Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hi, Fef

That's our grandson, Frederick, with his younger brother, Nate. I think I already wrote about Nate and his nightshirts. Anyway, Fef is 12 today and we send him all our love. And, as I have written before, I am determined to ensure that his father gets a decent camera. When Al lived in Africa he took magnificent photos with a magnificent camera. Alas, the urge has passed.

It seems that April is destined to be a month full of special occasions. But May is not far behind. Happy Birthday, Frederick. Love to you all.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Wonder What's Been Going On Around Here?

On Monday, April 25, 2016, Gladys Grace came to join the family. That makes our twenty-second grandchild and a girl who helps to make the girl/boy ratio a little more even.

There will be more photos later, of course, but for the meantime we are leaving the growing family alone to settle in with each other.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fun, Work and Suffering

When I wrote my post on Brooklyn I omitted one important part of my experience when I first came to America. That's my fellow students. They fell into several categories. There were a few sent by their religious orders to expand their knowledge of Latin and Greek. I especially remember Fr. John Gubbins, a friendly and smiling individual. There were some teachers who were working for a higher degree or adding coursework to their current transcripts. Jeanette (and I can't remember her last name) was about my age and we spent some time together, but Jane Smith is the character I most remember. She was certainly much older than me and she took me under her wing. It was Jane who took me to my first football game. Remember, I was at USC, so there was a Trojan riding in on a white horse, and a couple of dozen bronze, blue-eyed surfer types waving pom poms and forming precarious pyramids. And of course the burly guys, playing a strange game with an oval ball. In later years I learned to loved it, but at the time I had no idea what was going on.

My best friends, and the students I spent most time with, were Rory Egan and Joe Margon. Rory was a Canadian who lived outside Toronto and had done his undergraduate work in Windsor (as I was to learn later that's just across the river from Detroit.) We met up with Rory and his wife a few years ago to see plays at Stratford. Dr. Rory is now in Manitoba and has not changed one bit.

All these years we have kept Joe's dissertation. It is entitled "Antigone:A Study in Critical Method". It was presented to his committee in June 1968. By this time I was just about to have my second child, but Joe and I had started together, both of us working for our Ph.D degree. The older I get the more I regret that I have not asked people in my life more of their history. We seem to live in the present, and that was certainly true of Joe as we went from class to class. (Usually late if it was Ernie's class, so goes the myth.) After our day was over Joe rushed off to his wife and family (Joe was at least twenty years older than me). I knew where he lived. A long trip: over some mountains—or were they hills? I know his wife, Saritha, was an artist and I believe she is still working and mounting exhibitions. I know he used to work for Warner Brothers. I think his job was deciding which books would make good movies. And I think he was working on his own book.

I don't think you write ded
ications to diss
tions, but Joe wrote this in the copy he gave us. Strange, after all these year I hardly remember the fun, work and suffering, but it is always there. What I failed to recognize at the time was how much work Greek entailed for Joe. I had been studying it for eight years in England: Joe, as virtually all Americans, did not have that luxury.

It all paid off and Dr. Joseph Margon had a great career teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In 1980 Ernie went to California for a conference and had the opportunity to meet up with Joe in Santa Barbara. He is dead now, but this is the way I will always remember a dear, dear friend.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Here's Henry

It helps people remember your birthday when it falls on the day that Income Tax is due. Poor Henry got us all confused this year—or rather the Internal Revenue Service got us all confused when they extended the deadline to April 18 for one of those reasons known only to a few bureaucrats.

So today is Henry's eleventh birthday and he has been celebrating just the way he likes it. A day off school, a special birthday breakfast and lunch and a trip to the park with three siblings with the afternoon off, dinner, presents and —wait for it—the first baseball practice of the season.

Happy Birthday, Henry.

Sorry, Henry and Veronica. I got your birthday posts mixed up.

Five Years Ago Today . . .

our granddaughter Veronica Katherine was born.

She was named thoughtfully but hastily—she was baptized almost immediately. She was born at 23 weeks and 5 days and for the longest time her parents could not hold her. Marcie soon went home and she and Andrew took it in turn to drive from Rockville to George Washington Hospital to hold her. Before long they were able to hold her against their bare skins to let her know how much they loved her. Gradually her precarious health improved, and after 118 days she went home.

Today is Veronica's fifth birthday. She will be starting school in September. We all look forward to seeing her in Ohio in August—she'll be able to hold her own against everyone.

Happy Birthday, Veronica.

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Pretties

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time cleaning. Whether it was the approach of Easter, the knowledge that guests would soon be on the way or the deep seated feeling that Spring Cleaning was part of my DNA (or should be), I don't know. But out came the rags, the paper towels, the buckets and those sprays and spritzes that Madison Avenue tells us we can't live without. The glass shelves of my china cabinet were coated in dust—somehow the doors don't fit as snug as they should—and as I took out all the different glasses and the occasional chachzki, I realized that the contents of the shelves were telling their own story.

In the rear left there is a Waterford crystal glass which is part of the group my parents sent when we were married. I am not sure if I gave the details of what I wanted, but I realized later they are claret glasses, and not being akin to the Downton Abbey folks, we don't drink much claret. I did, however, inherit some Waterford wine glasses in the Lismore pattern, probably from Ernie's mother. That's one, second from the left, in the rear. I would be somewhat ashamed to include in this photo the rather bulbous, and definitely cheap, sort of wine glass appearing center back. However, one day some time ago I was reading an account of a State dinner in Pakistan which featured a photo of the immaculately set table complete with our J.C. Penney's glasses. Wish I had thought to save the paper.

I do not know the provenance of the two kinds of etched glasses on the right. I do know that the taller one was one of six which belonged to an elderly couple who lived across the street when we moved in. One evening they summoned us over to give them to us "because we looked like such a nice young family." We used them with pride, though thanks to some of the littler members of the family, some of them are no longer with us. I do not know where the smaller etched glasses came from, but they have been used for many a glass of sherry. The heavy Waterford glass in the middle we inherited. Doesn't it look distinguished?

Ernie bought me the colored liqueur glasses on the left to mark the birth of one of the babies. Originally there were six, three blue and three green, but only four remain.

In the interest of full disclosure, although I do like to use the "good" glasses, my children make a beeline for the Ikea glasses stuffed on the shelves. We bought them for a big party and I never packed them up and took them to the basement. No problem.

As for the chachzkis, I can't find the photo I took of the rather confused piece of Royal Doulton I bought for Ernie on a trip to England. Confused because it is a pair of  bunnies (nice on the Easter breakfast table?) but the bunnies are riding a sled. Christmas vignette?

So let me leave you with a mug of Anamosa, Iowa (small town USA) and a cow. I am forbidden to remove them.