November 23, 2014
They sit on the same bench I sat on and feel the same good feelings of family and home.
By Amy Poehler
By Amy Poehler
""Relax is a tough one for me. Another tough one is "smile." "Smile" doesn't really work either. Telling me to relax or smile when I'm angry is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You're just asking to get your nose and genitals bitten off."
(p. 236) YES
"The only thing we can depend on in life is that everything changes. The seasons, our partners, what we want and need. We hold hands with our high school friends and swear to never lose touch, and then we do. We scrape ice off our cars and feel like winter will never end, and it does. We stand in the bathroom and look at our face and say, "Stop getting old, face. I command you!" and it doesn't listen. Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier. Maybe I should have called this book Surf Your Life. The cover could feature a picture of me on a giant wave wearing a wizard hat. I wonder if it's too late. I'll make a call."
"I believe you can time-travel three different ways: with people, places and things."
I grew up with an organ & we threw it out when my family moved out of my childhood apartment while I was in college. Lately, I've missed the organ/piano so much & a part of me has always regretted quitting. I've been considering taking lessons again. For that reason and also a few others, I found this passage to be special:
"Places also help you time-travel. My grandfather Steve Milmore was a wonderful man. We called him Gunka and he was a Watertown, Massachusetts, firefighter and served as a machine gunner in World War II. He married my grandmother Helen and went overseas for five years until he came back and put his uniform in the attic and never spoke of his service again. He had three wonderful children, including my wonderful mother. He died of a heart attack on my front porch on July 4, 1982, when he was only sixty-five. I was ten. He was the first important person in my life to die, and when he did, it was the first time I realized that life is not fair or safe or even ours to own. I miss him.
Gunka had a Wurlitzer organ, and he loved to play. His grandchildren would sit on his lap and he would play Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole. Lots of Christmas tunes. He wrote songs for us when we had the chicken pox. He went through his songbook and put numbers over the notes and then made a corresponding chart on cardboard that he laid over the keys so we could play songs ourselves. For a while I thought I was a genius and could totally play the organ. The reality was that I was the luckiest girl in the world because I had a grandfather who was a magic maker.
Sitting on the organ bench was important. Now that I think of it, benches are cool. Sacred by design. Benches are often a place where something special happens and important talks take place. Look at Forrest Gump. Or Hoosiers. Or outside a brunch place. Brunch benches are where it all goes down. After my nana passed away in 2003, my family took Gunka's organ and put it in the basement of the house they shared. And it sat there for ten years, waiting for its chance to travel.
And now it lives in my apartment in New York City. My boys play it all the time. They sit on the same bench I sat on and feel the same good feelings of family and home. One night I was feeling lonely and stressed, and the organ started buzzing. I think Gunka was trying to talk to me. I sat on the bench and felt better. Inside the organ bench is old sheet music with my grandparents' handwriting. I also found a song that I wrote when I was seven. It is a poem that has numbers written above it, so it can be played the special way on my special organ. I wrote it in the past and put it in the sacred bench so I could pull it out at just the right time. Time is just time. Time travel, y'all."