My dad must have either sent this to Mom or to his folks when he was in the Navy. It is information about areas in Italy for the U.S.S Roanoke crew for when they landed in Augusta, Italy on January 25, 1950. Interesting that only in Augusta are “identified houses of prostitution” out of bounds.
We spent Memorial Day weekend in Oberlin for Andrew’s Graduation (more on that later) and much of the time was down-time as we waited for Andrew to do this or that. Sometimes we simply rested on the grass, other times we drove around the area. On one of our drives we drove through a new neighborhood in Oberlin, not far from Andrew’s house. In one corner of the neighborhood was a strange brick structure in the middle of a neatly mowed lot with sidewalks leading to it and floodlights pointed towards it. Dean and I discussed what it could be for (it had signs inside it that said “PRIVATE”). On the way back to the car, however, I found something more interesting. I found the place where the sidewalk ends. Right there in Oberlin*.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends,
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
— Shel Silverstein — 1974
* It is fitting to have found this during Andrew’s college graduation weekend. Interpretations of the poem suggest that the place where the sidewalk ends is where childhood ends and adulthood begins.
Andrew graduates on Memorial Day. His final rugby game was supposed to take place yesterday, Saturday, May 2 so we planned a trip to Oberlin to watch his last game. We knew we would not be able to spend much time with him since he was also going to a banquet for the end of the Rugby season, but these days, even an hour or two is enough for us. Shortly before we were planning on leaving for Oberlin Andrew called and told Dean the game had been cancelled. Denison (the opposing team) decided that with finals coming up next week they should study and not play rugby. Dean was bummed but since we’d already paid for our hotel room we decided to go instead and only stay one night.
We arrived at Oberlin around 6 and met Andrew at Weia Teia for dinner. He brought a friend with him and they both told us about how it was lucky we were in town that weekend because the Big Parade was the next morning and the Folkfest started that evening. Among the names of folks singers for the weekend was Tom Paxton – an artist I’d never seen, but had heard of. Another name Andrew mentioned was Kimya Dawson — a name I didn’t recognize, but when I later looked her up, would have loved to have seen her live. Her highly recognizable singing voice made me smile though the movie Juno (as well as a couple of Comcast ads).
Andrew took us to see an art exhibit called Erosion. My favorite part of the show was a series of journal entries the artist’s mother wrote and the artist’s corresponding leaves or flowers captured in glass.
After the art show we went to a dance titled The Only Way (scroll down to the second entry) about the struggle for women’s rights.The dancing was amazing and the message important.
Andrew had to leave us to work on his float for the parade so Dean and I went back to our hotel.
The next morning we arrived in Oberlin shortly after 10. I spent 45 minutes shopping at my current favorite store, Bead Paradise, where I bought three shirts, a pair of sunglasses, a chain for my new sunglasses and a beautiful Hobo wallet.
The parade was a lot of fun. See this YouTube video for some highlilghts. I took photos of all the floats and groups, but wondered where Andrew’s was, only to be told by Dean that he’d already gone by. I concentrated on a friend of Andrew’s (and son of family friends) that I missed my own son walking right in front of me. The fact that he was wearing a long red dress and straw hat had nothing to do with my not recognizing him. (He’s the tall one in the image below.)
After the parade we walked around Tappan Square and finally met up with Andrew and a few of his friends. We got in line with them for a free meal. As we approached the tent where the food was being served we saw a number of men and boys with shaved heads except for a small ponytail. Yes, we were in the Hare Krishna food line. I am not sure any salt was used.
After lunch we listened to some folk singers and lazed in the sun. We met several of Andrew’s friends — all of whom were very friendly.
I love Oberlin and the feeling of community (and Bead Paradise) and am going to probably go through a period of mourning after Andrew graduates.
Where else can you sit in a kabob restaurant and watch an Alaskan husky wearing a batman costume people watch?