Zermat

by Marilyn Crockett

We flew Icelandic, Tony and I, with its stop in Reykjavik and we really did stop in Reykjavik for three days, I think.  I liked Iceland for its oddness, little multicolored houses with corrugated roofs lining streets punctuated with little trees.  The open, treeless countryside had its great falls, not as great as Yosemite or Niagara, and its hot springs, not as dramatic as Yellowstone – but all interesting.  I liked the sheep turned loose to graze and the feeling of being in a Bergman movie with the Icelandic language surrounding us, so Scandinavian in sound.

But our real destination was Zermat and the Matterhorn.  Tony, an Australian with a physics PhD from Cambridge, the English one, had the English climbing bug.  I had gone along with jogging, hiking, and even two lessons in rock climbing, ever the cooperative girl-friend.  Not that I did that well.  My jogging on the paths around the Cloisters was intermittent, walking when the grade was too steep or when I just felt fatigued.  The hiking, most interesting at the Delaware Watergap, was a plodding thing.  I looked forward to the picnic with a demi of wine at the top.  I met my match with the rock climbing.  I did not like dangling off a rope and rappelling.  I never got the hang of it, bouncing against the side of a vertical cliff.  The first lesson went fine with a pro instructor that Tony had hired.  But on the second try, I got stuck on the face of the cliff – sandwiched – and I could not go either up or down.  Tony to his credit had the strength to pull me up.  The misery of that moment surpassed my embarrassment. Continue reading

February 4th

By Edgar Weinstock

Neither my mother nor father had even been graduated from legitimate four year high schools. Yet they each helped me in different ways to begin my own never ending journey as an artist before I was five years old.

I will tell it now as I remember even though I did not know then that words meant anything. Nor did I understand words put properly together could form thoughts. At four years of age I had not any idea what an idea was. Time was lurching on and I was becoming more lost to civilization.

One winter afternoon, my mother was hurrying all over our apartment in Glen Rock, New Jersey. Her English had gotten much better since I was born.  But none of our neighbors my age talked to me except once with the stones they threw as they explained to me it was my people who killed their Christ. I didn’t even have crayons let alone “people.”

Neither of my parents seemed to have much time for me. They worked hard and were often tired. I was often puzzled and could not figure out just what I was always doing wrong. My mother later said, “We are all just lucky we only got mad at you one at a time; never both at once.” By the time I was four, I knew at least enough to stay out of their way when either one was rushing around which was happening early one winter evening in 1945. Continue reading

WHAT TO GIVE AN ALMOST 88 YEAR OLD FOR XMAS

By  Lydia LaFleur

    On the afternoon of Christmas Eve my daughter Ingrid hired a car service to take me with my small bag of presents to their home in New Jersey.  Haven’t I ever said there are perks to being old?  Besides, the car was a Lincoln Continental – with leather seating, of course, so I would be going in style on this hour and a half trip, a little uneasy though, because one of my five heart medications is a water pill.  Sure enough once we hit the Bronx, a long route the GPS for some reason guided us to the George Washington Bridge, I felt the urge.  Please stop at the next restaurant.  I can’t along this street, because it’s one way.  And so we proceeded through main streets past all the Italian and Chinese restaurants, rounding this corner and that, until we came to the Bridge which, as I grew more and more uncomfortable, seemed much longer than I remembered it.  We kept on riding.  I could visualize myself arriving with my good wool pants soaking wet and so what would I wear at Christmas Dinner?  And would my daughter be libel for the Lincoln Continental’s stained leather seat?  Well, she’s a lawyer so she’ll know how to deal with that.  I began to think that maybe the driver had forgotten my request and was about to say something when mercifully he pulled off the main highway and into the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop.  I dashed past all the travelers who seemed more numerous here than on the road.   And then had to dash again when we arrived at my daughter’s nearly an hour later, but I had made it.   Another notch in my old age belt! Continue reading