I got a bunch of old photos from my sister a while ago. I just re-found them. We had a family tradition to take photos at the same time every year:
- first day of school
- spring, when the cherry tree was in full blossom
- my dad’s birthday, in front of the house
Here’s one of my sister and me in front of the cherry tree.
I started doing Morning Pages, which reminded me of the following story:
In 5th grade, our teacher Mr Umbec had us do a writing exercise where we’d write nonstop about any subject we chose, a train-of-thought type thing. He told us that “our pencils couldn’t leave the paper”. Most of us took that as a figure of speech, but Jeff took it literally and at the end of writing time, proudly showed the class his paper. He’d written in a strange version of cursive so his pencil never left the paper, and and the end of each line, he’d drawn a line across the page to connect it to the following line.
This morning’s weather reminded me of being about 5 years old and going to the butcher with my mom. At the time, I think there was only one place in the area to buy Kosher meat. We’d go into that meat locker in the back of the store and I’d instantly be hit with that dry, cold air, that you can feel traveling through your nose and into your lungs, chilling you to the core. When I got a bit older, a Kosher mail-order company opened up so we stopped going to the butcher. Instead, every couple months, we’d get an enormous delivery of frozen meat. We installed a chest freezer in the garage to store it all. These days you can get Kosher meat from many local grocery stores.
update from my dad: Yes, we had a [meat] co-op at Herzl. We used to get together for a group purchase for Shukert’s Meats in Omaha. They would truck it out and leave the shipment at Herzl where we would pick up our portion and take it to the meat locker in Bellevue where the new hotel is, on NE 8th and Bellevue Way.
In 1st grade, our class built a robot that could quiz you. On its chest, it had a row of questions and a row of the answers. If you touched its right arm to a question and its left arm to the correct answer, it would light up. (The secret was that there was a wire between the matching questions and answers that would complete a circuit!).
That year, I went to Bellingham, WA for my cousin Matt’s Bar Mitzvah. I was playing with my other cousin Daniel and his friend Robby. I remember commenting that our robot shared his name.
Actually, I recall the exact phrase (though it’s a bit embarrassing to recount verbatim): “You think my name is weird? Your name is the name of our class robot.”
One of my sons was singing the theme song to the old TV show Heathcliff (where do they hear this stuff?) which brought back a memory:
I’d go to my friend Mathew’s house after school, and Heathcliff was on at the same time as a show that he wanted to watch. So we’d watch 15 minutes of Heathcliff and 15 minutes of his show.
Here’s one from when I was about 7 or 8 years old that I wish I didn’t have to remember:
I was at summer camp and we’d just gone swimming. We were waiting in the hallway where the men’s and women’s locker room’s met. There was a door to a janitor/storage room nearby. I can’t remember if I started this, or just joined in with other boys, but we were pushing a girl into the storage room and trying to shut the door on her. Her hand was in the doorway when we shut the door, and it cut her finger really bad.
I remember feeling terrible, and seeing a camp counselor wash the dark red blood off her hand in a water fountain. I’ve never seen blood so dark.
I used to take a nap everyday, but as I got older I didn’t actually fall asleep. I’d just rest in bed. I was allowed to get up from my nap at 3:33pm. I had an old flip-down “digital” clock that I’d watch until it read 3:33.
I was a fan of Charlie Chaplan so at 3:33 I’d get up and move about my room really fast. You know how his films looked sped up since the old film-reels were such a low film speed. The whole time, I’d repeat “three three three, three three three, three three three…”
I remember having a little set of accordion hooks on the wall that I’d hang my clothes on.
I played rec soccer for many years, and I wasn’t ever very good. I played defense because the coach didn’t know where else to put me.
At the end-of-season awards ceremony, I’d always get “Most Improved.” I always wanted “Best” Something, but other players got those.
I also played basketball for a couple years, and I wasn’t any good at that either. One day at practice, we were doing drills where we had to run from one end of the court to the other. I was running past Jordan (same guy who got stung by bees) and he said “Your eyebrows are crooked”. Jordan had a broken arm, which was in a plaster cast.
When my dad picked me up from practice I told him what Jordan said to me. He said “Your eyebrows are fine. Jordan’s probably crooked because that cast is pulling one half of his body down.”
My eyebrows really are crooked.
My dad had a nighttime routine for me. He would sing me two songs: “Sailing, Sailing” and “10 Little Indians” (I bet that’s not PC enough to sing anymore). As he was leaving my bedroom, he would say “See you tomorrow, but not today” (which I think is a line from Hop On Pop).
I called my dad Papa until I was about 9, and then I decided that was for babies so I called him Dad. (Same thing for my mom: “Mommy” turned to “Mom”)
I was 7 or 8 and Jordan L was over at my house. There was a bee hive in the back yard. I bet you know where this is going. Jordan thought it would be a great idea to throw rocks at the hive. It broke, the bees swarmed. Luckily I ran into the house before I could get stung. Jordan wasn’t so lucky. I learned that day about putting toothpaste on bee stings.
The most scaring part of the incident was looking out the window watching my cat Mittens get stung over and over again and there wasn’t anything I could do about it because opening the door would let the swarm into the house.