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August 29, 2014
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River Muse

So vote, already

Even though I think this presidential election is clearly between two opposing points of world-view, I find it hard to get caught up in the drama of it, as I have in the past. Maybe it’s my age. My generation has seen its share of pivotal elections—Stevenson v. Ike, Nixon v. Kennedy, Bush, Sr. v. Clinton, Gore v. Bush, Jr. Each time the zealots on both sides have predicted doom should the other side win. And if it were true, we are living in it. Maybe we are.  Read more

A secular ceremony

When you’re short on religion, as is my family, you have to make your own ceremonies for important occasions. It helps if you have good planning skills. We don’t. In spite of all our shortcomings and recent obstacles, like my aunt’s stroke, we wanted to have a family memorial for my uncle at the place he loved best, on Fire Island. His cremains had been languishing since May on a marble mantelpiece in the townhouse he shared with his wife for the last 40 years of his life.  Read more

Eric & Andy

Did they really camp it up?” a friend asked when I returned from a nephew’s wedding. “Well, no” I said. “They’re the straightest gay couple I know.” Not that it wasn’t a fun wedding—it was. The reception was held in an artist cooperative near Rochester, where the artists also serve as staff for events that foot the bill for studio space. Their artwork is everywhere. There is a whole room dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, but she was not the mascot for Eric and Andy’s wedding.  Read more

Eric & Andy

Did they really camp it up?” a friend asked when I returned from a nephew’s wedding. “Well, no” I said. “They’re the straightest gay couple I know.” Not that it wasn’t a fun wedding—it was. The reception was held in an artist cooperative near Rochester, where the artists also serve as staff for events that foot the bill for studio space. Their artwork is everywhere. There is a whole room dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, but she was not the mascot for Eric and Andy’s wedding.  Read more

Downsizing for the future

“I don’t want to end up like my father,” my Narrowsburg neighbor tells me. His 98-year-old father lives alone in his own home, reliant on family to bring him meals and keep him company. His life savings went to pay for nursing home care for his ailing wife and he retired from yard work last year at age 97.  Read more

One man’s legacy

At first my uncle Hal was just the one my aunt was marrying—essential, almost peripheral, enigmatic. No one could match her in beauty, so he matched her in intellect. An intellect of physics, an appreciation of ballet and opera to match her yen for Yeats and Jung. But I didn’t know any of that at five years of age, when they married. To me, he was the husband. I didn’t know why she needed him, but I got that it was important. He was awkward and mostly silent, not glib like the rest of our family. He wore thick glasses and his hair in a brush cut. I almost didn’t see him in the glare of the rest of our family—raucous and laughing, well-oiled. But by the time my step-father had disappeared, he was still there and now a father himself. His whole being seemed to swell with the creation of his family.  Read more

Artist seeks work

As I am writing this, my daughter is having a nervous breakdown about finding a job after college. I am trying to ignore the caterwauling emanating from her room. I am on deadline, after all. This, of all the work I do in the world, is the one I am paid for dependably. Still, I can’t help feeling her pain and wanting it to stop.  Read more

At the mercy of others

Sixty is the new 50, they say. We boomers are growing old gracefully. Those of us lucky enough to have escaped the plagues of AIDS, drugs and rock ‘n roll are rocking our post-middle-age. Having spent the three months leading up to my 60th birthday visiting my aunt in a rehabilitation center, I am ready to consider a gym membership, make that colonoscopy appointment and meet with a financial advisor toute de suite. The reality of what can happen to a body in a split second has hit me like a blocked artery.  Read more

Beautiful work

“Beautiful work,” says the beautiful woman who shakes my hand with two-handed sincerity at the end of a recent audition. I carry her praise home with me down Eighth Avenue through throngs of middle-aged men in hockey jerseys on their way to the Garden, into the subway where the temperature is always two days behind the street weather, and finally up two flights of stairs into my apartment before realizing her praise was a consolation prize. I would not be getting the part but I did “beautiful work.”  Read more

A house on B Street

With my aunt in recovery from a recent stroke, and her husband in the hospital, her children were faced with the prospect of completing the impending sale of their summer home on Fire Island.  Read more

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