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6 June 2016
Vol. VI, No. 286

June: Letters to A Parent

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: Over the course of the year to come, Weekly Hubris‘s contributors will be posting essays on a number of set themes (which I, as Publishing Editorlo, these past six years of the magazine’s existencehave set). The first “assignment,” just in time for Father’s Day, is “Letter to A Parent,” which most of our writers have chosen to interpret as letters to . . . their fathers. No longer young, any of us, this June we look up at the larger-than-life figures in our rear-view mirrors, those men who were the first giants we knew. Now, so many of us see our fathers when we glimpse our own reflections in the glass, with either the refracted love or fear (or both) that evokes. This week, this month, five of us (Sanford Rose, Helen Noakes, Diana Farr Louis, William A. Balk, Jr., and I) have written new pieces, to, or in memory of, our fathers. (Weekly Hubris also this week re-posts archival essays, on point, from Ted Balk and Jerry Zimmerman.)

My father with pen.

My father with pen.

Epicurus’ Porch

“Shaped by Sophocles” By William A. Balk, Jr.

ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—6/6/2016—Sons and fathers are meant to come to loggerheads. Dr. Freud said so. I suspect it is not so universal an experience as the good head-shrinker supposedbut we in the West are Freudians now, and Oedipals, as well, and killing our fathers is expected of sons. Metaphorically speaking. (Read more . . .)

The author’s father, Shelton Farr, happy as a clam at high tide.

The author’s father, Shelton Farr, happy as a clam at high tide.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Letter To My Father . . . From Greece” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—(6/6/2016)—Dear Dad, I’ve been thinking about you lately, as your 124th birthday comes round on the second of this month. You, with your classical education, loved Greece though you never managed to visit the country . . . but you were more than horrified when I chose to marry my much-married, “middle-aged roué,” as you called him back in 1965. You named me Diana, after the goddess, and used to exclaim, from time to time, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” (Read more . . .)

F. Jack and Bebe Herring on the beach, California, mid-1950s.

F. Jack and Bebe Herring on the beach, California, mid-1950s.

By Way of Being

“Daddy . . .” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PETIT TRIANON Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—6/6/2016—It has been 44 years since we last spoke. On that day—December 7th, 1972—you were 57, and I was 21. Writing now, in Florida, the state where you came of age, as a lifeguard on the wild beaches, in the 1920s, I am 64. Your only child, I am now seven years older than you were the day you died. (I marvel at children who, through one mishap or another, never even meet their fathers, lost as men are in war or removed by less calamitous engines of separation.) (Read more . . .)

The washing-machine: more important than the computer.

The washing-machine: more important than the computer.

Dolors & Sense

“America in My Father’s Day” By Sanford Rose

KISSIMMEE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—6/6/2016—My father lived from 1901 to 1963. The country went through more basic changes in that time than it had before or than it has since. Those were the years in which worker productivity and life expectancy increased most rapidly. The one was caused largely by electrification, the telephone, and the commercialization of the internal combustion engine; the other resulted principally from water purification, the spread of indoor plumbing, and the availability of an unadulterated milk supply. (Read more . . .)

Theodore at 85.

Theodore at 85.

Waking Point

“Letter to My Father” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—6/6/2016—Whom should I thank for shaping you? Your parents, Georgo and Athena, whom I know only through a fading wedding photograph? Your bucolic early childhood in Tsarist Russia, with a German governess, six older brothers, a dog named Karishok . . . or the angry bear who chased you up a tree? (Read more . . .)

Steve, Corey, and the author.

Steve, Corey, and the author.

Squibs & Blurbs

“A Tale of Three Brothers” By Jerry Zimmerman

TEANECK, NJ—(Weekly Hubris)—6/6/2016—Admittedly, this is biased, but I’m pretty sure I have the two best brothers in the world. When I was younger, I assumed everyone had a happy family and that all the kids in a family fought and played, loved and hated each other, or got along or didn’t, depending on which week you happened to be talking about. My brothers and I were certainly all that and more, yet coming from a tight-knit and loving family, under it all, we knew we were family, with a capital FAM, not us-against-the-world but, rather, us-together-in-the-world. (Read more . . .)

Just about its only attractive feature was the price.

Just about its only attractive feature was the price.

Dispatches from The Esso Club

“The Cotton Bale & The 20s Chevy: One of Papa’s True Tales” By Ted Balk

CENTRAL South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—6/6/2016—The car was distinctive in many ways, but it certainly wasn’t new. It was a mid-1920s-model Chevy that had been just about completely stripped down. The old four-cylinder engine was running on only two cylinders. The vacuum-powered fuel feed system wasn’t working, so you had to manually add gas as you drove along (more about that later). There was hardly enough sheet metal left on the body to say it had ever had a color but, if you’d to guess, you would probably have gone for black under the rust. (Read more . . .)

Mock-up of Greek newspaper, “The Voice of Bulkes.”

Mock-up of Greek newspaper, “The Voice of Bulkes.”

Roaming East Roman

“Bulkes: The ‘Greek Republic’ that ‘Never Existed,'” By Alexander Billinis

CHICAGO Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—5/23/2016—Today, it’s raining here in Chicago, and cold in mid-May. Back in January of 2013, it was just such a cold, rainy day . . . but elsewhere. At the time, my family still lived in my wife’s hometown of Sombor, Serbia, in the northwestern corner of the country. And as was often the case when the weather was foul, I had repaired to my signature watering hole, the Café des Artes, for a coffee. I was always sure to find good company there, Sombor artists and intellectuals.  (Read more . . .)

Renovating in NYC: here we go again!

Renovating in NYC: here we go again!

West Side Stories

“The Skimcoats are Comin’, The Skimcoats are Comin’!” By Ross Konikoff

MANHATTAN New York—(Weekly Hubris)—5/23/2016—Because our apartment building was rent-regulated from the time it was built, in 1939, until its condo conversion in 1996, city regulations required nothing more of its owners than a paint job every two years. In order to maximize profits, any expense beyond a roller and a few cans of cheap paint would have been considered pound-foolish and, therefore, out of the question. (Read more . . .)

No country for old men.

No country for old men.

By Way of Being

“The 84-Year-Old on the Ladder,” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PETIT TRIANON Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—5/23/2016—In the midday Florida sun, one of our neighbors was up on a ladder, painting his fascias. Not only was he up on a ladder, he was up on a ladder whose back feet were propped on a two-by-four. Verne would tell you, as he did me, that the ladder was propped up a bit so that it would tilt forward, against the wall of the house, making a spill less likely. (Read more . . .)

“La maja desnuda,” Francisco Goya, c. 1797–1800.

“La maja desnuda,” Francisco Goya, c. 1797–1800.

Skip the B.S.

“Textile Conspirators vs. the Skyclad: Naked & Nude,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—5/23/2016—For roughly four million years, people hunted and gathered, unrestricted by clothing. During the great migration out of Africa roughly 50,000 years ago, people gradually discovered the advantages of clothing and, for most of that time, civilization has meant, at a minimum, clothes. Exceptions, however, abound: the Greek Olympics were run in the nude, the Romans took regular “sun baths” in their solaria, Ben Franklin took a daily “air bath,” and Henry Thoreau took what he called “fluvial excursions,” dressed in a hat. (Read more . . .)

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