Thank you Dan for your nostalgic and inspiring story. Here’s mine:

Take a trip back in time

Brooklyn stoops—-to a new level

East 36 Street, 6 kids, Grandma and Grandpa,

Mom and Dad. Many memories in so little space

When we were growing up we hung out on our stoop,

that's how we communicated and stayed in the loop,

no cell phones that kept us cooped,

in our own worlds away from the troop.

Most summer nights we'd gather in groups,

girls and boys together playing hula hoops.

Throwing a Spalding against the points of the steps,

the New York Yankees against the New York Mets.

All night conversations we covered it all,

no one was distracted by a cell phone call.

All we needed was that little pink ball,

and when it wasn't the stoop it was the handball wall.

Hot summer nights on our stoops in July,

it was the place to be and we never questioned why.

Sometimes for fun we'd catch a firefly,

and the night became perfect when Good Humor drove by.

Every stoop had it's own unique clique,

with different players and different tricks.

Some made of concrete and some with bricks,

don't forget the block parties where we'd mingle and mix.

As the years go by we've learned to treasure,

the Stoops of Brooklyn gave us so much pleasure.

There are no words to truly measure,

our memories of the Stoop will be with us forever.

© Poem Boe Burke May 20, 2023

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A lovely road trip into the past. Thank you.

This is a marker year for my household , two graduations - Celebrating a Bachelor's in Social Work and a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition.

It is a poignant marker. My husband of 25+ years was diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer's at the age of 56. Our youngest son was 14, our oldest was in his second year of college. One of the first things my Scandinavian-Reticent, Zen-Like guy said was that he wanted to be sure his boys knew that he was proud of them, even when he could no longer tell them himself. So I've helmed the ship. He passed about a year ago.

So, I'm bringing my husband's presence, as much as I can, to our boys' graduations.

And, as a side note, his cousins will be bringing some of his ashes to a Grateful Dead reunion concert.

His ashes will be in a nickel-sized bag and swaddled in tie-dye.

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I've been a fan of yours since Dallas in 1963. I'm younger, so my first car memories of a '52 dodge we to in '56 - well used of course, and we journeyed from Estevan, Saskatchewan to Peace River, Alberta - 1,500 km / 932 miles. We stayed with relative and in very cheap motels, had 'summer construction' that seemed to cover half that journey, and those since my mother was learning to drive, it was pretty to predict that each time she took the wheel, there would construction detours and stoppages again soon. She gave up her attempts to drive after that trip!.

About 15 years ago I took an evening flight - it was in August, from Calgary to Houston for a three business trip with plans to visit San Antonio for one of those days. Take a delayed flight, trouble finding staff at the car rental counter - and it was well past midnight before I left the airport. Given the hour, it seems silly and a waste of money to check in to a hotel that night. And, since I need to get my bearing on driving ring-roads and 'where to go' in the morning for meetings at The Woodlands, I took a drive down to Galveston. I drove around the town, found an IHOP where had chicken fried steak for the first time in my life. The only time! I then found my way to Galveston state park - walked the beach barefoot in the moonlight, gained an appreciation for the combo of moonlight shimmering across the warm water that was washing my feet.

I came upon a fish - dead, quickly having its flesh removed by hungry little crabs - it's skeleton silhouette shimmering silver scales in that moonlight. I walked till sun was rising, had bacon and eggs at that IHOP, headed to The Woodlands, 'was an early check-in' for the next night, showered and made my meeting in time ...

That night, my Galveston experience, plays like a movie in my mind everything I hear Galveston mentioned on the NEWS, and my trip to Peace River at the age of 5 is on instant recall whenever someone mentions road trip and old car in the same sentence ....

Happy summer Dan,


Mark in Calgary

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Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story, Dan! The sentiment you described will stay with me as one of the glorious moments of childhood that shaped the splendid adult you became! With great appreciation for all you do and have done in your lifetime!

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Oh, Dan, we grew up in Houston at roughly the same time - you're three years my senior - and I remember those endless drives to Galveston. And the songs. I'd forgotten about Deep in the Heart of Texas. What makes me so sad today is how nasty so much of Texas has become. Houston may still be a bastion of sanity but I sure wouldn't want to live there now! (I became a Mainer twelve years ago. Much more to my taste.)

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What a beautiful story, Dan. I grew up in the Midwest and was the only child of hardworking, young parents. We, too, never dreamed of taking a vacation. If time permitted, we would gas up the car in the summer and head down South to visit Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, etc. That was our vacation until my parents surprised me in the summer of 1950 with a trip to The Wisconsin Dells. I was thrilled. They had rented a cabin and we all slept on the screened-in porch due to the heat. My Father was a notorious loud snorer and he would have won any contest for those 7 wonderful nights. We visited Storybook Land where I was so enthralled with Little Bo Peep's costume that I begged them to let me return and work there someday. At night we watched the dancing colored waters set to music and by day the athletic team water skiers. It was absolutely marvelous. My sweet, young , hardworking parents and me, their adored daughter, shared so many memorable experiences in those 7 days along with laughter and stories. They gave me such a gift and I realize it even more today as they are long passed away and I am nearing my 84th birthday. What a lovely time we had!

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Beautiful memories. Your message today caused me to reflect on memories of my childhood. We didn’t get to go on vacations much either. I can remember going to a ball diamond collecting ants for my littles brother’s ant farm. Mom packed a picnic lunch and we ended the day laying on the ground watching clouds make all kind of shapes. It was a day of enjoying family and feeling oh so much love. Thanks for sharing your memories. I felt like I was there also. 🥰❤️🙏

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Vacations were no school, not a different location. We had to plan for a trip to my grandparents house, which was 20 blocks away. Our car was very unreliable. Doors didn't latch properly. One trip, as my mother turned the corner from the dirt road of my grandparents, onto the 'main road,' the door opened and I fell out onto the asphalt (I think it was asphalt). I got up limping, yelling, "You dropped me." My mother was crying hysterically. Just thinking about the changes in car and roads over the 80 years since then is an amazing trip to a different location, more exotic than Europe now.

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I too have the fondest memories of vacations. Makes me want to resurrect the slides, projector and screen salvaged from my parents home after they passed. Our Buick pulling the popup camper with stops at Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Crater Lake, Grand Canyon. Definitely SMILE worthly and awe inspiring.

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Our family vacations, that I can remember, usually involved driving from our home in El Paso to spend a week with my Mom’s family in east Ark., where families lived on farms & houses featured screened-in sleeping porches for us kids. Nights were muggy & sticky hot with mosquitoes buzzing round our heads. AC was non-existent. But Uncle Arlie’s hand-cranked fresh peach ice cream cooled us down.

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May 20·edited May 20

I remember my first vacation at age 5 when my parents made a pilgrimage to Nashville for the Opry! There were many memories of the Smokies, Cherokee, and my sister feeding Ritz crackers to bears through a cracked window of our 50 Ford (later, my brother rolled it 5 times, end-over-end and survived after being thrown out the driver's side window, leaving his blue suede shoes stuck in said window, landing in the ditch with the car rolling over on him). The greatest moment of awe and wonder (other than a first bacon-wrapped hot dog), was staying at a motel that had a shower! It was the most wonderful thing I'd ever seen. Back home was a tiny-four room house with a single spigot in the kitchen with an outhouse out back. My father built another room, put in the bathroom, and dug the trenches for the pipes and pit for the septic tank much later. To me, the shower was a miracle, never knew existed but completely enveloped me!

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Another timely piece Dan....a touching bit of nostalgia that everyone should read, and all of us should experience similarly in these challenging times.

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Just returned from driving from LA to Atlanta and back to see the next generation of our family. Living in one place makes you forget how vast and beautiful our country is - it's amazing. We should never take it for granted. Thanks, Dan!

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I’m with you Dan. Driving vacations can be magical.

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I don't see any recipes so here is my grandmother's famous iced tea (good alone or spiked with vodka). There was always a pitcher of it in Gaga's fridge (and Thank God, a box of Fanny Farmer chocolates too.) I can still hear her voice, as we sat under her beautiful apple tree with glasses filled with this amber elixir, "Watch your head for the branches." 8 cups boiling water. 8 Red Rose tea bags (No substitutes! If you can't find it at your local store, go online to their site.) 8 sprigs of Spearmint (No other mint will do.) 3 Lemons (Cut in 1/2, squeezed and all of it including rinds thrown into the pot.) A scant cup of sugar. Boil the water, then remove the pot from the heat, throw all of the ingredients into it and cover it overnight. In the morning, remove the tea bags, lemons, and mint sprigs. Gaga used to strain hers through cheesecloth; I don't bother. Have a glass and a great summer!

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My car memories are fond ones of long ago. Miles upon miles of cornfields as we went to Iowa to see my cousins and celebrate July 4th. My older sister got to lay on the back seat and I had to lay on the floor on the "hump". Those of you who remember the "hump" on the back floor will know what I am talking about. As long as I had my pile of books, I was fine. Books, not e-readers or cell phones, but actual conversation between my parents and me and my sister. And no, no "when will we get there" and no a/c, just WD-65. (Windows down-65 mph).

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