I was, I think, 19 when I first read John Hersey’s, “Hiroshima”. I was working in a bookstore. Preferable would have been a job at the real bookstore in town that I used to haunt on the weekends, a small, cramped shop that smelled of books, its shelves so stuffed with books, books piled on the floor, books from floor to ceiling, that it seemed all books, no walls in the thunderstorms, rain forests and deserts of the cool pungence and mildew of print new and old binding with stale human heat. But there was no job available in that chemist’s lab, and when a new bookstore opened, because I wanted to work around books and get a discount on books, I applied for a job even though the place had no affection for books, only profit. This seemed alien to the 19 year old me, that a person with no passion for books would open a bookstore, as it was an era a year or three short of book stores in every mall, when books were more specialty and not only another commodity like clothes or beef. The owner was a former carnie and a little ahead of his time, but not by much. The store advertised itself as a bookstore, but he had determined books weren’t enough of a draw so it also dealt in cheap novelty goods and things with scales and relations, reptiles, fish, birds.
So I’ve gotta tell my bat story.
Husband was in a new band. Bad band. Let’s not talk about it. A drummer friend had also joined. This was eons ago. As husband and drummer were going to be on the road quite a bit (they ended up on the road quite a bit, but with another band) we decided the thing to do was rent a house together. We all had no money. We were moving to Atlanta from elsewhere and found a a real cheap place in an old mill neighborhood in a small satellite town. A nice-sized place with a great wrap-around front porch, a huge central hall, 3 rooms of a nice size (2 had non-working fireplaces which meant mantles and that was good enough) and a big old kitchen which was really just another room with a refrigerator and stove and sink stuck in it and no counters and still had a vent in the ceiling from where I think an old stove of the coal or wood-burning type used to be. We had lived in a number of cheap old places already, each which turned out to have rodent or bug problems that chased us out, but this place looked clean, clean, nice fresh paint inside and out. The floors were all old big and long pine planks that were still in good condition. The house was, for some reason, the only one on its side of the street and there was a nice large yard, unkept but grassy.
But talk about feeling stupid when we had signed the lease and I was asking about the gas and we were informed the house came without heat.
I just had assumed every house came with some fashion of heat. And I realized for the first time there were no old radiant gas heaters (the kind with the grills, we’d had those in nearly every place we’d thus far lived in) and there was no vent in the floor for a big old under-the-hood type gas heater that many old places would have. No, there was no heat at all.
See the above pic? It’s from some Raleigh North Carolina exhibit, dated 1952 and it is testament to two things. First, it testifies to the fact that people were already eating TV dinners before they came in foil trays. Second, collapsible TV trays existed before foil-packed TV dinners.
Had the picture been taken a year later then the family would have been eating out of foil tins at the table, For it was in 1953 that the TV dinner was invented, and Skookum sends notice that the inventor of the TV dinner has passed on at the age of 83, of cancer, which we can’t blame on the TV dinners because it turns out he was a gourmet cook and never ate them.
If I gave half a damn I’d go out and buy a TV dinner in memoriam of Gerry Thomas,who figured out what to do with 520,000 pounds of unsold Swanson Thanksgiving turkeys that, as there wasn’t room in the Swanson storehouses for them, were stranded in an American twilight zone of refrigerated railroad cars, going from west to east coast and back again.
Ok. No one is going to be interested in this post except for a very small group of people who attended Jason Lee school in Richland, Washington in 4th grade in 1966-1967. And chances are perhaps not even they would be interested.
And chances are zero that any of that small group of people who might be interested in this picture would come upon this blog . For which reason, made aware–from when I did my Growing up in the shadow of Mt. Fuji post–that a website was seeking class pics from Jason Lee, I touched it up and sent it along to the website that was doing the seeking. Someone from the class may go there one day looking for the photo and there it will be. The photo was in bad shape with cracks and torn places that had destroyed several of the faces. Counting on symmetry I was able to do a tolerable job of reconstructing but I didn’t spend a lot of time on it, an evening, so it’s not the best work.
Everyone else can say, “What do I care about an old pancake house!” and move along. This is the pancake house on George Washington Highway, 1967, in Richland, Washington. I loved that pancake house. We took a picture of it when we were leaving Richland because it was one of the favored places where the family went out to eat (which is going to happen when there are four children). We usually sat at a large circular table to the far middle left of the restaurant (as you’re facing the picture) and I’d take my school books with me and while waiting read stories on things like the fjords of Norway. The brothers and sister were usually totally obnoxious with someone whining and fighting. As the eldest, I was above that.
But from what I hear, no one was worse in a restaurant than my husband’s middle brother.
One of the reasons the quality of the pic is so poor is that at the time ColorCraft (where’d they go) was having this special deal where you’d get not only your picture but a teensy-tiny little bonus wallet copy attached at the side. About one and a quarter by two inches. This is from that bonus pic.
There is no other picture online of the pancake house on George Washington Highway, 1967, Richland, Washington.
Here they are. Mid 20th century Kansans in Lawrence, believers in evolution. I’m the one with the recessive genes. (For some reason, my son has been begging to see pics of me when I was a baby. So I unearthed the few that I have.)
The UN nuclear arms conference began on Monday. The countdown to midnight has been moved forward again to 7 minutes to midnight, the same setting as when the clock debuted 55 years ago.
Picture on right: Hanford B reactor, source of the plutonium for Fatman. Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/trinity/articles/part1.html
In 1960 I was three years old and we lived on a street called Blue in a government housing development that was a different kind of government housing development than what will immediately spring to most people’s minds. It was in the middle of an American desert that at that time not many Americans knew existed. The town we lived in was called Richland, located on the Columbia river in southeast Washington state.
As far as I knew, Richland was nestled in a state called paradise.
The Japanese transistor-culture had moved in and along with the portable pocket radios came western lamps and furnishings with pseudo-Japanese aesthetic. On the living room wall above the black and white tweed sofa was a print of a painting of Mt. Fuji framed in ebony and gold, gray volcano rising out of a wash of pink cloud and mist, a scene which to me complemented the lampshades of the slim black lamps on the paired white and ebony sofa endtables. The lampshades were double-tier and gave the appearance of parchment decorated with hills of seeming spare black and white brushstrokes converging and were probably not intended to be evocative of Asian art, but when I looked at them I saw Japan.
We currently have no cat. We have not had a cat in several years, which is unusual for us as we always had cats before. I could blog about our goldfish, and perhaps will. Tomorrow, while others post pics of their current cats I’m going to perhaps post fish pics, having already written today about our American Bobtail, Malcolm, which means I must also write about Tuesday and Stevie as they constituted the “gang in our lives for many years.
Continue reading Friday Cat Blogging on Thursday
Not doing the Hooters jiggle
This is a long post. As long as it is because it’s a subject I didn’t want to occasion any sense of trivialization, which I felt was happening in an initial shorter version.
The Maidenform dream and the election train
In the meanwhile, that Internet philosopher, “Free online casino” attempted to comment on this website,
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The Free Online Casino philosopher is exceedingly prolific. It’s also got an unnerving bit of oracle bot to it that at the crankiest of times anticipates where the brain is wandering and plunges right through the looking glass dragging along PKD, John Cage and Timothy Leary into electric lands of internet potshot I Ching where Satan as opposer says “J’accuse” pointing at yon mountain which is you of course, all being you, you being god is all, and Satan having a high old time crashing every righteous brain party it predicts in your future. Up conjuring down, left conjuring right, in conjuring out, the bases are covered and what’s frustrating is Anti doesn’t believe a word of it, Anti’s just there for sake of making sure there’s a position to be established. If Anti believes in anything it’s making maps.
I’ve been working on this sorry post several days only to have it twice destroyed by my not saving and my DSL going down and taking my work with it. I thought maybe I should drop the post entirely but I kept going back and looking at the graphic of Ms. Snake Minoan I’d made and thinking what would your typical Hooters customers do if this woman walked in the door, and what would she do if handed a Hooters t-shirt and shorts and told to sing “I wish I was an Oscar Meier Wiener” for her supper. I’ve no idea what her response would be as little is known about the Minoans, but she doesn’t look the cheery and reassuring Malibu Barbie performing a snake goddess dance.
Back in the early 80s, there was a lower economic area of Buckhead that began to eat itself in the hopes of attaining glory. We lived in the area right before it began to chow down. The name of the apartment “complex” may have been Oak Hill. My husband thinks it may have been Oak Hill. I don’t have a clue. And he’s not certain because that isn’t how it was known. Its common name was “Viet Cong Villa”. The buildings were dark red brick, each consisting of, if I remember correctly, 4 to 6 townhome type apartments (upstairs and down), either two or three bedrooms, probably built in the 40s. The Emory family-student housing complex was in the same style, the one they tore down and replaced around the time of the Olympics.
The name “Viet Cong Villa” should clue in as to the neighborhood. I don’t know why but a large number of Vietnamese families had settled in the complex. Extended families of cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. There was also a significant-sized “hispanic” community and a number of other nationalities. In our little cul-de-sac we were the only household with English as the primary language. The two apartments on our left were Vietnamese. The one on our right was Hispanic. The next building was all Vietnamese with the exception of one German family. The complex was probably close to 90 percent Vietnamese and Hispanic.
Between 1975 and 1984 about 8000 Vietnamese arrived in Georgia as refugees, poor, bewildered, struggling to cope with new culture. One set of my grandparents lived in southwestern Missouri and a number of Vietnamese had landed there as well, not quite so easy to overlook, seeming like a wayward flock of birds blown off course by a storm, about as inobvious as if if you were watching Shirley Jones and Robert Preston in “Music Man” and suddenly there was this group of Vietnamese extras in the background who you could swear weren’t within two worlds of the parade your last viewing. But there are a lot more buildings in Atlanta where the roads snake around and about instead of squaring off in neat orderly blocks, and those faces disappeared into the fringes in the midst of the city, hidden in the nicks and tucks of those roads, such as at Oak Hill, the entrance to which was deftly hidden in plain view at a stop light at an imposing RR trestle that served as a gate to Piedmont Road’s ascendance into Buckhead. Most people we knew or know never realized the apartment complex even existed.
Five or six years ago I tried blogging. We lived across the RR track, right next to the RR track, our too picturesque view of the world being the RR track and beyond it the large warehouse of a large dry cleaning establishment into which I never saw a single customer walk, which let the letters of its neon sign evaporate into the ozone one by one before closing up shop, and as part of an old edition of Bigsofa I made a page called Across the RR tracks then decided to convert it to a blog. I had worked up a nice graphic of a RR track and a decent layout. I set up the blog at Blogger. I got up maybe two or three mundane posts with great difficulty as Blogger didn’t like to work for me, and then couldn’t get it to work again, which a number of people were complaining about at the time, that Blogger had completely broken on them or they could only get it to work occasionally. It was then a fairly unreliable service. I tried again for a little while but was uninspired also by the blogging community. Either I didn’t know my way to certain parts or what I was looking for just wasn’t there yet. If there was a progressive political closet I didn’t find it and six years ago there weren’t many doors to knock on. Saying I was unimpressed sounds judgmental when the situation was that the usual subjects weren’t any I felt moved to link to, or follow or comment upon. I see a couple of the same voices out there doing politically-based blogs now but they weren’t blogging politics back then.
Who were the archibloggers in progressive politics?
Wednesday a.m. I was still stressing over CSS when from the other room came ooo, nice tingly tinkly xylophone on PBS Kids. Early millennium gateway to jazz of yesteryear. For the second time in two days I felt briefly upbeat. And then PBS took my new happy theme music away and returned to the Arthur show. I’d labored on CSS all night, a constant stream of water dripping sounds accompanying, courtesy of H.o.p.’s computer and a browser window he’d left open on Brainpop world. Altering my reality would have been as simple as me putting one foot on the floor, leaning over and turning down the speakers on his computer. But I’m so used to H.o.p. using these sound clips as background atmosphere, even when he’s asleep I don’t think to turn them off. That lethargy may change now. I’ve got new speakers on my computer, my others having died, and they are some good sounding speakers with bass end. Some of the music on websites H.o.p. likes to visit sounds considerable-different. His eyes go wide. Wow.
Lionelhampton.nl has a lot of samples available which is what I’m going through now, a couple of days later, Arthur again on because H.o.p. is crazy about cartoons. He likes the xylophone too. “Where’s that music coming from?” he asks. I show him. “Can I keep that song?” Sure thing.
Yesterday I posted the ramble on Loon via Coulter, which I’d written Sunday but quite often it takes me several days to decide, yeah, maybe I’ll go ahead and post. So last night I dreamt about my junior high…