I don’t do them. Never have. Here I am. Front and center. We are at the 50th reunion of the class I would have graduated had my family stayed in the community. Instead I am an honorary member embraced by all the folks who knew me way back when. Notice there is no mention of the time or year? Look at all the folks who got old and grey? Ha! To be honest there were a lot of people who came and shook my hand. I would not have recognized a single one. How’d they know me? …by the nametag on my shirt, of course.
When John F Kennedy was elected, he was JFK. Later it was LBJ. No one else is really known by their initials. I was in a salvage shop and on the counter, was a stack of my hometown newspapers. Yellowed dog eared, there sat a stack of three on top. Stunned, I looked at each. The third one down carried the fateful headline that rocked my childhood. Yup! The woman at the counter was a kid. For her it was 9/11. We all have our moment. I had just gotten done with track practice. The ‘chief executive’ was dead. Denial. They didn’t say ‘President.” Maybe it was not so. It was one of the few times I ever saw my mother cry, as she watched the funeral on our Philco black and white TV. Years later, from a fellow neurosurgeon, I heard the tale of that day in Parkland Hospital ER. JFK was brought in by ambulance. It did not take the neurosurgeon more than a moment to glance over and pronounce him a “goner.” He related that he was next looking at a .45 pistol as the Secret Service told him divert his attention back and to attend the case “now.” It was only then he realized who the gunshot victim was. Gunshot injuries to the head never cease to make the ER staff breathlessly call you. But the secret is that the bullet settled the argument on the street. You arrive in the ER dead or alive. The role of neurosurgery is limited.
I will quickly recall a phone call I received at 3AM when I was chief resident at Bellevue. “We’re getting a gunshot to the head from Columbia.” my junior resident related. At 3AM it’s a rule. Make sure I am speaking in sentences before you give me information. Columbia? The South American country.
No! Columbia University – Neurological Institute of New York, the pre-eminent “Ivory Tower” uptown. Why? “…because they are not taking gunshots tonight.”
It turned out that my counterpart chief resident at Columbia was too lazy to get his ass out of bed in the middle of the night so he turned the case down and sloughed it off downtown.
Happy ending! The bullet was lodged under the scalp and had never penetrated the skull. My junior resident removed the bullet at the bedside in the ER slot and in an act of cheekiness sent the bullet fragment with our complements to Columbia. Our respective departmental chairmen had some choice words to share in the morning. Life goes on in the big city….
That reminds me of when the orthopedic surgery resident put a patient in traction by driving a Steinman pin through and through the skull….
Images are little memories. The graphic is like Le Petite Madeleine, Proust. Memories. A time past and but forgotten except for the image to call forth a memory forgotten till that moment you see the image again. Photographic memory? By my age I have so many images collected that they all seem new again. But…this image was taken in the 60’s at 15 Southgate Road. It was a brick house my mom had built. Three little pigs – remember? Not us silly….brick is stronger and lasts. The house is still there. Only two owners have lived there since mom built it. So it did last and has been cherished. The neighborhood is way different. It’s still suburban middle class. But it looks so tiny and small now. Well, the three boys grew up. I’m the oldest. John has the other bowtie. And Eric is the infant who nowadays has a ponytail. Happy birthday John. I don’t know. There are very few pictures from this time. I actually got this copy from my cousin. On the other hand I have thousands of images of my kids. They are archived and passed along to them. Better?
I am not an early riser. And I am pretty lazy. I shoot images when they conveniently present which is to say that I will not get up, travel, and brave the elements to get a spectacular sunrise. However, I can readily appreciate one when I look out the window to check the weather. I usually have a camera close by. So there! Yes, yes, it would be a much better shot without all the distracting branches. Did I say lazy?
The new part in the front was not there when I went to learn to swim. I took swim lessons. I had a semester of ballet and tap. (Mother again) And I learned ballroom dance. Oh, and the library was right there on the right front. I played chess too. Tom Swift, Chip Hilton, Dave Dawson and the RAF, Hardy Boys, Happy Hollisters, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew – series and books all there to be discovered. The Nancy Drews were scary enough that I did not read too many. My daughter grew up devouring them. She has the Happy Hollisters that I read and later collected. Old and new, there is something bittersweet about change. It happens all the time. When did I get so sentimental?
I’m sorry I can’t be more specific about a name. It still is and it’s still there. Others in town are no longer churches. Another progressive idea of my mother was to send me to Sunday school with the little girl next door, Anne. It was Sunday and it was another opportunity to be in school. We were not religious. But we could car pool with Anne. So I learned about the bible. And in the last few minutes before school let out, the teacher had us count and estimate how long a minute lasted. I got close – 58, 59 seconds – often.
The entrance to the left and behind the church was where we had meetings of our boy scout troop in the basement. Troop 86, we regularly won competitions for best troop. We had a good scoutmaster. But camping could be very cold. Once we camped and I went swimming. I got a sunburn where the sun don’t shine. It was humiliating for my mother to take care of it. Never skinny dip unless you are prepared for the consequences. Gee, it was bad enough to go without a suit!
Davis and Elkins College. It’s not everyday you meet the college president while you’re eating lunch. Jean introduced us. And we saw him again later. Small world small town. It’s a pretty campus on the hill. Big, I mean big kids went there (relative to a grade school junior high kid). The kids got smaller this visit. Yes, just kids….
This place is where I took typing lessons as a junior high kid. My mother was pretty progressive in her thinking. My keyboard skills never got much past – the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Yup count ‘em – all 26 letters.
We got to wander around. The college kids have shrunk and look so small now. And I believe the chapel is new. Anyway I have a soft spot for stained glass.
Well that is the name that surfaced in my memory. There were two theaters and one drive in when I lived there. One movie house closed. This is not a theater anymore either. But my youth was spent here on Saturdays. 25 cents for the movie and a cardboard box of 15 cents pop corn: you were set till mom came by in the car to get you. As soon as the lights went down all the flattened boxes were tossed like Frisbees. There were the old serial rocket man movies. You always missed too many episodes so it was more tease than fun. My dad took me to see “The Summer Place” here. I’m still puzzled to this day why he did. And once I found a Bulova watch that had smashed when it fell from a car. Only the internal workings survived. I dropped that watch all day wondering how the timepiece was still ticking. And then, right outside the theater it stopped working. Duh?
Like most places downtown anywhere just isn’t much. The mall model has moved most commerce to other places out of town. Dollar General is misleading. The stuff is all more than a dollar. This site and side of the street had a Murphy’s. The store across the street was a Grant’s. Both were five and dime stores.
I could get a real model airplane for 49 cents. It was great. In those days you got the model glue and no one worried that you were sniffing it to get high. And there were no bagels. At least I never heard of a bagel till I lived in NY again.
I don’t think so. It’s just the train station in Elkins. I don’t remember this station at all. It was there and has always been there. I forgot to ask if it is still functional. We were from NY and every once in a while my mother would order Chinese ingredients from Chinatown. Then, I knew the package was delivered railway express. So I suppose this is the station. But the image and the station are new to me. I mean i guess we passed it but it was never on my radar.