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Vague Recollections of Unforgettable Things
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Mary and I have mailed out and posted to the website another issue of our newsletter, The Orphan Scrivener.

There's some news about our writing projects and in "Remaining True to Type" Mary writes amusingly about her adventures with typewriters in the long ago. As for me, well, I've been having trouble knowing what to write and hence the following:


When I was a kid, back in the days when families went for Sunday drives, we stopped at a roadside museum I’ve never entirely forgotten. What I recall is the meteorite.

Putting my nose practically on the glass front of the case housing that fist-sized, metallic lump, I came as close to outer space and alien worlds as I’ve ever been. It was particularly remarkable since I would never have expected to encounter a real meteorite in, of all places....well...there my memory fails me. But I’m certain it was a place nobody expects a meteorite. I distinctly remember that, even if the place itself eludes me.

I can’t remember what the museum was called either. “Somebody or Other’s Museum” according to the sign on the side of the long, low shed-like building. Or was the sign on the roof?

The name has lurked at the periphery of my recollections for weeks. I'll catch just a glimpse. Wasn’t that a “k”? It was a lengthy name, wasn’t it? Every so often the name flickers right in front of me, like a ghost about to materialize, but it never has, yet.

I brought the subject up at a family gathering. No one else could recall the name of the museum, although my brother did remember the meteorite.

There must be an essay there, if I could place the two-lane macadam road beside which the museum sat amidst trees. Yes. There were trees. Pines, I think. If I could identify the place, I would know how we had got there and what we had seen along the way.

Maybe we stopped for home-made ice cream and root beer at the tiny shop that stood by itself in a dusty space surrounded by flat fields. The ice cream -- heavy, rich and almost unnaturally cold -- tasted similar to what my grandparents made by hand-cranking an old wooden contraption packed with cracked ice and rock salt.

The root beer was like nothing I’d ever tasted. It was almost flat, with a touch of carbonation, more like beer than soda, though I didn’t know it at the time. Strong, but not very sweet, it practically burned the tongue. You could see the gleaming brewing vats through the open doorway behind the counter.

We might very well have stopped there on the way to the meteorite museum, because it lay within the same unknown territory.

Almost certainly we were in the red station wagon. The windows never worked correctly because my dad had once left a newly acquired dog in the car for an hour and the nervous animal had removed every bit of rubber it could find trying to chew its way out.

The station wagon was some car. It had wood panels on the doors. Each time we climbed the precipitous mountain road on the way to one of our favorite parks, my dad would see how far he could go before down shifting, and it was counted a triumph if we made it all the way to the top in second.

The park featured hiking trails with waterfalls, one taller than Niagara but only a few feet across. On a wet, moss covered rock beside a steep path alongside one of the waterfalls, I saw a spotted red newt for one of the few times in my life.

I keep thinking maybe the museum was in the vicinity of this park. Its name began “N”...maybe. I can almost see it.

No. It’s gone. Too bad, I’m sure it would make a good story.

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