Nonna and the Roosevelt Caper

After barely ma(r)king it though this term (by the skin of my teeth), I went to see my grandmother yesterday for the first time in many fevered days of work.**  I brought her a biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Teddy's daughter. 

By way of thanks, she told me a story: once Alice Roosevelt Longworth walked into the bank they both used off Massachusetts Avenue. It was surrounded by police cars and filled with officers. What is this all about?, said Alice to my grandmother. Oh, there's just been a robbery, my grandmother told her.

"Wait," said I, "you walked into the aftermath of a bank heist?"

"Oh no, I was there for it."


A roll of the eyes. "What, isn't this story good enough for you? You want me to improve on the details?"

So what I am basically saying is that as soon as I have finished my children's book based on an insane pair of black and polydactyl cats, "The Adventures of Bread and Yet," I'm going to embark on writing a buddy cop/sleuthing series starring Alice Roosevelt and my Nonna.  I imagine them solving crimes with arch indifference, withering criminals with swift, insightful skepticism about their upbringing and politics.

Ah, but Dan tells me I've forgotten to include the punchline to my grandmother's story. Here it is:

"What is this all about?" asked the former first daughter. 
"Oh, there's just been a robbery," said my grandmother.
"Mmm," Alice quipped, "It's a shame we missed it."

**(Seriously, this semester was a long nightmare. 

You may have noticed my blog and social media absence.

I'm hoping that next term, when I will have a third as many students

and one fewer classes, will be less tormented and isolating.)


There's nothing like opening your book group's selection for the month to find it is covered with layers of annotations - earnest red-pen-and-highlighter markings from your first reading of it in your senior year of high school, sober blue declarations from your last year of college*, subtle underscorings from when you taught it in grad school. (*Is it significant that the book is Remains of the Day?) 

 And the whole volume smells strongly of some ancient and unnostalgic perfume that broke over it in a move. It actually reeks of the rot of youth's empire.

Happily, I have at least this metaphorical solace to impart: over time, earnest highlighting fades, until it's almost impossible to discern that at age 18, the whole world was EMPHATIC.

"Perhaps then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much...."

"Perhaps then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much...."

It's only right that I should live with the stink of my marginal hubris. (Wait. Is that an oxymoron? Or a description of the novel's narrator?)

  Look on my thoughts, ye mighty, and despair.


The Petter's (or Proofer's) Progress

Yet has taken to sprawling on top of Mt. Grademore and biting me every time I reach for a paper or attempt to pet her.

Some days it's clearer than ever that I'm living in an allegory.

The Beast of Mt. Grademore

The Beast of Mt. Grademore

Note the details of this Still-Life with Allegorical Cat.  The flame of learning sputtering in the fireplace. The half-eclipsed bottle of aspirin. The pot of tea with a bluebird hat and a subversive balaclava.  The lightbulbs in impenetrable plastic packaging. The pair of nail clippers in case the Beast gets sleepy enough to permit a desperately needed claw-blunting ambush. The feline glance that says, "Why are analyzing me allegorically when you are down to the wire with this pile of marking?".