Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all. Since moving in to our new place I have neither written nor read a thing. I guess that you might say “I have stalled out.” And as they say: “that is just fine.” But now it really is time to pick up pen and paper – or perhaps “turn the computer on.” I am amazed that a new turn of phrase has not joined the American lexicon denoting the “use of the computer.” I have decided that it is time to come back. It is time write again, read again, live again. I have missed the camaraderie and I have missed writing and the reading. Something that David said last night at dinner prompted me to decide that it was time. He mentioned that everyone is afraid to move to the city. Nothing new really, it is quite simply the “vanilla” attitude of most people who live in the county.

You see, the city of Saint Louis had a long standing feud with the County of Saint Louis. The city in it’s heyday refused to join the county when asked to do so to become one entity, sharing both government and services thus saving money. All of the cultural institutions are in the city. Grand events take place within the city. The city is made up of approximately 350,000 people. The county today is made up of approximately 3,000,000 people. The county contains the areas wealth and tax base. The “area” that the words “Saint Louis” comprise include both city and county. But in reality they are two separate places. The city of Saint Louis although poorly integrated is where a large percentage of the areas’ African American population lives. The city is made up of many neighborhoods, each with a distinct cultural flavor. The county today does not wish to “integrate” with the city. It does not wish to share the wealth so to speak.

We have always lived in the city. I cannot possibly imagine living in a place where everyone looks like me. David grew up in suburbia and grew quite allergic to it. The only time that I lived in a suburban neighborhood was in the mid sixties when formerly married. When David and I met we were living in Hyde Park. We pioneered. At that time before the advent of gangs, Hyde Park had been an old mid to late 19th century working class neighborhood filled with nothing but brick homes. Today it is bombed out. Sad really. I bought a 3 story brick home built in 1886 for $5000. David bought a three story brick home “on the park”built the same year, for $6500. I moved their in 1977 to begin a new adventure. It is where we met and became the very best of friends. Shortly there after we fell in love. In 1980 I decided to test the relationship. I simply moved to Murphy Blair a matter of 5-10 blocks away, yet a very different neighborhood. Of course he passed the test. He sold his home and moved in with me. A couple of years later with a minister and a Rabbi, under a Huppa and in front of a space heater we married. Shortly thereafter we moved to my favorite neighborhood in St Louis the CWE or the Central West End. It borders Forest Park, one of the most beautiful and one of the largest city parks in the country. It was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair. It is also the site of St Louis Museum, Zoo, Tennis Courts, Steinberg Skating Rink, The Jewel Box and numerous other beautiful and cultural places. We lived there for 31 years, moving this spring to downtown St Louis. I miss Forest Park terribly. However we do have our own lovely small Sculpture Park. I think it is time to take advantage of it. Yes, it is time to engage in life again. I shall do so here at Noh Where more than likely with haibun and haiku. I shall do so at “My Downtown Blog” (http://mydowntownblog.blogspot.com)by writing about and photographing downtown Saint Louis. It really is a jewel about which so many people have misconceptions – but I shall save that for “My Downtown Blog.”

Change and Reminiscences

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Photo Credit: MorgueFiles
Sydney Opera House

I find that I am often late to the bar.
Too late for Mr. Linky, to late to join in the fray.

Last week I read the most wonderful of sentences,
it was a quote, by Jacqueline Kennedy.

She spoke of being odd man out wherever she went.
She was the oddball, never really accepted.

Her words thrilled me. I read them over and pondered.
She was just like me; I knew exactly how she felt.

So will you think it odd of me to share a life lived long ago?
And remember … this is Claudia’s doing.

Not to beleaguer the point but Claudia has written a marvelous poem of Paris
within which I reminisced.

I love Paris. In this lifetime I have been there twice.
But that first visit, its poignancy was just too much.

For so long I had longed to go back.
That longing coming from another lifetime lived so long ago.

I am particularly partial to the early twentieth century.
I can recall so many friends from that time. It is so real that it is like yesterday.

I have so many feelings that come to me when I think about my life during that time.
It is so real.

I wanted to sit next to Hemingway at the bar in the Ritz as we had done so long ago.
I couldn’t wait to meet up again with so many old friends. I would visit Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Company.

You do know don’t you that she sold nothing but books printed in English. However her great love,
Adrienne Monnier sold books printed only in French.

They were such a team. I loved visiting them.
Sylvia always invited me in for tea, this meant meeting new and exciting authors. I met Joyce. What a strange duck.

My library is currently filled with the biographies and autobiographies of those friends. I have always kept them around me.
Nathalie Clifford Barney threw the wildest of parties. Romaine in the background quiet, Gertrude and Alice the center of attention.

It bothered me, the rift between Hemingway and Gertrude for they had been such very good friends.
But here I go reminiscing again. Thinking about lives past, missing old friends.

On our first trip to Paris in ninety-four David said to me: “I expect you to remember places that you visited in the 20’s.
You know, I did not remember a thing. There was not even a sense of familiarity. It was really disappointing.

Now Claudia has reared her head again with a wonderful prompt for the New Year.
What better a prompt than change?

My change for the New Year will be to commit myself to a project.
I need to do something with my mother’s WWII scrapbooks.

I will place each photo and each piece of paper into an archival sleeve
and I will catalogue all that is contained there in.

I will not however give up poetry. It is too close to my soul.
And yes, I will write more memoire. I will write.

Though this is not a change, I will express much gratitude for the life that I live.
So saying; Happy New Year to all, Happy Changes. You will do it, I know. It will be splendid.

You will find us over at dVerse Poetry Pub in Changes and Turns