Monday, July 20, 2009

I visited Dolores M in the hospital on Sunday

Linda and I went to Matt K's graduation party on Saturday and met up with Anna M, Jackie J, Bobbie M and other. Matt K is Candy (Jacqueline) K's son. Candy is Jackie J's daughter. I wrote a bit about this a few weeks ago because the invitation to the graduation had me stumped for w while since I had never known Candy as Jacqueline and I never knew her married name.

Anyway, at the party we learned that Dolores M went into Lansdale Hospital on Tuesday or so with shortness of breath. So I visited her on Sunday morning. By now she should have been transferred to Doylestown Hospital for some tests on her heart, since her lungs don't seem to be the problem. We went to Dolores' 70th birthday party a month or so ago, so she's a bit young for that sort of problem; but then she has had a pretty hard life. Her brother Jackie J is also in not such good shape due to neuropathy in his feet. Grandmom L was quite right when she told us, "Don't get old."

At the party Jackie reminded me that Louie Hop, the loan shark who lived two doors down from us on Penn Street, and about whom I've written before, was "differently abled," He was called Louie Hop because he had a club foot. Louie was Medio M's father, and he had three other older sons, Jackie said, which answered a question Don A (usually down in Florida) asked me about in an email a couple of weeks ago.

I liked Louie Hop because he used to walk me down to Babe's for ice cream and lemonade; but what I remember most about him is the image of his wife Florence chasing him around their car trying to shoot him until Pop got her to calm down and give him the pistol. I guess Louie could hop pretty fast with his big built up shoe, because Florence missed with all her shots from the little silver pistol. Pop used to say she wasn't really trying to hit him, just trying to give him a message. It was apparently a pretty effective message since Mom always said that Florence never "sang" anymore after the shooting incident. I imagine Louie slept with one eye open after that.

Meanwhile, I've recently been re-reading the middle volume of William Manchester's The Last Lion, his biography of Winston Churchhill. The book, a medium detailed history Churchill's years as a back bencher in Parliament during the 1930's, is oddly soothing because it reminds one of the fact that the British government in that period was even more obtuse than our current softheaded administration is. Of course, the book is also soothing because I know how the story turns out. I know that the utter disaster Baldwin and Chamberlain and their associated cabinet members did their incompetent best to make possible did not befall. World War II ended up short of utter disaster even if it did result in something like 40 or 60 million deaths. It could have ended lots worse.

Before The Last Lion I read Jack London's Martin Eden, a surprising novel. I'm too lazy to do the research; but I suspect Ayn Rand read Martin Eden pretty closely. Her plot for The Fountainhead is a near ripoff of it, although Fountainhead doesn't end quite so tragically. I'm guessing Jack London was not quite an objectivist, but he was pretty darn close, which didn't stop the lefty writer who did the introduction to the paperback edition I have from trying to present him as a socialist, of all things.

What bosch. Martin Eden flirts with socialism; but he rejects it quite forcefully; and, in fact, some of his internal philosophizing could have come right out of Ayn Rand. I suspect the book influenced Rand and may even have given her the idea for Atlas Shrugged although in the end Martin Eden shrugs with somewhat more finality than John Galt.

Oh, I forgot, in between Martin Eden and The Last Lion I took a little break and re-read John Grisham's Playing for Pizza. What a pleasant little novel. Grisham is such a natural writer. Nowhere near as good or deep a writer as Jack London, but so natural and easy on the eyes.

It's been a while since I wrote about books. Come to think of it I've re-read a half dozen Faye Kellerman novels since I last wrote about books. Faye is a lot better writer, qua writer, than her husband.

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