Day 272: Pale Blue Eyes

One day I saw Mrs. Hill and she looked flustered.

Miles and I often visited Mrs. Hill after I got home from work. We would walk over to her back porch where she sat in the summer to enjoy the cooler air. When we saw her from our yard, we would walk over and visit. She always welcomed us. This day, she looked out of sorts. She was in her late 70s, very healthy and so friendly. She was so kind and generous and always in a good mood, but today she was not right.

Mrs. Hill had just been at the store, and she thought she had seen her father. She told us that she thought she had seen her father out of the corner of her eye at the store waiting in the checkout line. She realized quickly that it was not him, of course. He must be dead, she told me. But every once in a while, she would catch a hopeful glimpse of someone who might be him.

Mrs. Hill was one of more than a dozen children. In 1929, her father lost his job and his savings. Everything was wiped out. He kept his truck because he owned it outright and they kept their home. But in one fell swoop, they lost almost everything in the crash. He tried to work and searched far and wide for jobs. One day, he did not come home. He never showed up. Her father disappeared. Maybe he ran away because he could not handle the humiliation of not being able to take care of his family. Maybe he went looking for a job and got in an accident far from home and nobody could identify him. Maybe he was killed for his truck. She had no idea. She was in he late 70s, and she never found out what happened. He never returned. She raised her younger siblings and took care of the household. Every so often, she would catch a glimmer of hope in the visage of a stranger on the street or at the store. But it was impossible. He must be dead, dead for a long time.

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Day 188: Beginning To See the Light

I have to go to work every day and it has been hard to do so. I have learned to put everything up on a shelf and tuck it away for later. I ignore anything during the day that invades my mind. I stow it. I stuff it aside, out of mind. It is hard for me to go to work and do my job if I am preoccupied, and I need to not do that. I have succeeded in this but I am not sure it is a victory.

Day 57: Sunday Morning

Miles made a little Shangi-La for himself up in the attic. He made a little room with a bed, some instruments, and an old stereo.  He had a record player up there too. He collected a bunch of records from the local record shops and his uncle Rob would get him records for Christmas and his birthday.

Miles liked records.  He liked the old technology, much like he enjoyed his cameras he bought and played with, taking them apart and putting them back together.

A few weeks ago, I was at the big thrift shop in Selinsgrove and I bought a tape deck.  At one time, this was a nice tape deck with two tape players and high-speed dubbing for recording tapes. It also has Dolby noise reduction, whatever that is.

I got the tape deck because I had recently cleaned up a closet and found all my old cassettes, including some of my mix tapes.  I wanted to listen to them. Once I hooked it up, the first tape I put in was The Velvet Underground and Nico, an album I have now bought as a cassette, CD, and record.  The first song on the album is “Sunday Morning.” It was so nice to rehear the tinkling tones of that opening instrument, a celesta.

Miles would have enjoyed having the tape deck too.  We would have ordered cassettes on line and made mix tapes. He would have left them for people and they would have to hunt down their old tape players in order to hear the songs on them. Or they would have to come to his little room to listen with him.