Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Oh Cat and Oh Calcutta

On the 19th of August a drunk driver drove off of Route 100 and slammed into the corner of my parent’s house. The driver was injured and his dog was killed in the impact. My folks had just had new siding put on the home in 1986 and there was some damage to that corner needing repair.
     Wilmington Trust was building a new operations center (above, left) , Wilmington Trust Plaza in New Castle Corporate Commons. I was doing the interior layouts for our division, showing the machine and electric placement and so forth. The expected completion was late in the year.
I was also running hither and yon seeing vendors. Chris Honorowki (right) and I were especially working closely with the people at WHYY in Philadelphia on modernizing some of their systems and equipment to convert their labor intense donation system over to our Automated Lockbox processing.
I worked many time with Chris over my years at Wilmington Trust. She was one of my favorite people. She was a brilliant and strong woman, as well as cute and petite. On one of these occasions we were returning to
headquarters together. This was still the building on Rodney Square, not the new Plaza. This building had been constructed from within the walls of the old post office, preserving the historic architecture out of which arose the high rise of modern offices. The entry steps were part of the old façade and there were a good many of them (see left). We were hurrying up these steps, she and I, and I had my hands in my front trouser pockets as usual, something of a habit. Perhaps four or five steps from the top I lost my balance. I feel forward to my knees and then slowly over on my face. I could do nothing to stop myself since my hands were pinned in my pockets. I lay there. Chris bent over, grabbed my one arm and tried to lift me up. She was about half my size. I was terribly embarrassed. I whispered out the side of my mouth to her, “For God’s sake, don’t help me”.

Lois was played out from working an evening shift that often kept her in town unto the wee hours of the morning. She was often uncomfortable walking the empty, dark streets of Wilmington after her shift, plus having a number of sleep problems.  Learning her current unit would be moving out of the city by year’s end and that they were looking for people in the expanding Automated Lockbox Unit, she decided to post out of Encoding. She got a new position in the Lockbox Unit as an Operator. She was much happier doing this work, partly because she got along well with her fellow Unit members and partly because she was working regular daytime hours.

In the fall of 1987 I was off to more continuing education training. During the middle week of October, from the 14 through the 16, I was attending a seminar given by the AMA in Philadelphia called “Quality Control in Banks”. It was given in the Adam’s Mark Hotel along City Line Avenue and I had intended to stay in that facility for the duration, but I couldn’t obtain a room. I had to commute daily.
The hotel was built in 1965 originally as a Holiday Inn. It eventually became an Adam’s Mark Hotel and a destination of distinction.   The 515 room luxury hotel closed in 2004.
This seminar was one of three training sessions I took during the year, all three sponsored by the American Bankers Association. I went to New York for the other two, “How to be a Successful Project Manager” and “Managing the Costs of Quality”.
I took the "Managing the Costs of Quality from June 8 through the 10th.

 I well remember those sessions in New York. The training center was located at the corner of 48th and Broadway, right in the center of the theater district. You walked out the front door onto typical Manhattan Streets lined with tall buildings and surrounded by hustle and bustle. There was a fellow in my class, a young guy from a farm area. He would sit during a break and talk about all the solicitations and come ons he endured in the city. It wasn’t hard to figure out why. He was overcome by the skyscrapers. Every time he left the center he walked down the street with his head throw back and going from side to side as he gawked at the tall buildings. He might as well have had a target on his forehead.

I never had those problems. You got to walk those streets like you been there all your life and you got somewhere to go, preferable in a hurry to get there. I was never pestered by guys handing me flyers to Stripper Clubs or some kind of special deals. At night, going and coming from a theater I would walk next to or just behind a group of people. I looked like I was one of the gang.
Now, I went to one Broadway show during one of these training sessions, “Oh, Calcutta”.
Yeah, that infamous and scandalous show. It was in revival at the Edison Theater over on 47th Street not too far from Broadway. It had been running a long time by 1987. The revival at the Edison had already run 13 years by then. This production would close in 1989 and was already running with a reduced cast casting aside their covering. If memory serves, the first thing in the show was the cast c doing a short dance number ending with them whipping off the blankets they were wrapped in to show that they were indeed naked. Nude actors, male and female, on the stage of a Broadway theater was still something of a shocking event. 
I had a front and center row seat. Good clear view and I thought if I was an actor I could
never do this show. My anatomy would not behave I was sure. A guy can't control everything in such situations. Of course, during the opening the cast answered audience questions and that one was asked of the male actors. They admitted it sometimes happened, but when it did the audience always applauded.

From the decadent to the divine. On November 15, my parents attended the service at Immanuel Highland (above) to hear Laurel sing with the choir. After the performance they came to our house to see the kitten, the first kitten. 
Linda had asked me if it was okay for her to give Laurel a kitten. I went with Linda to the shelter of the Delaware Humane Society and we found this little ball of long hair. We brought the cat home and Laurel named her Christine, which happened to be Laurel’s middle name. Neither Lois nor I had ever owned a cat. I had no idea the door I was opening in allowing this first one to enter our home. The photo is me holding Christine on her first Christmas with us.

My parents were regular guests in our home during December. On the 20th they were down and again attending at Immanuel Highlands. This time it was a Christmas play of Christ’s birth put on by the young people at church. All my kids had parts. Laurel was the Donkey Mary supposedly rode upon (left), and Noelle and Darryl were Shepherd’s sheep (right).

As we entered a new year, my psoriasis flare-ups were getting worse. I am not sure why, although it may have been the stress of my work load. I didn’t feel very stressed because I liked my job, but to be honest it did entail a great deal of constant tension and pressure. Whatever the reason, my skin condition had went further than ever before beginning to show up on the back of my hands and worse, on my face. I had never experienced it on my face before, so I decided to see a dermatologist once again.
His treatment consisted of a number of oils and lubricants. There was a salve for my overall body and a separate salve for my face. Apparently the facial skin was more sensitive than the other parts of my being. There was a shampoo guaranteed to give one’s hair that sexy telephone pole odor. On top of these I was instructed to take a bath in another oil three times a day; after which I was to smear a moisturizer all over my body and then sit in that state for twenty minutes before dressing.

Now how does a fellow manage that when they have a full and demanding job?

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