Memories

Taken by time

May 16, 2009

When I was in college, my roommate and I often drove back roads deep into the Georgia woods. The roads would narrow to little more than rocky rutted paths. With no idea of our whereabouts and not caring, we’d then walk until the forest enveloped us. It was aimlessness with purpose, a meandering quest for […]

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Showing my age, I remember when teenagers called AM radio stations at night to dedicate songs to girls or boys they liked. The lyrics communicated things they couldn’t say face to face. In junior high school, I was one of the them. Sometimes we masked our identity but made clear whom the song was intended. […]

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Blood Puddle Pillow

May 7, 2009

When my wife and I were dating, I went to her apartment. She greeted me with an enigmatic smile. Smelling faintly of perfume, she led me upstairs to the bedroom. On the floor was a chalk outline, like those drawn around a dead body at a crime scene. It was me, she said. Today I […]

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Back in the day

April 20, 2009

Reading about this descent into sexting hell reminds of simpler times. Never thought I’d get nostalgic for mooning, the worst offense involving nakedness from my school days. One of my younger brothers was suspended for a week from junior high for flashing his bare butt at a girl during phys ed class. He claimed she […]

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Explosions of Memory

April 14, 2009

Never has apocalypse looked so beautiful. That was my first thought today upon seeing four photographs from a 1970 French nuclear test. Then I thought of my childhood and pilot friend, whose Army adventures included flying helicopters to a radiated and cratered South Pacific atoll to help repair what an atomic bomb had wrought. Then […]

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Memory-Making Music

April 8, 2009

When I say “album,” some young people look as if I’ve uttered a foreign word. Thus this headline touting the top 25 theme or concept albums caught my eye. Cohesiveness in these works is lost in today’s random-shuffle world. My favorite (not that I’ve heard them all) is Sufjan Stevens‘ Illinoise. His “John Wayne Gacey, […]

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A Neighbor Again

April 2, 2009

Growing up on a lake in Florida in the 1960s, I got to know the family next door. It took awhile, maybe because a vacant lot studded with orange trees separated our houses. Three generations under the same roof, they mainly spoke Italian, making them exotic curiosities.

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Search for Secret Rooms

March 31, 2009

When I was a kid in the 1960s and lived in an old rented house (old by Florida standards — 1930s), I was convinced it had hidden spaces. Off the living room was an alcove we called the library. One wall had a love seat and window looking out onto an orange grove. The other […]

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Pink Light War On Youth

March 26, 2009

To deter teenagers from congregating in certain areas at night, British groups are deploying pink lights that highlight their pimples. The lights, unlike those that attract and electrocute mosquitoes and other insects, play on the vanity and self-consciousness of young people to drive them away.

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Rockets At Night

March 19, 2009

Growing up in Central Florida, I saw dozens of rockets streak across the sky. They became part of the landscape. That’s not to say they weren’t memorable. Especially at dusk while I fished in our lake from a row boat with my father. One of us would spot the trail of fire, and we’d watch […]

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Mystery of the Mounds

March 14, 2009

Three mounds of black dirt sprouting droopy yellow flowers in a vacant lot. It’s raining and I almost don’t stop the car. But the sight is too incongruous in this expanse of green to pass up. The oddity warrants a photograph, I decide, and unsheathe my camera.

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Merits of Chaos

March 10, 2009

If better organized I would not have spent so many hours this month navigating the treacherous paper trail of my recent past. Tax time triggered this journey through canceled checks, receipts, and cluttered file draws. Disgust with the disarray then led to wholesale purging and imposition of order. But the paper trail also reconstructed much […]

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Nose Job Memory

March 4, 2009

Among my earliest memories of my mother is her repeated complaints about the prominence of her nose and expressed hope to have it “fixed” one day. I thought of her nose when I saw this drawing from a 1930 nose reshaper ad. She complained persistently for several years. Her hope, which my frugal father greeted with […]

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