I yawn, you yawn, we all yawn occasionally. Or so I thought. Recently it dawned on me in 60 years of marriage, I have never seen my wife yawn. Don’t Asians yawn, or is it just her?

When I mentioned it to her, she said sure she yawns, and yawned just to show me, but I don’t count that. I mean involuntarily. Her yawn looked very strange.

Just the thought of yawning causes me to yawn. I must have yawned ten times writing this posting, even though I was not bored. If I see someone else yawn, I will yawn, too. I can’t help  it.

Now, I watch everyone. Are they yawning? Many, I have noticed, try to stifle a yawn behind a napkin or their hand, but their contorted expression gives it away. When bored, we have to yawn.

On second thought, I have never seen any Asian yawn. Maybe yawning is a white person’s affliction. I yawn frequently, but maybe it is just me. I am yawning, now,  as I write this. What do you think?


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Gail Bonner Has Died

That’s all I know. I did not read her obituary. (Don’t send me other death notices. I assume you are all dead unless I have recently heard from you. Death is not the terrible condition we once assumed, and I do not usually publish death notices.)

But Gail was special. She had us all fooled. She was not the ditzy, kinky-haired bleach-blond we thought we knew. (Her picture in the masthead above is third row, 7th in from the bus drivers on the right, standing between Mary Kay Abbot and Jean Brown. Our Lahian lists her many school activities, our only clue that she was not the ditsy image she projected.)

After graduation, she dropped the ruse and showed us the intelligent, level-headed lady she always was beneath the surface.

If you know more about her, drop me a line. She is still largely a mystery to me. What did she die of? How was her home life? What did she do after high school? Was she married? Any children? She wrote to me once, but that was about 20 years ago.

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We Are Getting Older

Old News, by Arthur Krystal. The New Yorker, 11/4/2019.

This is a review of books on aging, most of which the author dismisses as sappily optimistic.

Krystal gives us a few words of wisdom near the end: “But what do I know? I’m just one person, who at 71 doesn’t feel as good as he did at 61, and who is fairly certain that he is going to feel even worse at 81 (I am now 83, and 71 seems like a toddler. He doesn’t know what he’s in for. Aging really gets serious after 80.—RW)”


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Camp Granada

Many of us are not familiar with the name of this song, but almost all of us are familiar with the opening lines:

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.
Here I am at Camp Granada,
Camp is very entertaining,
And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.

a novelty song by Allan Sherman and Lou Busch, written in 1963, based on letters of complaint Allan received from his son Robert while Robert attended Camp Champlain, a summer camp in Westport, NY (sung to the tune of Dance of the Hours in Walt Disney’s Fantasia, which, in turn, is the tune of the classical piece).

Younger married friends of ours swooned when I mentioned the song, so I assume it has some special meaning for them. The timing would be right. The husband even had the song lyrics on his cell phone.

Each verse mentions a catastrophe at camp. I had never listened to the full song, but the last verse makes it finally all right. It turns out the son had only been at camp one day, and it had been raining. By the time he finishes the letter, the rain has stopped, and everyone is having fun. The son asks his Muddah and Faddah to disregard the letter:

Wait a minute, it stopped hailing,
Guys are swimming, gals are sailing.
Playing baseball, gee that’s bettah,
Muddah, Faddah, kindly disregard this lettah!

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Run For Your Life

I was dusting off a stack of old books when I dislodged a tiny spider the size of a pinhead. He was tan, not black, and was running for his life to safety. He did not make it.


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Close Call

For several years I had a prominent white speck of bird doo on the inside of my car, on the  diver’s-side door on the bottom of the molding around the window. It must have landed one day in that brief instant when I first opened the door.

I kept it there to remind myself that in life a lot of bad stuff falls our way, but most miss.

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Lenny Moore

At Penn State, I once had a class with Lenny Moore.

You probably don’t remember the halfback Lenny Moore (b. 1933 in Reading) because he was before your time, but he played football for Penn State, then went on to a distinguished pro career with the old Baltimore Colts from 1956 to 1967, where he played with Johnny Unitas. He was named NFL Rookie of the Year and played in the Pro Bowl seven times. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was far more than a routine player.

As a Chemistry major, I was still required to take several semesters of English as well as several other “Electives.” As I walked into my first English class, probably still wearing my Freshman dink (a small cap) and name tag, Lenny Moore was already there. He stood out. Not only was he black, he was wearing a suit, and was sitting aloof in the back row, reading a newspaper and not even pretending to pay attention to the professor, his classmates, or me. As I recollect, he was only there the first day; we no longer saw him after that. People still associate his name with Penn State, but he certainly was not the typical student. I think of him whenever I hear of a black college football star. Moore is still alive and looking distinguished, aging far better than me.


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