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Another Trip Down Memory Lane

Another Trip Down Memory Lane

Sunday morning I awoke earlier than necessary.  My mind was seized with memories sixty years old.  I rummaged through the sock drawer of my dresser.  Opening a small plastic casing (left over from the gift of a pocket watch) I fingered through the jumble of mementoes of long ago... until I spotted the pin which would be the touchstone for the day.  It's a Cub Scout Bobcat pin.  My mother pinned it on the breast pocket of my uniform in the spring of 1942 in the parlor of the parish house of First Congregational Church, Stamford, Connecticut.

    Barbara and I drove there, arriving in time for the Sunday worship.  You can read all about that experience under Reviews. During the Hospitality Hour (coffee by any other name will taste the same) I easily persuaded a most congenial guide to First Church's splendors, one Al Herbert (pronounced "A-bear"), to take a picture of me holding my ancient Bobcat pin in more or less the same spot my mother pinned it to my shirt sixty-one years ago. 

    Funny thing about this dropping in on scenes of ancient triumphs: I usually know more about the history than those presently involved.  I explained to nonplussed greeters that the church's address, Walton Place, derives from a former pastor, Grant Walton, 1917-1931, when the church structure was built at its present location.  I knew Grant Walton in Brooklyn when he, one of the patriarch's of the Borough of Churches, pastored Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church.  I also remembered what only Mr Siladi, he of the drugstore family where my friends and I regularly bought vanilla milkshakes, also remembered, that the Boy Scout Troop at First Church was No. 1, and the neckerchiefs were bright red.  But I was the only person who could name the Cubmaster in 1942, Tommy Blodgett, just a few years older than a Cub himself, in a time when all the young men were off to boot camp to get ready to fight the Nazis and the Japs. 

To tell the truth, we didn't have a Cub Pack worth bragging about.  Mostly I remember running wildly around the church basement on a dirt floor.  That anarchy stopped when one of the Cubs lost his two front teeth in a sudden meeting with a Lally column during a frantic game of tag.  Al Hebert took me to that hall.  The dirt floor had been cemented and tiled.  The Lally columns have been partially hidden with plasterboard walls.  But the exit to the backyard was just as I pictured it in my memory. No Cub Pack nowadays, but the Thrift Shop is opened every Thursday. 

    Sic transit gloria mundi.

    We drove to the next town looking for a seaside seafood restaurant where we celebrated Barbara's parents' fortieth wedding anniversary.  We couldn't find it.  So we headed north and arrived at another site of several memories, The Red Barn.  Brunch was delicious, if a little pricey.  The proprietor and I swapped stories about sports celebrities we have known.  He named Bobby Valentine as one of the slickest half backs he never was able to tackle on the gridiron.  I called to mind Andy Robustelli who was a giant oak on the hardwood court at the Knights of Columbus, and I dared not try to drive around him to the basket.  We commiserated about knees and agreed that glucosamine sulfate might help.

    On the drive home my co-pilot napped, awaking as the station wagon slowed at the highway exit.  She smiled and remarked, "Now that was a short trip."  Sure.

    But a memorable one of memories.




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