YOU ARE THERE: 1973
“Forty years ago, the news media were filled with reports of a generation gap. Let’s be grateful that we’ve finally solved that problem.” – Karen Fingerman and Frank Furstenberg, op-ed, New York Times, 5/31/12.
Beachwood, Ohio, 1973
I live with my parents at the Mark IV, a high-rise apartment by the freeway.
I’m living with my parents at age 23! My life is so unexciting it couldn’t get published in a mortuary journal.
Chekhov said, “People do not go to the North Pole and fall off icebergs. They go to offices, quarrel with their wives and eat cabbage soup.”
I want to go to the North Pole.
My dad almost clobbered me because I didn’t want to save five dollars on traveler’s checks by comparison shopping at banks. “You aren’t a millionaire yet,” he said, scratching himself. He was wearing just underwear.
Tonight at a party — a parents’ party — Zoltan Rich, the Hungarian know-it-all, said, “The students protest for entirely selfish reasons. You know what the chief word is we’re missing — the key to the whole discussion? It’s obligation. Parents have abrogated their responsibility.”
It’s time to go.
A guy from Case Western Reserve said he might give me a ride out west tomorrow.
California or Mexico?
I won’t come back here for at least six months. My mother has a bridge game here tomorrow. If I’m within 100 feet of that game, I die.
Move along. Try the Rand McNally approach to self-discovery . . .
It’s 3 a.m. in Utah. I’m under a lamppost, “sleeping” in a sleeping bag. I hear deer. Or is it bears? I’m afraid of nature! I hear semis shifting.
I wonder if I like “freak” America. Deep down I’m straighter than a library science major. I could wind up back in Cleveland. You can go home again.
Or maybe I’ll settle out in California.
My dad says, “I’m sure you’ll be a success some day.”
At what? Whatever it is, I should do a good job of it. My father never says, “What are your plans? What do you see yourself doing in ten years?” That would be cruel.
My last month in Cleveland was a hell. But not a bad hell. My mother lined up dates for me. The dates were daughters of my mom’s friends. I took girls to bars and ordered 7&7s. That was my booze repertoire: 7&7s.
I got feedback about the dates from my mother through back channels. She picked up tidbits at bridge games. Some of the girls liked me, some didn’t. One girl thought I was “a little weird.”
She was weird. She had no business dragging me through her dad’s kangaroo court (his living room was plastered with World War II medals) for interrogation. What are my plans? What do I do?
What’s an apricot sour? That’s what I want to know. She ordered that.
I’m sitting on the dock of the bay in Bodega Bay, California. I’m eating squid. Or maybe it’s a big snail. I’m not sure. I’m at a marine lab. Wastin’ time? I don’t know yet.
Part of this post was on CoolCleveland.com, 10/12/11, called “Mom’s Dating Service.”
Yiddishe Cup plays a tribute to Mickey Katz 7 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 9, at Cain Park, Alma Theater, Cleveland Heights. For tickets: www.cainpark.com or 216-371-3000.