Monthly Archives: July 2019
…I didn’t like being interrupted while I was writing back then, either. This was taken in the early 1970s. I wrote my first “short story” when I was about five (which I might still have someplace–it was about a tree who killed itself and consisted of a couple of drawings and three sentences), so this photo makes sense for that time frame.
It’s been said that smell is the strongest of the human senses in terms of its connection to memory; that a smell can bring back a person, place, or emotion more effectively than any of the other senses.
But I’d argue that music is right up there with smell in terms of evoking certain memories. How many times have you heard a song and thought, “oh man, every time I hear this I think of [insert memory here]”?
While my mother was a musical person (this is really an understatement since music was her career), she was also very careful about what kinds of music she’d let her kids listen to. We were pretty much relegated to show tunes, orchestral and choir pieces, film scores, and the Maranatha! brand of Christian music that was on the rise in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Anything outside of that—and especially secular rock music—was pretty much a “no-no.”
This doesn’t mean, though, that we kids didn’t find clever ways to get everything from Madonna to Def Leppard into the house. We used to put the stuff on cassettes and give it some moral-sounding label, like “Children’s Hymns.” No one had any idea.
Until one of our babysitters gave us the cassette Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D and someone didn’t hide it well.
Somehow—perhaps it was because I was the oldest—I was the one that was responsible for smoothing the waters. I explained to her that this was funny; that it was completely innocent because it made fun of modern songs. She not only bought it, she was open to listening to it.
To my surprise, she enjoyed the album. What shocked me most was that her favorite song was “Nature Trail to Hell”; the tune not only had the word ‘hell’ in it, it was pretty graphic in skewering the gory slasher movie phenomenon that was all the rage in the mid-1980s.
There was some kind of irony Read the rest of this entry
My first job out of college was as an obituary writer for the Putnam Reporter Dispatch in Carmel, NY.
Obituary writer! You’re thinking, “like someone who writes those long things in The New York Times!” Well, you’re right, but not really. I was more of a compiler than anything else. Nowadays, it’s more common that the families write up a tribute, give it to the funeral home, and then get charged to run it in the newspaper.
Back in the early 1990s, nearly all obituaries were put together Read the rest of this entry
If, last year, you watched the first season of AMC’s The Terror, then you have an idea of what this post is about: an exhibit about the mysterious fate of 1845’s vanished Franklin Expedition, the most infamous of Britain’s attempts to find the Northwest Passage.
For those of you who don’t know, the NP was a fabled Read the rest of this entry