Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"F" for Flashbacks

Christmas 1946 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Me pre-natal, standing second from left, and pre-suburbia!

The White-Haired
Harbinger of Gratitude

Tim Hare
Copyright HARE 2009
All Rights Reserved

"Shining the Rainbow Light of Gratitude
from the historic West Ward neighborhood
of Easton, Pennsylvania"

"F" for Flashbacks

“If I can’t have fun living, loving, and thriving
in the West Ward, I’m doing it wrong!”

Living in the West Ward, I'm grateful I experience major flashbacks at every turn, regardless of the fact that I was in college in the 1960s! Hopefully I didn't unknowingly ingest any untoward substances, possibly through, what did they call it, a "contact-high"?

Here I am magically returned to 1952. I am transported back to the little village where I was an extremely happy (who knew?) small child just beginning my life in a similar place, but in a vastly different world. That lost world doesn't seem to exist in many places anymore. In 1953, without warning, I was sent packing to a car-dependent new suburb.

From our home, I walk to the Easton's Centre Square and along the beautiful rivers in the morning, listening to the roar of the dam wash yesterday away. I hurry to a big coach to Manhattan for daytrips. I watch Heritage Day fireworks from my balcony.

I amble to nearby homes of friends, corner stores, banks, dentists, restaurants, cafes, movies, car-inspection stations, the State Theatre, pubs, lawyers, parties, art openings, book launchings, Lafayette College, the public library, and museums. I even squirm to jury duty across the street!

As if in a flashback dream of my earliest childhood, I glide past barbers, five-and-dime-ish stores (OK, a dollar now), dance studios, art galleries, medical facilities, hotels, apartment buildings, homes, tourist attractions, fire stations, all bustling with vitality.

Some summer evenings, when the ice cream truck drives by our garden, playing it's endless loop of chimes (without a chorus, which annoys my husband Earl no end) I could swear it's 1952 - before the current age when sprawling suburban moonscapes have hijacked most of America's former meadows and farmlands.

When my older brother visited from Tennessee, he exclaimed, "Now I see why you like this place so much - it's exactly like where we were little before moving to the suburbs!" He was so right, like older brothers often are.


Mrs.TMiller said...

Very cool, Tim.

Timothy George Hare said...

Hello all:

Sorry for the long single-page. The Blog Dashboard doesn't work with my Mac system to add page breaks. I'll limit future blogs to two paragraphs.

Timothy George Hare said...

Hi Theresa:

Thanks, glad u like!

FYI, my future blogs will just be two paragraphs since my Mac system doesn't work with this Blog Dashboard to add a page break.

noel jones said...

Great to see you out walking on election day, Tim--you must have looped the entire neighborhood! While handing out campaign cards outside the polls at St. Anthony's I saw a group of women that worked at the courthouse walking by at a brisk pace, and Allison Fleck told me that they walk the neighborhood every day on their lunch break.

Last night, at another polling station, I bumped into Jim Bloom and Lynn Frazer who are also big walkers here, and I think I may have convinced them to start their walking group again...

After all, it's the best free exercise for these recession times--a lot cheaper than a gym membership! I know one WW resident who has lost 86 pounds from walking alone : - o

It also puts a very positive resident presence on the street, which is great for discouraging suspicious activity--it's positive all the way around--and who can resist walking in such beautiful fall weather?

I love the photo!

Timothy George Hare said...

I hope Lynn and Jo at Quadrant starts that group! I started a group called "Sidewalkers" in the early 1990s, where we walked all over downtown. Was fun! Got the idea from Barbara Flanagan, an architectural writer living in downtown Bethlehem. Saw an article in the NY Times about her group and landmailed her! (remember landmail?). Asked her how it worked, and could we 'borrow' the name. The Easton group was very large until winter set in. First walk had over sixty!

DRL said...


Its a small world my friend.

A former employer of mine; Roy Rover (of N Third Street's former Roy Rover's Antiques fame) wanted to introduce me to Barbaba Flanagan. He met her on the bus to NYC. Because of our mutual design background he thought we'd have common interests to discuss. The meeting never happened.

In February I took a part-time job at the Unitarian Church in Bethlehem. Who is renting an office upstairs and living in a great little city Cape Cod right across the street? Barbara Flanigan. Small world.

Today I was raking leaves around the property and she was laying out a graphic design project on the driveway for one of her interns. It was made from arranging a series of vintage cereal boxes - all produced in the same year - in colorful patterns on the ground. She asked me to tell her what year they were from. I perused them for minute and answered 1986. Her eyes bugged out of her head and she said "How did you know that?"

I guess I know my cereal boxes.

I think she's moving to the west coast soon.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Noel! Yes, I hoofed it up to the West Ward tonight in that storm, from the NYC bus. Five minutes earlier I would have missed getting drenched! Refreshing!

Dennis: That IS a small world! Does this mean we're all moving to the west coast soon? Most people our age that we know around here have already retired to Palm Springs, CA! Earl and I prefer cold weather, so we're not going anywhere! Like the song (yet to be written) says: "When you leave the West Ward, you're going nowhere!"