Sunday, June 21, 2009

more stories

Finding people on the internet

Since I was a teenager, my dad had often mentioned Anne Franke. She was the girl my dad had wanted to visit for a weekend when he was seventeen. His parents had vetoed that visit and I don't think he ever forgave them. They thought that he "might get into mischief." And he admits they were probably right. Anne Franke was quite something, evidently. My dad kept her letters and I got to see them about a year before he died. After reading them, it's my impression that she really strung him along. They corresponded through world war II and even after she married.

I was telling Dad about how I was able to find old friends on the internet. Right away, he asked if I could find Anne Franke. This was going to be quite tough since he didn't know her married name. He knew three details: her sister's married name, that her father had become Secretary of the Navy under Eisenhower, and that he had retired to Vermont. These turned out to be enough.

I found her by looking for the sister in obituaries in the New York Times. I figured that her father's distinction as Naval Secretary might rate his daughter a mention. What astonishes me, is that she died only a month previous to my search and was listed. In the obituary I found Ms. Franke's married name and home state in the list of survivors. She had been one of the originators of the state's Nature Conservancy and her telephone number was listed. I called and spoke to her son and told him that my Dad would be happy to hear from her. She was away from home, tending to her sister's affairs. She did respond once to email from my Dad but not again after that. Thanks to the internet, she broke his heart again.

Another remarkable internet find was a childhood friend on the internet. Patty had been my best friend from the time my family moved to Porter Corners when I was 11 until I was about 17 when we moved to Eastern Queens. We had been on the same telephone party line and had a lot of fun confusing a boy we had both dated. He'd call one of us and we'd call the other and say "Stanley's going to call you. I'm going to listen in." and after had made the second call, we'd listen in and then chime in when the conversation was well underway. We got into mischief in ways that baffled our parents because apart we were remarkably well-behaved. When we were fifteen, she and I shoved a curtain rod through a wall of my parent's summer place when there were boys on the other side. It seemed to make perfect sense at the time. One of the boys on the other side of the wall tugged on the curtain rod and needed stitches as a result.

I was living in Maryland when I started this internet search. I had forgotten her married name. So I thought I'd look for her older sister, Ellen. As a girl in highschool, Ellen had been mysteriously very skinny. I remember hearing that she had been hospitalized and had been fed milkshakes. Years later, I had the impression that she was anorexic. I figured there was a good chance that she had not married. I typed in Ellen's maiden name and couldn't believe my eyes. There was a listing by her name in the very Maryland town I was living! This is 402 miles from Porter Corners. Sure enough, I found Ellen living exactly 30 minutes away from were I live. Besides counting Ellen as a friend these days, I've had a chance to visit with Patty a few times. Ellen did marry, but retained her maiden name. To add to this string of coincidence, Patty's husband grew up in the community where I lived when I first moved to Maryland, 138 miles from where I live now.

Singing with dad's dementia - refer to story I wrote a few years ago.

One class of stories is the "dope story." Which what you would expect it to be. I have a few stories of my own, but I'll save that for my recollections of my "hippy days". Here's a dope story. It's not my own, but a good one told by and about a friend of mine.

The Disney movie Fantasia was making the rounds to "a theater near you" in the early 1970's. Fantasia is still circulating. It's a movie of wonderful Disney animation from 1940 which is set to classical music. It is famous for dancing hippos and Micky Mouse as the sorcerer's apprentice.
College-aged Mark B. got stoned before going into the theater. About half-way through the picture, he had a revelation, the kind that only stoners can get. He stood up on the chair in that small-town theater and cried out "It's all in time to the music!!"

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