A spanner wrench was thrown into the works. No, that’s too mild - Paul Bunyan’s axe hurled at a delicate Swiss timepiece, destroying it utterly. Usually this particular day has a schedule: daughter works, I pick her up, supper, take her to choir, then off to Traders Joe / Infinite Intoxicants / Target and-or Cub. But today she had a music lesson, and that meant getting supper somewhere around Southdale, then taking her to music while I did Traders Joe, then picking her up and taking her to choir, after which I would do Cub.

Man, everything was just chaos. We’re talking primordial soup here, proto-elements banging around looking for bonds.

Before we left, she said: you know, I’d rather spend all my time on this essay that’s due, instead of choir practice; is that okay?

"Sure. But why are we going to eat early, then? Why not afterwards?"

Early is good.

"What am I, an old man with lobes down to my shoulders? It’s 5:30."

Five o’clock is when you should start to think about dinner. Six is a good time. We eat at 7 now to accommodate my wife’s schedule, and I like that; feels Continental. In college I ate at 5:30, because it was the earliest acceptable time, and I could take up a booth at the Valli before dinner rush.

If it’s dinner rush you don’t want to take a four-top all by yourself. Your waiter hates you. Even more if you get out a got-danged journal after you’re done and start writing, because that really says the table isn't going to turn over soon.

“This throws the expedition to Cub into a cocked hat,” I said, carefully enunciating cocked hat, because it’s a signal I am not being entirely serious, which is a way of masking the essential seriousness without taking responsibility for it.

You said you wanted to shake things up. Well here you are. If you don’t do errands the world will not tilt on its axis.

“The world already tilts on its axis.”

I KNOW. You know what I mean.

“I do, but if the world tilted more on its axis, it would affect its rotation. Satellites would be repostioned. We’d lose the GPS network.”

Oh my god

“I’m just saying I think I would notice that the world had tilted on its axis, and would feel responsible.”

You’re saying this to avoid the issue.

“Oh, absolutely.”

So we went to Panera for turkey chili and sandwiches, and I looked at my meal and realized it’s exactly what I have been having for lunch this week. Except no, today was Wednesday, and that meant Lobby Pizza! It was delicious, except there had been an amusing issue. I’d secured a knife and fork (SHUT UP. JUST - DON’T) to eat the pizza, and twixt the pizzeria and the office (seriously, don’t. I am usually writing or at least scrolling when I eat, and I don’t want grease on the keys) the fork had fallen out of my pocket. So I scoured the office for a plastic fork. One week there will be 700 in a drawer; the next week, none. I found a collection of sporks upstairs in the main dining area. So I committed the sin of eating a slice of pizza with a spork.

During dinner Daughter got texts from her teacher - there had been a miscommunication, the time was wrong, there wouldn’t be music lesson. So everything was askew, and there had been no reason not to have dinner at home as a family, with Mom.

I shrugged: adapt, adopt, improve. Whatever. But I do have to go to Traders Joe. Daughter said I could drop her off at the gym afterwards and go to Cub, so it wasn’t a total loss.

What did I get? The things I always get. The lunch items for daughter, the snack items for Wife, some chicken sausages for a pasta dinner in the far-flung future. Ensuring everyone has what everyone needs when they want it.

“How’s your evening going?” the clerk asked as we checked out.

“Our plans were throw into a cocked hat.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said.

On the way home Daughter became overwhelmed with fatigue and said she didn’t want to go to the gym, but of course I could still go to Cub.

“Not tonight,” I said. “I really don’t have to.”

See? SEE? You don’t have to. You can break out of your flippin' routine.

Part of me wants to start going to Cub on Thursday evening, as a new tradition. I love Thursdays. It may be my favorite day.

Everyone loves Thursdays. Everything’s about to be possible.

his week's feature is "The Friendliest Corner," where people ask for pen pals. "Miss Morris," who did not exist, was the go-between. You wrote to the others through the magazine.

Erhm. Uh -

Miss Morris seems unconcerned with what Wagner's up to, doesn't she? GO AHEAD BOYS. And what are boys doing reading this magazine, anyway? It's all about mushy stuff.

You wonder whether Stelle was dropping hints here:

If your letter didn't get printed, your name might get dumped in the pile of supplicants at the end of the column.

Smiling Gert, Canada. Wonder if she got a letter from Glad Girl, Canada. If they didn't write to each other, well, they only had themselves to blame.





What did they used to make? That's the question I always ask. What was it, once?


Historically, it was referred to as the "Pottery Capital of the World" due to the large number of potteries in the city;[ due to changes in the industry, only three remain in the area

Motto: "City of Action." Eleven thousand souls.

When you see something like . . .

. . . you figure that there was a fire. Right? Some calamity took the building but spared the tower, and it stands to this day as a momument.


Originally, the school was located on East 4th Street. This building included a clock tower. Unfortunately, after moving, the school and tower were torn down. A new clock tower and a small adjoining building have since been built on this site. The building houses the East Liverpool High School Alumni Association.

Seems like an awful lot of tower.

It's on the Historic Register, but fat lot of good that seems to do.

If you can't read the carving over the door, it says YMCA. Built in 1913.

Symbols of past prosperity are everywhere. The population peaked at about 25L as late as 1970, but downtown's glories, as usual, were built in the first third of te 20th century.


It wasn't always a museum, of course. It was the Post Ofice, built in 1909. It's a unique design; corner entrances weren't that popular. It's like they wanted to build in a choke-point in case the locals got restless and decided to storm all public buildings.

A ghost ad. The whole wall was covered. I've deduded that the big word is MOORE'S.

Annnnd here's how I deduced it!

The building was originally called "The Emporium." The second-story details are still intact, but it was stupidly scoured on the ground floor, and the windows were given those preposterous shrouds. At the time of this picture, it was a night club.

A pristine Beaux-Art building, ruinated for your legal convenience:

I know that doesn't mean anything, but neither does this.

What kind of clothing? Werelads?

It looks as if it was revealed when something next door went down. Signs don't stay that fresh when lashed by the elements for 60 years.

A handsome upper story, and an empty and bereft first floor:

Looks like a late-30s, early-40s renovation. It's always sad when the facade falls off and you see old, rotten boards. No one cares, it what that says.

Can't quite figure out the bricks on the right side - they're part of the structure, but were they meant to tie it to a building that was once next door?


Trees! That'll bring downtown back. Trees.

The empty boxes held letters, of course - and something about this suggests that the trees went in when the letters had been gone for some time. No store owner would want his sign obscured like this.

Another late-30s/ early-40s renovation:

The glass (or Vitrolite) panels have fallen off, leaving exposed the daubs of glue. Someone's handiwork. Wonder if he was around to see them in the light of day again.


The upper story in so many small towns is another world, a quiet one, an old one, divorced from the bustle and styles of the day . . .

. . . and this division persists long after the bustle subsides for good.

Finally, a bit of Buckaroo Revival: shingles SHINGLES instead of the big broad windows.

Easy terms at Crook's! It's the building in the picture with the missing letters.

You can see what's inside the Crook Building here. It's like going to Pompeii.

More next week; it's a two-entry town.

A couple cafes below. See you tomorrow, unless the plans are thrown into a spanner wrench.


blog comments powered by Disqus