Saturday, March 5, 2011

No, I Dropped Math

Humor, safety reassurances, and nostalgia; a Saturday walk down Grace Street provides them all and even a touch of the absurd.

I frequently pass VCU tour groups on my walk and today was no exception. They're always at the corner of Shaefer and Grace, they being the impossibly young high school students and their painfully attentive parents.

The tour leader was pointing out the nearby notables. "And right down there is the VCU Police station," she said. "And they're real police, too, not like security guys or anything." You could almost hear how badly she wanted to say, "And they even have real guns!" I did wonder how reassuring this speech was for the concerned parents

Hell Block, with its concentration of party houses, is always entertaining and never more so than this morning. A girl was sitting on her porch when a trio emerged from the apartment building.

As the girl and two guys breezed by her, the sitter called out to the other girl, "Enjoy my ID! Hope it works lots of places for you!" One of the guys turned around and gave her the thumbs up. Fake IDs before noon, yes!

Making my way up Grace, past the Hampton Court, the Graland, the Boatwright and my favorite of all the apartment building names, the Nancy Ann, I came upon a yard sale at one of the old guy group houses.

Spread out on the concrete front yard (once painted green and now reduced to dingy green with gray flecks) was an array of vintage radios. A couple of them were as tall as my shoulders and in the most beautiful wooden cabinets adorned with inlaid pieces and veneers. There were also a couple of wooden table models. The seller told me that they were all from 1939 through 1941.

He said potential customers had been at his sale as early as 6:15 this morning but no one had bought the radios. One 80-year old man had admired the Philco, saying it was exactly the model his family had had when he was a kid.

The old man said it was the radio he'd been sitting in front of when he heard the reports of Pearl Harbor being bombed. What a memory; I can only imagine what it must have felt like for him to have seen that radio today. I told the seller that that alone was reason enough to have put his radios out.

Walking back up Hell Block, a car of guys was trying to squeak its way out of a tight parking space. One guy had his head out the window doggie-style to give the driver directions. They finally inched the car out with the guy saying, "Three, two, one, blastoff!"

As the car pulled by me, the navigator looked at me in presumed recognition and pointed. "Hey, aren't you in my math class?" he grinned, waving at me furiously.

It was every bit as good as being carded.


  1. hey..those were the days...doesn't last forever..glad he put an extra kick in your step! [cw]

  2. Shorts and sunglasses, works every time!