A reader sent this to me today and I think it’s worthy of your consideration. Do you think this would work? Why or why not?
starts next week, Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 at 4:16PM with the conclusion of the Cherry series: ONE WRITES THE CHECKS, ANOTHER KEEPS THE BOOKS.
Thank you for checking back!
Lenny, the star of my last post, “THE TROUBLE WITH LENNY,” was a strange character. He was actually introduced here, in THE BERNARD OLCOTT STORY, much earlier in my post, “OF GIANTS AND DWARFS.” I’ll leave it to the readers to determine into which category he belonged.
But Lenny definitely had sticky fingers. I knew him as my Dad’s secretary for a few weeks one summer. The he dropped completely out of sight, out of mind for a school year, where I learned his end story as a kind of epilogue the following summer.
I thought Lenny was a forgettable character in the Bernard Olcott story. He should have been. But he wasn’t. He was one of those initial indicators that something might have been amiss. I was maybe 8 years old at the time. I didn’t recognize it as the signal I could have at the time. If I were truly psychic.
The winter of 1963-1964 started off harshly for adults. Kids like me in kindergarten were oblivious and went about our business playing house, doctor, tag, World Wide Wrestling Federation re-enactments, and what-not.
First there was the Kennedy Assassination for Thanksgiving. I have no idea where I was when the shooting went down in Dallas that Friday at 1:30 PM EST other than that I was probably in class at The Cathedral School off of Eola Park in Orlando. No one came to inform us that the President had been shot and killed. Nope, we went home that day, just like normal, played with our toys for the weekend, and, when Monday came around, suddenly there was no school. They had to tell us then.
“Why is there no school today?” I asked my Mom.
“It’s Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday. There’s no school this week,” came her reply. I was too young to know that there is always school Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
That was just fine with me. I could catch up on Bullwinkle on the black and white TV. You see, we didn’t have the internet in 1963.
But I was stymied right away. Boris and Natasha, the famous Russian spies trying to seize power on behalf of Pottsylvania (they would have to wait until the Presidential election of 2016 before succeeding), were not on the screen scheming to block Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Today, folks I run my first repeat. Forget USA vs. Russia! This post concerns the ongoing war between New York and New Jersey and is the all-time favorite among my readers (more than 1,000 views!). Please share among your nutty friends who have a stake in this idiotic war!
North of the Rio Grande River is a huge expanse of North America divided up into 49 states, 10 provinces, 3 territories, and 1 district. Just about everywhere, the dividing lines are sleepy affairs. No fences to block your way. With a flashlight, you might find a surveyor’s marker under a bush assuming you knew where to look. Typically, a sign is erected on the “border” welcoming you to the new jurisdiction. Some places have signs to serve the opposite purpose, that is to say farewell to the hapless traveler. In the Southern United States, it is possible to see a sign with the information “You are now leaving Bucksnort, Hurry Back!”
Technically, the most severe crossing is the one between the United States and Canada. When Mrs. Findlay F. Traveler from the US drives over that line, she can expect to be interrogated by overly inquisitive Canadian custom agents eager to ascertain just exactly how many bottles of liquor and cartons of cigarettes are stashed in the trunk. Any kind of vague answer will trigger an immediate request to pop that puppy open. A precise inventory will be taken and the requisite CDN $38.50 levy lifted from the traveler’s credit card. This interrogation is also offered in French as a sucker ploy. If Mrs. Traveler chooses (poorly) to respond to any question using her middle school French, the agent’s eyes will harden with suspicion and the customs’ duty tagged with a 12% nuisance surcharge. It has nothing to do with us in the US; it’s related to some kind of internal trauma up there. It’s best to answer everything in English taking care to ask if the border station has a gift shop where you can buy the moose tee shirt. Knowing the system thusly, you can be waved through in under 60 seconds.
Driving back into the US on the other hand is a quick passport sniff to insure that you are really from one of the 63 entities mentioned above (or Hawaii and a few other scattered islands).
All of this is relevant to The Bernard Olcott Story because of one peculiar exception to this peaceful patchwork littering the landscape from the Atlantic to the Pacific. One border where the crossing is associated with profundity from a logistical, emotional, and psychic (perhaps even psychotic) point of view.
Every once in a while, it’s time to celebrate something in the family.
Meet Ms. Celine Olcott, pictured below, Dad’s oldest grandchild. She received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in Accounting from Wake Forest University (minor in Statistics) this past Monday.
On October 19, 1987, the stock market crashed hard. Together with my Columbia Business School classmates, we watched the market news that day with both awe and no small measure of trepidation.
That Fall, I had taken the trouble to enroll in a class very heavy in demand – “Securities Analysis” taught by one very notable professor (among several) named Jimmy Rogers. I have mentioned him numerous times in this blog because he shares an interesting commonality with my Dad, Bernard Olcott.
Jimmy hailed from Demopolis, Alabama (some stop-light out towards Mississippi) and was one of the few faculty members who didn’t speak in a flat Manhattan accent. No Sirree, he spoke with what could almost be called a southern “coon-dawg” accent. The opposite of a very different accent spoken by Professor Elliot Zupnick, whose cadence was marked by the thickest Bronx-ese, complete with “dese, dems, and doses.”
Jimmy’s solitary affectation was wearing bow-ties, a habit he had picked up as an Oxford student. (Leaving aside his penchant for asking of the birth years of attractive female students in order to send his servant to the wine cellar of his home in search of that very vintage).
Absolutely right-on description as to how people accommodate the crazy.
My mother’s first husband, who was the first mentally ill person I ever met, rents storage spaces all over D.C. He saves in crate after carton after crate: paper towel tubes, his son’s second grade science projects and college term papers, broken air conditioners, hammers, screwdrivers, curtain rods, weights, spatulas, pots and pans, old cans of paint, drills, sandwich bags, magazines and books and paper clips, window panes and big, long rolls of pink insulation and leather gloves and half-empty cans of shoe polish and arm chairs and tube tops and baby aspirin and vinyl records as well as the files of the court records (as well as their Xeroxes) of what was said before the judge between he and my mother more than forty years ago. When I saw him a couple of years ago, he was standing in my sister’s dining room organizing boxes of National Geographic, which…
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