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Journal Entry – 2.24.19 – Second Post

Immediately after finishing my previous post I put on my Oculus VR, opened up the meditation app and found myself sitting in a grass field.  My favorite meditation practice is Zen, where the goal is to have a clear mind like the sky and to just ‘be.’  Thoughts are like white clouds that arrive out of nowhere and you let them just pass on through neither fixating on them nor hindering them.

Well, one of those thoughts that came out of nowhere was a kid a few years older than me from the same neighborhood of Golfview woods.  Like all older kids I never had much interaction with him since you tended to stick with your own age group.  I remember he took my neighbor Terra to prom and she was a senior when I was a freshman so, a pretty big age gap there.  But then one day he started working at Raymond Golf Course doing maintenance the same as me!  I almost didn’t recognize him because he seemed so much smaller than I remembered.  In fact, I think he was the same size as me.  Usually the older kids were much bigger.  But here he was, a guy who formerly had seemed like an adult was the same size as me and we could connect and chat easily.  Unfortunately I cannot remember his name but I’m sure it will come eventually.

Anyway, this thought lead to another which is simply the memory of going to school in the morning.  The second thought is a part these mornings and tie in a bit to my point on the previous post of losing social skills as you get older.

In grade school my sister and I would walk out our door and head to the end of our court which served as a bus stop.  For the fall and spring the weather would usually be cool but you could get away with shorts and a light jacket, mine being a jean jacket in grade school.  We would stop by our next door neighbors who had kids younger than us, ring the bell and walk with them to the end of the court.

I had a friend who lived in the last house there on the corner named Matt McElheny – who I’ve mentioned before in this blog – and he started school later than us.  He would often open up his window from his bedroom and we would chat until the bus came.  I do not remember the subjects of these morning chats but like most of my vivid memories remember the ambiance and feelings that came with them.  It was on cool mornings with dew on the grass.  The birds would be singing and light would turn from dawn to the sunrise and the first few golden rays on that grass.  I wasn’t too enthusiastic about getting on that bus day after day and would have much rather spent the day playing with Matt and going on all the adventures we could have had.  It was especially hard just after summer had ended when those days of complete freedom and adventure came to an abrupt end.  Collecting golf balls from woods on or near the course and walking on the railroad tracks was replaced by sitting in chairs and having to open up books called “phonics” or having to learn long division.

As this blog attests, I enjoy looking back on my life, rediscovering old memories and of course keeping a record of it!  Well, I remembered Matt and found him on Facebook.  Now I use a pseudonym on Facebook so I could always attribute it to that when someone doesn’t accept my friend request.  They simply didn’t know it was me!  But I had our mutual friend Terry send him a friend request and he didn’t accept that either.

Perhaps he is no longer that little boy who would open up his window and chat with me?  Would he would not only keep the window shut but also close the blinds?  Well, I hope that one day we could reconnect because as I’ve said many times, I remember my past very vividly but have learned that this is a rare talent.  He was a good friend and maybe one day we’ll reconnect.

In high school the routine changed and I found I was all alone that freshman year in the mornings.  The bus stop changed from being at the corner to just down the sidewalk.  I was the oldest of all the kids waiting at the grade school bus stop so this meant I was waiting for the bus all alone that first day of high school.  Luckily I had older neighbors:  Terra who I mentioned above was a senior and her sister Jeanna was a junior!  They were getting into their car and asked if I wanted a ride since we were attending the same high school.

I was overjoyed!  I got to ride with upperclassmen to high school instead of taking the nerdy bus!  I accepted and they ended up giving me rides all year long.  So my mornings were now cutting through the dewy grass towards their place and trying not to get my shoes overly wet.  There were no morning chats with my neighbor Matt but instead I’d ring Terra and Jeanna’s doorbell and their dog Benji would bark crazily.  They’d let me in as I was always prompt but they were always running behind.  I learned senior and junior high school girls take a very long time to get ready as morning sounds were no longer birds singing but that of blow dryers, makeup opening and closing, and general shuffling around in a chaotic sort of way.

I would sit at the kitchen table petting Benji who would be quiet while I was petting him but bark wildly whenever I got up.  He never got used to me and barked at me every morning.

After that first week Terra also started to pick up her classmate Aaron Forester who needed a ride.  So there I was with three upper classmen on the way to school.  I felt so cool!

There was a problem however and that was we were always late for first period.  Now the upper classmen can get away with that but me as a freshman could not.  I racked up 7 tardy slips and even got a Saturday detention for all the tardiness.  My mom was livid and threatened to make me take the bus.  Ninety percent of the time, parents cannot understand the world of their kids and are blind to so many things.  Yes, tardiness is bad, but taking the bus is even worse!  My life was so much better by being able to ride with Terra and Jeanna to school and I would have happily gone to Saturday school every other week if it meant I didn’t have to take the bus.

I forget how it was resolved but I never had to take the bus:  I think Terra and Jeanna just learned how to get ready a tad bit more quickly.

I do remember they almost got a speeding ticket once.  We were pulled over and the cop asked for license and registration.  Terra pulled out the, “Do you know my Dad?”  He was also a police officer and really nice guy.  The cop said no and Terra let him know he was also a cop and so the cop that had pulled us over checked it out.  When he came back he let us off with a warning and that he would be informing her Dad of what had transpired.  That was fantastic!

Well, good memories and I’m glad I’ve got it written down.  I miss mornings in Golfview Woods in late autumn and spring.  The weather is cool, dew is on the grass, the robins are singing and the sky goes from a pale pinkish color to golden yellow as that first morning sun peaks over the trees.

Now, I have an ocean view but it doesn’t hold the same magic for me.  I think part of it is because I’m not a kid anymore.  But another big part of it is we either have gray or blue skies, there are no birds singing, there are no beautifully cut lawns flush with grass, the weather is always cold and the sun rises in the front of the house instead of the back where we usually are found.  Adventures have been replaced by routines, I’m not calling up friends but instead making sure to do something my kids enjoy and the feeling of a neighborhood crush or crushes has long since died.

Life is very good, I do enjoy it.  But a free day doesn’t hold the same excitement and thrill that it did when I was a kid living in Golfview Woods.

So what will we do today?  As I mentioned previously we’ll get those pumpkin seeds planted and I’m thinking we should take a trip either to the park or Fitzgerald Marine reserve.  It has been a while since we looked at the tide pools and I’d also like to use my new 360 degree camera to take a few pictures to put on Google Street View.

The time is now 7:55 AM and the rest of the house should be down in 30 minutes or so.  My morning serenity has ended and it is time to start the day.

 

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Holiday Post – Halloween

I wanted to write this post right at the beginning of the holiday season which I consider to be right before Halloween!  But with two kids now I find that my free time has evaporated to approximately zero.  The only time I have to myself is very early in the morning, around 5:00 am or when the wife and boys are at preschool/shopping.  It just happens I have a moment now and am determined to get this post finished.  

So I’ve turned on “This is Halloween” by The Vitamin String Quartet to try and transport my mind back a month or so.  

I have always loved the holidays.  I think the main reason is that my mom was and still is so enthusiastic and gets excited herself.  She decorates the house to the brim and we would do fun things like watch the TV specials, make popcorn and all the other activities associated with holidays.  Every holiday was a wonderful time and full of magic.  

I can still remember the most magical moments.  Let’s begin with Halloween since it is first in line.  I was in 7th or 8th grade and it was one of the last times I would feel young enough to go trick-or-treating.  I lived in a wonderful neighborhood called Golfview Woods that was like a labyrinth.  There were only two ways in/out which were right next to each other.  If you didn’t know where you were going getting lost was almost a certainty.  In this neighborhood there were no businesses, just middle class housing right next to an 18 hole public golf course called Raymond Memorial and a smaller 9 hole golf course known as Wilson Road GC, hence the name Golfview.  

There were only a smattering of schools for the neighborhood kids to attend, all of which required a commute/bus.  With such a limited selection we all pretty much knew, or at least knew of, all the other kids.  As there were a number of kids and the neighborhood was family friendly, most people would decorate their houses.  It was rare to not make any effort at all.  

These things made the neighborhood magical in itself, just a really great place to grow up before one got a driver’s license and had a wider world to explore.  

Anyway, this particular night was warm, trick-or-treat was winding down with only the die-hard teenagers still soliciting for candy.  I was with my friends on En-Joie Dr near Pamona Ct when looked up in the sky and saw a shooting star.  It was at this moment where all the magic that is Halloween, comes together and through a simple spectacle of nature plants the memory of this night firmly in my brain.  These are the golden nuggets of holidays past which being very rare are things one will never forget.  

To add to this there was also a women in a house across the street who did not close her bedroom blinds and took off her shirt.  For the first time in my life (not counting being a baby) I saw a real and quite voluptuous pair of boobs.  I have to say they were almost as beautiful as the shooting star.  Instead of enchanting me with the magic of Halloween night however, I was overcome with a feeling quite different from deep appreciation of the holidays.  

I have seen quite a number of boobs since then and thus they don’t elicit the same type of excitement; first times are simply often the most spellbinding.  

Time goes on and I’ve never experienced a Halloween moment as magical as that.  I find that as we get older the magic almost disappears completely.  I try to re-conjure it with all my might for my son and he gets mightily excited but for me adulthood has muted the experience which used to occur on its own.  

I can still get a quick flash of the magic but it is quick and usually involves me alone, outside looking at the stars or out over the ocean or at a fireplace and in a sort of trance trying to bring back all my wonderful holiday memories as though I’m casting a spell which will bring back the wonder and joy of childhood into my adult existence.  In order to do this I must consciously stop and make it happen at certain moments during the holidays.  Today for instance I had just finished sweeping the leaves when I paused, appreciated the chill in temperature, picked up a dead leaf and said hello to Autumn.  

I then glanced outside the gate to where I had put the pumpkins so we could see what happens when pumpkins decompose and was reminded that although time is supposedly an illusion, it leaves very convincing evidence by the fact that the pumpkins are now mush and I am 37 years old and no longer gets (as) excited by boobs!  

JackPumpkinKing

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, the once feared Pumpkin King is no more. 

It is at this point that I realize I can write no more.  The wife has returned and I am forcefully returned from the enchantment of past Halloweens to current domestic duties.  I must confirm that we have everything needed for the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow.  Seems a reasonable enough request!  

I hope to write something on Thanksgiving but stay tuned for my next post on Christmas.  The most magical moment of my entire life happened on Christmas morning at about 4:00 AM when I was 6 years old, sitting on the heater vent staring at the shining and glorious Christmas tree.