September 15, 2013

Scenes that are fading away

As I grow older, nostalgia takes up more and more of my thinking time.

Don’t misunderstand; I don’t yearn for the “good old days.” I try not to wallow in the past, but I love history and enjoy studying it.

I have always worked on remembering details of my lifetime from early childhood. I embrace each new day and look forward to the future. It’s a package deal.

Some people say they never look back. I take great pleasure in it, and intend that this column reflects that philosophy.

Case in point: My brother Jim called me recently. He had spent time waiting at a red light or sitting at a lunch counter in Pennsylvania listing his recollections of things with which to finish the sentence, “We’re the last generation to remember…..”

It piqued my curiosity. I don’t consider myself a curmudgeon, but I do have mirrors, and each time I shave, I see a face that looks more and more like my late father.

Jim and I became rather animated as we compared words and phrases that would complete his sentence: calls using a crank telephone on the wall; drawing water by pumping the curved handle on the well pump out front; listening to Walter Winchell reading news on our tube-type Phiilco radio; brushing our teeth with baking soda and water; fishing a dead cat out of the cistern in the cellar; standing on the big dining-room floor grate over the coal furnace and dropping crayons through to see how soon they’d melt.

I urged him to send me his list and promised to add to it from my own memories. He did, and I did. It’s been a fun exercise.

I won’t pretend to include an exhaustive list, but will list a few in hopes that it will engender a stimulating conversation over your morning coffee.

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