A Strange Encounter In The Seventies

January 13, 2016 § 2 Comments

New York City, October 1974.

Spend a few years living in Manhattan and chances are that you will witness extraordinary and unusual moments that no one seems to notice, or encounter all kinds of odd types.

My husband Peter was born and raised in Manhattan and even though he rarely ventured far from his neighborhood as would be true of many a New Yorker, he has had a fair share of these serendipitous occurrences.

In the past few days he was reminded of one, which makes for an unbelievable anecdote these many years later.

One afternoon in the Fall of 1974, after school, Peter went out to walk Skippy, the family Boston Terrier — Boston Terriers had not been in fashion since the twenties so there were few around in 1974.

Skippy V

Skippy V. New York City, Fall 2015

Peter and Skippy began their customary walk on the sidewalk adjacent to the building in which they lived.

A couple of hundred feet along, two exceptionally tall, gaunt, androgynous people in matching rock suits, red spiky hair, heavy make up and platform shoes approached in the opposite direction.

The relatively more “manly” of the two strange figures said with a proper London accent, “What a strange looking dog!”

Peter respectfully explained that Skippy is a Boston Terrier.

Both man and matching woman proceeded to share polite and gentle small talk with Peter and Skippy.

The tall man bent down to pet Skippy, doing so with some difficulty due to his skin-tight outfit and remarkably high platform shoes.

Then each party returned to its own any other day in the City.

Peter and Skippy thought not much of the strangers until early that evening when Peter recognized one of the oddities as he was featured on the Six O’Clock WCBS TV news broadcast:

David Bowie and his wife Angie Barnett are in the city for a few days to give a concert at Radio City Music Hall as part of The Diamond Dogs World Tour.

David Bowie Life On Mars 70s

David Bowie. (From the Life on Mars  music video by Mick Rock, May 12th 1973)

Sixteen year-old Peter had never heard of them and Skippy didn’t seem to think of himself as a strange looking dog at all.


Tricks and Treats by Trees

October 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

It started to snow last night

And Halloween is in two days.

Late, in the dark

I went to see

How the trees were


Fall and Winter

All at once.

So quietly they tricked me

All dressed in their ghost costumes

Cold, eerie, mysterious and spooky.

But this morning they treated me

 All set in Fancy Dress for

Carnival, Pageants and Masquerades.

The Tale of Peter and The Squirrel (Part Two)

October 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

It sounded like a small animal, hyperactive and speedy. One that could be seen scurrying all day long outside the house.  After a thorough investigation and brilliant detective work we had a suspect: A squirrel, or two. Or maybe many.

Something had to be done. Either we or the squirrel had to move out of the house, or we would not sleep until next May.

Consulting with our salt of the earth, true New Englander neighbor and everyone else who had an opinion on the internet we found no clear, clean and safe solution.

Until the morning when Peter, who had been challenged if not eaten up by the question, greeted me with a mischievous and somewhat triumphant smile: “I came up with an idea! I am going to build it, a simple device that will produce a buzzing sound and I’ll put it against the wall near the bed and every time we hear the noise I’ll press a button and.. you’ll see it’s going to work.”

He was so excited!  To design and build a small, simple machine, using electrical components and just a few parts had been a never fulfilled childhood dream of his.

I never knew… Talk about deeply entrenched frustration for so many years!

I was so happy for him.

To tell you the truth I had long settled my squirrel problem with my own sure bet solution: sleeping through the noise and forget it. But I would never deprive my husband of absolutely unmitigated joy and anticipation over such a mighty and promising project.

Starting with rummaging in our garage and eventually on the internet, Peter, in no time, assembled and proudly presented me this nifty and ingenious little marvel:

                                                                                                                                                                                        The button plate was going to be placed at Peter’s bedside and the box at my bedside against the wall where we presumed the noise was coming from. At the pressing of the button, the device would emit a buzzing sound that we hoped would rattle the squirrel and scare him enough to flee and abandon the premises.

That night we went to bed with the eagerness of a general who is about to conduct a mission that will annihilate his enemy forever. But not before we demanded our son, who was truly getting a  kick out of all this and kept on testing the machine, to leave our room and go to sleep.

Well… here is, in a nutshell (no pun intended) what happened a few hours later, at the darkest hour: noise…buzz…silence,  then noise…buzz…silence. Then again and again and again, same sequence.

I made believe I was asleep of course rather than point out the apparent inefficiency of the plan. I knew better.

I just offered my hand to hold under the covers in an attempt of quiet solidarity.

The squirrel resumed his activity, most likely only wondering what this buzz was all about.

The next morning, I was dreading the possibility of seeing my husband somber and tired but, ever the gentleman, he acted as if nothing was the matter and the night had been just fine.

We spoke no word about Operation Squirrel and just tacitly agreed to give it another try that night.

And the next night and the next one…Until Peter announced a few mornings later: “I think I have a better idea to make the buzzer work and if it doesn’t we’ll open the wall and bring the Shopvac!”

Now how would I be able to fall asleep next to the scene of utter devastation with a starving and homeless squirrel going out into the winter with no prospect of survival. Bad Karma. But I said nothing.

Next thing I hear: We have an appointment with the exterminator.

So fortunately we will never know how the squirrel was finally convinced to relocate elsewhere his winter quarters. Ignorance is bliss!

My husband is always the best at resolving problems and, as he says, he does this just to make me happy! It does. And for that, we have the best marriage…

The Tale of Peter And The Squirrel

October 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Autumn. Nature prepares for winter. Animals and plants get ready for a long sleep in the quiet months of cold and dark.

Prepares…For some this seems to turn into a frenzy such as one would witness in a coastal town before a hurricane. I am talking about the squirrels who have been populating our garden for generations: the place being prime real estate equipped with three bountiful walnut trees, no pets and an old house with plenty of access holes.

Yes, plenty of access holes to cosy little shelters in the walls and eaves. Ideal for storing food and hunkering down for a few months.

One of those shelters is precisely located in the wall behind and next to our bed.

And we found out the hard way, for the little critters did not bother to give us prior notice of their moving in.

On a blissfully quiet night in late August, as my husband and I were deep in the realm of Morpheus, a sudden and very noisy racket startled us out of sleep .

What’s this? Can you hear it? Where is it coming from? Oh, it’s probably an animal running on the roof. Go back to sleep…

Yeah try: The noise intensifies, stops, starts again, erupts in various spots and seems to happen right next to our heads, our ears. We knock on the wall and for a few tense seconds of held breaths and immobility, it stops…and starts again, ensuing a futile waiting game that soon wears us out. The next option is to bury our heads under the pillow and ignore.

And so we do, careful not to remark on the dawn’s early light that forebodes the imminent wake up time.

To be continued…in my next post.

Do Not Disturb...

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