Memorial Day

What was Memorial Day originally called?

…The weekly trivia question at the local dry cleaners. Written on a large chalkboard near the cash register. If answered correctly, you earned a 15% discount on your incoming order.

An interesting question, but…trivia?
I don’t think so.

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Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States today: May 27th, 2019.

The last Monday of May is designated as a federal holiday…to honor and remember the men and women who have died while serving in the military. Sacrificing their lives for our country’s freedom.

Flags are lowered to half-mast. Parades are held in cities and towns. Services and solemn moments of silence are observed.

The original date for Memorial Day was May 30th. The tradition began after the Civil War, when graves of fallen soldiers were decorated with flowers and wreathes.

It’s original title? Decoration Day.

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Memorial Day earned one small front page article – below the fold – in today’s local newspaper. My iPhone Apple newsfeed?…I had to scroll almost to the bottom to spot one tiny link to a NYTimes article about Memorial Day. I found no mention of today’s holiday in my New York Times “Today’s Headlines” daily email.

However, apparently today is the best day for sale prices on large appliances and mattresses. “Red, white and blue” sales are everywhere….as enthusiastically reported on television’s “Good Morning America.”

Really?

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Floor

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge hosted by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo

The theme this week is: Floor

 

Days before the sale of our home in 2016
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Looking from part of the living room into the den…

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This floor of plywood 1 ¼” thick – covered with a carpet…supported a family…
Standing. Sitting. Running. Jumping. Crawling. Sleeping. Rolling. Walking.
Witness for more than 36 years.

Sometimes it squeaked in mysterious places at certain times,
but it never wavered for…

An infant crawling for the first time. Never minding the spit-up.
A baby, lying quietly, carefully picking out carpet lint. Fiber by fiber.
Popping it into her tiny mouth.
A toddler sprawled out “reading” a board book. And then tossing it aside for the next one.

This floor held…
Three cousins lying face down, chins propped in hands, watching television.
A sister and brother doing somersaults. Watch me mom!
Monopoly games…bank money, hotels, houses and the boy in charge of the bank.
Father and son jumping so hard the walls rattled when the Red Sox won the series in 2004.

Birthday party marching bands parading up one side and down the other.
Jump shots and slam dunks in the Michael Jordan Shoot-the-Ball hoop on a stand. Until it broke.
A young girl’s entire dance interpretation of NKOTB’s “Hangin’ Tough” including costume changes.

This floor remained sturdy when…
Standing for photos against the bifold doors: Easter. Halloween. Prom. Birthday. Group party pics. Or just because.
Teenagers collapsed in hysterics trying to master Twister.
Christmas trees were decorated.
Waiting for the gifts Santa would put beneath it.
No chimney required.

This floor supported a couch…chairs…coffee table…first hand-me-down…and then new.
Piecemeal furniture piled high with books, records, toys, magazines, framed photographs.
All steady and secure on this base for our home.

One might think a floor is just a floor.

But sometimes it isn’t.

 

Pictures with Santa

Santa Claus appeared at many different venues when I was a child in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Sitting on some type of chair or throne-like chair – and dressed in his signature red suit and hat, he would wait for children. To sit on his lap. Briefly. For a quick question and answer, smile for the camera..and done! Then a parent would wait in line for the polaroid result of this annual pilgrimage.

I couldn’t wait to meet up with him…(or one of his elves subbing in – the explanation for why there was also a Santa on the street…and in the local Bamberger’s or Sterns department store at a “Breakfast with Santa” event on Saturday mornings)…in order to pass on my requests for presents.

I visited the pre-mall Santas – often appearing at local church fairs…or church “bazaars” as we used to call them. These were simple affairs…handmade mittens, cookies, potholders and such made by the church ladies. In the corner sat Santa – waiting for the local kids to sit on his lap and whisper their wishes for Christmas morning. Santa looked eerily similar to men I would see at church on Sunday talking to my parents, but I never questioned why.

I do not remember what I asked for this year….

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Me, Santa and my sister circa 1957

….although Santa looks like he had heard most everything by the time it was our turn.

Almost thirty years later, my daughter sat on Santa’s lap at our local mall. And whispered her hopes for gifts on the 25th.  Again there was the wait in line for the polaroid result.

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My daughter and Santa 1984

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Pictures with Santa in 2018?
Still at a mall.  There is a long wait circling around extending past the stores. Babies, toddlers and elementary school age kids. Some dressed up. Some kids panic at the sight of this large man in the red suit. Other don’t…sitting quietly, not quite understanding all the activity. But still, whispering…something…to Santa. Look towards the camera. Hopefully, smile.

There is no longer a wait for the polaroid print. Now it is air-dropped to your smart phone. For a fee of course.

“Pictures with Santa” has changed in many ways in the past 50 plus years. As one might expect. All things do.

Santa sits on a fancier throne. I don’t see him at the church fairs.
Photos are digital and float through the air.

But the excitement in a toddler’s eyes…
I saw Santa, Mama! I sat on his lap!
The smiles. The jumping up and down…
THAT has not changed at all.