Riding the Train in Sedalia: It Takes all Kinds

I miss the long overdue train to St. Louis, have an engaging interaction with an unlikely fellow, but it’s all ok.

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IMG_6154(This is in a series of posts about my trip to Sedalia, Missouri May 31-June 2, 2018)

My most fascinating yet challenging experience in Sedalia had nothing to do with the ragtime festival. Even though I had had a spectacular time on my own, the two days in town had flown by quickly, and I found myself getting off the bus a block away from an Amtrak terminal near downtown an hour early.

I felt a bit intimidated. There was no one in the station, no agent, no passengers. The train just slows down and stops very briefly to drop off or pick up passengers, and then it is gone. I thought of a line from the poem I had memorized in high school, Ozymandias:

“Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Continue reading “Riding the Train in Sedalia: It Takes all Kinds”

My Brother, Tom, is Born

Jim grows up during the war in a river town and in a family who loves him, and how he learns to give some love back.

When I was six year old, we lived on Quarry Street, one of the steepest streets in Marietta, Ohio. I don’t remember exactly when we moved from 107 1/2 N. Fourth St., but I suspect it had something to do with the almost annual floods we had to deal with. Marietta, the county seat of Washington County, has a lot of historical significance, since it was the first permanent, organized settlement in the Northwest Territory. Its location at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers no doubt influenced its significance, since local, regional and even national trade flowed through the city. But we paid a price for that fortuitous situation with those rising, raging waters. I suspect, but do not know for sure, that my mother, Lorene—witness of many such floods and poor as a rural church mouse throughout much of her early life—wanted her domicile to be a haven away from the river.

Continue reading “My Brother, Tom, is Born”

Un encuentro en las tiendas, Take Three*

I’m pulling up to the Schnuck’s at Grand and Gravois once again around noon on a beautiful August day. My feelings are divided about this, because recently Mike made me aware that Schnuck’s replaced all the union workers at their Bridgeton warehouse with nonunion workers. I have been seriously weighing this issue. But today, here I am on South Grand already right by this familiar shopping place, and I only have three items on my list. I know right where they are here, and the place is nearly always a learning experience.

Continue reading “Un encuentro en las tiendas, Take Three*”

My Musical Family Was a Gift

I grew up swimming in a sea of music. Music has deeply formed my character and continues to engage me in my late 70s. My mother often told the story of how she was in the kitchen and heard the tune “Three Little Kittens” floating tentatively out of the front room in her small “railroad train” double-house apartment. At first she thought it might be the radio, but no, she checked, and there I was, age 3, somehow picking out the tune on her piano. I have both figuratively and literally been playing the piano for as long as I can remember.

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The Stanleyville Road Murder

Some time in 1955 . . .

I had a wonderful group of friends in high school. We stayed close all of our lives, and now some of our lives have even ended. Still, this group of friends, we all agreed, helped us to understand who we were, to define ourselves. Tonight, I want to go back to 1955 and try to recapture our youthful sense of fun with a couple of stories. We were all disposed to pranks. Mariam and I were the worst, followed quickly thereafter by Dee and Willard. Let me tell you about a couple of the pranks, so you can get the idea. One prank was spontaneous and kind of simple and straightforward, and the other one was complex and planned out.

Continue reading “The Stanleyville Road Murder”

In Honor of Fernand Andris, Oct. 22, 1910—Apr. 3, 1993

Today—October 22, 2014—is the occasion of two significant anniversaries for me. It is the 104th anniversary of the birth of my father, Fernand Andris. It is also the 46th anniversary of my successfully giving up smoking tobacco. Also, it is no accident that these anniversaries occur on the same day.

Continue reading “In Honor of Fernand Andris, Oct. 22, 1910—Apr. 3, 1993”

In Honor of Lucille: A Memory from 1984

In October of 1984 I attended the Shealy Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic in Springfield, Missouri for three weeks in a successful attempt to heal a ruptured disk in  my lower back without surgery. The following is a reflection about an admirable woman I met at a local nursing home that I used for lodging while at the Shealy Clinic. Continue reading “In Honor of Lucille: A Memory from 1984”