Monday, October 17, 2022
The Mysterious Robert Thompson
It's feeling more and more like fall around here -- the walnut in the back garden is dropping its leaves and the air has that damp autumnal chill. One of the trees up the street has turned bright orange, adding some color to the neighborhood. So far most of the others are still green or at least green-ish.
That little pocket park in the photo, with the bench beneath the colorful tree, is sort of a problem spot. There's always an accumulation of litter, from people sitting on that bench and dropping beverage cans and snack wrappers. The people who live in the flats above those shops used to put their trash at the base of the tree, but now they've moved it to the curb. It's still an eyesore most of the time.
As I understand it, Camden Council's waste collection program calls for many apartment dwellers to put their bagged trash directly on the sidewalk. They do not have bins the way house-dwellers do. They're supposed to only put the trash out at specified times, just before the truck comes around, but of course people don't do that, and as a result trash piles up in certain problem spots, where the pavement develops a permanently greasy texture. The council really needs a better system. Dumpsters, anyone?
Anyway, I'm not sure how I wound up talking about waste disposal.
I mowed the lawn yesterday. It was getting pretty shaggy and the mower helped gnaw up some of the fallen leaves. I suspect that will be the last go-around for the mower until spring.
And I read my Zelda Fitzgerald biography. I'm about two-thirds of the way through it and Zelda has had two breakdowns so far. Scott, meanwhile, is boozing it up in order to cope. Sounds like a nightmare of a situation.
I scanned some more of the stuff I brought back from Florida. Here's a picture of my mom's sixth grade class at the University Park School in Maryland, circa 1948. My mom is in the bottom row, second student from the left, with the pigtails. The funny thing is, on the back of the picture are lots of little notes and doodles about someone named Robert Thompson, and on the photo above you might be able to barely see a hand-drawn arrow connecting my mom to a blond boy slightly above her and to the right. Apparently Mom had a little crush on this Thompson kid.
I teased her about it when I saw her during my visit. We were sitting out by the river and I said, "So, Mom, who's Robert Thompson?!" She, of course, just laughed and I'm not sure she has any memory of who I was talking about, but I told her about the photo. Maybe she remembers him and maybe not. Who's to say?
Her teacher was Mrs. Allen, who I met when I went to Maryland as a kid to see my grandmother. Mrs. Allen went to the same church as my family. She didn't look a whole lot different then than she does in the picture.