Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The third floor of our house in Beacon, N.Y. was the attic. Like the rest of the house and three other nearby houses it was primarily built by my grandfather. This was before the advent of building codes. My memory(not always trustworthy)says that he built the house from the remnants of an old train station which would explain why the lamp in my bedroom flashed intermittent red lights and made a ringing bell sound every now and then. The attic was a mysterious and dangerous place because who knew what was stored up there?. It was dangerous because they must have run out of lumber because their were gaps in the floor boards. One time during one of our exploring adventures my brother's leg went through the kitchen ceiling. We got blamed by my mother--misplaced blame we thought. How about the grandpa we never knew? But "Pa" was without flaw in my mother's eyes. She had a look in her eye when she talked about him that every father would would hope for. After all he and my grandmother brought up eight children during the great depression. So what if he had to build houses out of old lumber and my grandmother made bath tub whiskey(that pa drank a little too much of) during prohibition and sold it to the neighborhood bars. There wasn't much time for much of anything except surviving which made our discovery of an old beat up trophy with the inscription "Miss Danbury" engraved on the front all the more surprising. We dusted it off and brought it down to show our mother. We were puzzled to say the least. There had to be a good story behind it. My mother, in a matter of fact voice said, "Oh that. I was Miss Danbury,Ct. when I was seventeen." With all the tact of young boys we laughed until she got annoyed. She brought out a picture of a gorgeous young lady with rosy cheeks in a blue dress holding a trophy-this trophy that we now held. You would think that she would have mentioned this. We only saw a rather large woman who wore either a white uniform or one of a couple of voluminous house dresses. We didn't know this beautiful young lady. Now I think how wonderful that she did have a moment that wasn't all about survival--about having enough to eat and a place to sleep. May we all have such a moment--in fact many moments of profound beauty. Imagine answering a knock on your door and someone hands you a silver trophy testifying that you have brought beauty into the world. A beauty that will never become covered in dust or tarnished by time-imagine.