Friday, October 30, 2015

Two Black Cats...

Happy Halloween!

Evelyn (whoever she was) sent this postcard to Mr. Oliver King of Stonington, Connecticut – she mailed it from Providence, Rhode Island, on October 27, 1915.

“Many thanks,” she wrote, “for the pretty card. You are certainly a very swift traveler. It must seem nice to be able to be in two places at once. I wish I could, I would be in Attleboro now. Hope this finds you well…”

I love this card. I found it at a flea market a few years ago and bought it without question. Am curious about how Oliver could be in two places at once (it’s a good trick, isn’t it?).

Full moon rising up over the silhouette of the city; the backyard board fence; that hunched black cat…
          …and look at the spelling: Hallowe’en!
          I know it’s All Hallow’s Evening (or Eve), which is the start of a three-day observance called Allhallowtide, a time of remembering the dead, including saints (hallows).

No matter: I’ll leave the dead alone – there will be too much life on the streets here! Sidewalks will be thick with children, all costumed up to beat the band! Ghosts and pirates and the current rages – princesses and zombies—staggering up and down the street, going from house to house to collect candy.
          And I’ll stand at my doorway with my bowl of little Almond Joys, admire the costumes and smile understandingly at the Patient Parents who wait at the end of my driveway for their little goblins…(I’ve always wanted to hand stiff drinks to the parents, but…)

 I don’t need the hunched black cat on the postcard, for I’ve got my own. He is 13 years old now, and he’ll be hiding in the rose bushes, wide-eyed and hair-raised, for most of the evening! He’s never perched on a board fence in his entire life, and he’d rather spend the night inside at the foot of my bed than outside with all those screeching children!

So Happy Halloween to all of you from Howard…

          …and me.   

Friday, October 16, 2015

ONE and FOUR...

I looked at the Sepia Saturday prompt photo for three days; I stopped by computer several times every day to take another look, but couldn’t find a theme that intrigued me.
Radios? I thought; three pictures on the wall? Clocks, or sailor collars? Boys and girls? Ornate chair backs? Children’s furniture? Stuffed animals, dolls? Blonde children?
A certain slant of light and shadow?

And then it came to me: one adult, four children…

This is the summer of 1949; I am almost three years old.
That’s my aunt Hope sitting down; she’s got me on her knees in the center of the photograph. My brother John (6) is on the right, and my cousins Martha (7) and Sheila (5), investigating something on my right shoulder, to the left.

We’re at my grandparents’ summer house in Jaffrey, New Hampshire; it’s probably the first week in August, when Hope and her children overlapped with my mother and us every summer—they lived in Pennsylvania and we lived in Maine, so it was the only time we saw each other as children.

I can almost feel the sunlight on the side of my face.

Just out of range, behind my brother, is the pile of clean, white sand we used to play in for hours—my grandmother supplied us with measuring cups, spoons, tinware; she collected coffee cans and little pails and scoops for us. When we were older, we built enormous cities (with roads and bridges, houses, etc.) in that sandpile. We pulled small pine seedlings from the woods and stuck them along our roads (landscaping); built twig fences and such!
But at this stage of the game, I liked eating that sand more than playing with it, so was guarded at all times by a Responsible Adult.

Today is my 69th birthday, so this photo was taken sixty-six years ago; it’s hard for me to see myself in that little blonde girl, but if I look very carefully, I can find myself in her eyes, her mouth…

Happy birthday to her…