Saturday, June 27, 2009

running into strangers

Grammar off day. This stuff is going to take a lot of revision!

sad story from dad
the little indian boy in Little Falls

Dad loved transportation. His idea of an entertaining time was to take the family to the airport to watch planes or to take a train ride. (He died while on a cruise to see the Panama Canal.) When we lived along the Mohawk River, he liked to take us down to the Erie barge canal. On one of our walks, Dad told us stories of a little Iroquois Indian boy who played on the cliffs before the town of Little Falls was built. I don't remember the stories, except perhaps that the boy collected the "Herkimer diamond" quartz crystals. But the little boy became very real to us. One day I asked Dad what happened to the boy and his Indian family, and Dad told me that our ancestors had driven the Indians away. I still remember being very upset about this.

Down at the station early in the morning

See the little Puffer Bellies all in a row

See the engine driver pull the little handle

Chug, chug, toot, toot

Off they go

I've got a mule, her name is Sal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal

We've hauled some barges in our day
filled with lumber, coal and hay
And we know every inch of the way from
Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor, you'll always know your pal
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

Dad and Marian invested in a movie camera and used it to record family members for posterity. (I had some of those films converted to video. Now I need to convert the videos to DVDs.) When they visited more distant relatives, he interviewed them on film. One film of a highly accomplished and aged second cousin had understandable sound of her playing the piano, but the picture was baffling. Dad enjoyed showing this film of something fuzzy but apparently alive. At one point, Dad would shout out, "Here comes the blink!" and, sure enough, the object moved. It was an eyeball. Marian had filmed the whole scene holding the camera backwards.

One time Dad had driven south to visit me in Maryland. We were to meet Marian at the airport because she was arriving from a conference in New Orleans. When we were at BWI near Baltimore, Dad went to the counter to ask where to find the flight. When he took out his notes, he saw that he was at the wrong airport. We were supposed to be at the National Airport near Washington DC. As we were thinking about the logistics of finding our car, driving to Washington, and being very late to pick up Marian, we were amazed to see her walking down the BWI hall towards us!! It turns out that there was some problem with landing her plane and they were rerouted to BWI. Just a few moments later and we would have been heading to DC only to have to drive back. Who was more surprised? Probably Marian was equally surprised to see us waiting for her.

It seems that people in my family frequently run into people we know. I think this could be true for everyone if they kept their ears and eyes open.

Dad was visiting Annapolis Maryland from upstate New York. He was at the downtown docks looking at skipjacks and other sailing vessels. Passengers were disembarking from a small tourist ship and Dad found himself face to face with a man who was on the board of directors from his last job in Poughkeepsie, NY. This man had a lot to do with Dad's decision to retire, so it was not someone Dad was fond of. "Bob! What are you doing down here?" the man asked. Dad pointed across the river "See that large yacht over there ... ?"

Dad was in the ski lodge at Gore Mountain. Someone sitting nearby was looking at an ad in a local newspaper and telling his companion,"See that guy in this real estate ad? I think that's the Bob Morse who was in my third grade downstate in Ardsley." And Marian, who overheard, said, "That's my husband."

A friend of mine, Jamie, and I drove from Annapolis to Arlington Virginia to join in a Messiah sing. I kept looking around the singers to see if there was anybody I might know. Jamie said, "I half expect you to stand up here and shout,'Anybody from Potsdam, NY?' " After the singing, there was coffee and cookies in the church basement and we were approached by a young man who evidently was attracted to Jamie. During the conversation, we learned he had gone to music school at Potsdam State at the same time I was there.

One summer, I was in a special short residential program for math and science teachers around Maryland. There was a special banquet to start things off. I got into some good conversation with people at the table and was very pleased to learn that one woman had gone to the same upstate NY high school that I had. She was four years old than I, so I had never met her. But I was astounded to learn that she was in the Hi-Y club where my dad was Y director. That club had no more than 10 kids in it at one time. Still more remarkable was that my dad, when asked, could describe her. After over thirty years.

Seth in New York
My grandson tells the story of making a trip to New York City. He said to his Mom, "I feel like I'm going to see someone famous, right here in this street." Shortly, a man near Seth asked him about the Japanese Manga (graphic novel) that he was carrying. (***.... get details from Seth)

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