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test-traveler/polar star

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salt water solution
polar star
miracle manor
woodstock nation
63 frozen sirloins
cleansing the senses
main street

© photo by Dona McAdams 2000

scene 8

63 frozen sirloins

Another U.S. astronaut went into space, civil rights activists demonstrated in Washington, a Buddhist monk immolated himself in Vietnam, Sandy Koufax (the pride of American Jews) and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series and Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped and released. I accompanied dad to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and grandma to the psychiatric clinic to hear the resident on-duty pronounce mom a paranoid schizophrenic.

Tito visisted the White House, another Cosmos was launched by the Russians, John F. Kennedy was assasinated and my parents slept at an alcohol detox center and psychiatric ward respectively. I cooked TV dinners and vacumned the golden shag carpet watching it change colors.

"Lawrence of Arabia" won the Oscar for best picture. Edith Piaf died and when dad sobered up he would arrive at weird hours in a stained white lab coat carrying two bags of frozen sirloin steaks. He couldn't enter the apartment because of a restraining order. What was a "restraining order?" He left the steaks at the door. It was fun sliding the frozen New York sirloins down the hallway across the linoleum kitchen floor to the refrigerator and packing them in the freezer.

My brother was hanging out with "White Panthers" stoking socialist fervor in East Harlem, the South Bronx and Yorkville, organizing free breakfast programs for the poor by stealing from bread delivery trucks. Patty Duke won an Oscar for "The Miracle Worker and my little sister was always safe on my watch.

The day we were evicted from our apartment was spectacular: huge  refrigerator size boxes like the ones I played with in the parking lot littered the living room like Stonehenge monoliths.

Sympathetic eviction workers looked apologetically in my big brown eyes as they packed everything up: my New York Knick paraphenalia, Police Athletic League trophies, Encyclopedia Britanica and Year Books. I grabbed the latest Year Book and wouldn't let go. My brother wouldn't give up his copy of Mao's 'Little Red Book." Dad didn't get sober and stayed with grandma in Brooklyn and ma moved into a metropolitan area mental institution.

Aunt Shirley and Uncle Jerry took my sister to live with them on Long Island. Barbara Streisand was a Broadway star at 21. Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream," and Miles Davis released "Seven Steps to Heaven."

1963: Willy Brandt was re-elected mayor of West Berlin and 'The Tunnel', an NBC documentary depicting an escape from East Berlin was the number one television show in the United States.

My therapist once asked how much my childhood and parent's divorce had influenced my life. I said, "No more than World War II influenced Berlin."

So I set my sights on Berlin.



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