Category: Nostalgia

Mad Auction

Mom in kitchen iiIf you want to know what the inside of my mother’s 1959 brick rancher looked like, all you have to do is take time out on a typical Sunday night and ogle Betty Draper’s well-endowed kitchen.

The first time I saw it on an episode of AMC’s hit series Mad Men, its authenticity took my breath away. Of course, Betty’s is much bigger than Mom’s; Don Draper is a rakish, well compensated creative director for Madison Avenue ad agency Sterling Cooper, after all, not a balding, low-on-the-totem-pole postal clerk at the South Roanoke Substation like my Dad was. But many of the details are the same: knotty pine cabinets with wrought iron hardware, laminate counter tops with shiny metal edging, dated wallpaper (flowers and stripes) and the utter and complete absence of an automatic dishwasher.… Read the rest

R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k-s. Whatever.

razorback postcardIn July, 1970, my father loaded all of us into a blue, 1968 Chevy Impala sedan with newly-mounted, under-the-dash AC and headed west to Cal-ee-forn-i-a; swimming pools, movie stars, and the American Postal Workers Union Annual Convention at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

He decided that since this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we should hit all the highlights. On the itinerary were The Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Yosemite, Sequoia, Vegas, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and the St. Louis Arch. We even ventured off the beaten path and got a few kicks on Route 66 at some kitschy attractions like the Fort Courage Trading Post in Houck, Arizona.Read the rest

My World Is Crimson and Houndstooth

I remember that 1973 butt-whoopin’ like it was yesterday. What I didn’t remember were all the rest that went along with it.

No, I’m not referring to the time I was playing in my mother’s sacrosanct living room and broke her prized vase. The scalding that followed burned bright and hot. She regretted that one, as I recall, checking me later in the afternoon for “marks” and apologizing profusely, probably worried that Dad would get on her for being a little too rough.

I’m talking about the 77-6 smackdown that Bear Bryant’s boys, with their high-octane wishbone offense, laid on Charlie Coffey’s hapless crew of Virginia Tech Fighting Gobblers (aka, “The Hokies”) in October of that year down in Tuscaloosa.… Read the rest

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

–Genesis 3:19

and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

The first time I remember hearing the phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” was when Princess died.

Princess was a pet cat, circa 1968-approx. 1971. I don’t remember that much about her other than she was gray, and I don’t recall having a particular fondness for her, although I’m sure I liked her well enough.… Read the rest

Now Gew Away, Or I Shall Taunt Yew a Secund Time-uh!

I’ve been watching some Youtube clips of Monty Python and the Holy Grail this morning in order to jog the memory banks for tomorrow’s trip down to The Von Braun Center (that’s pronounced BROWN for the uninitiated) to see the Broadway production of Spamalot.

If you were a geeky nerd like me in the late 1970s, chances are you made several trips to the theater to see that irreverant parody of the Arthurian Legend and that it was probably the first movie that you watched on VHS. Eyegal was more partial to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but what do you expect from a girl who waved a Bic lighter while riding some dude’s shoulders at a Boston concert?… Read the rest

That Was Then, And This Is Now

In the past, I always swore that Ocular Fusion would never devolve into one of those TMI “OMG, my big toe aches and I want everybody in the universe to know about it and sympathize with me” kind of blogs.

But that was then, and this is now.

That was before I happily ventured out into the sunny, 65 degree Alabama weather this past Saturday and down to McGucken Park to fling the Frisbee disc with Number One Son and Uncle T. who was visiting from Colorado Springs.

And now my right gluteus maximus is tied-up tighter than King Tut and a tombful of his Egyptian cousins and concubines.… Read the rest

25 Random Things About The Eyeguy


Why am I resorting to pirate talk so early in the morning? Because I’ve been tagged about a gazillion times in yet another internet meme, this time on Facebook: 25 Random Things About Me.

Not that I mind that much, it’s just that it has that whole cheesy, chain-letter feel. When I was a kid, my mother would always make a big production about ripping those up and throwing them in the trashcan whenever we received one, so it’s probably just one of those weird Baby Boomer childhood psychological baggage flashback things. Don’t sweat it if you tagged me; I’ll deal with it like I always do.… Read the rest

That’s The Way It’s Supposed To Be

I should have known better than to start a “My Hair is Bigger Than Your Hair” embarrassing photo war with a guy who had his own darkroom and always kept a fully-loaded 35mm camera in his glove compartment.

But that’s exactly what I did this past Saturday when I uploaded my photo album “Big Hair Alert!” (“Selected shots of family and friends from 1980-1990, back when hair was hair and we wore it loud, proud and tall”) to my Facebook page.

Did I mention that I had one of those now? I think I did. And I have almost 100 friends, some of whom I’ve actually met.… Read the rest

Bravo, Enrique!

A while back, I wrote a story about my Dad and his service aboard the submarine USS Cubera in the 1950s. Several times a week, people Google their way here for information on the Cubera and check out that post. I always hoped that one of Dad’s former crewmates or another Cubera alum might someday leave a comment.

I just always figured it would be a US sailor, not a Venezuelan one:

eventhough 3 years has almost passed on  the story of your dad and mom, I would like to add that your dad behavior could not be better, I’m a venezuelan citizen who served onbaord the ARV Tiburon( SS CuBERA) for 5 years; I was P.O.1;

Read the rest

A Very Special “Kitchen Sink Christmas”

I broke through the Marvin-induced writer’s block last week and managed to turn in my last Huntsville Times community column before the deadline.

It wasn’t easy, though. But I just sat down and forced myself to brainstorm through the dusty annals of Christmases past for that just-perfect Yuletide memory to share in what I envision as a sort of coup de grace of a grand finale.

Come Sunday, check back here and watch me wrap up paganism, death, evolution, guns, whoopee-makin’, spittin’, a balding, 40-year-old man armed with a pitch pipe and an attitude, a Bible-bangin’, red-faced Church Lady (think Dana Carvey in SNL), the, ahem, “fruit of the vine” and a “par-tri-udge, in-uh, pear-treeee” into a neat package and top it off with a big red bow.… Read the rest

United We Win

On this Veterans Day, I pause to honor my favorite vet of all time:


That’s my Dad on the left (in case you couldn’t figure that out) with a crew mate on the deck of the submarine USS Cubera, circa 1953. Part of the unfinished business that remained when my Dad died at a young age are all the unanswered questions that I would like to ask him.

Such as: What was your friend’s name? Where was he from? Was he the only black crew member or were there others? Was he a steward or an Engineman like you? What was going on at the moment that picture was taken?… Read the rest