Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All Along the Lakefront

For the past month or so, I've started taking long, leisurely walks through my neighborhood and down along the Intracoastal Waterway. It's quite beautiful, especially at night, my time of choice. The outlines of the vast wealth of Palm Beach lay across the water. Their lights cast a muted glow as I stare back, never part of that scene. Behind me lays a row of far less expensive but still stylish, elegant abodes I've also never quite been privvy to, never affluent enough to live in them.

All through my childhood and beyond, I rode down Flagler, dreaming of waking up in one of these homes. I imagined walking out the front door, kissed by the sunrise. Such a gorgeous neighborhood, filled with homes of distinction. The waterway just to the East, and multitudes of joggers, dog-walkers and cyclists winding their way. It's still the same now. Some houses have been torn don, but for the most part it is intact, and as I walk along I feel like that teenager, still longing. I live close by in a delightful apartment, but I still find myself outside of the world to which I longed/long. It always seemed to represent something I could never attain, me, of such humble upbringing.

These walks also allow me to communicate. Being an only child, and someone who spends significant amounts of time alone, I find myself lost in thought, sometimes audibly. As I walk the lovely Drive, I speak out loud to former friends and family-some who've passed on, some who've faded away. I ask them what they're doing, how life has treated them. I tell them what has transpired in my own life. I like to believe that as I'm speaking (yes, aloud, but who cares, I could be on my hands-free cell phone!), my recipient can hear me. Perhaps, a thought of me passes through their heads at that moment. I've spoken to former girlfriends, and I tell them about my fiancee. Last night I even spoke to my childhood cat, who was my best friend. Mickey was with me from the time I was 7-20. He died in 1989. One of the worst days of my life. I cried again last night as I spoke to him. I like to believe he is in Heaven, curled up and waiting for me just like all those days gone by that he waited for me to come home from school.

These walks are therapeutic for me. I also survey my current life. I am blessed beyond measure. The past is filled with all manner of good and bad. The walks let me take stock, and anticipate all the wonder of the future......

Sunday, April 6, 2008

BREAKFAST CLUB Thoughts

The other night I tuned in just in time to see the closing credits of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, that Gen-X classic still much beloved by at least a few different age groups. I was bummed. Judd Nelson's fist was frozen in his moment of victory. What led him to this point, the non-watcher may ask.

BC was a bit out of the box for its time. The premise of having five high schoolers talk about themselves on basically one set (library) might've been a tough sell to studio execs. But writer-director John Hughes, the bard of the 80s teen dramedy, somehow knew his tale would click with teens. He was right. It was a minor phenom in its day. Since then, it reamins an oft quoted piece of pop culture.

When I first saw it, I was smack in the middle of high school. It seemed that these "types": prom queen, jock, nerd, hoodlum, and recluse, represented people around me. It seemed fresh, but even then I knew it wasn't anything "new." The issues discussed in the film were as old as mankind. I gave this film a four-star rating.

Over the years, I've caught bits and pieces, realizing that the film is, well, not a 4-star affair. There are some crawlingly bad moments-the lip synch and marijuana sequences especially. The nadir comes when Emilio Estevez, totally luded out (yet with a burst of energy) screams and shatters a glass door. OK. Most of the music is VERY dated. But, that's part of the charm. The film is of its time yet timeless. The film is a relic, one which evokes a variety of memories of my own hs experiences, good and bad. The ultimate: setting up a screening of BC in my old high school gymnasium. Man, would that be a wallow! Unfortunately, that gym no longer exists. The wrecking back claimed it in '03 to make way for a more modern athletic facility. It's OK, I can watch BC on a plasma and take that trip anytime.....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Paternalism

This week I received a letter from an attorney in Brooklyn who is the counsel for a second cousin of mine (Mrs. H) on my father's side. It seems that my father was named in the will of another cousin, but the attorney cannot locate my father. No surprise. He's been out of sight for about 17 years now. Gone. Lost to the shadows.

Mrs. H sent letters to various addresses of my father she ferreted out, but the letters returned undeliverable. After I received the attorney's missive, I looked her up and called. I can't even remember the last time I spoke with her. She told the sad story of the deceased cousin, who died mysteriously as his apartment burned down in 1999. Out of the wreckage, the envelope of a Christmas card was found, with Mrs. H's address. As the cousin had become a recluse, with no apparent immediate familial ties, it fell on Mrs. H to be the executrix of his estate. After failing to find my father for his share, she turned the heirdom over to me. So now I will receive a significant amount of money. I really need this money, and the timing of it is quite optimal. But is it at the price of my father? This is hard to reconcile. Have I lost him forever? Will I never hear his imperfect English ever again? I've kept my feelings on dear old dad in check for many years. Even with these developments, I feel hard hearted.

Who was my father? I remember him well, but as time progresses he becomes a bigger engima. Sorting out my feelings over this will be a chore. Stay tuned.