Monday, August 2, 2010

Magic In the Science

On Sunday morning the youngest covered a piece of construction paper with glitter glue, then asked me to put my hand on it. When I lifted my hand, and the paper stuck, she began laughing and jumping up and down, screaming "it's magic in the science, it's magic in the science!" This was her mantra for the next 20 minutes or so, after which it was forgotten, and never mentioned again.

I remembered, though. I feel that way all the time.

Ran across this quote in the Sunday paper: "The past that has not been tamed with words is not memory, only a sort of spying." It's from Laura Restrepo's novel, "No Place for Heroes." Love the quote, even though I disagree. Taming the past with words alters it, sculpts it into a shape that fits your personal narrative better than the actual events. Some aspects emphasized, others left in shadow. Though perhaps that's Ms. Restrepo's point: that the personal mythology is more important than accuracy. That the altered memory is in some important sense more "true" than a bald retelling.

While we're on the subject of memory, Fresca has posted pictures of the depression era Band Box Diner, where I worked the graveyard shift, 11 p.m.-7 a.m., as a short order cook for several years. I waited tables, cooked the food, served the food, washed the dishes, all by myself (it helped that the place held 14 people tops) Paid $5 a hour, under the table. One of my favorite jobs ever.

Thirty years later, my breakfast making skills are still a wonder to behold. Hash browns, bacon, eggs over easy.


ArtSparker said...

There has to be a story or two in that...I'm afraid my mind is moving toward Stephen King.

But I wonder if anyone has ever written a story based on the Hopper painting? I mean aside from the song.

slommler said...

I am lining up for one of your breakfasts!!

Hilary said...

I love that your wee one enjoys the magic of science.. too sweet. And make up sunny side up and you've got a customer.

Fresca said...

There's magic in grill cooking.
I used to cook breakfast at Seward Cafe. Yep, one of my favorite jobs. You get in a zone, don't you, at the grill? The job--the speed and coordination of it-- imposes a kind of choreography. Turn, flip, crack, dash...

Shayna Prentice said...

"It's magic in the science" ... thanks to you and your daughter for giving me a good smile tonight. Also I smiled, because thirty-two years ago, I, too, was a graveyard shift short order grill cook at a pool-hall diner in Wisconsin, did it for over a year and loved it ... I enjoyed seeing Fresca's photos of the neat place where you worked.

Emma J said...

Lovely the way these three sketched moments/ musings reflect on each other.

Fresca said...

Hey, Clown:
Thanks for playing my giveaway.
I'm ready to send of the geography books out today--I'm thrilled you want one. Their best homes are with people who love to spew facts, as they most definitely are not works of creative genius.
(Though there is a lot of creativity that goes into finding fun facts to juice up a dry text.)

Anyway, I need your address. If you want to e-mail it to me, I'm at frescadp [at] gmail [dot] com.

Clowncar said...

There have been several stories to come out of there, Art. I still go back to the well for the occasional detail.

Sue, you won't be the first. The bacon and hash browns I make while camping has caused fights to break out.

Sunny side up it is, Hil. Why does that not surprise me?

Fresca, I remember the Seward. Yeah, there's a groove you fall into during a breakfast rush that makes the hours fly by. And you are right about the choreography - still remember the BBox move of spinning from counter to grill to counter again.

Shay, I think it's cool how everyone remembers their short order cook days so fondly. How can making people what they want quickly and well be a bad thing?

Thanks Emma. I I wanted those three bits to complement each other just a bit. Glad the reflective glint caught your eye.

Looking forward to the book, Fresca!