Where at Least Someone Knows My Name

I grew up in a smallish town where one often ran into people they knew when they were out and about. My parents went to specific bars where they were known by name — the Moose, the Dutch Inn, the sports bar whose name I have forgotten.

Moving from Elgin to Pittsburgh, I became an unknown. There was nowhere except my places of employment where I was known. Moving to Alexandria, the same — there was not one place other than work where anyone knew my name.

I wanted a “Cheers Bar” place where I was known. I wanted to be a regular somewhere. I was tired of being a stranger in places I frequented.

About fifteen years ago I finally got my wish. The owner of a restaurant we liked greeted me by name after visiting only a couple of times. Just because of that we’ve continued to go there — for dinner, for lunch, for bottles of wine or six-packs of beer.

A month or so ago I was surprised when the local fishmonger didn’t have to ask my name when I stopped by to pick up my fish order. I laughed and said I felt like I was walking into the Cheers Bar. He may be to young to understand, but hey… he knew my name.

Finally, just yesterday when I was shopping at a local boutique for a mother of the groom dress* for Andrew’s wedding, one of the sales people remembered my first name after hearing my last name. So that kind of counts, right?

I think I am sort of close to being known in another store, but I need to go more often.

*The dress I bought

Quatro Amigas

I remember when I desperately wanted a TV in the bedroom. People on TV shows had them, some people I knew had televisions in their bedrooms, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with Andrew and on bed rest that we put a TV in the bedroom. It was a tiny TV — maybe 13 inches, maybe a little bigger. It sat on a dresser on the wall opposite the bed. I probably had to squint to see anything — but at least it kept me entertained while incubating the baby to full term.

After that, we didn’t have a TV in the bedroom again for a few more years. I don’t even remember the first one, but it was probably moved to the bedroom after upgrading to a larger set in the family room. Since then we’ve always had one at the end of the bed. In recent years we’ve rarely used the bedroom TV. We always watched TV in the family room and had our phones or tablets for bedtime entertainment. I’ve made noises about getting rid of the bedroom TV, but Dean is not ready. We don’t get cable upstairs anymore — but we do have dongles that bring us whatever we want to watch except broadcast TV on the bedroom TV.

Today as I was tidying my attic study I came across a woven piece of art that our friends Sandy and Arieh gave us once after returning from a visit to Arieh’s home in Santiago, Chile. We kept meaning to hang it up, but never got around to it. We draped it over the back of a futon for a while, but various cat claws pulled out some fibers and thread. I’ve moved this piece of art from one storage area to another for the past decade or two and while I like it, I was tired of moving it.

Back to the TV — having a huge black void staring at you when you fall asleep and wake up can be depressing, especially since we barely use it. As I walked past it carrying the textile art I had an idea. Not an original idea since our friend Tal did this 35 years ago when he first got a Mackintosh computer. He didn’t like the black screen, so covered it with a colorful batik cloth when he was not using it. I hung the textile artwork over the TV — it fit perfectly. There are even little hooks behind the TV on the top to keep it in place.

I keep smiling when I look at the TV now — something I have not done for as long as I can remember. And now I can really see the artwork, it’s really nice!

The Case of the Mysterious Musician

Here’s a mystery. Not a huge important one, but something that has me wondering. The photo below was among my mom’s things. At this point I have no idea where it actually came from — Grandma Green, maybe.

Mysterious Musician

Someone in my mom’s family seemed to adore Ray as indicated by the hearts over his shoulders. Ray played both the saxophone and is that a clarinet at his feet?

At first I thought Ray was a famous musician and this was a promotional photo, but the more I look at the photo I think it was just something someone snapped at home. The doily in the bottom corner of the room, just behind his chair, seems less than professional. In addition the lamps, especially the one on the left, just showing on the screen, seem odd for a promo shot. Also, the original photo is tiny — the size of annual high school photos you handed out to friends.

I cannot really tell when this was taken. Certainly before the 1960s I think. I think a clue is the foldable metal music stand. Professor Google is not very helpful when I ask about the history of music stands.

My next task for this mystery is to check my mom’s yearbook for orchestra members who played the sax and clarinet.

Stay tuned!