Category Archives: Memoir

Man Over Moondust

The spice and the dust

Flavors my insides

Silicates and curries.

Footprints on the brink of my heart, memories of craters and a

Smiling man on a moon over the Catskills in July, 1969,

lost time with my parents and my sister and my childhood dog,

in a bungalow, watching man on the moon.

Too far to taste the dust.

So many years away from tasting the spice

that life will become.

The flavors,

the varieties.

The only spice I know is yellow mustard and red ketchup hardening in old plastic bottles.

The bungalow colony has a day camp.

The counselor leads the other children in a Joan Baez song about

a calf on its way to market

The “calf with a mournful eye.”

They teach me the words and I sing along.

“How the winds are laughing

They laugh with all their might

Laugh and laugh the whole day through

And half the summer’s night.”

Nearby, a boy died and they named a softball field after him.

Farther down the hill, there’s a waterfront with a dock rocking over murky water.

After camp, I attack a rotting tree trunk with a hammer. I see the ants from large colonies, running out in a panic.

I slam down the hammer on the queen and the workers and the eggs and the freshly hatched baby ants.

In the evening, my family takes the car to a drive in theater and we watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

It’s such a ridiculous and jolly movie, but it also frightens me.

And the next evening I sing that song about the mournful calf again.

The spice of moon dust is toxic to man.

Fine like sterile spice it contains

Tiny glass balls.

Silicates carve your insides.

I killed the ants with a hammer.

And a boy tried to stop me.

“Your killing the babies,” he said. “Your killing innocent ants and their children.”

And the next day in camp, I boxed him and he hit me hard.

I stumbled in a daze and the match was over.

And the next day he took the hammer and he killed more ants than I did.

And in the evening, I sat in the bungalow with my sister and my father and we ate my mother’s meatloaf in the screened in porch with large enough holes to allow in a few flies.

We ate our dinner and we waited for man to walk on the moon.


The Breezeway

Why don’t I have socks? I hate getting dressed for school when I can’t find socks. Breakfast is ready but I can’t find socks. “Mommy, I don’t have socks.” “Look in the laundry room. In the round laundry basket.” Why doesn’t she say she’s sorry? “I’m going to be late for school. My feet are… Continue Reading

A School Lunch

It was Mrs. H. in second grade, who told Sal and Douglas to get behind the bookcase because they weren’t behaving properly. Unfortunately, she forgot to tell the kids their punishment was over before lunchtime. About two hours after recess we returned to the class and found the two boys standing behind the bookcase in a… Continue Reading

The Distillation of Dad

Years before he began to wither and weaken from Parkinsonism, my father told me that after he started working as a chemical engineer, he went to law school for a semester at night. “I thought I might want to become a lawyer,” he said and described his class on contracts and how he began to… Continue Reading

I Was a Boy Who Played With Dolls

It was the Mission Impossible TV show that peaked my interest in GI Joes–the idea that any record of my evil ideas would self-destruct, years before you could delete your search history. The older generation Joes had hair painted on firm and dark, but they were more like puppets than men of action—rugged puppets with… Continue Reading