Column: The past is great, but the present has its moments, too

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2002

A week ago Tuesday the Washington Ave. Writers’ Club, organized by Dustin Petersen in September 2001, celebrated its first anniversary. The members and one guest went out for pizza followed by their regular weekly meeting.

Originally the club met at what was then the Gos-Sip Restaurant. Later, due to changes in the Gos-Sip schedule, the 7 p.m. Tuesday meetings were held at my house, as they are now.

It’s a very informal group. People write what they want to, the only requirement being that they must submit original work. There are no dues, but anyone showing up without a piece of original writing is fined 25 cents. It is unusual to collect more than 50 cents at a meeting. People bring a variety of papers: poetry, prose, selections from short stories or novels, passages from journals or autobiographies.

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The group is not large. There is always time for everyone to read an offering and the reading is followed by discussion.

With one or two exceptions the group started with a collection of strangers and has become a circle of friends, interested in and encouraging the others in the group. I find the meetings something to look forward to and the existence of the group is something to celebrate.

It’s the little happenings of the day that enrich and brighten one’s life. This has been a good week, even though winter is on the way. Among other things the daughter of a very dear friend showed up and cooked me a lunch including a pasty, one of my favorite foods.

Although I looked forward when I was growing up to eventually become a woman of the world, sophisticated as all get out, I never made it. When Maurice and Eleanore Telemaque telephoned me from Paris I was thrilled beyond belief. They are spending some time there and also visiting their son-in-law, daughter and baby grandson in Switzerland, having, I’m sure, a wonderful time.

Eleanore, formerly Eleanore Wong, and I became close friends some 50 years ago, when we were both on the editorial staff of the Albert Lea Tribune. We made history by cooperating, rather than competing with each other and I missed her sorely when she went on to bigger and better things in New York City.

I enjoyed my years at The Tribune and am grateful for the friends I made there. Many of them, alas, now no longer on this plane of existence.

No longer a part of the inner circle at the Tribune, I can’t say how things are now. When I worked there many years ago we had the most wonderful parties, but in newspaper tradition, there was a bit more tippling than was absolutely necessary. I liked the parties but didn’t drink. Not to worry, though, someone always spared me the necessity of explanations by just reaching out and taking the drink served to me.

At a Christmas party during the holiday season, when a beautiful something or other consisting of rum and a banana was served to me, I simply held it up in the air and another reporter promptly took it. A newcomer to the staff immediately inquired, &uot;Why are you taking Love’s drink?&uot;

Without a moment’s hesitation the recipient of the drink replied, &uot;Love belongs to some crazy religion that doesn’t permit her to eat bananas.&uot;

A friend of mine once told me that his years at the University were the happiest in his life and wondered if I didn’t feel the same way. I don’t. I have many wonderful memories, particularly strong with the approach of the holidays, but as someone has said, &uot;The past is a good place to visit, but no place to live.&uot;

When I awake in the morning it’s great to remember that every day has its adventure and every age has its blessings.

Love Cruikshank is an Albert Lea resident. Her column appears Thursdays.