People are fond of proclaiming their precise location for each pivotal moment gone by.  “I remember EXACTLY where I was,” they’ll exclaim, as if the disclosure itself is history-making. Enough already.

Don’t get me wrong! With an engineer’s accuracy I could well cite my whereabouts for most seminal events, from November 22, 1963 to March 12, 1987 to, of course, September 11, a decade ago. I choose not to, however. I’ll dwell, rather, on better times.

Ask me where I was when The Jersey Girl said she’d marry me—I can tell you. It was the den of her parents’ home in Passaic, and yes, I was thrilled. The engagement, as it played out, didn’t take, and so….ask me next where we were months later, as SHE proposed to me. I recall that too; we were leaving the movies after seeing the animated feature “Fritz The Cat”.

Wonder where I sat when her water broke with Michael? It was a Thursday morning and I was in the office. Ran uptown to get her and we shot back to the hospital. Missed lodge that night, but it was well worth it. My boy arrived at 12:37 AM.

It’s moments like these I prefer revisiting.

Like where I was each time news broke that one of the kids was in love. At a horse show for Jamie’s call, in a car for Stacy’s and… outside a meeting when I learned of Michael. (Come to think of it, it wasn’t he that phoned; his sib did. “Just so you know,” she related, “Michael’s getting serious.”)

Each was a Kodak moment.

I met Harriet at 20 East 14 and her kids on Napoleon (off Broad). At street’s end stood the old Kahiki Restaurant, host to elite Polynesian dining.

Memories…positive memories….first meetings…from glory days in Franklin County to grownup times in Cuyahoga:

I met Marilyn at Roma’s Pizza, the in-laws at The Clarmont Steakhouse and Margie at Suburban Steakhouse.

And met Susan on the fourth floor of the old Mott Building, Lana at Lutheran East High School, and Alice in Fairmount Temple.

It’s the upbeat times that live longest in my heart and I’m not alone.

Ask Walt what was so memorable about the Bucks’ ’69 OSU home opener. Or ask Wieder. After all, it was a laugher ((62-0). They’ll share, though, with precision, how on the very first play from scrimmage Kern hit Jankowski down to the TCU seven, but the play was called back—yet how Woody then, on the very next snap, had Kern throw again—same pattern. 58 yards…Touchdown! Then inquire where they sat. They’ll know. 50 yard line, C deck: a mental postcard unfaded by time.

I’ve learned that whatever I focus on grows. Focus on negative—it gets worse. Focus positive—I feel better!

By the way, I’m sensing a trend here. Why are valued memories so often lodged in restaurants or sporting venues?

Like the seats for the ’63 Major League Allstar Game, in Cleveland. H and I sat with our Dad out in left field, first row, over the Pesta Pickles sign. Or our seats (Wied and me) for the ‘64 NFL Championship (first row, 40, Colts’ side)….and why is it I remember other seemingly incidental venues?

Like watching the ’69 Rose Bowl with Stuart at Henry Katz’s place on Van Aken….and eyeing the moon landing with Longert and her parents on East Antisdale…or, this millennium, not moving my rear end from Matthew Friedman’s kitchen table for the four-plus hours of that divine Fiesta Bowl…

And so it is that this weekend, people will not be wrong recounting their whereabouts on 9/11. But I won’t.

I’ll think rather of where I stood that morning, just ten months ago, when Michael called—that water’d broke (Rocky River Middle School). And dwell too of where I dined (Burgers N Beer, Willoughby) that very evening when word of Max’s arrival came.

Not because I’m socially or politically unaware, or uncaring. But because this is me, and what I do. I focus on the smiles.

…Which reminds me, I suppose, of a story someone told me a few years after my divorce, as I eased back into the dating world. It had to do with how you could tell if the person you were seeing was age-appropriate. It seems some guy asked his date “So, where were you when you heard Kennedy was shot?” And she answered in dismay: “Ted Kennedy got shot?”

I choose to remember the happy days, (and not, by the way, Mr. Gonze’s eighth grade typing class).

12 Responses to “HAPPY DAYS”

  1. Aunt Helen says:

    Who is Harriet?

  2. m says:

    absolutely love this post

  3. JS says:

    I’m shocked u remember me

  4. Up From Dysfunction says:

    JS, of course i remember you. who are you?

  5. jamie says:

    Great post. I love that you remember when each of us fell in love.

  6. Albert Einstein says:

    If I remember correctly, wasn’t there a third person who helped you/Wied win tickets for the ’64 championship game. How come you didn’t mention him?

  7. Aunt Helen says:

    Albert, you are correct. My nephew Raymond helped Robert and Wied win tickets. Unfortunately, they only won 2 tickets. It was no surprise to me that Robert went to the game with his friend, and not his younger brother.

  8. Editor says:

    Albert, Aunt Helen, your memories are selective.

    BY WAY OF BACKGROUND: Hal Bogart was sitting at the dining room table with Alan and Bruce from the time the effort began (mid-evening), through the time Mrs. (then) Bogart went to sleep, to the end of the project. Phase I of the project concluded when Alan got his father’s rubber stamp which was used to stamp the name on each of the entries. Phase II was the trip downtown to deliver the entries, (at which time the boys saw Mia Farrow in the KYW lobby).

    We must, however, give the devil his due. Your memories overlooked one more helpful person: Dick Lomaz. Living up the street, he readily came over close to 11 PM when we called for more help. He stayed the course of the operation.

    Finally, Aunt Helen…did you know that your nephew saw the game anyway, from New Philadelphia, Ohio?

    Don’t cry for him, Aunt Helunia.

  9. Aunt Helen says:

    One last comment for you Robert:

    There is a huge difference between watching a football game on a black/white TV in the lobby of a hotel in New Philadelphia and watching a game with 80,000 rabid Browns fans in Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

  10. m says:

    Robert may have gone to the game with Wied but, as for leaving Raymond behind, well, Robert has been paying for this deed ever since!

  11. Editor says:

    Aunt Helen, How bad could it be? Forty-seven years after the game you’re still watching a black/white TV.

  12. Aunt Helen says:

    That was uncalled for and incorrect. You know Ma and I purchased a new television set when Lawrence Welk started broadcasting in color.

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