Although I have subscriptions to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (thanks to Black), it's primarily for their arts sections, as I love their coverage on movies, theater, and TV. I try to quickly leaf through the other sections (I feel guilty just sending it straight to recycling) in case there's anything that might be remotely interesting or relevant to Red & Black. But I never expected memories of my high school senior prom to come flooding back … thanks to the business section of The Wall Street Journal.
It brought me back to the spring of 1980 (yes, I'm that old), and as my high school graduation rapidly approached, so did the senior prom. I wasn't dating anyone, and even though it was "back in the day" when girls didn't ask boys out on a date, I decided to invite Carlo, a boy I was good friends with, although I definitely "like liked" him. All girls reading this will know exactly what I mean. For boys, well, you can probably figure it out.
Anyway, I summoned up the courage and asked, and much to my surprise, no make that shock, he accepted. So, you may be thinking, ok, well, this all sounds pretty normal and uneventful, even if it was decades ago. What's the big deal? And what could this possibly have to do with a newspaper article?
Well, at the time, I was living in Massapequa, on Long Island. And although Carlo and I had been classmates at Plainedge High School, he had moved to Switzerland the prior year when his dad, who worked for Alitalia, had been transferred. We had kept in touch writing "old-fashioned" letters (keep in mind, in those days there were no internet or cell phones, and international phone calls were very expensive) and I hadn't seen him in almost a year. So, I never expected he'd respond to my invitation with a letter saying that he'd love to take me to the prom and that he'd be flying in for prom weekend.
Which is why, when I saw the WSJ article stating, "Alitalia, Once a Carrier of the Jet Set, Flies for the Last Time," it brought back special memories from years long gone. Of course, I mentioned it to Black, and although I didn't expect a warm and fuzzy reaction, I was a bit taken back by her response, as she totally missed the point,
Alitalia was a unique airline that never seemed to be run as a business but more as a brand that represented the glamour and romance of "La Dolce Vita" (the good life). Just the mention of the name makes me think of Hollywood stars jetting off to a Roman holiday. And, is totally in keeping with your date flying across the Atlantic to go to your prom, although I am guessing that his flight was free.
I started to explain how for us "mere mortals" getting on an international flight (whether free or full price) might not be as glamorous as it once was, but it's still a big deal. Especially when you're a teenager traveling alone through customs. And how I was flattered by this grand gesture. I even thought about asking her how she would've felt if it had been her prom date. Instead, I decided to say nothing and quietly enjoy the memory. On my own. Which, thanks to Carlo, I wasn't for my senior prom.
As soon as Black wrote it, it became one of Red's favorite posts, so although we had to wait a year to feature it again, we've always known it would become a new Thanksgiving tradition. After all, what could be a better Turkey Day tradition than a perfect memory about a perfect turkey?
And for everyone, we want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving that, as Black says below, is … filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
Today is Thanksgiving, and I cannot help but wonder why we are online. However, everyone has their own way of celebrating. I know that Red is in the kitchen cooking – and watching a marathon of "The Godfather" movies. Which is perfect as turkeys take such a long time to cook and patience is important when you want it perfectly browned. So inviting, so appetizing, so … naked?
Growing up, our house used to be where everyone congregated for the holidays. Not because my mother was a good cook, or even liked to entertain, but because my parents bought a house on Long Island while the rest of her family continued to live in apartments in Brooklyn and the Bronx. In other words, they had the most room.
Thanksgiving was always a house full of people and everyone always gathered in the kitchen, which made food preparation a challenge. Especially as everyone loved to nibble on ingredients during the process. For the most part, Mom was a good sport about it. But, the closer we got to the turkey being ready, the more food she would move into the dining room, hoping we would follow the food.
I remember one year when the turkey cooling on the counter looked like something from a magazine – it was perfectly browned. Normally, it was splotchy, although you never knew it once my father was done carving it. (Although an engineer, he had dreamed of being a surgeon and every year as I watched him carve the turkey, I would think he missed his true calling.) Anyway, my mother was so proud of this perfectly browned turkey that she would not let anyone near it, and was delaying the inevitable carving.
However, she made the mistake of taking the balance of the side dishes into the dining room and my father must have been helping as my cousin and I snuck back into the kitchen. In a matter of seconds, we had striped that turkey naked. Enjoying the crispy skin (ok, this was well before the days we were told it was "bad" for you) and laughing until my parents returned to see what was causing the commotion.
Mom was less than pleased, while Daddy tried to hide his amusement. My cousin ran to the safety of his parents, while I stood there defiantly asking if could have a wing. To this day, I cannot see a perfectly browned turkey without remembering that Thanksgiving. And, I venture to guess it has become a favorite memory of my Mom's, as well.
So today, at the risk of being warm and fuzzy (which is Red's area of responsibility),
I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving … filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
It's a running joke in my family that the only reason I go to the movies is for the popcorn. And while that isn't 100% true, it's probably close as I can't remember a time when popcorn wasn't an essential part of the experience. (I'll admit I couldn't believe it when I recently read that South Korea's banning movie popcorn in the theater!)
I can still remember seeing "Young Frankenstein" when it was first released (in 1974) at the Massapequa movie theater, which was literally at one end of an old strip shopping center. It bore no resemblance to the multiplex cinemas of today, and the concession stand offerings were very limited. It was dark and a bit dingy, and the seats were old and uncomfortable. But I didn't care because the popcorn made up for it. And while I sat through multiple showings of the movie (hey, it's still one of my favorites), I was grateful that my dad had given me enough money to get multiple popcorns as in those days, there was no such thing as the big bucket, let alone free refills.
Fast forward, and at the risk of sounding like I'm making light of the pandemic, one of the toughest adjustments was not being able to go to the movies, as it's always given me a way to deal with stress by providing a much-needed "escape" from real life. If only for a few hours. Now, thanks to the vaccines and enhanced cleaning and airflow procedures at theaters, I feel safe going back to the movies and my movie routine, which, I admit, is designed around my popcorn consumption. (Black would probably say obsession.)
First, I ask them to fill the large bucket "really high, please, I haven't eaten all day and I'm starving."Ok, so I probably did eat earlier, but I need some excuse for asking for a ridiculous amount of popcorn, don't I? Which takes me to the next part of my routine. If the bucket's filled to the point of overflowing, I know exactly the pace to eat it so that it lasts for almost the entire movie. (Trust me, I'm not kidding!) And then, the final part of the routine … I don't start eating my popcorn until the movie (not the coming attractions) begins. (Unlike Black, who races to finish her small size popcorn by the time the movie starts as if it's something to be ticked off a "to do" list.)
So, think what you will, but for me, the popcorn's a critical part of what makes going to the movies so enjoyable. And has become an amusing memory for my youngest daughter and me as many years ago when we were on the concession stand line, she asked me what size popcorn I was getting,
I love you, honey, and you're so smart, but that may be the silliest question you've ever asked me. And, quite possibly, will ever ask me.
To this day, she still remembers it, and almost every time I get home from the movies, she'll jokingly ask me what size popcorn I got, and in the same breath, answer the question. Because she knows that there's only one answer. The biggest bucket available.
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|Daddy never talked about being a veteran; I only knew because I'd love looking through old family photo albums. I'd marvel at photos of him taken when he served in Asia during World War II as he looked like such a "baby", not like the grown man that was our dad. When we were growing up, he'd wear his Hump Pilots Association cap all the time, but I never thought much about it until years after he passed and Mom received a VHS tape celebrating the 50th anniversary of WWII that was about "flying the hump". At the time, the girls were very young, so weren't interested in watching it. But I may try again to help them see that we all have so much to be thankful for, especially our veterans – the men and women who have served to defend and protect our country not only over the years but over the decades.|
|Technically, over the centuries. It started as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, to commemorate
the 1918 "truce" between
the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. Unfortunately, more wars would follow, and it was officially changed to Veterans Day in 1954. And, while Memorial Day remembers those who gave their lives
for our country, Veterans Day honors all who have served in the military during
times of war and peace, including those who are no longer with us.
In my opinion, there are not enough days to celebrate the men and women in the military who serve and protect us. So, when we have an opportunity to thank a veteran – and especially today – we should do so, proudly and humbly.
Thank you, Veterans – today and every day – for protecting our country, our freedom, our democracy.