Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ice Sounds

Around the Oxbow along Rt. 5 in Northampton, Mass, the ice begins to take form.

The morning sun creeps over the mountain.

The ice begins to growl as if it is hungry.

Pancakes, anyone?

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Eyebrow Clucking

Overheard in the living room:

Your eyebrows look different. Have you been getting them done?

"Yes, for the last 6 months. You mean to tell me you've only just noticed?"

I guess. They look good. Even, like. Who's been doing them?


Doesn't that hurt?

"No, she waxes them."

Oh, that's good.... Can you pass me the remote? Anderson Cooper is on.

-- photos from McCray's farm, South Hadley, Mass.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Urban Walkabout: Chicopee

I grew up here. It was here I learned to read and write, add and subtract, ride a bike, play soccer, basketball and baseball, learn piano and trumpet and drive a car. It was also here that I learned to smoke and drink beer, fight, kiss girls, manipulate my way through high school and avoid the police. I’ve been away most of my adult life and walking though this city seems strangely foreign to me. The sights and sounds are unrecognizable. The memories seem like something I read in a book or seen in a movie. Like all those things happened to someone else. In some other place.

Let’s take a walk:

Cabot Mill. Just one of the places I never really noticed. The old mills are beautiful artifacts related to the history of the city. Dad says a few German POWs during WWII were housed in these mills. There was also a camp at Westover AFB. Although a good portion of them were taken to upper-state Maine.

Chicopee High School. The absolute worst years of my life were spent here. I nearly didn't graduate because I refused to take gym class. Spending 3 or 4 hours a day after school at baseball or soccer practice was enough exercise for me, I thought. The vice principal thought differently. My cousin, Miss Pula, a gym teacher, saved me. Although I didn't deserve it.

I often played pool here. I got into a fist fight once that spilled out into the street. It was over a girl, of course. When the cops came I got away. I always did.

I scored a few goals here. Our team won the state soccer championship in 1984 against some team from eastern Mass. But our highlight was beating Ludlow in the Western Mass finals.

Szot Park. After snapping this photo a young boy and his dad approached me. "It's decommissioned", the boy said. "So am I", I countered.

The Collegian Court is for sale. Looking through the windows I notice the tables are neatly set, bottles of booze adorn the bar, menus are stacked and waiting, cloth napkins are folded neatly. But the doors are locked.

The old Fisk/Uniroyal tire plant still stands proudly. I recall buying sneakers here. PF Flyers. I guess they made the rubber soles.

I'm sure I bought beer here. I looked old for my age. When I was 15 I looked at least 18. Although the drinking age was 21.

The old Rivoli theater. Saw many movies here. Recently, there was hope that some Russian entrepreneurs would renovate the building and create a night club. Many dreamed of a new Brighton Beach dinner club scene. It never happened.

I always joked with my Mom that she should be careful. She might end up here one day. Those days are coming closer.

Typical 4 floor walk-up in the center of town. I've been to this house many times. But not lately. The clothes lines are a nice, new added feature.

I must have walked past this building dozens of times. But only now do I take time to notice its uniqueness.

The entrepreneurial spirit is always alive here. Bob's bakery: keeping Chicopee nice and happy. And fat.

Author's reflection in the window of Chicopee Savings Bank