I’ve always loved slapstick comedies. When I was young I used to imitate some of the physical pratfalls that comedians did on TV and movies. I excelled at falling down and walking into things. This became very useful when I actually did walk into things, since no one knew how clumsy I really was. I used to do these types of activities just to amuse myself, and others, especially my young nieces and nephews. My favorite was walking into walls and doors. When close enough to a wall, I would drag my back foot so it brushed my front foot, and thus creating the impression that I was tripping over something. As I headed toward the wall in question I would raise my hand and slap the wall just as my head was close enough to look as if it hit it. The sound of the slap, followed by a rebound of my head was enough to look as if I had tripped into a wall. I would immediately put my hand to my face and look dazed to complete the impression. Depending upon who was the witness, there was either shock or laughter. Adults tended to be shocked and wanted to offer help, children laughed. This type of slapstick behavior continued well throughout my young adulthood. Sometimes doing these types of behaviors did not have consequences.
Think about what dreams you have that are recurring. We all must have some. Those are probably the ones that are more likely to be remembered over time. When I was young (between 9-12 years old). I always had this recurring dream of being in a city excavation site. There were big steam shovels that were digging up things and burying them. Somehow I was always part of the burying part, as in the object being buried. Sometimes my parents were there, sometimes it was just me. I’m sure all you Freudian psych majors out there have already figured out some devious meaning behind all of those dreams.
As I got older I still had recurring dreams, but they usually were based on other themes. Continue reading Recurring dreams…
Uncle Itch was a folk music enthusiast. You could always hear him singing Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger or Peter, Paul and Mary songs. Some songs he sang just stuck with you. I still can’t get the song, “The Cat Came Back” out of my head whenever he’s around. His main instrument was the guitar, though that didn’t stop him from attempting other instruments. He has also learned to play the fiddle, mandolin, and harmonica as a performer. He told us that he took piano lessons as a child for a short time and in Junior High School he played the trumpet. As an adult he tried learning the viola, string bass, saxophone, and both hammered and mountain dulcimers, but just couldn’t stick with them.
As Dave Barry says, “You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.” That is probably not the best way to describe a good way to grow up, but it sure explained my Uncle Itch. His real name is Herman, but to me he’ll always be Uncle Itch (short for Uncle H). Itch being that he was always there to tickle your funny bone through pratfalls, silly voices or crazy tales. Uncle Itch is our family storyteller. He always has a tale to share and never tells it the same way twice. I always looked forward to a visit from Uncle Itch.
These are the lyrics of a new song that I wrote for a Go Green Festival I’ll be performing at in November.
by Harvey Heilbrun
We must Go Green and work to save our planet
Think about the things we do that can affect us all
We must Go Green and try to change our actions
Save the earth, improve our lives and stand up tall.
When leaving rooms turn off the lights, conserve electric power
Turn off TVs, and pull out plugs that you’re not using now
Fix all those leaks, don’t let them drip and take a shorter shower
It’s not so hard to save this earth if you know how.
The great outdoors is calling us; there is a good solution.
Take a walk or ride your bike, don’t always use the car.
Don’t litter, or waste paper, keep noise down, stop pollution
By planting trees and growing plants we will go far.
Reduce the waste you make each day, Reuse what you don’t throw out
Recycle what you can so we can help the world revive
Each little thing we do each day helps build a good tomorrow
So do your best, it all adds up, help us survive.
Click here to hear Go Green
Go Green by Harvey Heilbrun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Learning about my family history has always been an interest of mine. When I was born my grandparents were dead already, so I didn’t get the advantage that most kids have of having family stories shared from two generations past. My parents weren’t much for sharing stories of their childhood, unless you questioned them. This was not something that I tended to do when I was young.
The exception was my father sharing all of his sports exploits with us. It wasn’t until I was much older and started looking for some verification of his claims of playing soccer for a German National team that I discovered that most of his stories were less than truthful.
Most of the information I’ve gathered unfortunately came after my parents had already died. The unfortunate loss of a great source of information.
In our present day of medical specialists, where you are delivered at birth by an obstetrician, followed by a pediatrician as you grow up, and finally you move onto either a General Practitioner or Doctor of Internal Medicine as an adult, I am reminded of the doctor that I had growing up, that covered it all. His name was Dr. Tuch (pronounced with a German gutteral “ch”).
These were the 1950s and 60s, where the doctor you had was a Family physician. He not only tended to your birth, but also as you grew up attended to all of your needs and that of the needs of everyone else in your family. This was also the time when doctor’s still made house calls, though my memories of Dr. Tuch center around his office.
In searching out new story material for my performances I came across a great collection of stories. The stories are in the book Le cercle des menteurs: Contes philosophiques du monde entire by Jean-Claude Carriére. My difficulty as you can see is that the book is written in French. The English translation of the title is: The Circle of Liars: Philosophical tales from the entire world. There is also a Spanish translation of the book. Of course I neither read nor speak either language.
Lately I’ve been having a number of dreams and discussions about time travel. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time travel through TV shows and movies I watch, and the books I read. So while my son has dreams that are vivid but can’t be remembered and my wife has dreams about the real world and all issues that come with it, I dream about time and how to move through it.
This is an extended story I wrote based on a translated story from the book:Le cercle des menteurs contes philosophi (The Circle of Liars, philosophical tales from around the world) by Jean Claude Carriére
Once upon a time there was a beautiful city on the outskirts of a great forest. In the city lived an extremely rich man and an extremely poor man. Each had a son; by chance, the two young men had been born on the same day in the same year.
If I told you that both of those boys grew up in the same way, I would not be telling the truth. Though they lived in the same city, at the same time, they experienced their parents’ love and example and guidance in totally different ways.
The rich man’s son was provided everything he wanted: toys, clothing, exotic foods. He had it all! He attended the best schools and vacationed at the most luxurious resorts. He had nursemaids, cooks, valets, and a chauffeur who catered to his needs. He rarely did anything for himself. His parents loved him dearly and showed him, by providing him with all his wants. That is how he grew up.
The poor man’s son was also privileged. Since purchasing toys was out of the question, his father cleverly devised ones for him to play with out of materials at hand. He often accompanied his father on trips and errands. Being an astute observer, he soon made his own toys and later small pieces of furniture for the household. The family did not have rich, sumptuous meals, but there was sufficient plain basic food to prevent hunger pangs. His mother was a clever cook, and she taught him much about stretching food supplies. With her help, he learned to raise vegetables from seed and to keep a small flock of chickens. He delighted in quiet walks in the forest, listening to the subtle sounds of nature; sometimes watching young animals at play. When opportunity arose he walked about the city too, and studied people as they went about their lives. He marveled at the variety of things they did. As a teenager, he found work himself, fixing neighbors fences, delivering packages for local stores, taking care of people’s animals. His income improved the family’s way of life. His father and mother were so proud! They could not have wished for a better son. That is how he grew up.
On the day the two young men turned 18, the very wealthy man brought his son to the top of a mountain. Below, the entire city spread out before them. “Look,” said the father,” one day this will all be yours”.
On that same day, the poor man also brought his son to the mountain. They gazed down at the bustling city, the vast fields, the trees of the great forest and the father said to his son, “Look.”
Both were satisfied.