Friday, August 13, 2010

Family Portrait (partial)

It's 3 weeks since neighbors Janette and Paul got married. A wonderful evening for 2 special people. And, of course, pictures were taken including this one of The Ancient One with wife Donna flanking offspring Seth and Alicia. (It would have been nicer if the Brooklyn branch of the family could have been in the photo with us.)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Voice and Memory From the Past

The Ancient One spends too much time on Facebook. But every now and then something happens that makes it all worthwhile. A few weeks ago I received a "friend request" from a woman who wondered if I was someone she knew many years ago when our families were friends and near neighbors. As soon as she mentioned her maiden name I knew who she was; I had not seen her or anyone in her family since some time before I left Detroit nearly 50 years ago. I accepted the friend request.

Earlier this week, my new old friend posted the following photo on Facebook:

When I saw the post, I gasped. I recognized it immediately. It was taken around 1943. It shows my mother, Martha Cohen (on the left) and her good friend Dorothy Masserman, in their Motor Corps uniforms. They were among a large group of women serving their country during World War II. With so many of the men away fighting in Europe and the Pacific front of the war, these women drove newly manufactured military vehicles from the automobile plant assembly lines to the railroad yards where they were shipped to military bases to be used by the troops.

The Ancient One was only about 5 years old when the picture was taken. But I clearly remember mom in her uniform. I am not sure who the photographer was but it might have been my father who was a photo buff and took a lot of pictures during that period, many of them of the Motor Corps women and troops who passed through the USO in Detroit.

Oh, what a memory. Thank you Sally.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Memories of Old Homes

The Ancient One has lived in many locales over his 6-dozen+ years. Born and raised in Detroit (MI), he spent 4 years in Chapel Hill (NC), followed by 7 in Albany (NY), then 9½ in Springfield (IL) and finally bringing back Donna home to southern California nearly 30 years ago. Memories of some of those early homes were brought to mind (and eye) earlier this year.

First, son Seth and friends started the MLB baseball season touring stadiums "back east." After watching my beloved Tigers at Comerica park in downtown Detroit, he called and asked for my "boyhood address." Soon thereafter, my cell phone vibrated and the following visual message appeared:

That is a photo of 2265 Chicago Boulevard in Detroit where The Ancient One spent much of his youth. His family moved in 1-week before his 7th birthday (1/19/45) and remained there for 12 years. It looks better now than I remember it being then. Looks like folks have taken good care of that old house in the more than 50 years since I left it. (As a side note, most of the time we lived in that house, the house to the left was occupied by the Campeau family and for a few years the house with its edge just visible on the right housed my aunt and uncle Sibby and Sam Glucksman.) It was a grand old house and at some point in the future I may proffer some memories of momentous occasions that took place within its walls.

Then, a couple of months ago, oldest son Bill's boyhood friend Derek Reynolds was back visiting his parents in Springfield, IL and posted a picture on Facebook of the house they still occupy. I messaged him and asked if he might have a chance to take and post a picture of the house 2 doors away where I lived. A few minutes later, this appeared:

There you see 820 S. Park in Springfield, IL. I'm not sure exactly what year I moved into the house; my guess is that it was about 1975 or 76. Bill spent summers there when he was visiting from Hawaii. I was living there when Donna moved to Springfield and married me and that's where we lived when daughter Alicia was born. Central Illinois was so flat that Donna liked telling folks that our driveway was the steepest hill in Springfield. We always liked that big front porch and it looks like the wooden swing is still hanging there. That house is now nearly 100 years old. There are interesting stories about it that I hope to share one day.

Well, that's it. Two houses from The Ancient One's distant past. Thanks to Seth and Derek for the pictures. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Ancient One Returns

The Ancient One returns. It has been exactly one year since he last posted here and it seems about time to start again. He's not sure what happened after he returned from that wonderful August, 2009 trip. When last seen blogging, it was about his oldest granddaughter's Bat Mitzvah. He planned to write more. . .but his blogpen fell silent.

It would be easy to blame the silence on writer's block, or too much Facebook, or too much game time on the internet. But that doesn't matter. A lot has happened in the past 12 months about which he should have been writing. Some of that will appear in the coming months but many of the passing events, thoughts and feelings will remain in that silent ether.

So, off to post this now before he finds another excuse to continue his personal void. For now, The Ancient One is back and, hopefully, this is the restart of something good and occasionally interesting.