Wednesday, April 9, 2014


A quote from the television show 'The Wonder Years'...

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. 

Good morning to all. I feel good today. Last night I had a restful sleep and am sitting here now raring to go. I love these nights when the pain doesn't come. Yesterday I chose to stay home and spent the entire day in my jammies. With practice for the fashion show tomorrow, I will be staying late at the Center both today and tomorrow so I figured I would spend yesterday accomplishing what needed to be done.  The rain helped me make up my mindI lounged around until about 10 am and then sliced all the ingredients for  my sofrito. That can be quite a chore, but once done, I don't have to chop for a month. 

Last night I heard on the news that Roseland closed its doors for the last time.  It was the end of an era; another part of my past that has fallen by the wayside.  Truth be told, I'd not even thought of the place in a good many years.  I came of age and moved to the city during the transition from the hippies to the yuppies.  Discos were just beginning to make their mark, but I chose to frequent those clubs of Greenwich Village that had not outgrown the hippie era.  In fact, as I look back now, I  am one of those rare New Yorkers who never attended a disco during that era.  They were never my style. I liked folk music and coffee houses, places like the Bitter End, Bob Dylan, Woodie Guthrie, and Joan Baez. 

The closest I ever came to a disco was Roseland, and it wasn't exactly a disco when I was there.  I only attended a few times with friends who liked checking it out once in awhile, and I never did stay very long.  Like I said, it was not really my type of place but I sure did  love their celery tonic, and sometimes I would tag along just for the opportunity to get.  It wasn't until much later that I discovered I could buy the celery tonic in a store  and fix a nice ice-filled glass for myself. 

So why, you may be asking, if Roseland never 'really' was your thing, why did its closing bother you so much?  I guess that is because it is a part of my history; albeit a small part, but a part of my personal history nonetheless. One of the friends I used to go with died many years ago, another disappeared and was never heard from again. As far as the others, we just seem to drift apart. To be honest, I never much cared.  Time and life were moving on, and  I would soon move into mainstream society.

My carefree lifestyle was about to end. Times were changing. I'd soon give up my bartending job in exchange for a rather sedate position as an answering service operator, my first real legit job in New York. It was around this time that I also gave up my room at the infamous Hotel Earle (now known as the Washington Square Hotel) and moved to a small apartment in Queens.  Yes, times definitely were changing.

Gone was the night life I had grown to love; gone were those walks through Washington Square Park at 4 am.  Those were safer times.  One could go out and walk in the wee hours of the morning and not be afraid of being raped or mugged.  The marijuana dealers were always there, but back then they were a harmless lot, unlike the drug dealers of today.  It was so safe back then that the park never closed. And, as I lived right across the street, I learned quickly that it hosted two different cultures--the night people and the day people. I got to them both, but the night was my time. Many a night myself and my friends sat around the circle and watched the sun as it rose. (Sigh)

Once I left it would be years before I returned to the park.  I'd married, had two sons, and spent 15 years in a loveless marriage.  I remember clearly.  I'd separated from my husband and took a walk to the park on my lunch hour. I couldn't help but notice how it had changed...or perhaps it was me who had changed.  It seemed to me that it was much quieter than I remembered, but perhaps that was because I was older and no longer felt the need to be in the midst of things. I was content to sit on a bench and read a book.

And that was how we met.  I know I have told this story before so I won't get into details.  "Would you mind if I sat next to you?" he asked.  A simple request from the man who became the love of my life.  It will be 22 years for us in June.  

Ah, they were great times for sure, but I wouldn't want to go back and relive them.  I am content with my life now, and I will always have my memories.  Yes, the times did change. The hippies are long gone.  One rarely hears about folk music anymore. The old fashioned coffee houses with the sawdust on the floor and are a thing of the past. I think the following Bob Dylan song, one of my favorites says it all...

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.


  1. Mary, I just love hearing about your early years in the city. You should write a book. It's interesting to think that not that long ago one could walk alone in the city late at night without fear. Yes, the times they are a changin.' I share your love for folk music and coffee shops. We have a lot of "folk music" here, but not of the quality of the 60's - that was REAL folk music, poetic and thought provoking. The stuff I hear now lacks depth and sometimes even isn't all that good musically. I'd love to read more about your life in that wonderful time!

  2. Awesome post Mary!
    Enjoyed going down "Memory Lane" with you my friend.