I remember being with my mother around the age of three. We were in a sort of ...Jesus, how to explain? It was almost like a large indoor flea market area but I seem to recall something carnival-like about the place. Popcorn machines, things being set up.
There was an old guy on a bench. I remember this moment only because he was the oldest person I'd ever seen. Maybe ninety, ninety five. And I think he spoke to me, not even sure. My three year-old brain was fixed on how he looked unlike anything else.
So this is 1975. If this guy is 95, that means he was born around 1880.
The year Custer died.
The year the Second Reich began.
The year the phonograph is invented.
The year Louis Pasteur comes up with the idea that germs causes illnesses.
When this guy in front of me was a young man, just out of his teens, Van Gogh dies and the Eiffel Tower is built.
And I'm three. No context, no way of appreciating the scope of his experiences much less actually learning about them.
For example, he would have been around twelve years old when the Carnegie Steel Works labor strike was broken by the state militia. The workers refused to work after Carnegie demanded a wage cut of 18-26%. The demand was rejected, the plant was shut down, the military stepped in to crush the workforce.
Now I wonder about the old guy, and whether he would have chalked up the idea that the government could be so boldly in the service of private industry as the ramblings of a conspiracy nutbag like almost everyone would today?
Been thinking about my father a little bit lately. Always though he was an asshole but it was tempered by the perception that he was a bit of a bohemian too. Hothead, sure. Jealous, definitely. But it seemed people followed his lead instead of the other way around.
And I think that's why I like Marley's Redemption Song so much. I'll forever associate my father with the Beach Boys, the Eagles, Boston and CSN because that's what he listened to. Redemption is just how *I* think his head worked.
Once, when I was about fourteen, I was living with my father in a tenament-style apartment. There was a neighbor, female. Maybe 27? 28? She was pretty short and had hardcore Smokey and the Bandit hair going on, sexy like the girls in a Van Halen concert line in a Van Halen video way.
Try and remember I'm talking 1984 here, not 1994.
Well one day she decides she's going to walk to this bookstore. Wants to know if I want to come along. I'm sure I looked like a goddamn puppy with a full bladder being shown the leash. Later on I would learn the trek is about four miles. It took forever and by the time we got there it was dark but it was summer.
Walked into the coolest bookstore I'd ever seen. Magazines covers I'd never seen before. Hell, it wasn't even really well lit.
That was the first time I'd ever set foot on Thayer St. And I'll probably remember that night until I drop dead.
Would you believe that my favorite Gardenburgers are the veggie and black bean burgers. Ah, hell, they're all awesome except for the portabella and rice. Yick. I actually returned them for a different variety.
Hm. I wonder if the Sox won...