Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where Am I Going?

That’s where Al Colasso lives.  I grew up in a Bronx, New York apartment building manned by a superintendent, a Navy veteran who lived in the basement, named Al Colasso.  Al once gave me a large format book of Mother Goose nursery stories which I treasured for years.  Some years later Al left my building to take the superintendent’s helm at an apartment building a distance away, near the Bronx Zoo and I never saw him again.  Occasionally my family would take a car ride along a highway called the Cross Bronx Expressway.  We’d pass the building Al then worked and lived in and each time I would say “that’s where Al Colasso lives.” I took that ride once a few years ago and driving along that stretch of highway I found myself saying “that’s where Al Colasso lived.
I take comfort in noting particular, personal landmarks as I drive, a church spire, a store sign, a highway curve.  These landmarks affirm that I know where I am and where I am going. It’s not easy these days to know with certainty just where we are going.
Early on most Sunday mornings I take an hour’s drive from my home in Havertown to Adamstown, PA to set up and sell items at an antiques market.  On the way I measure stretches of the Pennsylvania Turnpike by such personal landmarks as Radio Towers Curve, Snow Plow Straightaway and 21-second Curve. They let me know how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.  Perhaps these landmarks are akin to other milestones in our lives like school graduations, jobs, marriages, kids, grandkids, divorces, heart attacks.  They too are familiar, they too tell us where we’ve been but unlike highway guideposts there’s no way for them to tell us precisely where we’re going.  Maybe, travel through life, familiarity is a way to gird for what’s coming around the curve ahead. 


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