Young Ken Mannion took Uncle Merlin and me out for breakfast this morning at one of our favorite roadside eateries. I ordered the Roadside Omelet which almost looked too good to eat. Almost. Eveready Diner. Hyde Park, New York. Monday. February 25, 2013.
Had a burger at the diner. But not an Alex Burger. Much as I would have liked winning a t-shirt, I could tell at a glance I was overmatched. Two pounds! Deep-fried bacon! I give! I give! Menu item. Broadway Lights Diner. Kingston, New York. Friday night. April 19, 2013.
Stopped in on the drive to Syracuse to order a sandwich for the road. Turkey and Roast Beef Combo on Rye with Russian and cole slaw, macaroni salad on the side. Gershon's. Schenectady, New York. Around five-thirty this afternoon. Tuesday. April 9, 2013.
Not exactly a spring-like morning here in Mannionville. 36 degrees and it’s not supposed to get much over 40. But it’s the fourth day in a row with sunshine. The snow from early in the week hasn’t melted away, but there are patches of grass here and there, and there’s nothing heavy predicted. Over in Massachusetts, though, things haven’t been near as mild. Winter just won’t give up. A friend of Uncle Merlin who lives on Cape Cod sent along this photo from yesterday morning. Orleans, MA. Friday. March 22, 2013.
Thursday. March 21, 2013. Nyack, NY. Front hall of the Edward Hopper House. On the right hand wall are a series of photographs by Charles Sternaimolo laying out side by side many of Hopper’s paintings with the scenes and places depicted in them as they look today. Click on the photo to see some examples.
Took Young Ken down to Nyack yesterday so he could visit the Edward Hopper House to do some research for a project for his art class. Hopper was born in the house and grew up there and he visited on and off all his life, but it was really his parents’ and then his sister’s home. Interesting and informative visit but a bit disappointing. Wasn’t expecting to see any of Hopper’s major works there, but I thought they’d have some paintings by him, and they do, but they’re upstairs in rooms that are rented out as studios and none of the artists currently renting them were there to give us permission to look in. We did get to see the upstairs bathroom, though, which hasn’t been remodeled. It’s as Hopper would have always known it. The volunteer showing us around says she’s always amazed when she looks at the cast-iron bathtub. She wonders how he fit. It doesn’t look long enough. Hopper, it turns out, was six-four, a fact that impressed Young Ken, who is only six-three and a half. Never thought about Hopper’s height before but now that I know I can see it in his photos. He was a big-boned, rangy-looking guy.
This is the bike of a tall man.
So no paintings by Hopper but almost as good were the ghosts of some of his paintings. He sometimes used parts of the house itself as inspiration and background. Click on the photos to see the paintings they found their way into. Right click to see the photos themselves enlarged.
This is a corner of the front porch.
Here’s the view down the stairway to the front hall.
This fireplace is in what is now the office.
And this place isn’t part of the house, it’s up the street a few blocks.
So that was cool. And although we didn’t get to look at any of Hopper’s paintings, there were some drawings and family photographs about and there were paintings by other artists. Two downstairs rooms are used as a gallery and paintings by three contemporary abstract artists were on display. Ken particularly liked the work of Robert Straight and decided on the spot to switch his paper topic from Hopper to Straight.
Hope those of you in the path of the storm are ok. Looks like the worst of it passed us by. But not too far to our east they got socked. Two feet North of Boston, with more on the way, Uncle Merlin reports. He sent along this picture. Melrose, Massachusetts. Saturday morning. February 9, 2013.
Sunday. December 2, 2012. Around 10 this morning. Out Christmas Tree hunting. The tree farm is surrounded by woods. Warm day, no hard snow held me. No snow at all. But the view was all in lines, straight up and down of tall slim trees and it put me in mind of this poem, The Woodpile, one of my favorites by Robert Frost.
Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day, I paused and said, 'I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther—and we shall see.' The hard snow held me, save where now and then One foot went through. The view was all in lines Straight up and down of tall slim trees Too much alike to mark or name a place by So as to say for certain I was here Or somewhere else: I was just far from home. A small bird flew before me. He was careful To put a tree between us when he lighted, And say no word to tell me who he was Who was so foolish as to think what he thought. He thought that I was after him for a feather— The white one in his tail; like one who takes Everything said as personal to himself. One flight out sideways would have undeceived him. And then there was a pile of wood for which I forgot him and let his little fear Carry him off the way I might have gone, Without so much as wishing him good-night. He went behind it to make his last stand. It was a cord of maple, cut and split And piled—and measured, four by four by eight. And not another like it could I see. No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it. And it was older sure than this year's cutting, Or even last year's or the year's before. The wood was gray and the bark warping off it And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle. What held it though on one side was a tree Still growing, and on one a stake and prop, These latter about to fall. I thought that only Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks Could so forget his handiwork on which He spent himself, the labor of his ax, And leave it there far from a useful fireplace To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay.
Note the California plates. And the skis. And the surfboard. You can’t see it here, but the decal in the back window is for a tattoo parlor. Snow, surf, ink. All things that go better with Coca-Cola. Outside Starbucks. King of Prussia, PA. Saturday morning, November 24, 2012.
Yesterday it was pizza on Revere Beach. Tonight he’s taunting us from the Cape. Another virtual meal. Striped bass season opened today. Uncle Merlin reports that the guy he bought tonight’s dinner from was up until midnight last night cutting up the day’s catch, all 17 thousand pounds of it. Chatham, Massachusetts. Friday evening. July 13, 2012.
Virtual lunch. He’s taunting me. Sent this via his cell. I had a tuna fish sandwich. But I had a great view of…my tuna fish sandwich. Pizza from Bianchi’s. Revere Beach, MA. Around two in the afternoon. Thursday. July 12, 2012.