Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Not quite home yet....
Over the last two weeks, I’ve been traveling back to Lansingburgh for some weekend get togethers sponsored by the Lansingburgh Historical Society (proud member) and the Lansingburgh Facebook group. We look back at the “glory days” of the ‘Burgh, and celebrate what is still pretty gosh darn good about the place.
We’ve also published two books of stories about growing up in semi-small town America from the 1940s-1970s, and I am honored to say I have a couple in each.
All proceeds from the purchase of the book(s) go to Lansingburgh non-profits, including the Historical Society.
We held the first get-together earlier this month when the Historical Society celebrated Herman Melville's 194th Birthday at his home in the Burgh.
That's Herman's house, and the Historical Society keeps it in good shape. The day we were there presentations were given on portraits of the author (did I mention he wrote Moby Dick which I am sure many of you tried to get out of reading-not that he wrote that tome here, but some other good sea stories) and the relevance of the time, exchanged by enthusiasts of not just Melville, but American history, which so tired us out we had to have more cake. I was then so high on sugar that I even read some from the Melville mystery story I'm doing, in the same room where the chapter I read takes place in 1838. By the way, that's Herman's room on the second floor with the bay window. And the research continues, which keeps me running on days when Bipolar and MS feel like screwing around with my head.
In fact, because I had such an enjoyable time on Saturday, the evil twins made sure I did not enjoy it at all last week, until about Thursday. Every drop of energy got sucked away into their vortex, and even some quiet outdoorsy pruning and mowing (trying to get the yard in shape by August 31when I used to have it ready by May 31. I'll finish in time to start raking leaves which I hope to get done by Christmas 2014). My writer's group got me back in form for a few days until Saturday again this past weekend.
The two groups noted above (LHS/Facebook Burgh) were having a clam steam fundraiser at a local Veteran's organization. I would know a few people there, maybe even an ex-sweetheart, but I was looking most forward was seeing my sixth grade teacher, and And I did, from a distance. The evil twins found that here was a place they could exploit. The Veteran's building was not there when I lived in the 'Burgh. As I got of my car I noticed that I did not recognize anyone, except for a few from the historical society. I've been away from the village for 30 years. And my belly does a flip flop and fly every time I go there.
This time I freaked out. I did not know most of the people and, after I purchased the most recent book, just stood there by the man who had given my change and said he did not do it correctly. He, of course, did and my brain cued into fight or flight. I walked/ran to my car and got out of there, and missed a chance to say thanks to that sixth grade teacher, and visit with the few folks I do know.
And the nightmares have returned. Reminding me of the awful times in Lansingburgh. My parents, my sister and the loss of family on that side. Like all that work was a waste of time. This place was nothing but pain and death. Yep, it was for many years for me, and apparently it still holds my heart and soul somewhat. But there's work to do. If I didn't have the Burgh, I wouldn't have the stories. I was a lucky American kid growing up in a small town, so much so that when I thought of "Downtown" (Petula Clark's song) I thought of downtown Troy. Why go anywhere else?
So I'll work this through. And keep writing. The Evil Twins can not stop me...for now. But I've a huge head start, and maybe they won't catch me. Until all the stories are told.
Thanks for reading. More soon.