Back in the early '50s Jack Golab had his jewelry
store on West Main Street in Meriden, Connecticut, just a few doors up from the
Palace Theater and across the street from the establishment owned by the father
of my friend Paul, Wiese’s Butter and Egg Shop. Not far above Wiese’s there was
a record emporium where I bought my LP records, and between them there was, and
still is, the silver diner where I learned to love English muffins with bacon
and eggs over easy. So this was a hub of my high school life, and that may be
why I patronized Golab’s Jewelers exclusively.
I gave Jack a fair amount of
business. I worked downtown after school and on weekends at Kresge’s Five and
Dime where I was a busboy making, at first, forty-five cents an hour, and later
on ten cents more. With the overtime Kresge’s paid me under the table (as a
schoolboy I wasn’t supposed to work more than — I think it was twenty hours a
week), I had enough to carry on a rather heavy dating schedule with the maidens
of Meriden High to whom I tended to give, as my token of undying love, an ankle
bracelet with her name (and perhaps mine) engraved on it.
But then came the days after
high school when I went to sea and left behind my true love, Jean Houdlette,
daughter of my seventh-grade shop teacher. When the time came, of course, I had
to upgrade somewhat from an ankle bracelet, so I went to Jack Golab’s and asked
to buy the best ring in the store that a sailor could afford.
I was a senior at Meriden High School, Meriden, Connecticut, back in the early
‘fifties, it was my belief that every citizen of the United States had the
right to decent health care. When I graduated from high school in 1952 and
joined the Navy in order to qualify for the G. I. Bill, I discovered that only
members of the military, and other government agencies, had access to
comprehensive and affordable health care.
years later, during which most of the rest of the Western world has instituted
national health care systems, including our neighbor to the North, Canada,
America has at last been decent enough to enact health care for all its
citizens. Now that we have joined the civilized world at last, I wish to offer
this toast to us all:
And while you sleep, dream.Dream of the south wind
needling you awake
with slivers of woods:
birch and pine, maple that sweetens in shade;
oak on the white hillside.Dream, if you can,
of gray moles, brown mice, winter's
blown to silence.Dream no longer of snow,
for time and flesh shall do more than wind can
to blend your words with woodwinds and woodshorns.
There will be tonics.It's time for shades now.
Forest of My Seasons" appeared originally in The Northwest Review, iv:3, 1961 and was gathered in Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems 1959-2007, www.StarCloudPress.com, 2007, ISBN 978-1-932842-19-5, jacketed cloth, $49.95; ISBN
978-1-932842-20-3, trade paperback, $32.95, 640 pages. ORDER FROMAMAZON.COM
The Virginia Quarterly Review "The Mutable Past," a memoir collected in FANTASEERS, A BOOK OF MEMORIES by Lewis Turco of growing up in the 1950s in Meriden, Connecticut, (Scotsdale AZ: Star Cloud Press, 2005).
The Tower Journal Two short stories, "The Demon in the Tree" and "The Substitute Wife," in the spring 2009 issue of Tower Journal.
The Tower Journal Memoir, “Pookah, The Greatest Cat in the History of the World,” Spring-Summer 2010.
The Michigan Quarterly Review This is the first terzanelle ever published, in "The Michigan Quarterly Review" in 1965. It has been gathered in THE COLLECTED LYRICS OF LEWIS TURCO/WESLI COURT, 1953-2004 (www.StarCloudPress.com).
The Gawain Poet An essay on the putative medieval author of "Gawain and the Green Knight" in the summer 2010 issue of Per Contra.