Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The letter home

April 25, 2014

In 1977 and 1978 when I was 10 and 11 I went away to camp in New Hampshire at Brookwoods which is a camp owned by my mother’s Brother-in-law’s family. Many of my cousins where there and it was a wonderful experience until my second summer when I became ill and spent a week in the infirmary.

I didn’t go back.

I found this letter to my mother in my “Life-Box” that she diligently kept for all of her kids along with a few other fun ones like one where I informed her that one of my sisters, who shall remain nameless, was sitting at a table full of boys, all by herself.

What a wonderful brother I was!

It was a Christian camp so I’m sure they were all gentlemen.

What I love about this one in particular is how I’m telling my mother how much I love her and miss her and then I go on to to tell her something that probably freaked her out and had her call my uncle to get on the phone with the camp and do something quick!

Image

I don’t remember if my parents came to visit that weekend but I do know that I never found any cave with an air-pocket. People at the camp were famous for pranks and telling stories of creatures in the woods and having you search the camp for a left handed wind sifter or some non-existing gadget. Somebody probably told me about the cave and it became my mission in life to find it.

It was a wonderful experience that I remember fondly and I hope to visit it someday and reminisce.  I did an incredible amount of backpacking, boating and learned many things that I still draw upon today.

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Mercy Street

April 24, 2014

One of my favorite songs is Mercy Street by Peter Gabriel.

I had stopped listening to the album a long time ago, but a new favorite singer/songwriter of mine, Richard Shindell, does an amazing rendition of the song and it got me pondering the song all over again.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5973585/richard_shindell_mercy_street/

The original came out in 1986 when I was living up in Erie Pennsylvania, on my own for the first time away from the cloisters of New Jersey where I grew up.

I’ll simply describe the period as very Holden Caulfield.

However, I do have one vivid memory of Mercy Street that I can recall to this day, as if it were yesterday.

I was in my car, ok my parent’s car, parked on some sketchy street heading to an incredibly raw, steel-mill-town gym, called Erie Gym on West 26th Street close to an old cemetery. It was far in from the lake in a residential/light industrial neighborhood and my 1984 Honda stuck out like a sore thumb.

I had joined this particular gym to work out at because the brand new gym at the college wasn’t hard core enough and the owner of the place that I had joined, a woman, could bench almost 400 pounds, which was really hard core.

The day of my memory was overcast, just like the way I remember most of my days in Erie and I’m sure that the particular time of day was one when I should have been studying, or doing something with pledge brothers, but it was definitely a moment of time to do what I wanted, and that’s what I liked most at that time of my life.

So, in my memory I’m sitting in the driver’s seat looking down the street towards the gym and the song Mercy Street comes on the radio. I was fixated. Time stood still; the works. I see myself from behind myself, which is weird and I can’t say that it was the first time that I heard the song but I can say that its the first time that I really listened to the song.

I know that I eventually owned the the album “So”, on casset, and it truly was and is an amazing collection of songs, but the one line that catches me the most in all of its songs and is a top 10 for me, is the line “in your daddy’s arms again”.

The words are chilling to me. Besides evoking nostalgic thoughts of childhood, they make me think of those final moments of life, undoubtedly painful, where we look inward to give ourselves strength to get through the unkown.

The words seems so simple but are so deep on so many levels.

The line conjures up a time in life when your entire being is capable of being carried by a strong and powerful man, yet not the age of infancy when most men don’t really care to handle young children. It’s one of life’s in-between times. This one, a time when you could still climb on your dad like a monkey, yet you were old enough to be aware and communicating. And for dad, it’s a time that you’re fun to hold, easily lifted on the shoulders, put on the counter and basically a time to be a super human strongman to be admired.

Then, like now, the song makes me think of my dad.

Me in my dad's arms

Me in my dad’s arms

Those hop-on-pop memories, shoulder rides and boosts to somewhere were intensely comforting and in a painful moment, something I think could be recalled to gain comfort, as the song suggests.

Now, unlike then, the song also makes me think of my son.

My son was on my shoulders most of the time that we were together outside as we explored new places or when he got tired. He was a perfect companion for a day of adventure on board or off. This was all but true for a brief time, until he became too big to carry and now being someone who far exceeds me in stature.

After hearing the Shindell version of the song I did some research into the origins of it and found out that Mr. Gabriel wrote it about the life of a poet named Anne Sexton and referenced a poem by her entitled 45 Mercy Street. Apparently Ms. Sexton had her fair share of troubles to contend with and she might have been in need of some mercy.

What I also learned from my research is that the line “Kissing Mary’s Lips” has nothing to do with the Madonna. It happens to be the name of Ann Sexton’s mother.

The Madonna image always freaked me out a little but I had grown to accept it. I’ll have to see how the new image settles in.

My son in mine

My son is just about the age that I was when I heard the song and started to conjure the “daddy’s arms'” image for myself. Everyone has their own list of “classic lines” from songs and I doubt that it will ever be one of my son’s, but maybe some popular singer of his generation will redo Mercy Street and he will find the line all on his own.

I have a photograph of my father and his father in my room from when my father was about two and he’s in his fathers arms. Of the photos that I know we have, a bunch of them are from when my grandfather had taken my father to an airport to watch the planes. In most of the picutures he is boosting my dad up on a fence railing or just holding him. What’s sad is that my grandfather died when my father was only two and that the few memories that my father has of his father, were mostly in his father’s arms.

Through the eyes of teenager

February 23, 2014

Tonight I got a chance to spend some time with two of my old high school friends, one of which I see often now that he moved back to town and the other that I only see once in a while when he comes to visit his parents.

When you look at our lives now, they couldn’t be any more different from what they were back then, when we were all thick as thieves and just about to embark upon life’s long journey, scattering hither and fro.

Yet, for some strange reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, being together tonight offered me some additional moments of childhood, not in the form of memories but in the form of new experiences seen through the same eyes that I remembered seeing them through with these two guys, a very long time ago.

We all look old now, but the age becomes invisible when you’re with people who knew you when you were young.

The jokes, the innuendos, the completely relaxed atmoshpere absent any pretenses or hidden agendas. It was very nice.

I’m sad to say that our childrend are now the ages that we were, when we were together all the time.

I can only hope that my son has a bunch of friends today that he will still get to see when he’s almost 50.

It feels like putting on a favorite old pair of jeans that by some miracle, fit just like they did when you were 17.

It strikes me as curious, how when we do look back at the people in our lives that we went out of our way to stay in touch with, it’s the people who know the “real you” that you want to stay in touch with the most….The ones that you can still be yourself in front of without any explainations required.

Not that you could ever explain it anyway.

So, this evening, when my old friend said with a smile to me that, “you’re still the same as you were back then”, I was happy to hear it.

He may or may not have meant it in a good way, but either way, it sounded nice.

I have actually been woried lately that I changed as I grew older.

Apparently not.

March Update

March 31, 2009

The hectic pace of each day is leaving me very little room to write. With what little time I have each week I’m trying to spend as much time as I can with Alex and Kerry and on the house.

Alex is doing well in school but seems to be constantly fighting a cold which is driving his mother insane! I can’t blame her, but obsessing over every sniffle is sure to drive you mad and my concern is that they’ll run out of different antibiotics to give him by the time he’s a teenager. I give her a hard time about always running him to a doctor but as she likes to remind me, I could have a far-worse ex-wife than she, who lets their kids go relatively ignored.

I can’t argue that point.

Kerry and I have some grand plans to work on the back yard this spring including leveling out the area behind the deck to accommodate a patio and a tent for this year’s family barbeque. It would be nice to have something spectacular to focus on this summer during the barbeque in hopes of not focusing on the absence of Kerry’s father who was always the epicenter of each year’s event.

It is not going to be fun.

We are also hoping to build a screened in porch on half of the deck but that may be a year down the line.

Kerry and I did manage a long weekend at Disney a few weeks back which seemed to cheer her up a bit but Disney was crazy and anything but a bargain. In the end, she was somewhat under-whelmed.

It was nice to have some warm temperatures to make us feel human again and at least she and I got to spend 72 hours together.

The next big event is going to be Germany where my life long friend Christian will be tying the knot. I had breakfast with him this morning down in Washington DC and he seems rather calm given his pending nuptials and the impending deadline of his PhD Thesis.

I’ve been focusing on Brendan’s Meadows with Kerry and she has begun her Business Plan. We are trying to start off on the right foot with the Meadows and walk before we run. As it turns out we may have our first rescue dog come stay with us when a terminally ill friend leaves us her out-of-control herding-dog mix. I guess it’s better than a really sick dog, which is going to be harder for me than aggressive dogs or crazy dogs.

Freedom Hall is still on hold as my thoughts of Cotuit grow less and less nostalgic with time slowly healing the wound of my parents selling their house.

As I sit on the Amtrak heading back home, my mind is flooding with things that I would like to write about.

However, the cell phone is vibrating and its time to get back to work.

The Far Horizon

November 17, 2008

Standing on the shore, we watch you leaving us
Leaving us behind
Alone inside
Alone

Wishing we could go, wishing we could fly
The water holds us back
Leaving no path
No path

When will we hear you?
When will we see you?
When will we hold you?
When?

Accepting that you’re gone, we feel your love
Loving from afar
Loving us inside
Loving

Standing on the shore, we’ll wait for you
To come for us
Showing us the way
The way

When will we hear you?
When will we see you?
When will we hold you?
When?