Letter From New York 05 30 2016 Memorial Day thoughts from the Vineyard…

A dense fog is beginning to settle on Edgartown harbor after a wet, chill day; rain pummeled down in sheets for a time and then there was the damp aftermath.   I was delighted that I had thought to bring a sweater with me to the bookstore.

There was a steady stream of customers through the store and while it didn’t seem busy, when we closed out we had had a rather good day, he said, sounding like a shopkeeper.

Bookstore front

I have a whole new respect for people who work in retail.  I have always attempted to be nice to them.  I will work even harder. 

One elderly lady was in the store, with her daughter I think.  My colleague, Stav, took care of them.  Her credit card said her name was Gimbel and he asked if she was any relation to the department store Gimbels?  And they nodded and said yes, they were.

It was Gimbel’s Department Store in New York that started the Thanksgiving Day Parade, watched by millions every year, now the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  But back when they made the original “Miracle on 34th Street” it was Gimbel’s that was making the parade.

Gimbel’s and Macy’s were both sold to Federated at some point and they phased out the Gimbel’s name in the 1980’s.  The daughter said that no one young remembers them but Stav is younger than me by far and he remembered them.

Macy’s was the child of Isidor Strauss, who went down on Titanic with his wife, Ada.  She would not be parted from her husband as the ship was sinking. 

There are several memorials to their love in New York, most famous is the small park near 106 and Broadway, by which I have often walked.

It is Memorial Day and I don’t want that to go unnoticed.  I thought about it when I was swinging, at last, out of bed today.  I went to bed early last night, incredibly tired and slept long, having wild murder mystery dreams.  [One of the things Joyce asked me to do was make suggestions for new mysteries to order…]

It is Memorial Day and I was thinking of all the men and women who have served  the US in all its wars. 

And always, on Memorial Day, I think about Greg Harrison, with whom I went to high school.  Older than me, he enlisted in the Army after high school and died in some rice patty in Viet Nam.

He was a gentle soul.  He once teased me about something and when he realized he had touched a chord that hurt, became protective of me.  And I remember him every Memorial Day.  I went to his funeral in Minneapolis and could not comprehend he was not with us anymore.

I still cannot quite comprehend that he is not with us anymore.  I still remember the moment when he realized the tease hurt me.  He had not meant to and after that, he was very good to me.

When this day comes, I mourn him.  And will, until I die. 

I am not in Minnesota and so cannot bring flowers to my parent’s graves; my brother does that, thankfully, as he does to our Uncle Joe, who was the most important father figure in our lives.  Our father was a reticent man, not much given to social interchanges.  Uncle Joe, however, was, and living next door to us, embraced us all. 

When I was twelve, my father died and Uncle Joe did his best to be the best uncle he could be to me.  He loved all his nieces and nephews and did his best to be fair and generous to us all. 

He is remembered, too, this Memorial Day.

In the meantime, politics plunges on toward whatever end.  I am weary and wary, fearful and fretful and it will be what it will be.  And when I return from my summer sojourns, I must do what I can to see Trump is not the next President.

Ah, fog envelops the harbor.   At this moment, no boats at anchor can be seen.  Time for dinner, a little time and then to sleep, perchance to dream…

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