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September 2012— WRITERS’ PAGE Pretend

Sydell Rochman Pascale I am still amazed by a landline telephone.

Cellphones are really little instruments of magic. I understand electricity, but I am still amazed by wireless implements. How do they know what

to do? Of course, every

once in a while, for no reason apparent to me, some times the television just goes blank. Proof, no more picture or sound. Always at the crucial moment of a murder mystery. I then call some wise individual who listens

to all the symptoms and ask questions that I usually can not answer. I am then advised to push a little red button. All of a sudden my TV is going through the pangs of coming back to life, along with heartening messages on the screen. “We are almost there”, “just a few more minutes” etc. In my household despite my lack of knowledge, I am in charge of the phone, the computer, the television and the recording device, similar to TiVo. I tell you all this and confess that after

many private lessons I am very comfortable with my computer. I don’t understand how it does what it does, but I can usually count on its obedience to me. I am the lord and master. Television excists for please and information. It has no other function. But, my computer has been called on to perform many acts of a mystical nature. I shall now relate a story about my computer and the Internet that still

My Elusive Kitchen

amazes me. I had planned to write on the word

“pretend” as a story immediately popped into my head. When I was a little girl, some seventy years

ago I had a favorite radio program. It was called “Lets Pretend”. Every Saturday morning after I fi nished my chores in our very small apartment I would watch my radio and listen to this children’s program. I also listened to Mr. Keen “Tracer of Lost Persons”, the Shadow on Sunday afternoons and various other radio spellbinders. But, Saturday morning was my favorite day for watching and listening to our little Emerson radio, which was placed on the kitchen table. So, as soon as I left Writer 2 weeks ago I anticipated that I would have my whole story about “Lets Pretend” written in my head. No such luck, I sat down with Microsoft

Word and the blank screen didn’t even blink at me. I went to the Internet and asked ASK.

COM for any information on “Lets Pretend” and what do you know. This amazing amount of information was on my screen. I was able to listen to a sample episode and I heard the song that preceded each story. I was eight years old again and in my mother’s kitchen. How is the for magic and I am not pretending. 

Her Majesty Winter

Sydell Goldfarb Bright sparkling stars in a black, black sky Oh to have my lover by my side tonight,

Breathless with the magnifi cence of the night And shivering with the splendor of winter. A summer sky is beautiful but lacks the

Compelling magnitude of a clear crisp cold night.

Every light, every star, every radiance glittering with frost.

December in full regal dress.

The night is no longer a fair young maiden Or ripe woman ready for the taking.

She has become a majestic queen, exalting her subjects

With the spell of excitement and deep rare ecstasy

Revelled in by those who appreciate the brittle

And frail and overpowering. 

Sandy Ilsen There are several rooms in my abode There’s even a kitchen, I am told.

In my kitchen there’s a stove and a sink, At least, that’s what I’ve been led to think.

Several times when I thought I would cook For my kitchen I attempted to look.

But, for some reason I cannot discover That elusive room remains under cover.

Each time I’ve attempted to seek and explore

I would fi nd myself outside the door. Oh dear, I must have turned the wrong way,

Today I’ll eat out, and cook another day.  Envy is Not a Four Letter Word

Sandy Ilsen Envy is not a four letter word, In spite of the idle chatter you’ve heard It’s unacceptable reputation Is based solely on a false connotation.

To be envious is not obscene or lewd, Improper, immoral, indecent or rude. Envy denotes a desire to envelop The fi nest that we can hope to develop.

To envy is not to begrudge or resent In fact, it implies the highest compliment. To envy insinuates admiration And it should not be met with indignation.

Without the occasion to see and compare We would not be envious, we would not care. Envy contributes the competitive force To climb a bit higher, step out of our course. 

Pin Setter

Jim Glueck One of the many jobs I had as a teen

ager was a pin setter in the local bowling alley. Back then, in the early and mid 50’s, almost every town had a bowling alley. In the town that I was raised in, Hatfi eld, PA., there was a six lane bowling alley, small by any measure, but large enough for my small town. It was there that I set pins two or three times a week over the winter months, earning my spending and dating money. Pin setting seems like simple thing to do.

A bowler bowls a bowling ball down an alley to see how many of the ten pins he or she can knock down in a two try bowling frame. The pin setter picks up the ball, positions the ball on a ball return chute to return the ball to the bowler, and then picks up the knocked down pins and positions the ten pins on the alley for the next bowler. But, as with most

things in life, setting

bowling pins is a bit more complicated than this. Matter of fact, it was sort of dangerous. A pin setter worked in the bowling alley

pits, in a small space between the end of the bowling alley and a large padded cushion that hung on a chain that absorbed the shock of the bowling ball and fl ying bowling pins. The pit area was a dirty and dusty place which was almost never cleaned. And it was hot working there. But before I get into the dangers, it’s important to know the mechanics of setting bowling pins. After the bowling pins were knocked

down, I would lift the bowling ball onto a return chute that would transport the ball back to the front of the alley. And, at the end of the bowling alley was a foot lever

that, when pushed, lifted 10 metal rods in the alley in the exact alignment for the ten bowling pins. Each bowling pin had a small hole drilled into the center bottom of the pin and I would position the bowling pins over these metal rods. When all 10 pins were set, I would release this lever and the rods would retract leaving the 10 pins in proper position for the bowler. This is when I would prepare for the next ball to hit the pins.

There was always the chance that a pin

setter could have been hit by the fl ying bowling pins. I know this to be true since there were many times when I couldn’t swing my legs out of the way of the fl ying bowling pins fast enough and was hit on the legs, arms, and even my head by some hot shot bowler who threw the ball down the alley at what seemed like a hundred miles per hour. Or worse yet, did not wait until I had cleared the alley area after setting the pins before he threw the ball. Add the fact that I normally set pins for two alleys, at the same time, alternating between the two alleys that things really became interesting. As fast as I could set the pins on one alley, I had to keep an eye on what was happening on the other in order to avoid being whacked by pins from the bowler on that alley. Now, I am not saying that all bowlers were wild bowlers. Not at all. Most were gentlemanly and considerate of the pin setters. However, there were the few who I believe took great pleasure in trying to hit the setters by throwing the ball as hard as they could just to see bowling pins fl ying in every direction. And over time I knew which bowlers I had to watch out for.

Today, manual bowling pin setters are

thing of the past, having been replaced by automatic pin setting machines. Teenagers today will never experience the thrill of dodging fl ying bowling pins like I did. And bowling alleys in small towns have all but disappeared, and there is something sad about this. Looking back on my time as a pin setter, I think about our local bowling alley. This was perhaps the main social gathering place in my town. Bowling leagues of men, leagues of women and leagues of mixed men and women were formed, and each team in the league proudly wore their own individually designed team bowling shirts. Some of these shirts were quite outlandish with fancy lettering and caricatures depicting the team sponsor. For example, one women’s church team’s shirt had in large biblical type print, “the Holy Rollers”. The point being that this was good clean competitive sport and it was fun for those participating; business teams against business teams, church teams against other church teams, etc. Bowling alleys also provided a social environment where local issues could be discussed in a nonthreatening atmosphere. But back when I was setting pins I did

not think about any of this. I was too busy dodging and setting the pins. And for my work, and it was hard work, I was paid $4 - $5 per match or about $8 - $10 a night plus tips. And I must say that the men generally tipped better than the women,

for some

reason. But, all in all, not bad money for a teenager in the 1950’s. I recall I bought my fi rst car from money that I earned setting bowling pins. 



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