Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bright Spots on a Rainy Day

As we sit in the midst of the 6th consecutive day of rain in Southern California, The Ancient One decided to find some bright spots. Fortunately, he regularly takes pictures along the way on his morning walks and he found some flower images stored in his cell phone's memory.

So, here are a couple of bright spots to cheer up a rainy day:


Monday, December 6, 2010

Dave Brubeck is 90

Today is jazz great Dave Brubeck's 90th birthday and that brings back some wonderful memories for The Ancient One.  I first saw the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959 at  Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit.   What a night!   Brubeck was joined by Paul Desmond on Sax, Joe Morello on Drums and Eugene Wright on Bass. It was truly the way straight ahead jazz was meant to be heard; a small rather smoky little club. 51 years later The Anceint One has not forgotten.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Ancient One is Back on the Boards

Well, rehearsals have gone well and The Ancient One has begun to believe that he really is Grandpa Martin Vanderhof in Hart and Kaufman's Pulitzer Prize winning play, You Can't Take it With You. (YCTIWY) This production opens Friday at Manhattan Beach Community Church and will be there for 5 performances (October 15, 16, 17, 22 & 23). This character and play are so much fun. And it has been wonderful working as part of such a great ensemble cast.

Below is the official cast photo, thanks to the talents of photographer Stephan Cooper:

And, in a moment of blatant self-promotion, The Ancient One offers up another of Cooper's photos, taken during a dress rehearsal:

So, if you have some time and want to see the MBCC production of YCTIWY, you can make reservations by calling Nancye at (310) 379-3139. 

Remember that Grandpa says,  "Life is pretty simple if you just relax."  So come on out and relax. . .and laugh. . .and say hi to The Ancient One after the show.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting to be Grandpa Again

The Ancient One's season with Culver City Public Theatre (CCPT) ended last Saturday. Actually, the 2011 season in Carlson Park ended on Sunday, August 22 and was very successful. But the Popcorn Children's Theatre production of The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk was invited to do 2 performances last Saturday as part of the Long Beach Sea Festival and we had large, appreciative audiences at the Bixby Park Band Shell.

It was fun being The Old Man and serving as co-producer of the production. And Heidi Dotson wrote another amazing script with venerable old story being narrated by the cutest cow you ever did see.

But now it's on to a new production for The Ancient One. He has been cast once again as Grandpa Martin Vanderhof in the 1936 Pulitzer Prize winning play, You Can't Take It With You. It was great fun trying to bring this amazing character to life in the summer of 2009 for CCPT. Now he gets to be grandpa again and will be on stage to reprise the role at Manhattan Beach Community Church (MBCC) for 5 performances in October (15 ,16, 17, 22, 23). Thanks to that chance meeting with Director Alan Peterkofsky while walking through a shopping center in June. . .and his invitation to the auditions.

It's not often that an actor gets to play out the antics of a character as wonderful as grandpa. But to get to do it a 2nd time is pure joy. Rehearsals are going well and learning the lines seems easier this time. Being part of a wonderful cast helps too. I'll talk more about this later and I'm looking forward to seeing many familiar faces in the MBCC audiences come mid-October. Join us there!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Family Portrait (partial)

It's 3 weeks since neighbors Janette and Paul got married. A wonderful evening for 2 special people. And, of course, pictures were taken including this one of The Ancient One with wife Donna flanking offspring Seth and Alicia. (It would have been nicer if the Brooklyn branch of the family could have been in the photo with us.)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Voice and Memory From the Past

The Ancient One spends too much time on Facebook. But every now and then something happens that makes it all worthwhile. A few weeks ago I received a "friend request" from a woman who wondered if I was someone she knew many years ago when our families were friends and near neighbors. As soon as she mentioned her maiden name I knew who she was; I had not seen her or anyone in her family since some time before I left Detroit nearly 50 years ago. I accepted the friend request.

Earlier this week, my new old friend posted the following photo on Facebook:

When I saw the post, I gasped. I recognized it immediately. It was taken around 1943. It shows my mother, Martha Cohen (on the left) and her good friend Dorothy Masserman, in their Motor Corps uniforms. They were among a large group of women serving their country during World War II. With so many of the men away fighting in Europe and the Pacific front of the war, these women drove newly manufactured military vehicles from the automobile plant assembly lines to the railroad yards where they were shipped to military bases to be used by the troops.

The Ancient One was only about 5 years old when the picture was taken. But I clearly remember mom in her uniform. I am not sure who the photographer was but it might have been my father who was a photo buff and took a lot of pictures during that period, many of them of the Motor Corps women and troops who passed through the USO in Detroit.

Oh, what a memory. Thank you Sally.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Memories of Old Homes

The Ancient One has lived in many locales over his 6-dozen+ years. Born and raised in Detroit (MI), he spent 4 years in Chapel Hill (NC), followed by 7 in Albany (NY), then 9½ in Springfield (IL) and finally bringing back Donna home to southern California nearly 30 years ago. Memories of some of those early homes were brought to mind (and eye) earlier this year.

First, son Seth and friends started the MLB baseball season touring stadiums "back east." After watching my beloved Tigers at Comerica park in downtown Detroit, he called and asked for my "boyhood address." Soon thereafter, my cell phone vibrated and the following visual message appeared:

That is a photo of 2265 Chicago Boulevard in Detroit where The Ancient One spent much of his youth. His family moved in 1-week before his 7th birthday (1/19/45) and remained there for 12 years. It looks better now than I remember it being then. Looks like folks have taken good care of that old house in the more than 50 years since I left it. (As a side note, most of the time we lived in that house, the house to the left was occupied by the Campeau family and for a few years the house with its edge just visible on the right housed my aunt and uncle Sibby and Sam Glucksman.) It was a grand old house and at some point in the future I may proffer some memories of momentous occasions that took place within its walls.

Then, a couple of months ago, oldest son Bill's boyhood friend Derek Reynolds was back visiting his parents in Springfield, IL and posted a picture on Facebook of the house they still occupy. I messaged him and asked if he might have a chance to take and post a picture of the house 2 doors away where I lived. A few minutes later, this appeared:

There you see 820 S. Park in Springfield, IL. I'm not sure exactly what year I moved into the house; my guess is that it was about 1975 or 76. Bill spent summers there when he was visiting from Hawaii. I was living there when Donna moved to Springfield and married me and that's where we lived when daughter Alicia was born. Central Illinois was so flat that Donna liked telling folks that our driveway was the steepest hill in Springfield. We always liked that big front porch and it looks like the wooden swing is still hanging there. That house is now nearly 100 years old. There are interesting stories about it that I hope to share one day.

Well, that's it. Two houses from The Ancient One's distant past. Thanks to Seth and Derek for the pictures. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Ancient One Returns

The Ancient One returns. It has been exactly one year since he last posted here and it seems about time to start again. He's not sure what happened after he returned from that wonderful August, 2009 trip. When last seen blogging, it was about his oldest granddaughter's Bat Mitzvah. He planned to write more. . .but his blogpen fell silent.

It would be easy to blame the silence on writer's block, or too much Facebook, or too much game time on the internet. But that doesn't matter. A lot has happened in the past 12 months about which he should have been writing. Some of that will appear in the coming months but many of the passing events, thoughts and feelings will remain in that silent ether.

So, off to post this now before he finds another excuse to continue his personal void. For now, The Ancient One is back and, hopefully, this is the restart of something good and occasionally interesting.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Ancient One Dances in Brooklyn

Yesterday was wonderful. Granddaughter Jolee did a magnificent job on her Bat Mitzvah day. She was articulate, eloquent and beautiful. The synagogue service was most enjoyable and the Hawaiian themed party last night was joyful and fun. Wonderful memories will be carried away and more will be written about the day in the future.

One unusual happening at the party last night was the sight of The Ancient One dancing with Donna. Son Seth recorded the event by grabbing the camera and capturing his parents gliding (?) along the dance floor. Thanks Seth!

Now on to our last full day of celebration with all the children and grandchildren here in Bay Ridge. . .

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Random Views in NYC

Donna and The Ancient One have completed the first 2 full days of their visit to New York. These were the try to "see things days" prior to the "family event days" beginning tomorrow. The highlight of the visit will be the Bat Mitzvah of granddaughter #1 on Saturday.

Yesterday was spent in "the City," more specifically in midtown Manhattan. After lunch with son Bill (father of the Bat Mitzvah girl), we wandered and walked and walked and wandered leading up to the evening's highlight, a wonderful performance of Altar Boyz. A few pictures were taken, 2 of which are offered here. First, a kind stranger shot a photo of The Ancient One and Donna just after their ride on the Merry-Go- Round in Bryant Park. (Those who know her will truly appreciate that Donna is astride a frog, rather than a horse):

Then, as we wandered up 5th Avenue, we spotted the spires of St Patrick's Cathedral and decided to stop by for a visit. In this picture I sort of like the juxtaposition of this great edifice with the glass high rise behind it.

Today we wandered through the area where son Bill and family live and where our hotel is located, the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. We did have some good food and visited a lot of stores and The Ancient One took just one photo along the way. It is of a rather common stone urn on the porch of a home on 86th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue. Why this picture? Well, there were 2 flower urns just like it in front of the house in which The Ancient Grew did much of his growing up, on Chicago Boulevard in Detroit (ages 7-21 from 1945 to 1959). It just hit me when I saw it and the photo became necessary.

And the day ended on a high note as The Ancient One was surrounded by Donna, all 3 of his children and both of his granddaughters this evening at the Brooklyn Cohen's residence in Bay Ridge. The next few days will surely bring forth many tears of joy. This is one of those wonderful weeks we occasionally get to experience to the fullest extent possible.

Such are the random thoughts and views of the first part of our visit.