Tag Archives: Leslie

I is for I

Lacking any INSPIRATION for topic, I defaulted to writing about me this week. It is I, during my significant birthday week. But what to write about that I haven’t addressed before?

I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same house, at 5 Gaines Street in Binghamton, NY. Gaines was a very short street between Oak Street and Front Street, with only 16 possible addresses, and actually fewer buildings than that.

At the corner of Gaines and Front was O’Leary’s convenience store. I went there and bought packs of baseball cards, but I also had to buy my father’s Winston cigarettes, which irritated me greatly.

In the yard at 1 Gaines Street was a huge gnarled tree which terrified me. Continue reading I is for I

F is for Family

Rose wrote, in response to my post P is for (Helicopter) Parenting, that it was the first time I had written about family. This surprised me, initially, because I’ve gone on about my daughter every month on the 26th of the month, without fail. In fact, it was one of the two purported reasons I STARTED this blog back in 2005, the other being to tell the JEOPARDY! story.

I’ve written about my wife at least twice a year, on our anniversary and her birthday. My late parents I’ve discussed on the anniversaries of their births and deaths, and my sisters on their respective birthdays.

It’s true, though, that I’ve seldom written about them for ABC Wednesday. Here, then, a summary.

My parents both grew up in Binghamton, New York, a small city near the Pennsylvania border. They were both only children, no I have no direct aunts, uncles or first cousins. Anyone I have called cousins are either my parents’ cousins, or their children. So we have a very small tribe.

My parents met cute Continue reading F is for Family

The recovery, at least in my tribe

My sister Leslie was employed at a company when her workload virtually doubled, responsible for the safety at 51 drug stores, rather than 26. This is, unfortunately, a rather common scenario in corporate America; one is given so much work that the only way one could possibly fulfill the obligations is to work 60 or 70 hours a week, and get paid for only 40. Ultimately, her company was purchased by another company, and she lost her job a couple of years ago.

She survived primarily on short-term, part-time work, and the fact that she had one rental property, which at least allowed her to not end up on the street.

Earlier this year Continue reading The recovery, at least in my tribe

Religion compare and contrast, and Old Silvertooth

Chris, with whom I have been having an interesting dialogue on Facebook about human nature, wants to know:

What do you think about other religions? Is it just “different strokes for different folks,” or are some religions better than others, or a mix? Where do you think other religions belong in Christianity?

A lot of how I view other religions is based on the bias I have seen within Christianity, including by myself. When I was growing up, I wouldn’t say anything, but I thought those Catholics who had “dirt” on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday looked silly. As a bit of cosmic comeuppance, in my last two (Protestant) churches, we now apply ashes on our foreheads on the first day of Lent.

I recall the first time I was allowed to take Communion at a Roman Catholic Church, on some important anniversary Continue reading Religion compare and contrast, and Old Silvertooth

30-Day Challenge: Day 17- A Childhood Picture

Here’s a picture of (L-R) me, my sister Leslie (16.5 months younger), sister Marcia (5 years, 2 months younger).

My recollection is that we were 10, 9 and 5. One of my sisters thinks 8, 7, and 3. My mother doesn’t remember.

Regardless, it is our very favorite picture of us, especially compared with the next picture of the three of us (NOT SHOWN, thank you very much, which we call the “year of the bad glasses.” Mine were opversized horn-rimmed, and the girls were wearing cats-eyes.

The picture above, I THINK, was taken at McLean’s department store in downtown Binghamton, NY, where my mother worked in the bookkeeping department. For all the time I can remember, my mom worked outside of the home, at McLean’s, then at Columbia Gas & Electric. When she moved to Charlotte, NC, she worked at First Union Bank as a teller.
Continue reading 30-Day Challenge: Day 17- A Childhood Picture

The Spanking Policy

Today is my sister Leslie’s birthday. Happy birthday, Leslie!
She is the middle child, and I’m the oldest, by sixteen and a half months. I have no recollection of my life without her.

Here’s one of those family stories, the telling of which will make more sense in a couple weeks, I hope.

The worst spanking I ever received directly involved her. I tell this tale not to embarrass her – after all, it WAS a half century ago – but to indicate how much that incident has imprinted on my whole life.

When I was four or five years old, Leslie marked up the piano with some crayons. My father went to Leslie and asked her who marked the piano, and she said that Roger did. So my father got the strap that hung in the kitchen – this brown leather thing about a foot long that barbers used to sharpen their razors – and started wailing on me. One of the things he was looking for from me was an apology, yet even in the midst of my pain, I was unable to do so. “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it!” I sobbed.

Eventually, and these are pretty much in the words of my father, recounting the incident years later, he figured that I was either really stupid or I was actually innocent. Finally, he requestioned Leslie, who finally confessed, and he started wailing on her. Continue reading The Spanking Policy