May 4th, 2004

ice cream

Greetings from the North Shore

I'm up in Massachusetts, having a very Massachusetts-y time, meaning that for some reason I seem to be having a lot of really great experiences in shops or restaurants or on the street of facing things that are just SO stereotyperically or wonderfully particular to the region, it puts me in a really great mood. Examples include disparing comments about Dubya made by a cashier, a sign on a shop saying "We are WICKED Open" and this kid working at a pizza shop talking about how his cellphone is busted (you had to have heard him tahkin' to get the joke).

Today Mom and I went up to Beverly and go visit a bunch of consignment and thrift shops -- a bit disappointing but we had an opportunity to chit chat and since we left Dad behind at home, we could linger as long as we liked. I got myself another odd reference book (see below for more about my sickness, LOL) and we went out to a sub/pizza shop for yummy not-to-be-had-in-Atlanta food. I had a real sub!

One thing I noted, was an old wood house, right on a main street in Salem, near the Peabody border, which was painted black with huge black griffons to the left and right of the entrance -- in order words, some kind of goth palace -- and on the corner of the house, there was a little black sign with beautiful gold lettering that read: "This Is Not A Church - Get Over It." LOL.

Meanwhile during my trip I've fed my book sickness a couple of times -- I have some kind of craving for odd reference books! murnkay will be happy to know I went to Victor Hugo and took advantage of their 50% closing sale and got two books: Panati's Parade of Fads, Follies and Manias (the fourth cool historical trivia book of his I have) and a 1921 edition of Architectural Forum magazine (divine, esp. the ads!) Today in Beverly my mom found me a full reproduction of the 1902 Sears-Roebuck Catalog! Oh, it is SO great! When I get back, I'm going to scan parts of it in, it is sooooooo cool. I can even begin to descibe how delightful it is to see EVERYTHING that was for sale in those days. I think my favorite thing is the "breast food" and "bosom developer" (a big metal suction cup thingy that would, um, develop you!). LOL. Anyway, glad I left lots of room in my suitcase :)

Anyway, it's been nice so far, and Dad is going well too. Tomorrow we're probably going to Newburyport, which I always like. Oh, and we might go to a seafood place or buy some, since dad can eat that more than he can regular restaurant food. I would love some scallops or lobster!
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Feeling Nice and Homey

My parents and I went out to the wonderful old Cabot Theatre in Beverly and saw In America. That came out in the fall in the U.K. and a few months back in the U.S., but the Cabot is an arthouse theater type place, which plays movies when it's not doing its amazing magic show, Le Grand David, which has been running since 1977. Anyway, movie was excellent, really really liked it. Believe it or not (and I say this to those who've seen in), it was a lot less stressful and downbeat than I had thought it would be. I was shocked things really did turn out OK at the end -- but happy since it seemed real and not one of those stupid tacked on smiley face endings. That girl playing the 10-year-old was great, so was the actor playing Mateo, and really the whole cast. The New York bits in were really choice; loved the bit with the dad hauling the beat-up A/C through the Manhattan streets in the hellish heat of summer.

Meanwhile, on the trip to Beverly and back, I got thinking about things I love about "home" (I still think of it that way, probably always will) and things I don't. I don't think I'm going to bother to actually type out that completely list right now, but I'll say that...

Some things I love are: white pine trees, old whitewashed farmhouses, antique & thrift stores, nice book shops, pretty old seatowns, Greek- and Italian-owned pizza & sub shops, Moxie, cheap fresh lobster, commuter rail, stone walls, everything (even in state) being "far" away...

Some things that kind of stink (but something amuse me): the grit, the heat inside, bad land-use policies which create hideous sprawl that threatens not only the environment but historic neighborhoods and vistas, vinyl siding on old houses, expensive groceries, the neverending Big Dig and Logan airport expansion (ongoing since I left in 1996!).

Oh and one BIG thing that stinks: Governor Romney is still vehemently opposed to gay marriage. The state supreme court order ordering it allowed goes into effect May 15th, I think, and the governor is realllllly fighting against it, saying nothing should change until the state can have a referendum (soonest would be 2005?) but basically he can't do anything. So instead, he insisting that only state RESIDENTS can get these same sex marriages -- doesn't want people all rushing here to get their marriages and then going to home states claiming they're married. I wonder (does anybody know???) if current Massachusetts law bans STRAIGHT couples from out of state getting Mass. marriage certificates?!
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Edith & Archie

I've oftne thought (and got agreement from family outsiders) that my parents are VERY much like Edith and Archie Bunker, if they had both gone to college and moved out of New York to a suburb. I've seen many an episode of "All in the Family" where Archie delivers word-for-word speeches my own (Republican) dad has uttered in all seriousness.

Anyway, last night driving from town offices over to the library, the following conversation occured between Hannah and Dick that was very Edith and Archie:

SETTIN: Turning the corner onto Main Street going south. Two women are spotted standing in front of the Old Town House on Main Street holdig big "PEACE" flags and waving them at passerby and cars.

Mom: Huh. They're out there again.
Dad: Who?
Mom: Those peach marchers. They're holding peace flags.
Dad: Oh, they're for PEACE. How wonderful! How brave!
Mom: Oh, Dick... It's a cause, they're very dedicated & serious.
Dad: Mmmmph.
Mom: Cathy [my brother's wife] does it every week.
Dad: Good for her! Stupid... [grumble grumble]
Mom: Oh, you have such an open mind!
Dad: If you've got an "open mind" it means there's a hole in it!

I think there was more after that, I can't remember ;)
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