While sitting with my paternal step-grandfather Clarence and my paternal grandmother Mabel in a living room which reminded me of the one in their Gallia County Farmhouse, I noticed that two paintings which I had never seen before had been hung on the south wall. The paintings were rather large (about a meter and half high and a meter wide) and quite colorful. They seemed abstract and I had to look at them a while to figure out what they were. The one on the left - primarily in shades of blue - pictured colorful mountains. The one on the right displayed large buildings on a city street.
Another painting hung on the west wall; I immediately liked it best. Again I had to look at it awhile to decipher it. It was quite colorful with many white; star-like specks. I finally realized it was a sailing ship under a starry sky.
None of the pictures were originals. They probably hadn't cost much, but they were definitely nicer than the type Clarence and Mabel usually had in their house; I was pleased to see them.
Clarence began asking me about a recent trip I had made to New York City. I began telling him about the trip and described the room I had stayed in. As I thought about and described the room, I actually found myself in the room in New York; Clarence and Mabel were still with me. My sister was also here. I suggested to them all that they stay there with me for a while and visit. They seemed interested in the possibility. I was unsure exactly where everyone would sleep, but thought we could make room. I might have to sleep with Mabel and for an instant she seemed sexually attractive; but that thought immediately evaporated.
This building resembled a large inexpensive hotel; I thought I was only paying about $25 a night for the room. I remembered that my old friend Steve Weinstein had stayed in the building when he had first moved to New York. In fact, he had moved to an adjoining building and was still staying there.
I had been thinking lately about Weinstein and wondering how he was turning out. I remembered having recently visited him. He had taken me into the back yard of a neighboring building and had shown me a flower garden he had planted. The garden had obviously taken quite a bit of work and reminded me of something a Zen Buddhist might do. I wondered if Weinstein had simply planted the garden so he would be able to write articles in the garden section of newspapers.
I had doubts about what Weinstein was doing with his life. He seemed to be quite poor, but I couldn't fault him for that. And besides the industry he had shown with his flower garden, he had also been working out with weights and had put his body in excellent; impressive shape.
As I was thinking, it began to seem as if Clarence, Mabel and my sister had already been with me for several days. Indeed the garbage had begun accumulating and needed taken out. On a table next to a wall were a number of banana peels from bananas I had eaten. I gathered them up to put in a brown paper sack, but the sack contained some other garbage and seemed weak. Nevertheless, I managed to put the peels in anyway and walked out the door to dispose of it.
My room was on the fourth floor of the building. It took me a while, but finally I remembered that a room for garbage was on the sixth floor and I headed for the stairs. As I walked, I began wondering about the number of people in New York; it simply amazed me. I thought about young people coming to New York and what they did when they arrived. A dialogue and images began forming in my mind. I saw a young man (probably in his early 20s) in a group with some other young people. He was talking about how he had been raised in a good family and he wasn't accustomed to doing mundane work, but now he was in New York and needed a job. He was having a difficult time.
An older man seemed to be leading the group. He reminded me somewhat of a movie director or a producer. I thought how it would probably be possible to contact movie directors and obtain a job with one as an assistant director. It would require persistence but seemed feasible.
I watched the man (who appeared to be bald) guide the group around; he reminded me of John Glenn. I thought about how John Glenn had been an astronaut and then had become a United States senator from Ohio.
I had seated myself in an inside auditorium in some circular bleachers which rose from the stage-like area where Glenn was speaking. I wasn't completely sure what he was talking about, but a group of about 20 people was gathered around him. Apparently the group had a leader and finally Glenn said it was time to pay that leader (a woman) the fee for having heard Glenn speak. Glenn seemed to be acting as if he didn't receive the money himself, but I had my doubts. The fee was $25, but each person had previously paid $10 which made the total cost $35 for a talk which had probably only lasted about two hours. People began handing over the money.
A young, black fellow on my left began talking to me; he seemed to be trying to explain something about Glenn to me. He seemed friendly, but I didn't really trust him and thought he might be trying to pickpocket me. Finally he was quiet and I said something to him. He immediately backed about a meter away from me; he gave me the distinct impression that he didn't want to talk anymore. I wondered if I had bad breath and indeed became convinced I did.
I had been given a paper which had prices of refreshments being sold at a concession stand next to where Glenn was. A certain kind of gum only cost 5 cents for 5 sticks; I decided to go down and buy some.
My ex-wife Louise was seated to my left; she was also staying with me in my room in New York. I told her I was going to go buy some gum and would be right back. She said something about Gallipolis and Rio Grande as I headed down toward the concession stand.
I began thinking of the pronunciation of the words Gallipolis and Rio Grande. I knew they were communities in Gallia County, Ohio and that the people there pronounced the names in a specific way. For example Rio wasn't pronounced like the Spanish word "rio," but rather with a long "i."
I reached the concession stand and told a girl what I wanted. She gave me the pack of gum and told me it would be 44 cents. I began to protest that the flyer had said the gum would cost only five cents. I decided the flyer was probably wrong and I began looking in my billfold for some money. At first I didn't see any money. Finally, however, I pulled out some bills and laid them on the counter. I had several ones and at least one ten. We had some difficulty sorting out the bills so that she had the right one. Finally she did; I stuck the rest in my pocket.
Two girls were actually at the concession stand. I waited for my change and other people began lining up behind me. Finally I realized I had been standing here a long time and began voicing my dismay. I hollered that I had been here 15 minutes just to buy a pack of gum. But the girl to whom I had given the money said she couldn't give me my change until the other girl used a green card to open something. And the other girl was occupied with something else and was in no hurry.
I hollered that I was simply going to take another pack of gum and some other penny candy which I saw in a large glass jar on the counter. Finally I did that and walked back up toward my seat.
To my surprise Louise was no longer there. I had been gone a long time, but where could she have disappeared to? She didn't know where to go in New York and didn't have a key to my room. I would just have to sit down and wait for her to return.
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