Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summer Days Summer Nights Are Gone

"Summer days, summer nights are gone..
I know a place where there's something going on"
--"Summer Days" by Bob Dylan from LOVE AND THEFT

We made our annual pre-first day of school pilgrimage to Staples to start loading up on school supplies and generally to begin our reality testing as to the fact that those lazy crazy hazy days of summer are dwindling down to a precious few..

Our younger kids got their school lists in June and this weekend we started to gather folders, notebooks, pens, graph paper, etc. I think we do this every year -- we like everyone else apparently, try to go the week before school begins to start to get some supplies (I think it helps the kids deal with some of their back-to-school anxiety), but so does eveyone else and the store was quite jammed. I always think of the Staples TV commercial that my late Dad adored, and I guess I do too, which is the middle aged guy whooping it up, swinging around the aisles with a shopping cart, while the holiday tune "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" plays in the background. He is followed by his drooping kids, despairing at the return of Fall and homework..

Since we are an edu-ma-cation centered home, my wife also begins to enter the mourning mode in mid August. She bought a copy of "How to Get Along at Work with People You Hate" and a magazine on ideas for starting home businesses..She is a special education art teacher who works with special needs kids (primarily autistic and emotionally disabled).. She loves the kids, but like anyone who is employed in an organization, the adults often leave a lot to be desired..

Anyway, we were remembering a fantastic summer a few years back. We had rented a place in Bearsville NY, a lovely little home with the Esopus running through the backyard. The kids were younger, 4 years through 11 years I guess. I work year round so we spent a few weeks up there and then went up every other weekend that we could. The kids had a great time. We were relaxing but in the process of selling our first home in Clinton Hill and buying our current place in Flatbush. But in between the phone calls, faxes and Fed Exes, we enjoyed our summer in the country. We went to a concert at the old Woodstock site near Monticello. We saw great outdoor theatre--- "Rip van Winkle" featuring giant puppets. My son and I searched the backroads nearby until we found Big Pink, where Bob Dylan and the Band recorded the legendary Basement Tapes in 1967. As a matter of fact, less than mile away, on Stoll Road, Bob Dylan had had his mythic motorpsycho accident in 1966. Our next door neighbors who included a volunteer fireman were wonderful and we went with them to the 4th of July parade in town. We loved that summer. Wading in the Esopus, visiting the town.

Speaking of puppets, one day that summer, we went to the Woodstock Library. I had a NYPL card and we were able to get a Woodstock Library Card and visited often. They always have amazing used booksales at the library and we have picked up many gems over the years. Everyone was very friendly. Anyway, we were browsing around the library and a young guy came in with his daughter. Our kids were in the childrens' room looking at books and playing with kids toys. The young dad, a little grungy but very friendly, started doing a puppet show for his daughter and our kids. Mostly kid-talk with puppets. I recognized the dad immediately. Suddenly, the mom shows up in a granny dress with heavy-framed glasses. "Ethan, we gotta go". And that's how our kids met Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. My wife and I were polite and cordial but frankly starstruck. The librarian lady said "Your kids had a very famous playmate". My son (you might remember him, the 16 year old autograph hound, who, by the way, this summer completed a film that was shown last week at the NYC Summer Arts Institute at the Tribeca Film Institute) still hocks me for not getting an autograph.

Speak, Memory.

--Brooklyn Beat

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Current Reading

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  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
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  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
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  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

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  • Wilco The Album
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