Star Trek and my childhood

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Reading about Leonard Nimoy’s death today brought back childhood memories of watching Star Trek with my parents and siblings. There weren’t many shows that we watched as a family but Star Trek was definitely one of them. Growing up we didn’t have a television in our living room so we would all pile into my parents’  bedroom to watch Star Trek.  I remember my Dad telling us my mother included to watch the show or leave but don’t talk expect during the commercials. As I remember my brother, James, was really into Star Trek. James was always challenging me to do that tricky finger thing (which for the record I still can’t do it) and he loved to say “that isn’t logical”.

James was Mr. Spock for Halloween one year. His costume had been designed by my Dad complete with “pointy ears” and a Starship Enterprise insignia. I don’t remember if James had any kind of phaser or “beam me up Scotty device” but I am thinking he did. Due to the fact that the  Halloween costumes my Dad designed were always amazing and “state of the art”.  Of course “state of the art” in the 1960’s meant  boxes, paint, big batteries, wiring and flashing lights. One year my brother’s robot costume made from boxes, a bucket and blinking lights won my brother a bicycle and his photo in the newspaper. Another year my traffic light costume had lights that flashed green, yellow and red. That same year my sister’s pumpkin costume wasn’t just a pumpkin it was a jack o lantern that lit up. A side story: my sister’s pumpkin costume was perfectly round and looked great. The problem was she was a little girl in this big orange pumpkin costume and at one point she slipped on the walkway and rolled all the way down neighbor’s driveway. She was okay but I can still remember worrying she was going to roll into our “busy” street as we called it. But my Dad’s piece de resistant was the Starship Enterprise he built in our attached one car garage.  Oh, it wasn’t a boxed model or a jigsaw puzzle it was the bridge of the Enterprise. I think my sister and I were allowed to use it but mostly it was for my brother. There was silver painted plywood, blinking lights, computer screens, all kinds of buttons and switches and charts. It was the stuff of childhood dreams and adventures. To be honest I don’t know what happened to it. Eventually the attached garage would be renovated into a family room and then my Dad’s library.

I don’t remember many of the story lines of Star Trek as they “boldly went where no man had gone before”. The one episode where some tiny creature crawled into people’s ear is still disturbing. Whenever I see a gerbil, the furry tribble  episode comes to mind. I was never a Trekkie but I saw a couple of the Star Trek movies and was delighted when the original Mr. Spock had a cameo. Oddly enough when the signs for the Renaissance Festival are displayed I always think of Star Trek. Some years ago my brother and his family lived in California and he had mentioned that advertisements for the Renaissance Festival in CA stated “no Trekkie time travelers.” 😉

Rest in Peace! Mr. Nimoy.  Your role as Mr. Spock brought many happy memories to my mind today. Praying that your family and friends may find peace and comfort in the roles you played as friend, father, husband and grandfather. Safe journey.

 

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Being a tourist in my own city – Merchant’s House

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A few weeks ago friends and I visited The Merchant’s House Museum located at 29 East Fourth Street in Manhattan http://merchantshouse.org/ . I wasn’t that familiar with the neighborhood and didn’t know what to expect so I ended up standing on the street corner glaring at my iPhone looking more like a tourist than I like to. Trying to act like I knew where I was going even though I had actually spun around in a circle I finally walked back the way I had come and found the house. I guess I was expecting a big sign or something but it looked quite ordinary on the outside but the inside was worth the trip.

The members of the Tredwell family lived in the house for almost 100 years. The house was built in 1832 “on spec”  and sold to SeburyTredwell in 1840, a family member lived there until 1933 and in 1936 it became a museum. The home still houses most of the original furniture, many personal items as well as other period pieces. According to the website, “In New York City, it has been awarded landmark status not only for its 1832 late-Federal brick exterior but also for its Greek revival interior rooms.” Our tour started in the basement and proceeded through the main floor entertaining space and ended in the servant’s quarters on the third floor. Being a Downton Abbey fan, it was interesting to see the American merchant class version of life with servants complete with a bell system, separate entrance and back stairs. The other think about the tour that I found very interesting was to ponder all the events and advancements that occurred in the 100 years the family owned the house.

The Merchant House is currently endangered due to the proposed construction of a hotel next door. To read about the issues surrounding the merchant house visit http://merchantshouse.org/endangered. I would suggest adding Merchant House to your NYC sightseeing list. It won’t be the flashiest thing or the newest or even the oldest but it will be worth the trip.

random

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According to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, the word random when used as a noun means: a haphazard course: without definite aim, direction, rule or method. When used as an adjective, it means: lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern. I decided to brush up on the definition because it seems whenever I fly I am the person who gets the “let’s see if you have touched explosives swab test.”

Thankfully I am TSA pre approved so I don’t take off my shoes or remove my 3-1-1 liquids from my personal carry on or even take my laptop out of my bag. I usually travel using my passport as my form of identification. My boarding pass is a hard copy as well as on my iPhone. I think I look like a seasoned traveler or at least someone who has done this security line thing before. I say hello or good morning or good afternoon and smile as I proceed through the line. I do what I am told. However more often than not a TSA agent will ask me to step to the side so he/she can swab my hands. And every time the TSA person comments “it’s random.”

I thought I must be confused by the true definition of random because this happens to me all the time thus why I reread the definition. Seriously at least one leg of every flight I have been on involves me being randomly picked for additional screening. I don’t remember much about probability from high school math but I don’t think it is possible for it to randomly be me that many times.

Don’t get me wrong I am grateful we have security screening but this whole random thing confuses me. By definition random makes it seem like there isn’t a plan and I would hope there is a plan. 🙂