Saturday, December 1, 2012

Part 2

This morning Marti and I rented a big Chrysler 300 on the Upper West Side and drove to Woodstock. We stayed at the Emerson Resort in nearby Mount Tremper. Pictured: Esopus Creek, as seen from the back deck of our suite. For several years in the mid-1970s I listened to the Esopus flow by the front of my studio apartment in Bearsville.

At left: our duplex in the Black Bear Lodge at the Emerson.

We hung out in our chill surroundings for a few hours, then drove into Woodstock to poke around and window-shop. We enjoyed an outstanding dinner at The Bear Cafe, across the road from my old building.

After dinner Marti and I drove into town and caught the Thursday night Bluegrass Clubhouse at Harmony Music. We heard a couple of sets by a superb array of veteran Woodstock pickers: Bill Keith (banjo), Guy 'Fooch' Fischetti (fiddle, pedal steel), Tim Kapeluck (mandolin, vocals), Brian Hollander (guitar, vocals), and Geoff Harden (bass, vocals).

The incomparable Bill Keith. We spoke with him and a couple of the other guys after the last set. Marti and I have been fans since the Seventies. Given the great meal at the Bear Cafe and the marvelous music, this had been pretty much a perfect Woodstock evening.


This morning my bride and I departed the Catskills, heading via some of our favorite Blue Highways to my 50th high school reunion in East Longmeadow MA, just outside Springfield. We stopped for lunch at the Chief Martindale, an authentic 1958 Silk City Diner, at the junction of the Taconic Parkway and Route 23. The food was good, but service was numbingly slow.

We continued on across the New York-Massachusetts border, drove through Great Barrington and Stockbridge, then took a Memory Lane side trip to Lenox. It was a return to the scene of the crime: 35 years ago this past summer Marti and I went to Tanglewood -- summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra -- on our first date. It was closed for the season now, but it was fun to drop by while we were in the neighborhood.

After a quick visit to the outlet mall in Lee to acquire warm outerwear (due to a forecast of 32°F that evening), Marti and I drove on and checked in at our Enfield CT hotel. It was an easy 15-minute drive from there to East Longmeadow. Tonight’s reunion event was a tailgate party and football game under the lights. I was flying my colors.

Class of ‘62 boyz. Paul, Randy and Paul. I hadn’t seen any of these guys since graduation.

With Gary. We both faithfully watch Pats games – which for me can be in the middle of the night.

Marti with Pam and Gil. Gil was class president. (That's the entrance to the school behind them.) They’ve visited us in Paris a couple of times over the years.

The Spartan Walkway. The inset shows a remembrance of my brother Peter, who died in a motorcycle accident in the 1980s. The Spartan logo was designed by yours truly, the winning entry in a schoolwide competition. Ours was the first graduating class of the new East Longmeadow High School, so we got to pick our colors and mascot.

Francis Dutille, my high school math teacher and nemesis, showed up for the tailgate party. I think he’s 94 now. Not only have I been hiding from him for 50 years, it's a miracle any of these old dudes are still standing after the hell we put them through.

Friday Night Lights. The Spartans smashed the visiting Westfield Bombers, 49-6. New warm duds notwithstanding, Marti and I were freezing our asses off. At the snack bar for hot chocolate, I chatted up one of the moms. Her son Ellis’ rock band was playing later at The Meadows. I told her we’d see her there.

To kill time between the game and the live music, my bride and I rode past a few familiar Springfield landmarks, ending up at the bar at The Student Prince. Its legendary stein collection dates back to 1935.

Rockin' out in the 413. Ellis at The Meadows. They were solid and goooood.

Marti shook it down with Ellis’ mom and her homegirls.


Family lunch at Spoleto in East Longmeadow. Marti with my brother Jamie and his wife Pam, who were kind enough to drive up from Cape Cod to see us.

Reunion Dinner-Dance. Elmcrest Country Club.

Still stylin’ after all these years. Those are my gal pals Liz and Jean in the background.

Our krew. There were no assigned tables, but the same cliques from high school reconstituted for dinner. In the back: Ed, me, Gil, Pam, Anne and Doub. Doub and I were music freaks before it was cool to be music freaks. Way back in the early Sixties we were going to amazing live shows by Little Stevie Wonder, Roy Orbison, Jan & Dean and many more. Seated: Marti, Jean, Carolyn and Don.

With David.

Marti with Roberta, one of the classmates I unearthed on Facebook.

Jean and Liz. Liz and I go all the way back to elementary school in Springfield.

Where it all began. White Street School, built in 1904. I entered kindergarten there in the fall of 1949. It’s still standing, still turning out scholars.

Marti, Pam, Anne.

With Carolyn and Ron.

Marti and I had a wonderful time. It was well worth crossing an ocean to hang again with these folks.


This morning we started our journey back to Maximum City. But there were a couple of stops we wanted to make on the way.

I needed a whiff of salt air. Grove Beach on the Connecticut Shore.

Nearby was a seafood restaurant we’d discovered several years ago: Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale. Marti preps a dynamite lobster roll.

Fried clams. Getting in touch with my New England inner self.

Back in a New York groove. Our hosts Jody and Emmett were leaving soon for a trip to the Grand Canyon. Although we’d be in and out of West 46th during the next week, we wouldn’t see them again on this trip. We all went to dinner at a Hell’s Kitchen standby, Nizza. In the morning Marti and I would be flying to Nashville to visit her family.
Go to Part 3

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