Archive for the ‘bus’ Tag

On My Way to Buy Underwear   2 comments

On my way to buy underwear is the answer.

Where were you on November 22, 1963 when you heard John F Kennedy had been shot?  is the question.

I was obeying my mother’s command. Other mothers admonished their children to always wear clean underwear lest they be hit by a car and taken to the hospital and be found to have on dirty undies. For my mother, it was preparation for any trip I took. “Go buy new underwear.”

Th trip I was about to undertake was not an exciting one. Part of the senior year experience at my Catholic Girl’s high school was a three-day retreat at a monastery in New Jersey during the short school week preceding Thanksgiving. We had been dismissed after lunch the preceding Friday because ????????????I have no idea why since we wouldn’t be departing  until Sunday. Maybe it was so we could all go buy new underwear!

At any rate, there I was walking west on East 75th street toward 5th avenue to take a downtown bus to EJ Korvette’s on 47th  and Fifth. It was a cold blustery day, much like today, and as I rushed head-on into the wind blowing east from Central Park, a doorman stepped out of the polished wood shelter of an apartment house lobby and called out

“The president was just shot.”

I don’t recall what I said. Probably “oh no.” The next half hour or so is a blank. I probably headed on in disbelief and waited for the bus.

My next recollection is visual – looking out the window as the bus headed south and noticing the clusters of people planted outside stores windows on Fifth Avenue, watching news accounts on televisions that had been placed in the windows.

The next memory  is aural –  the eerie sound of all the church bells on Fifth Avenue – St Patrick’s  Cathedral, Thomas Episcopal Church, and  others – all chiming  in discordant  symphony. No words were needed. Everyone knew what they meant. Our young president was  gone.

Footnote:

I had not intended to write about this but a serendipitous occurrence urged me on. A classmate of mine with whom I’ve reconnected via Facebook posted a question for me on her timeline. She seemed to recall that we’d been dismissed early but didn’t know why. In replying to her, my mind took another weird hop, skip and jump and I realized the spot where the doorman stepped out to tell me of Kennedy’s shooting was half a block away from where three years earlier, JFK, then a presidential candidate, had waved to me, a 13-year-old schoolgirl standing on the median of Park Avenue; he, on his way to his first  debate with Nixon, and I, waiting for all the motorcycles and limousines to pass so I could catch up with my friends on the other side of the street. If you missed that post, here it is.

And now, fifty years later I’m flying  to San Diego in the morning to spend Thanksgiving with an old friend. And I’m taking  a very bold step. I’m packing old underwear!

See you when I get back!

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A Familiar Sight   2 comments

Alas I  have no pictures this week. That’s because the topic at hand may, or may not be all in my head.  If you recall a few weeks ago I lamented about not having my camera with me when I saw an honest-to-goodness, gen-yoo-ine Pink Cadillac like Bruce Springsteen sang about. If you missed that post take a look.

Well, this is getting spooky. Last Friday I was setting out on my daily lunchtime walk around the office park where I work, and while I was still in the lobby  what should glide past the glass double doors but –  the elusive Pink Cadillac. I ran out but it had disappeared around the corner.

Yeah yeah, I can hear you. “Virginia, it’s all in your head.” Spare me, I grew up hearing that. Let’s not go there

On second thought – let’s do go there – to my high school years. I used to leave for high school early. Living in New York City, specifically Manhattan, meant you were on your own getting to school. Sure you got a reduced fare bus pass but there were  no school buses except for the disabled. What this meant for me since I lived on West 150 street and my high school was on East 75 street, was that I had to take two buses, a downtown one and then a crosstown one. And since the home room bell rang at 8:25, I had to catch the 7:30 downtown bus.

So there Iwas at 7:20, walking sleepily down 150 Street toward the bus stop on the corner when a pack of stray dogs came trotting out of a courtyard I was passing.
“Don’t run, don’t run,” I reminded myself but still I picked up my pace, and they went their way, and I, mine. And oh yes, they were led by a majestic looking German Shepherd type with a snowy white coat.

I began to encounter them at least once a week and although I took more notice of them than they did of me, they were beginning to spook me – especially the ghostly white leader of the pack but when I’d bring up the incident at dinner, since none of my family had ever encountered this canine phenomena, I’d get the standard response, “Virginia, you’re imagining things – it’s all in your head.”

They may have thought it was funny, but I didn’t. Well, to paraphrase Richard Nixon, they wouldn’t have  Virginia to kick around much longer. I’d soon be heading off to college. And what do you think happened when I did? They moved! Fortunately they told me where – to the Northeast Bronx. And they acquired my replacement – Duke, a sweet pupp-a-roo. Yes, Duke was sweet through and through, but he had a Napoleon complex toward any dog bigger than him. Being a medium size dog himself, this meant he was a war with a sizable portion of the canine population.

One morning while home for some break or other, I was walking Duke when what should come walking down the street towards us but  a pack of dogs –  led by – yep, a white German Shepherd!  I managed to shake off the paralysis of shock in time to realize, not only was EL  Blanco bigger than The Duke, so were all his cohorts. Duke noticed too

Having no choice,  I dragged him into a typical NY neighborhood  candy/newspaper store  with a soda fountain. If I’d ever had a notion we could just slip in un-noticed and stand just  inside the  door until El Blanco and his gang were gone , it was dispelled by Duke’s lemme at em barking and  growling .attitude

“You can’t bring a dog in here, “yelled the proprietor.

“Oh yes, I can” I stood my ground until the cost was clear.

Guess what the family’s reaction was when I burst in and telling them of my ordeal? Yep, all in my head.”

Did I really think the beautiful beast had followed me all the way up to the Bronx?

Well Let me just say that I’ve always had an interest in Shamanism. Shamans, natural healers, have spirit helpers called familiars who display the appearance of an animal found in nature – a fox, eagle, wolf, rabbit, etc.

So if you happen to see a white dog driving a pink Cadillac – don’t worry. He’s with me!

Posted September 16, 2013 by virginiafair in Uncategorized

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