Hawthorne Street


“Yes, I’m right on this one because I remember watching that movie, “The Quiet Man” on the old Philco console television,” I told Suzy.  The set was like the one at top of this ad with phonograph.

The times have changed...
The times have changed…though the prices , for size of screen, are pretty similar.  Minimum wage in 1949 was .40 an hour though. 

She couldn’t understand why – if that movie came out in Technicolor did I see in only black and white? ” The Quiet Man I believe, came out in 1952.  We had the black and white set until about 1964 and Suzy was amazed, forgetting our age, but said that I was probably right.

The cabinetry on that set was beautiful; there were two doors stained a honey color, with carved Roman arches, one arch on each door.

Mom’s polishing gave the  wood a caramel-looking depth that wasn’t there previously. And, there was a planter sitting on top of the television.  This piece was of a donkey-pulled cart and inside the planter was a long and winding Philodendron. Those items were made in the days when people still took pride in what was brought to the public. Furniture maker’s were craftsmen and the world was a more civilized place.

This planter was part of our home
This planter was part of our home

All countries emulated and desired to be like us.  The world wanted American ingenuity and American made products.  It was a great time to be an American.  “The Greatest Generation,” made us and the world exceptionally proud for ending the tyranny of Adolf Hitler in Europe and his Pacific ally, Emperor Hirohito of Japan.  But back at home…

I can still see Mother polishing all the wood items in the house, then every Saturday, I would help her wash the wooden stairs. There was no carpet in the early days which left the tiled floors like ice in the wintertime. A wind would rattle the loosely fit windows and occasionally blow in wisps of snow, and the howling sound was sometimes loud enough to keep you awake.

I recall one particularly cold morning when the pipes froze so there was no water – hot or cold; but before leaving for work Dad took his (propane) blow torch to the basement and got the hot flame going.  He constantly moved the blistering heat along the pipe, barely getting off the ladder to move it. He yelled up to Mom, “Is there a drip yet,” and the reply was no so he held it a while longer and then Mom hollered down, “Ok Fred, it’s dripping,” and soon every faucet in the house was spurting water. Remembrances like that, made it home.

“But you know, there are eight million stories like this in the Naked City…..”

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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