was an observation only time was going to prove untrue, and it irritated me more than I would have ever let him know.

A year on it still does.


No matter what, my friend, you will always be 15 years younger than me - and I'm not old yet!!!
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #429 on: August 18, 2023, 05:49:12 PM »

August 18, 1994 It was the last morning of visiting my mother’s side of the family that dramatic summer, and after a quick shower that ran hot on my face and cold on my back, Aunt Sarah and I left. I wished I could have told five-year-old Celia bye, and thought it was a wonder she remembered me from year to year and always ran to meet me, but I left her a lock of my hair since she loved twirling my hair around her finger when I held her. (She'd keep that lock for a very long time til one day she tried to hurt me by burning it.)

At some point on the road toward Dublin I went from sad to happy as we played The Joshua Tree, and paused once in our west-to-east drive and got snacks---I’d stopped my stressed-out hunger strike of the month before----paid our tolls and got to Dublin by early afternoon.
 
I went out that evening with Sarah and her English flat mates, and saw a big summer art exhibition at the university, and we went to The Heights and heard a reggae band amid ganga smoke all around us, nobody seeming worried about marijuana laws that were practically Judge Dredd level. Though I didn’t imbibe directly, I remember my eyes felt a little unfocused and things seemed a tad funnier as the night went on. My first, albeit indirect, exposure to the stuff.

I tried to stay up as late as possible, making Dublin last, and after the club my aunt and her friends walked us back the long way to stretch summer a little more, and they all offered me their beds, but I slept on their sofa and thought how Dublin was undeniably an ugly city in a mostly s**thole country, but one with a lot of spirit, and I decided someday I was going to spend more time there than my life had let me thus far.

The next night I’d be in Boston before going home, and I couldn’t put off thinking any longer about all that was waiting for me there, the good things and the things that had made me find some twisted logic in not eating for days, yet I was also sure somehow everything would work itself out, which it did.
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ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #430 on: August 19, 2023, 01:59:11 PM »

August 19, 1996 I’d lied about my age that spring, making the people who ran the library’s “Defeat Adult Illiteracy” program think I was twenty-one, the minimum age to volunteer as a literacy coach, and I’d been assigned to mentor an Urban Appalachian woman named Tammy, who was functionally illiterate. Though she was intelligent and had a bright personality, the story of her childhood was a shocking one that saw her kept home from school in a backwoods family. As teenagers Tammy and her sister Grace Ellen had come to the city in the mid-‘80s, where they worked as maids in a motel, picking up a lot of Spanish from co-workers, and finding creative ways to get around not knowing how to read. (Her keen memory amazed me, and made me think it was probably how people tended to be in pre-literate societies.) She got married and had two children, and decided since her kids were heading off to school to learn to read, it was time she did as well. Working with Tammy was one of those experiences that made me feel good, and it wasn’t like some abstract assignment where you hoped you were making a difference, there I could actually watch her progress in the program workbooks as we met together, and when on August 19, 1996 she wrote me a thank you note, I hugged her and told her how proud of her I was. And I still have that note.
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« Reply #431 on: August 19, 2023, 11:38:00 PM »

I was born on August 20th, 1962!

Thats all I have to say!  Drink
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ER
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« Reply #432 on: August 20, 2023, 07:29:29 AM »

August 20, 1989 We went to King’s Island, a big amusement park a few minutes down the road from where we lived, and had a great time. My dad rode almost everything with me, and my mom, not a fan of mechanical thrills, took our picture while we went down the big hill on the Red Racer, which for the record was the same coaster the Brady Bunch rode in an episode filmed there. (A little known fact is the camera was not properly secured onto the car two cast members were in, and this was only noticed moments before the scene was to be shot, and opinion was if the heavy camera had fallen-in on the kids while the Racer was doing sixty, they’d have been killed.) It’s very pretty at King’s Island at night, first because of fireworks, and then they turn the lights around the entryway fountains different colors, making it look like the water itself is spraying skyward in a rainbow of hues. That night a man was sitting by us and he covered his little girl’s eyes and said, “Abracadarbra-cadabra-cadabra-cadabra-CHANGE!”  And he’d take his hands away each time the lights were a different color, leaving this three-year-old impressed at his wizardry. Ah, the good old days….
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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 #433 on: August 21, 2023, 06:21:05 AM »

August 21:

1989: Two LDS missionaries, about twenty years old, came by, so my mom offered them ice water and took some pamphlets, though told them from the start she wasn’t interested in converting. I asked where they were from, and one was from Salt Lake City, the other from Colorado. They were very nice and thanked her for both the water and her time.

2005: At Logan Airport, I spent the day hanging out with a rather deep-souled Marine. Never saw him again but we told each other our life stories while we waited. It felt like something out of a story, connecting with a stranger you’ll never see again. I told my friend Mandy about him and she said, “Probably a local who pulled that con to score with credulous women.” So cynical….

2006: Clare gave me a copy of Twilight and I read it on a flight to San Francisco. Century-old shiny vegetarian virgin vampire meets horny high school girl cursed with bad luck? Charming!

2008: To the Tousey House Tavern with Landon and pre-born Daisy, a restaurant housed inside an 1820s Federalist home in Burlington, Kentucky, near where I lived as a child. Henry Clay used to stay there, and of course as is de rigueur with such places, it had a resident ghost, simply dubbed the Colonel.

2011: Braved joining the black parade and saw My Chemical Romance in concert. Amazing how thirty-two seems ancient to a bunch of twenty year olds.

2012: Drove to a deserted university and slipped a card under the door to an office that had belonged to an acquaintance, Dr. Heather Bullen, a chemistry professor whose profession may or may not have contributed to her death from cancer at thirty-four. I hope her husband eventually found my card.

2017: The solar eclipse happened, and I let the interns at my dad’s office nosh while we waited for it, then herded them to the wide-open 19th century cemetery down the road to watch it. My dad griped because I let one of them bring along a case of vodka coolers: blahblahblah underage drinking, blahblahblah fines, blahblahblah police. What a worrywort.

2020: Sometimes I make up horoscopes for my children, and that day Trinity’s was, “Aries: You will soon encounter the tastiest Cheetos you’ve ever eaten.”

2021: A hurricane was preparing to make landfall where I’d gone to college, and Jackie, who still lived nearby, surprised me by reporting, “Yeah, no one up here seems to be paying much attention to that.” What?! TWC was going crazy!

2023: Spent lunchtime by myself, drinking chocolate milk, eating a pop tart, watching Courage the Cowardly Dog.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2023, 12:44:20 PM by ER » Logged

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #434 on: August 22, 2023, 05:27:32 AM »

August 22, 1999 I went to a Reds game with my grandpa, and he was happy when they beat the Expos. No, the Big Red Machine of the ‘70s would never come again, but they had a good team that year.

Grandpa said I used to be easier to take out to dinner when I wasn’t a vegetarian, and I said for him I’d make an exception, so he took us to Red Squirrel, a downtown deli famous for double decker sandwiches, which we ate on the Serpentine Wall down by the river, lower than I’d seen in years, and Grandpa said, “Imagine all the shocking things we’d see if we drained it to the bottom.”

On that day Grandpa had exactly one year and one week to live. He was a heavy smoker who had refused all his life to quit, and his coughing was worse than the last time I’d been home, which he knew I noticed, and he said, “I’m glad you never started smoking, and I hope you don’t.”
 
I wasn’t so much worried for him by that point as accepting that whatever was going to happen it was probably too late, so even though I was twenty I held his hand like I was a little kid again, remembering when I was convinced it was the biggest hand in the world.
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