The Permanent Grandfatherly/Granddaughterly Record
Aggie Girl: “Subject: One person’s ‘junk’ …
“I was dusting my living room today — something I do all too rarely. (What can I say? I’m a lazy GenXer, not a hard-working OTD type … but that isn’t the point.)
“One of the things I was dusting was a set of ceramic tiger cats that I take care to always display among my knick-knacks. You see, these little yellow tabby cats were bought for me by my grandfather, a year or so before he died. He bought them at a flea market, where they caught his eye because he knew I had a yellow tabby cat I adored and that I liked to collect ‘cat stuff.’ Twenty-plus years later, I still think of him, and the thought he put into that, every time I dust or just wander around the living room.
“So I want to thank those who ever have chosen to sell something at a garage sale or a flea market, because you just never know when you might have created a fabulous memory for someone else.”
Monday email from Christy of Menomonie, Wisconsin: “Tonight is the night of the November supermoon, the closest the moon’s orbit gets to our earth. The last one, in 1948, was before my time, and I may not be available to witness the next one, in 2034.
“To pay tribute to this memorable sight, I plan to salute the moon this evening in the privacy of my back yard — au naturel. One super full moon deserves another.
“On a chilly November night, this may prove to be a gripping experience.”
Our theater of seasons
Jim Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin: “Mississippi River, Wisconsin side. Winter is a-coming!”
Then & Now
Golden Age of Department Stores Division
Writes Bruce from Blaine now Brooten (“and currently basking in the sunshine of Surprise, Arizona”): “Subject: Trips to Minneapolis.
“The stories about visiting Dayton’s jogged sweet memories for me, too. We lived west of Minneapolis, in Waconia. About once a week, my dad would venture in to the city for parts — for repairs to appliances and other projects for his business. When I wasn’t in school, I would love to go along as his ‘little helper.’ I knew where the candy machines were at each place!
“When I was old enough to venture out on my own, he would drop me by the ‘air door’ at Dayton’s, and I would spend the day exploring. I remember the excitement of the escalators in Dayton’s. I could sit for hours on the floor in the book department on the fourth floor. I would always come away with one Hardy Boys mystery. And, of course, at Christmas-time there were the window displays, superseded by the eighth-floor exhibition.
“I seldom bought anything — but I certainly filled my eyes with wonderment. This was all before the Nicollet Mall and the skyways. I would visit a stamp store, and when I was old enough to sneak a smoke, I would visit ‘Billy and Marty’s’ tobacconist shop across from Dayton’s on Eighth Street. And of course if I met up again with my dad by lunch time, there was always lunch at White Castle. (Now when we take grandchildren to WC, one calls it ‘White Palace’!) Sometimes I would venture down to the public library and browse their huge collection. There were also several places which offered ham-radio parts and equipment.
“By the time I got my driver’s license, I would/could venture into the Cities on my own. Often I helped my dad with his ‘want’ list. I would stop at many places for the parts he and his business required to complete the repairs. Most often when I visited ‘his outlets,’ his regular vendors would ask: ‘Where’s Fred?’
“Now I look back and realize how much a thing of the past shopping for parts for small appliances is (they are not built to last; just throw them away and buy new) and how outdated driving around the city looking for parts is when they can more easily be ordered and sent.
“All those memories triggered by talk of Dayton’s and that new place called Macy’s!”
Willard B. Shapira of Roseville: “I have many fond memories of several department stores in downtown Minneapolis.
“During the war (World War II), two of my maternal maiden aunts lived with us in North Minneapolis: Katherine Bromberg and Eve Bromberg. Both made long careers working at Dayton’s, Donaldson’s, Young-Quinlan and Rothschild’s, all located on what is now the Nicollet Mall (formerly Nicollet Avenue) between Eighth Street and 11th Street.
“When Ma would take my younger bother, Michael, and me shopping on Saturday afternoons, we discovered many ways to escape her and go nuts in the store. Most fun was going up the down escalator, which turned out to be a precursor and template for my so-called life.
“At Donaldson’s Tea Rooms, Dick Long’s orchestra played for our dining pleasure.
“Aunt Katherine was well regarded by the Dayton brothers, but when Rothschild’s offered her more ghelt, she took it. Nu?
“When Michael and I became old enough to take the streetcar downtown by ourselves, Eve and Katherine used to love it when we visited them. They would take us to lunch in their stores and introduce us to their colleagues.
“We were sad when Aunt Katherine died of cancer at the University of Minnesota Hospital. I came home from school one afternoon to find Aunt Eve dead in her bed, apparently the victim of a heart attack. At about 14, I was frightened by the first dead body I’d ever seen. I called my mother, who worked downtown as a legal secretary, and she came home immediately. So did my dad, from his downtown used-furniture store. In the meantime, I ran over to the Mikro Kodesh Synagogue a block away and Rabbi Nahum Shulman took over. He died a few years ago at 101.
“The escalators, and the toy departments at Christmas time (there were no public or commercial Hanukkah celebrations), were memorable. As those holidays draw nearer, I will tell you about how a mostly Jewish school helped the Gentiles celebrate Christmas in school. (What do you mean, separation of church and state?)”
This ‘n’ that (responsorial)
Including: What this country has been needing?
Here’s IGHGrampa: “The item about the Guinea chicks [BB, 11/14/2016] reminded me of a short visit to a rural area in the South. I was hearing these cries sort of like pheasant calls, but louder and more strident. I asked someone what they were, and he told me they were Guinea fowl. He pointed out some chunky, chicken-sized birds wandering around the yard: ‘They’re good to have around as alarm callers. Anything wanders in, and they make an awful racket. They’re fighters, too. They run roughshod over the chickens and turkeys. They even chase the dogs.’
“On another occasion, I was at this place where there was a pond nearby. I was hearing these really loud honks, almost like truck horns but lower. Someone told me they were bullfrogs. They make a noise like a bull bellowing — hence the name bullfrogs. They’re bigger than our northern froggies, and eat almost anything they can get in their mouths.
“Just a short thought on tattoos: Can you get tattoos that fade away after a few years? I don’t mean those that are just ink on the skin, but real tattoos — maybe if you want one when you’re young and reckless, but aren’t sure you want it for all time. You could get one that just fades away as the years pass — like when you outgrow that motorcycle gang and become a teacher.”
Or: The highfalutin amusements
Eyetacts Lady: “My mother still uses a flip phone. She does not Instachat or Snapgram. She does text, which gets a little annoying on a flip phone, but she is just not one for all the technology a smartphone has to offer.
“The other night, she was at a benefit dinner with some friends, and her flip phone fell out of her purse and onto the floor. The woman sitting next to her bent down to pick it up, thinking my mom had dropped her key fob!”
Scenes from a life
Two more of those memorably mundane moments, reported by Peggles of Golden Valley: “Subject: Acts of love inadvertently observed.
“I have two old memories, that I often recall, that give me a warm, fuzzy feeling every time I think of them. It’s not often that brief, inadvertent observations stick with a person, but these almost seem like special ones that I was meant to see.
“Over 20 years ago (yes, 20!), I was sitting in a restaurant, waiting to be served, and happened to glance out the window. A car had just pulled up next to a curb into a parking place in front of the cafe. It was winter, and it had recently snowed. An elderly man got out of the driver’s side and retrieved a shovel from the trunk. He went around to the passenger side of the car and took a few minutes to shovel some snow that was piled up near that side of the car, somewhat blocking clear access to the curb. He then put the shovel away, came back around, and opened the passenger door to escort an elderly lady (I assumed it was his wife) out of her side and into the restaurant. My thought at that moment was that it must be so wonderful to be that loved by someone, especially for the length of time I imagined they’d been married, who would be so concerned about her safety and comfort! How uplifting,
“About 15 years ago, I was walking in a large grocery store, on a mission to pick up one item in the far corner. I ended up following a lady, trailed by two young boys about 7 or 8 years old trying to keep up to her, who was also in a hurry and on a mission. One of the boys was Caucasian and the other was African American. I overheard the Caucasian boy say, “When I grow up and get married I’m going to have a HUGE wedding!” The African American boy tentatively replied, “Will I be invited to your wedding?” The first boy put his arm around the shoulder of the second one and said, “You’re going to be my best man!” His friend looked visibly relieved and beamed upon hearing that. I smiled to myself and remember thinking that maybe this next generation was going to be so much more color-blind than those who came before them and that racial differences wouldn’t even be on their radar. It gave me hope for our future!
The Permanent Grandsonly Record
Tim Torkildson reports: “My grandson Ohen says: ‘I never met a dessert I didn’t like.’ ”
Band Name of the Day: Au Naturel
Website of the Day: “The People vs. Winter,” at http://www.coolestone.com/media/5384/The-People-vs-Winter/#.WComWuErJSx