It was seven years ago this summer that my family and I moved to the suburbs. We left the city for the typical reasons. My wife and I decided we needed more space. We thought the boys should have a backyard. And we had no intention of drinking past 10.
In many ways, we’ve adapted very nicely to the suburbs. The boys play in the backyard. My wife loves planting and killing flowers. I’m happy to have a driveway.
Yes, despite my casual complaints and periodic yearnings for the city, I think moving to the suburbs has worked out for my family and I. I’d even say we’ve adapted nicely. We appreciate the hum of crickets, bunnies running around freely, and the thrill of the UPS delivery.
It was the first day of March in 1978. The bell rang and a bunch of excited screaming kids hurried out to the school yard. This normally meant baseball, football, jump rope, hopscotch and the like. But this day was different at Joseph J. Greenberg elementary school in Northeast Philadelphia. A phenomenon swept the recess grounds. Each of us kids was quoting our favorite television show by saying “na-nu na-nu” and sticking out their hand in an odd manner. These were truly Happy Days.
I remember this scene vividly. It has reappeared in mind after Robin Williams’ passing earlier this week. I enjoyed many of Robin Williams’ movies and count ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ as one of my favorites. I was moved by ‘Good Morning Vietnam.’ However, it is this scene from my elementary school that I recall as the truest testament of the power that Robin Williams possessed
My children through time.
You always end up making extra spaghetti – right? Luckily, spaghetti is one of the all-time great leftover foods. I have been known to eat cold spaghetti a day or even two after it was originally served. Yes, spaghetti can be saved in order to be eaten later.
You ever have a topic seemingly just keep popping up? It’s as if G-d or fate is tapping you on the shoulder and imploring you to listen. Well, that’s what happened for me with the movie Boyhood. First, a buddy of mine brought it up and asked me if wanted to see it. A few days later I saw a review on the How To Be A Dad site. A few days after reading the review, my brother and sister-in-law mentioned Boyhood and praised the movie greatly.
So, this past weekend I actually saw the Richard Linklater movie. For the uninitiated, Boyhood takes place over 12 years and follows a boy, Mason, from the time he is in kindergarten till the age of 18 and his first day in his college dorm. The boy is now a man. It literally took 12 years for Linklater to make the movie as he filmed for a few days over each of those 12 years.
Patricia Arquette stars as the mother of Mason and his sister Samantha. Ethan Hawke is her estranged husband. Arquette goes through some turbulent times as she suffers through two marriages to drunken men. She does grow tremendously professionally and becomes a college professor. Hawke goes from a shiftless guy who means well to a responsible man with a new wife and child. However, the focus of Boyhood is the children and Mason in particular. The audience learns about him through snippets of his life and sees him grow into adulthood.
“So, what do you think?” SL asked.
“It’s nice,” I replied.
“So, you think you want one?”
“Nah, not for me.”
“Just not interested.”
“It’s not like it hurt much.”
“That’s good, but still not interested.”
SL, one of my best friends at the time was nearly incredulous by my blasé attitude towards his first tattoo. After all, we were 19 (or thereabouts) when this conversation (or some semblance of it) occurred. He probably looked at the tattoo as a statement, a declaration of independence. He always wanted to push the envelope.