Monday, January 19, 2009


You're channel surfing and a History Channel show catches your eye. The panorama of a vast desert is explored. Super-imposed lettering fades in; 109 degrees. Nearest town East-West Kidney, Montana...fifty miles away. The camera stops at a mountain and zooms-in to a close-up of the lone figure of an geologist. HE'S THE BEARDED GUY IN THE BANANA REPUBLIC KHAKI SHORTS NEXT TO THE THIRD HEAP OF GILA MONSTER DUNG ON THE RIGHT.

The host points to the lowest in series of different colored parallel bands in the rock formation and says, "As evidenced by this scallop-like fossil, this entire region, millions of years ago, was submerged beneath the ocean." He mops the perspiration off his brow, sets his finger on the next stony layer and says, "Here is the fossil of an extinct species of fern. Its seems impossible but in just a million years, this rock wall went from being below sea level, to being part of a lush forest. Now, this same rock looks perfectly natural in this arid, middle-of-nowhere wilderness."

In the next scene from Iraq, the geologist displays stone tablets from ancient Mesopotamia. He makes the point that regardless of what hi-tech devices man has to protect his present-day cities and culture, they aren't guaranteed to be around millions of years from now. We soon learn the program's theme is; the survival of things built of or etched in stone.

Etched in stone...I think the same thing can be said about our fondest memories. Of course, not everyone has the gift of recall. That's where cameras on cell-phones, computers or even rustic implements like pen and paper come in handy. Personally, even though I have earned such nicknames as: Instant Recall Edelblum, The Incredible Edelsteen and The Storehouse of Useless Information, I diluted myself into believing that the good old days would never end so I took the finer details of my youth for granted. Therefore, much more greatness wasn't chronicled and was lost in the shuffle of growing-up.

That is what I like about FACEBOOK. Facebook is a free social-networking computer site that has countless uses. Most people use it to keep in touch on a daily basis with friends, share photos and videos or to make new friends, play games, join clubs etc.

At first, because I'm NOT a joiner, I resisted Facebook. Then because of stiff per group pressure put on me by: PCSHMEE and SUEB, I signed on because I realized its global and eternal scope. I saw what it had to offer and participated on a superficial level, (actually, if you can keep a secret, I only saw Facebook as another way to advertise this blog).

Facebook's application process includes, current address, age, hometown and schooling. From that information, a computer search reveals people you may know. You contact them. They are then given the option to respond or ignore and vice-versa. So when I finished applying, in no time there was a flood of people I had some link with, "writing on my wall." I saw the worldwide potential in this and likened it to "INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS..." Who will be the last computer person on the planet NOT on Facebook.

On the second day, I struck Facebook GOLD; a great friend, HJ, from my childhood (he moved away when we were 14), found me.

Like a distance runner's high, I get a writer's high from researching my blogs, telling stories and entertaining my readership. What gives me greater pleasure, is the response I get from you, my audience but Facebook has brought me an even better source of happiness. HJ not only appreciates my writing but responds in kind. He is like the geologist pointing to dinosaur bones in the rock and giving me new prospectives to sealed periods in my life. Imagine finding out additional information to special events in your past. Like HJ remembering my two-foot high rubber ( about the Stone-Age...) blow-up wading pool...very chic for 1959. He knew it was turquoise in color and shaped like a smiling whale, (see, back in that period a million years ago, I lived underwater).

HJ and I have been exchanging loads of free childhood associations for less than a week and let me tell you something; I CAN'T REMEMBER EVER LOSING SO MUCH SLEEP OVER SOMETHING SO PURELY POSITIVE.

I wish I could see the look on HJ's face when I tell him I remember him going to nursery school in the miniature yellow school bus. Or how I raced down the block when I found out that he had returned from CAMP-LENNIE-LENAPE.

If you read everything I ever wrote, you would have noticed that the musical instrument, the glockenspiel has come up several times, well, it was HJ that taught me what it was.

It seems I don't even have to strain my brain to find new fossils from our past. I wonder if HJ remembers the "Rocky Affair." (editor's note, the term "affair" in titles is a "MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. " reference).
Rocky was an older kid on my street. One afternoon my friends and I were playing "Triangle" (also called "Slap-Ball,") when Rocky staggered from his house, fell and went into convulsions on his front lawn. We were about 12 and were laughing because we had no idea he was "tripping" on acid. Then a neighbor, a real yente named "Big Rozie" shooed us away. (Big Rozie should not be confused with regular-sized Rozie or Rosalynd the lady around the corner with Muffin, "the deranged poodle.)"

Speaking of Big Rozie, she had two Sissy-Mary sons who rarely left their house. I guess because her boys were self-ostracized, she resented the other kids on the block. This was proven another time when we were playing softball in the street and my grounder got between the fielders. In the far reaches of our outfield, (twenty-feet behind the man-hole cover we called second base), Rozie was getting in her car. As she plopped into the seat, she dropped her keys. When she bent down to pick them up, the ball hit the keys and ricocheted up, into her face. I don't know why we ran, but we did. What's even harder to understand is; why she didn't see it as a million-to-one freak accident (she wasn't disfigured but trust me even if she was it would have had to have been an improvement). Yet, she kept the ball and made a federal case out of it to our parents.

HJ had great board games like "COMBAT" from the TV show and a huge toy aircraft carrier called "WALTZING MATILDA." In fact his house was our group's Friday night hang-out for years. He had color TV with a remote control! Back then few families had color TV and nobody had remote controls. I hope HJ remembers this because across from my house, another kid's mother had her own version of remote control, she would call her son up from the basement when we were playing, to manually change her channels!

Across from HJ's house, (I think we were ten), a few of us were shooting the breeze when we found a near-empty pint-sized whiskey bottle. We were trying to figure out what to do with the last few drops when a stray cat attached itself to us. Somebody got the idea of feeding some alcohol to the cat. The cat licked the bottle's opening as we tried to spill some in its mouth. Something spooked the cat and it jerked its head and a liquor droplet got in its eye...the cat freaked-out and ran away. We threw the bottle down the sewer.

HJ's oldest brother was about 17 when we were 14. He was reading an Archie comic book when HJ and I came in their house. On the book's cover, Jughead was wearing a sweatshirt with the number 68 on it. I remarked to the brother, something to the effect of: "That's pretty cool the way they make you think of "69" without having to use it." Even though I wasn't specifically sure what 69 meant, I could tell from the look on the brother's face that I educated a big kid.

The History Channel documentary ended with the geologist pointing to the scallop fossil and saying: A million years from now this fossil might be floating through the universe orbiting planet Xenon and perhaps it can help another civilization figure out what happened to ours. Hopefully, my new E-Relationship (thanks to Facebook) with HJ won't veer off into space and get forgotten for another million years, (actually 39 years).


Register for Facebook today. Strike the gold that only old friends can provide and try to figure out how you let your best memories slip away.

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