Coincidence, or ...?

A child's life, an elder's birthday; existence continues

By Arthur H. Gunther III

In one of life’s seemingly strange coincidences but which probably are orchestrated by the gods, karma and the pull and push of each person’s life, I found myself last week, on July 26, in a small bedroom in Upper Nyack, N.Y. I had just finished installing an electrical line for one of four grandchildren, this one Beatrice, daughter of Arthur IV and Laura, and then sat down in a chair even older than the 1929 house. I would end up with more than a rest on this day of the handyman special.

The house Beatrice’s parents own suit their personalities. It is compact but enough for their needs. It has a front porch and is in a walking village. Life there seems no different than decades ago. Neighbors know each other, say hello, sit a bit on the porch or on its steps, glance at the seasonal view of the Hudson River and get in their car less as stores, places and activities are within walking distance.

My grandchildren are yet another a series of  pups who have grown up in this house, once owned by the Buckout family. Beatrice’s room was some other child’s space, and the dreams within, the growth there, the changes in one's life and in the world between two wars, in the Great Depression, in the resurrection after the second war and in the great challenges of suburbia -- all took place in the lives of people once young who lived in Beatrice’s room and who eventually took their leave  to move on in adulthood.

Now Beatrice is there, having left a crib in a smaller room and into a big girl’s bed in freshly painted  space with a ceiling fan installed by Gramps. Her own dreams, her private world, the world outside as she and this house continue will begin in that room.  The fan will help, certainly in the very hot summers we now seem destined to have, the result perhaps of other changes in the evolving world.

Glad to help, of course, with some expertise that saves the family a bit of cash and which does a good deed for my granddaughter. That’s how I felt as I headed for that old Mission-style chair on July 26, 2012, taking in a bit of the river from the northeast window.

I sat a while, thinking I might get myself a coffee next on my way home, once the tools were gathered. But before that, in the half-daydream minute that such a rest gives, I suddenly realized (or was I “told”?) that this July 26 was my dad’s 90th birthday and that the chair I was sitting on was the one his father had bought for my grandmother so she could rock my father.

Later that day we would quietly celebrate my dad’s birthday in the no-fuss fashion he enjoys, but I had my own celebration of sorts in realizing that I was sitting in his chair on his birthday in his youngest great-granddaughter’s room.

And how many dreams are ahead, in that chair, for Beatrice and then for whom?

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Rita Glynn Smith July 31, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Art - I still love reading your stuff and so enjoyed your story, a style that has a way of touching the heart. Fanfully yours and best regards from San Diego. Rita-Eileen Glynn Smith
Aidan July 31, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Life's a collection of small circles. And not enough of us pay attention to details as does Art. Tons of us have our heads down and mind-eyes focused on the here and now. On the moment. And that is saddish because if your antennae are dusty .... or weary ... you miss the chance to trace those circles. And you forfeit the more golden chance to pass those circles off so that someone can widen them in the years ahead. I'm now back at LL fields and chilly basketball gyms with a grandson. The same sites I patrolled long ago with my own boys. Funny what swims around in your head. You remember a hit ... or error ... or a last minute basket that affected a game decades ago. It's as though your memory gene is suddenly woken up. You remember a pizza shop you ate at just once. Sometimes even the air aroma gels you into instant recall. And some times you find these places through perfect instinct ... like some bird who has his home address down pat. And if your a good oldster, you make sure at some point in the excursion that others see you trace the circle so that one day they can widen it even more. It's one of the beauties of life.
art gunther III July 31, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Best regards back to Rita, who remembers us old Rocklanders. And Aidan is right -- "Life is a collection of small circles."
jo July 31, 2012 at 02:41 PM
so right about the Circles of Life..my daughter moved to a section of the Bronx,, where we found out that my family immigrated to from Italy over 100 years ago.. almost the same block..the cemetery they are buried in is a few steps from her apt... yes.. life is a circle...


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