Fell off of a stool. I was three feet away. Poor kid.
Fell off of a stool. I was three feet away. Poor kid.
She was on the floor showing her mom pictures she colored in pre-school. She held a stegosaurus kind of creature and said, “See? He has all these plates on his back!”
From the sidelines I said, “He must have a restaurant.”
She said, “No, grampop; these aren’t round plates.”
Four years and just about three months. And she knows I need help. Smart kid. The photo is of a dead mudpuppy we found by the swollen creek. Didn’t have a shot of the dinosaur. Sorry.
The Arts Fest is coming next week. Officially, it happens starting the first Wednesday following the first Monday following the Fourth of July. The first I attended was 1980. I had made it to the area on July 1, 1979, but a local friend told me it wasn’t worth the hassle to drive (from Pennsylvania Furnace) into State College for the Festival that first year. After a few years I was married and living in State College, and we longed to have a baby in a pack at the Fest. In ’86 we had a two-month-old, and I don’t think we risked burning her delicate skin in the July sun. In ’87, the three of us were on the lawn.
Festival week was crazy at the restaurant. I had Wednesday off - Children’s Day - but afternoons and evenings the rest of the week were fully staffed, and insane. Especially late. Artists and musicians celebrating. When I left the restaurant, I left in the beginning of July. I’d helped prep for the Fest, but then I was gone. A gift to myself, the opportunity to attend. By this time I was divorced, the kid was older, and I couldn’t just plunk her in a pack. She had wants of her own, and her days with me didn’t involve much Festival. Maybe some music, but certainly no strolling through the booths.
The first button, at the top above, was a buck in 1991. Pretty cheap. Now, in 2018, they’re ten bucks. Still pretty cheap, I think. They’ve gotten smaller physically over time, too. That makes sense; cut a little bit of cost as long as ushers can still easily see them on special event attendees. One thing that didn’t make sense was selling a “youth button” for a reduced fee in 2011, ’12, and ’13. (Second to last row, looking like pairs.) They weren’t even marked as child or adult. I had one of each and never knew which to wear when my kid wasn’t along. And several years, no year was printed on the button. 40th Anniversary doesn’t have a year. Lucky the 50th Anniversary did.
This year’s button, lower right, seems important for two things: The jester is a female for the first time (as was the designer) and it has a little DOWN TOWN sponsorship ad on it. What’s up with that?
Years ago I visited Mt. Zion Cemetery in Pottstown to try, on a whim, to find the grave of Ginette Stong. She was my sister, born November 7, 1946. She died a week later, on November 14. I know there had been several disappointing miscarriages but this death — of a one-week old infant — must have been devastating for the 29 year old mother.
On the day of my visit I located the cemetery office, found it staffed, and was given these three photocopies so that I could locate Ginette’s plot. With the maps, it was easy and I had a meaningful visit. The last two times in Pottstown I couldn’t find these documents, nor could I find anyone staffing the cemetery office. I was disappointed and wandered about in the cemetery for an hour or so. Later, in a thoughtful mood, I did manage to visit the graves of a good friend’s parents and place stones on their markers. They are in the Congregation Hesed Shel Emet cemetery on Hanover Street in Pottstown.
Did you catch that I misplaced the documents twice? I’d actually found them at one point, put them in a secure place, then lost them again. Different car, different apartment, aging memory, it all adds up. Well, hopefully the internet will give me regular access via this post. Larger versions are available but these images should be enough.
The family tree information may be of interest. Ginette, (here with a completely expected misspelled last name) is in plot eight, directly next to my great-grandfather, Henry Mack in plot nine. On Ginette’s other side is Harold Leh in plot seven, the husband of my grandmother Hannah’s sister Florence. Hannah’s other sister is listed here as Ella, but I’ve seen it also as Elli. On Henry’s other side is his wife, here as Mary Mack, but I’ve seen her name also as Maria [Smith] Mack. In the one document, it’s written first as Maria, then corrected as Mary. Maybe at some point, I’ll get back to Pottstown.
My brother, John. This is a photo I took in July of 1976. John liked the image. I hadn’t seen him since 2010, then on May 8, I had a phone call from a friend of his letting me know John had been discovered dead on April 19. He was born on February 11, 1948. He left a wife, Marsha, and a daughter, Erin. A son, Bob, predeceased him.
Edit, May 28: My daughter added this:
On May 4, generally recognized as Star Wars Day, I posted this image on Twitter with a line about Disney taking humor in their comic book movies just a bit too far- beer pong?
It fell flat as most of my attempts at humor do, but this time it seemed a particularly resounding silence. Not one comment. Not a single like. Geez. I pulled it at the end of the day, sad and defeated. The knock-off wasn’t a ton of work, I did get some satisfaction from completing it, but still. I was sad and defeated.
A few days later, a tweet from a food blog I follow showed this image and congratulated solo cups on the savvy of their movie tie-in. I’d had no idea. So I pointed out the obvious. Not funny at all. There really was a Star Wars connection with the classic red solo cups and I’m a dummy. Maybe there’ll be a barroom scene in the movie with Han throwing his ping pong ball first/
Wow, I love this drawing so much. “There’s mommy. I’ll put me over here. And I’ll give me pigtails. Maybe mommy, too.” The cheeks and eyelashes are an addition I’ve never seen when she does me and her. Crazy. No training that I’m aware of- purely her own.
When I first showed this digital file to my granddaughter, she recognized her mom, then herself. The floor she didn’t understand. When she saw the actual printed card, she smiled and said, “That’s my mommy!” Then she recognized herself and the juicebox. This time she said, “It’s at home! See the squares?” (Meaning the pattern in the rug) Fun stuff.
Back in the mid-1990s I was relatively young, fast, clear-sighted, and happily riding a wave of innovation. Work was designing web pages, crafting illustrations, developing any sort of visual educational resource. Design work was often interrupted by people needing help with graphics related issues: I can’t see the changes. I can’t open a file. It won’t print. I don’t have that menu… Even after some co-workers retired, they’d call for a reminder or guidance through new issues. I had old versions of most of my software that I could run from disk so we could use the same tools while trouble shooting together. It was part of the work, but undeniably satisfying. What usually ran through my mind behind the voice I tried to keep calm and non-judgemental were muttered questions: “why don’t you upgrade your system? Why don’t you upgrade your software? Why don’t you just use the current, recommended browser?”
As I got ready for retirement in 2012 I bought a large, powerful laptop and a Wacom tablet to steer it with. For software, I went with the recently released Adobe CS6 Master Suite. It included apps I didn’t need, like DreamWeaver; others that I hadn’t used quite yet, like After Effects; and my workhorses, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and InDesign. I always picked up the newest release of those apps as soon as they were available and I was determined to continue updating. Life was good, I did personal work, launched my domain, and continued to read extensively to stay in touch. A few months after my departure I read the news that Adobe was going to change from their 18-month numbered release cycle of boxed software to a Creative Cloud model requiring monthly internet verification and constant updating. I’d just relocated, was able to buy fast internet access for the first time, and I realized how fleeting that access could be. Access to authorize CC software on what might become a desktop computer would be impossible. Unavailable. Unaffordable. I opted out. CS6∞
Life was great and everything worked really well. Apple released an OS update — Mavericks? the car that blew up? — and the word was that CS6 apps didn’t all function perfectly. I couldn’t take the risk; I held off updating till I could be sure. Everything was still great. Then Yosemite was released and about that time I started to get “Service Battery” warnings. Everything seemed fine, but Apple Care, still my umbrella for a few more months, suggested I take my laptop to a local Mac-Approved service center. I did and they were great. Their diagnosis condemned my practice of fully discharging then recharging my laptop’s battery every day. It had unnecessarily taken my laptop battery to its 1000-charge end. I was told I didn’t have to do that with mac batteries anymore, got a new battery (and keyboard!), and was offered an OS upgrade, too. I explained about my software and the tech told me he understood — he was running an iMac on Snow Leopard.
I had hoped that Adobe would publish an early version of the CC software on disk. Something less than current, something not updatable, but available for sale. Something that I could buy and replenish my system. I didn’t have the hope anymore.
Things start to get fuzzy for me about this time; I was lightheaded and disoriented. El Capitan appeared and it was too much for Adobe. Adobe stopped all CS6 updates and bug fixes and I stopped reading everything from Adobe. Safari had been my internet lifeline, but my websites started putting up notices when I landed on their pages: my version of Safari was not going to be supported anymore, please upgrade. I stopped reading anything from Apple. Twitter would only show me the mobile version of my page. Videos wouldn’t load. I switched to Chrome as my default but pretty soon, a banner appeared telling me my version of Chrome would soon be unsupported. Amazon Prime told me only Safari would work for video. Firefox was the last browser standing, then Firefox, too, upgraded beyond my ability to follow. No upgrade was available for any browser I had still running on Mountain Lion; video windows winked out all over the internet.
Today, this from Apple:
On June 30, 2018, Apple will implement changes to continue to ensure your financial data is protected when you make purchases on the iTunes Store or App Store.
Our records show that you may be accessing the store from an older version of iOS, macOS, or Apple TV software:
iOS 4.3.5 or earlier; macOS 10.8.5 or earlier; Apple TV Software 4.4.4 or earlier
To be able to change your payment information with devices running the software listed above, you’ll need to update to a more recent software version.
And finally in these last days, if I stay off of the internet, if I launch my creative applications and immerse myself in digital work, everything is responsive again, effective and stable. I am young, fast and life is good.
A fun time for me in both participating in the encampment and doing the final photo illustration.
We went to the field across the street, dragging our sled, looking for bad guys to throw snowballs at. The “CDA” was the latest bunch of baddies, straight out of Monsters, Inc. Sledding was rough, though. Even walking was difficult. The four inches of powder had an inch of icy crust on top that broke apart and snagged our feet. Instead of throwing powdery snowballs, we discovered that we could use the broken chunks of ice to build a wall. The wall soon became three walls, and that became our fort. As we worked, my granddaughter pointed out the characters that were helping. “There’s Judy Hop. She’ll help us” or “There goes George. We have to shave him.” All her regulars showed up, many didn’t make it into the picture. Maybe they will another time. Anna and Elsa were just off-camera playing with Pongo and all of the Dalmatian puppies. Later, on seeing the photo, my granddaughter said, “Why isn’t Bat Pat on my head?” and “Why does Sully have your coffee?” Good questions.