OCTOBER SENIOR MOMENT: WITH GRATITUDE

Liz has decided to leave our BOLLI Matters feature writing crew for other pursuits.  Here, she writes about the importance of gratitude in her life…and we are grateful for her contributions to our BOLLI blog!  

WITH GRATITUDE

By Liz David

For this, my final Senior Moment blog post, I was thinking of writing once again about the topic, “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.”  The only additional thing I have to say, though, is that I think we can only judge what the best may have been, or is, in retrospect; upon reflection on the moments large and small that have moved us, thrilled us. They could be moments of deep contemplation or joyous abandon.  They could be moments in relationship with others or alone. So, we all need to decide whether “the best is yet to be,” as in a future time or place, or, in the present moment, I’ll leave up to you.

What I really want to write about is gratitude.

Thank you, Sue Wurster for inviting me to write for the Senior Moments blog.  I don’t know why you thought of me, but you have given me the opportunity to voice my opinions, thoughts, advice through poetry, prose, and other writer’s words.  It has been a challenge–affirming and deeply satisfying. Most of all, I have deep gratitude for your support, advice, and friendship.

Thank you, Eleanor Jaffe, for accepting Sue’s invitation as well, so that we could be partners in this endeavor.  Our sharing this responsibility has deepened my appreciation of your talents as a writer, a teacher, and a good friend.

Thank you,  Barry David, for being my best friend, support, and encourager-in-chief.  My gratitude is boundless.

Thank you to the BOLLI community for your support, encouragement, and comments–both written and verbal—in response to my writing.  I am deeply grateful for the friendships and connections I have made over the years.

In his book “Gratitude,”  Oliver Sachs writes, and I paraphrase, “I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.  I love and am loved. I give much and receive much in return.”   I have read and thought and written.

I, Elizabeth, feel gratitude deep down in my bones.

So, grow old along with me–the best is what we make of this fragile life and how we live it with gratitude.

Senior Moment writers Eleanor Jaffe (left) and Liz David

We can’t thank you enough, Liz, for your many contributions to BOLLI Matters over the course of the past two years.  Your very thoughtful and perceptive pieces have touched all of us.!

Interested in doing some “Senior Moment” writing for our BOLLI audience?   Contact Sue at susanlwurster@gmail.com

 

WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? RUTH BRAMSON ON “MAKING THE TIME”

MAKE THE TIME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

By Ruth N. Bramson
Service is the rent we pay for living.  It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”  So says civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman.  And that message has never been more important than it is right now.

There is no doubt that we are all busy with families, friends, and, of course, our studies at BOLLI.  During these troubled times, we tend to look more inward and wonder what lies ahead for our children, grandchildren, and our country.  But in the midst of this chaos, the need for creative, energetic, and skilled volunteers in our nonprofit community is more immediate than ever.

Too often, we underestimate the power of sharing our time.  And yet, that investment of ourselves has the potential to turn a life around or even change the direction of the world we live in–close to home or far away.   We only have to read the papers or listen to the news reports to recognize and understand the needs of people, whether from natural disaster, armed conflict, or thoughtless and cruel political action.

Non-profits depend heavily on volunteers to help them serve their clients, sustain their missions, and raise funds for their programs and services. Because the current turmoil has increased the need for these services tenfold, volunteers may, in fact, be the key to survival for many community-based organizations.  Even larger brand-name non-profits like the Red Cross need the muscle and passion of volunteers to sustain their missions.  And we need only to look at the recent disasters caused by hurricanes, fires, and flooding to see the urgency.

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy.  We vote in elections, but when we volunteer, we vote every day about the kind of communities we want to live in.  Help address climate change, teach a child to read, keep a teenager in school, or support a domestic violence victim–the needs are as wide as our minds and our energies can embrace.  The personal pride and satisfaction that are derived from these activities are incalculable and are recognized as a true measure of character and values.

No monetary value can equate to the value of a dedicated volunteer.  You are an extension of professional staff who are engaged in the fulfillment of the organization’s mission.  Your time and accomplishments must and will be recognized and applauded.

As Dr. Seuss so wisely said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, things aren’t going to get better–they simply are NOT.”

BOLLI member Ruth Bramson

Retired CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA, Ruth held prior executive positions at TJMaxx and Reebok and served as Undersecretary of Administration and Finance in the Romney Administration.  Ruth earned her B.A. at Columbia and her M.A. from B.U.   She lives in Boston with her husband.  They have  5 children and 9 grandchildren. 

 

SEPTEMBER CHEF’S CORNER: SWEDISH MEATBALL STROGANOFF

SWEDISH MEATBALL STROGANOFF

from John Rudy

I found this recipe in an old cooking magazine in the ‘70s.  I make plain meatballs (lean hamburger, some salt and one small finely-chopped onion).  I then broil the meatballs until they are medium rare; not more than about 6 minutes turning once.  I usually make them quite small, smaller than a golf ball, maybe 3/4ʺ.  The meatballs can be frozen to be used later.

The sauce recipe is sufficient for about 1½ pounds of meat.

By using lite cream cheese and sour cream, the calories are reduced and the taste seems to be the same.

Stroganoff Sauce

2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup (10½ oz can)

1½ cup Milk

6 oz  Cream cheese (softened)  (I use the “lite”)

¼ cup   Catsup

¼ tsp  Garlic Powder

1 pt  Sour cream (I use the “lite”)

Mix together in large saucepan (except for the sour cream);  warm, but do not boil. Stir constantly.

Add the meatballs and cook until thawed (if previously frozen) or hot.

Stir in the sour cream.

Serve over noodles or with toothpicks as an appetizer. (If the latter, there will be too much sauce.)

BOLLI Matters “Chef’s Corner” feature writer John Rud

 

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

MEMOIR WRITING: MY FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

MY FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

by Steve Goldfinger

My parents were aghast when I strode home from school wearing a large, gold helmet, bowl-sized shoulder pads, and a huge purple shirt bearing the number 34.  It hanged to my shins.   At nine years old in Brownwood, Texas (population 12,000 or so), I was on Miss Wilson’s football team.

My dad was a doctor in the 13th Armored tank division, training here to join General Patton’s final push. We had come from Brooklyn to be with him. Miss Wilson was the principal of the grade school. She was also spelling teacher, math teacher, librarian, baseball and football coach.

I was in the 3rd grade when I arrived. After appearing in a class and answering a few simple questions about Africa, the topic of the week, I was promoted to the 4th.  In short order, the 5th. And a few days later, the 6th.  Was I really that bright?

Anyway, in the 6th grade, the guys automatically became Miss Wilson’s football team. Me included, shrimp that I was, who knew nothing about football. When I was playing line during practice scrimmages, I couldn’t understand why the kid across from me sometimes took a running jump over me when the ball was snapped and, at other times, just stood there looking down. I dIdn’t even know the difference between offense and defense.

I made it into one play during the season. It was a game played under the lights on a Friday night–yes, in 1944, this was a Texas tradition even for grade schools–and my dad brought a few of his fellow officers to join him in the stands. We were losing 35 to 0 and had the ball when Miss Wilson pushed me onto the field. “Tell them to pass, pass, and keep passing.”  It took me a while to get out there. I repeated her words to our quarterback in a tremulous voice and got up to the line. I don’t remember what happened immediately after, but my father told me I appeared exceedingly brave after receiving smelling salts on the sidelines.

That was my football career.

When the baseball season came around, I was first up in the batting order–a cinch to draw a walk because of my measly size, even without crouching.  And walk I did at the begining of our first game. The next pitch was thrown for a ball as I stood there when, all of a sudden, there was Miss Wilson charging at me.

“Why didn’t you steal?” she shouted.

“What do you mean?”

“You gotta steal on the first pitch!”

Really? I didn’t know that, but, on the next one, I followed her command. The ball beat me to the bag by about ten steps.  The shortstop held it out at me, waist high, and I slid right under it into the base….safe!

There she was, charging again.

“What was that?!”

They had never heard of a slide inTexas!  So this pipsqueak from the north had something to teach them.

When we returned to Brooklyn, it took a fair amount of persuasion by my mother to convince the principal of P.S. 234 to allow me to move ahead.  He wanted to discount my Texas education altogether and send me back to the third grade where I belonged.

Memoir Writer Steve Goldfinger

Since joining BOLLI two years ago, after a long career in medicine, Steve has been exploring his artistic side.  He has been active in both the Writers Guild and CAST (Creativity in Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) as well as the Book Group.  

SEPTEMBER BOOK NOOK: DO YOU LIKE KIPLING?

Dennis writes about a book that made a profound impact upon him when he was young.  What books hit you that way?  Send your own “Kiplings” to us for sharing in upcoming “Book Nook” features.  

KIPLING: PATRON SAINT OF OUTSIDERS AND MISFITS
Portrait  of Rudyard Kipling by John Collier, ca 1891

By Dennis Greene

An anonymous joke about Kipling goes like this:

He: Do you like Kipling?

She: I don’t know, I have never kippled.

*

Not the greatest joke, but I would have answered differently. I do like Kipling, and I will explain why–but first, you need to know a little about me.

At seven years old, I was uprooted from my comfortable neighborhood in Queens and replanted in a rundown section of New Bedford, Massachusetts. As the smallest, youngest kid in the third grade at Harrington School, and the only Jewish kid in this multi-ethnic, very brown-skinned school, I felt unwelcome and ignored.  When my mom tried to nudge me toward the kids in the nearby Jewish community, I found no welcome there either.  I was the strange kid from the “bad” neighborhood who didn’t know how to fit in.  After a series of painful attempts to become part of this community, I ceased trying.  I turned to books, movies, and TV for company.

This is where Sir Rudyard Kipling comes in. I don’t know who first suggested I read The Jungle Book, but my well-worn 1955 Book-of the Month Club “bonus edition” still occupies a place of honor on my bookshelf.  Mowgli, the little lost Indian boy, is unlike any other creature in the Seonee Hills. At the beginning of the tale, he is a complete outsider, but with the help of Baloo, the wise old bear, and Bagheera, the formidable black panther, he becomes a member of the wolf pack and, over time, becomes accepted and admired by all the jungle inhabitants.  Bagheera, Mowgli’s fierce mentor and protector, had also begun his life as a stranger in the Seonee Hills.

As a fellow outsider, I felt a strong kinship with Mowgli. Soon after reading The Jungle Book. I saw the movie version of Kipling’s Kim, in which an orphan British child in India, who initially is a misfit in his school and an alien among the native population, is able, with the encouragement of a British soldier and spy (played by Errol Flynn) to become “a friend to all the world.”

Based on these two works, I would designate Kipling as the patron saint of “outsiders and misfits.” Rudyard Kipling’s ability to portray the outsider was due to both his extraordinary talent as a writer and his own experience. He was an outsider, first as a British boy born and living in India, and then as an Indian-born young man in a brutal English boarding school.

Inspired by these stories, I went on to discover other literary role models, like Tarzan of the Apes, and John Carter of Mars, both of whom entered their strange worlds naked, different, and alone but eventually earned honored places in their adopted homes.

It took me eight years to shed my outsider status and, like Mowgli, become accepted by  a “pack” aquiring friends among many different and diverse groups.  I have never again felt as lonely and disconnected as I did during those early years in New Bedford, but as film director and producer Tim Burton observed, “If you’ve ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you.”

“BOLLI Matters” feature writer Dennis Greene

Dennis spent five years as an engineer and then forty as a lawyer–and sixty as a pop culture geek and junkie.  He saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 1951 when he was seven and has been hooked on speculative fiction ever since.

SEND YOUR “KIPLINGS” TO  susanlwurster@gmail.com

 

 

 

MEMOIR WRITING: DINNER DATING

The Writers’ Guild prompt was:  “A Memorable Dinner Date,” which I chose to approach in a somewhat different way.

by Sue Wurster

For some, uranium dating marks time.  For others, it’s tree rings.  For us, it was dinner.  Not long after we started dating, Kathy chose to prepare our first home-cooked meal in my ridiculously tiny New York City efficiency apartment.

“So, where are your spices?” she asked me, turning from what constituted the kitchen (a grown-up version of the kid unit) to the den (the desk right behind her).

“Up there on the left above the sink,” I pointed.  Where else would they be?  I thought.  I’ve got all of three cupboards.

“I see salt, pepper, and a jar of Lawry’s,” she returned, “—but no spices.”

From that moment, the cultivation of my Midwestern palate was underway.

Two years later, we took it as tacit endorsement of our relationship when Kathy’s mom Betty added a bowl of sage stuffing to her Thanksgiving fare. (And I thought I’d been subtle about not having developed a taste for her renowned oyster variety.)  Kathy’s grandmother Caroline and the New Orleans family retainer Ella had passed their gourmet secrets to Betty who, in turn, gave them to her daughter.  Ten years later, after Betty died, Kathy placed her mom’s large, red recipe box on a shelf in our pantry and made her famous brisket and kugel for dinner.

Now, Kathy never actually used recipes, her own or anybody else’s.  I, however, follow them religiously, and what I cook ends up coming out just fine.  Kathy, though, could read a recipe, toss it aside, and do her own thing—always resulting in something … extra fine.

After Kathy died, I thought I’d try to carry on some of their best traditions myself—not Betty’s oyster stuffing, of course, but her brisket and kugel, for sure.  I went to that red box in the pantry and discovered that it contained no recipes at all.  On card after card, Betty described her dishes and made notes—hints, reminders, directives.  I could actually hear her voice:  If you forgot to get shallots, add a little garlic.

The one ingredient our spice rack eventually lacked when it came to home-cooked dinners was time.  Not t-h-y-m-e time but, rather, the minutes and hours that gourmet cooking entails.  As teacher parents with papers to grade and picky eaters to feed, we ended up resorting to the quick and easy.  My gastronome’s array of gourmet cooking paraphernalia gathered dust in the pantry.  There never seemed to be enough grown-up time for the espresso machine.  Panini press.  Crepe maker.  Sushi shaping tubes.  Or the bread machine.  All ended up waiting, as were we, for our picky eaters to develop their more sophisticated palates.

It’s been almost seven years now.  About two years ago,  Cara pulled out the fancy steamer for her experimental veggie concoctions.  And a few months later, after a shopping jaunt in Natick that somehow ended up with her buying yeast, of all things, Dani commandeered the bread machine.  Both have dipped into that recipe box to create their own versions of both Grandma Betty and Mommy’s perennial favorites.

From that first dinner in my city shoebox to the last dish of Thanksgiving oyster stuffing, what Kathy gave all of us–every day, in every way–was the very best in true “soul food.”  Complete with spices.

“BOLL Matters” editor Sue Wurster

This blog has been such a highlight for me at BOLLI, and I hope to see more members choose to write and share thoughts, favorite books/movies/tv shows, local recommendations for restaurants and/or other establishments, memories–or take your camera for a walk and send us the results!

 

Send submissions to:  susanlwurster@gmail.com

A VERY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP: THE BPG

A VERY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP:  THE BPG

BOLLI Photographers “In the Wild” (photo by Dennis Greene)

By Lydia Bogar and Joanne Fortunato

Be sure to check out the BPG–BOLLI Photography Group!  Some members may be true camera buffs since getting their first Brownie camera in fifth grade, but many are novices, having just taken-up photography in retirement years.  The eye takes in something beautiful, unusual, colorful (or all three) that makes impact and becomes an integral part of the day.  Inspiration comes from anyone, anywhere, or anything around us–from a complex flower or a simple weed; a day at Fenway or a walk in the backyard after a rain storm.

“This summer, we began a weekly photo challenge, giving the group a new topic to photograph each week,” says BPG organizer Joanne Fortunato.   Topics included an animal, a reflection, something red, happiness, or other subjects suggested by members of the group.  Joanne says that the purpose of the challenge was to encourage members to exercise their own creativity and to photograph something new and different every week.

The BPG has also taken field trips to points within an ever-expanding circle of our local communities:  Tower Hill Botanical Gardens, Mount Auburn Cemetery, and Copley Square.  One of the group’s next trips will be to ‘Fog x FLO’ along the Emerald Necklace!

Recently, the BPG met to discuss final preparations for their new exhibit, which will be available for viewing in the classrooms as the fall semester starts.  The entire BOLLI community will be able to savor the group’s latest works.   Perhaps viewers may even be inspired to join the group and discover their own creative eyes.

Watch the BOLLI Bulletin for announcements of BPG meetings, challenges, and trips.  You don’t need a fancy camera–just a desire to see your world through a different lens.

“BOLLI Matters” co-editor, feature writer, and photography enthusiast Lydia Bogar
BPG Organizer Joanne Fortunato

 

SEPTEMBER TECH TALK: Saving Money on Gas

SAVING MONEY ON GAS

by John Rudy

Gas is expensive, and it is easy to locate at least two stations near your house where the price difference is as much as $0.25 per gallon.  Of course, the least expensive one may not be so a month later.  What to do?  Examine www.gasbuddy.com

A 20 cent/gal difference (for regular) is about $3 for a fill-up which might result in $100 over the year.  And this is just as useful on a trip where you might think about pulling off (and away from) the highway.  The map below is for places near my house.  See the huge variation.

BOLLI Matters “Tech Talk” feature writer John Rudy

A long-time technology expert and guide, John provides his helpful hints in this monthly BOLLI Matters feature.  In the comment box below, provide John with questions,  comments, or suggestions future tech items to cover.  

FROM THE SCI-FI SHELF WITH DENNIS GREENE: A NEW “DUNE”

An  Ambitious  Screen  Adaption  of   Frank Herbert’s Epic Novel Dune is in the Works

By Dennis Greene 

Dominick Mayer, of COS, a Chicago based pop culture blog, recently announced that Denis Villeneuve, fresh off his recent successes in Bladé Runner 2049 and Arrival has announced that he has agreed with Legendary Pictures Production to direct a new adaption of Frank Herbert’s epic novel.   Eric Roth, who wrote the screenplay for Forest Gump and four other best picture Oscar nominees, has already written a first draft of a Dune screenplay. This is great news for Dune fans. There is no completion date set, but it is not expected earlier than 2019 at best.

It has been fifty years since the publication of this sweeping and complex novel, and a number of imaginative filmmakers have tried to bring it to the screen, but the task has proven difficult. The highly regarded filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky invested extraordinary time and effort in 1973 in his aborted adaption, and David Lynch’s 1984 rendition is considered by many to have fallen short of the mark. Several TV series based on the novel have been only moderately successful.

Frank Herbert has said that he was greatly influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “A Princess of Mars” and by the life of T.E. Laurence  (i.e. Lawrence of Arabia) when writing Dune, and  George Lucas, in turn, admits that Dune greatly influenced his Star Wars.  When reading the description of the Arrakas’ landscape, Lucas’ Tatoine jumps instantly to mind. Villeneuve has noted that a number of Star Wars’ original plot elements and world building details–like the massive desert planet, the seemingly futile rebellion against an omnipotent empire, a young man destined to overthrow the Emperor, and the similar roles of the Jedi and the Bene Gesserit–all show at least surface similarities with Star Wars.  Though it is hard to imagine challenging Star Wars’ success, Villeneuve has taken a swipe at the mega franchise by stating that he intends his upcoming adaption of Dune to be “Star Wars for adults.”

I am rooting for Mr. Villeneuve to be hugely successful. The novel itself has won science fiction’s highest awards–the Hugo and the Nebula–and, as recently as 2012, it was named the top science-fiction novel of all time in a Wired readers’ poll. It has sold millions of copies and spawned eighteen sequels and prequals, but Dune has not penetrated the popular culture in the way that The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars have. Jon Michaud, in a New Yorker article, noted that there are no Dune conventions, and catchphrases from the book have not entered the language.

At the other extreme, Dune is not given its due as literature, a wonderful tale well told. The epic scope of the military and political conflicts in Dune make the mere skirmishes in  War and Peace seem trivial. The relationship between Duke Leto and Jessica, and between Paul and Chani make the coupling of Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky seem shallow, selfish and unimportant. Vladimer Harkonen in Dune would be capable of holding his own in the sordid corridors of power in Westros, and the assortment of unique, well defined characters existing on Arrakas would rival those populating Dickensian London. Yet, every high school English class at least mentions Tolstoy and Dickens, and Game of Thrones dominates our pop culture while Dune languishes in obscurity.  Perhaps Mr. Villeneuve’s efforts will change this.

If you haven’t read Dune, you have plenty of time to do so before the movie or movies are released. If you have read Dune, now may be a good time to read it again.  It will still hold your attention.  And if you would like to share the Dune experience with others, you might consider reading and discussing the novel with others this fall in a study group at BOLLI.

BOLLI Matters feature writer Dennis Greene

Dennis spent five years as an engineer and then forty as a lawyer–and sixty as a pop culture geek and junkie.  He saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 1951 when he was seven and has been hooked on speculative fiction ever since.  

AUGUST BOLLI AFTER DARK WITH DONNA JOHNS

BADBROKE!

by Donna Johns

Oh, dear. I have been having too much fun this summer, and my checking account is complaining.  When will I learn that buying a ticket is only the beginning of the cash outlay? Getting into the city, parking, a meal, a souvenir tee shirt all eat up an entertainment budget. No regrets. Richard III was well done, except for an actress prone to overacting. The Book Of Mormon was delightfully silly good fun.  Moulin Rouge was a delicious confection.

So, my checking account is on life support. Do I need to stay home with the two chihuahuas and do Netflix binges until the next paycheck? Of course not. My thirst for live entertainment in lean times led me to find some great options. They are close to home with free or almost free parking and no souvenir tee shirts to tempt me. And they have reasonably priced restaurants nearby for that meal which is part of the fun.

Let’s start with a recent discovery: the Regent Theater in Arlington, right off Massachusetts Avenue. Built as a vaudeville house in 1916, it is true to its roots, featuring an eclectic mix of live music, stand up comics,  film specials and more. I recently attended a Yellow Submarine sing along. I sank into my comfortable seat with a bucket of popcorn from the concession stand. The show opened with some live music and a free raffle. Then the film was projected crisply on a movie screen. And before you ask, yes, I did sing along (softly), and, no, I did not know all the words.

Tickets for Regent shows vary but are usually in the $22-$45 range. They also partner with ArtsBoston and  Goldstar where you can often snag half-price tickets. Check out upcoming shows at the Regent; maybe I’ll see you there!

A second inexpensive option is tucked into a side street next to the Waltham Public Library.  Hovey Players is a community theater with a difference. They eschew the standard fare of community theater and seek out rarely performed and thoughtful pieces. The themes of this season are POETIC, BOLD, RAW, RESIST. First up is Constellations by Nick Payne, a love story played out over space and time. Senior tickets are $17 per show. Passes for the entire season are $70.  Even better, they offer a couples season pass for $116. The theater is tiny, so book early. They usually sell out all performances.

A depleted bank account doesn’t mean you can’t get out and see wonderful live performances. Do you have favorites to share? I have Hamilton tickets in October. After parking, meal, and obligatory tee shirt, I will doubtless be broke again.  And so it goes in Bolli After Dark.

“BOLLI After Dark” feature writer Donna Johns

Donna Johns is a teacher/librarian, writer of unpublished romance novels, sometime director of community theater, and new BOLLI member.

 

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? JACKETS

JACKETS

by Steve Goldfinger

Kafka might have put it this way:  One day, in his thirteenth year, Stephen Goldfinger looked into the mirror and saw he was a scorpion.

I was a Scorpion all right, with an upper case “S,” a member of our Brooklyn softball team. The incredible jacket reflected in my mirror was made of dark purple felt, and the word SCORPION was emblazoned in white on the back.  It had a six-inch image of a white scorpion with Steve written below it on the front.  And when it was turned inside out–mirabile dictu! Behold the purple lettering and SCORPION image now on white satin!

I never did know where the name came from.  The only other scorpions in Brooklyn were in the insectarium at the zoo.  My remembrance is that Brooklyn’s indigenous wild life consisted primarily of sparrows, squirrels, cockroaches, and ants.  It wasn’t until later that I learned that the image on the jacket wasn’t really a scorpion at all.  The guy we bought them from couldn’t find a suitable picture of a scorpion and went with a cut-out of a crab instead.

We had after-school matches with such teams as the Navajos, the Stallions, the Dukes, the Knights, and a few others.  Most were played on the cement softball field of the Avenue X park.  Routinely assigned to right field and ninth in the batting order, I was not a very good player.

But I loved my Scorpion jacket.  I wore it in all kinds of weather and to all occasions.  Told it would not look that great against the backdrop of Princeton’s ivy-covered towers, I finally left it at home when I went to college.  Mostly  because it was looking fairly smudged and seedy.

I couldn’t find it when I returned home that winter.  My mother had given it to our weekly house cleaner.  His name was Marion though she sometimes referred to him, not without affection, as the schvartza.

Now hanging in my closet is a jacket of a different sort–a Princeton reunion jacket.  Each class has its own distinctive one to put on while carrying on at reunion time.  Designed by a class member and purchased the year  after graduation, there only commonality is their garish displays of orange and black, often out-screaming circus frippery.  I remember being told, in 1956, that my $45 purchase would be different–a sedate evening jacket, silk-lined and suitable for fine dining, theater, ocean cruises, and the like.

When it arrived, I was aghast.  Before me was a beautifully cut dinner jacket, its soft white exterior studded with vertical lines of tiny running orange tigers alternating with lines of ’56es.

It still hangs in my closet. Someday, my kids will have to get rid of it. Just how, I don’t know. They may burn it or bury it or frame it. But give it away?  Who would ever wear it?

Frequent BOLLI Matters writer Steve Goldfinger

Since joining BOLLI two years ago, after a long career in medicine, Steve has been exploring his artistic side.  He has been active in both the Writers Guild and CAST (Creativity in Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) as well as the Book Group.  

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