It’s the New Year and the old year has passed.
Trump. That said, I’ll go on.
I’ve always been obsessed with numbers, counting, comparing, ratios and the passage of time, in a day, in a week, over the span of my life. It could be my generation or just me, but I’m amazed to find myself old and whatever one says or thinks, dices it or explains it, 71 years old is old. I was born in 1946 and while I wasn’t there for World War II, I do remember the Red Cars in Los Angeles and when NBC was at Sunset and Vine.
So Two Thousand and Eighteen is well into the 21st century and I am rooted in the 20th century. I’ve been listening to people younger than I am talk about a neighborhood, Highland Park, York Avenue in Los Angeles when it used to be rougher, more dangerous back in the mid-90’s. Mid-90’s I think. Yeah, it has changed a lot since then, but I left York Avenue in the 80’s. I first lived there in the 70’s.
I often think of my grandmother who was born and aware before there were automobiles. I went to work when computers occupied floors of sprawling new data centers. And like the automobile in the 1920’s the computer today is just at the beginning of the changes it will work. An information technology manager for a small bank I worked at, bragged in 1992 that we were set for the future with a central computer that had, can you believe it, 3 gigabytes of storage. I am writing this on a laptop computer with hundreds of gigabytes of storage.
I’m more aware that now death is getting closer. One of my three sisters passed away last year at the age of 74. My best friend from high school and my best friend from college have passed on, one young at 45 and the other died of a heart attack the same year I had a heart attack at the age of 63. That was eight years ago. Anyone who is living eight years after a heart attack is doing well.
I remember years ago when I stopped by the Village Bakery in Glendale. The owner behind the counter wondered why I was looking at it so hard. Oh I told her, I used to work here . . . 20 years ago.
Twenty years in which I had graduated from high school, become a monk, gone to college, served in the Air Force, lived in England, graduated from college, worked for Bank of America, left Bank of America, then UARCO, and then City National Bank. Years in which I got married, three sons were born, I bought two different houses, I got divorced, I got sober and stopped by to visit a bakery that I had once worked in.
I’m thinking in 20 year increments. I’m better than half way through my fourth increment.
And so this young man, a father with a wife and two children, wanted to talk about York Avenue in the old days, but he didn’t mean 42 years ago when I first went there, but 20 years ago when I had already moved to the Bay Area.
Twenty year increments. I was born in the mid-40’s, the first to 1966, the second to 1986, 60 years old in 2006 and now more than half way to 2026, in my fourth score of years, a third marriage, an eight year old daughter, retirement and remembering York Avenue in the 80’s, some 37 years ago.
Time streteches, twists, shrinks, and expands, it is unpredictable, a short time, a long time, when I was young, when my children were young, when my grandchildren were babies. Two of my granddaughters, both 18, took my daughter, 8, on a shopping trip and bought her very stylish and trendy clothes, she looks like one of her nieces.
I have a friend who this year turns 80 and begins his 5th score of years and I’m not far behind, the 20 year increment where we dodder, lose touch and probably die, that is if I make it through my fourth score of years.
And once there was someone who remembered the Congress of Vienna as a new beginning and so it was.