August 27 loomed… and now passes by on the calendar.

Flip, another year. This one marks 19 years since my Dad passed away. A flip the bird to stomach cancer. And then 10 years later to the day, Mom succumbed to a heart attack.

The same day.

Not a coincidense.

Just marked here with another memory post. That photo above, some physical links.

The table is the folding drafting table Dad used in the 1950s when he worked on his degree in construction cost analysis by correspondence course (love the irony that Dad Was a Distance Learner). I always was curious about the folded table in the basement “back room.” My parents let me take it with me in 1987 when I moved across country for grad school. It’s gone with me every where.

And then the web serendipity amazing story thing happened. In 2008 I posted to flickr a picture of the table when I refinished it. Someone used the image in a PhotoShop tutorial. And then a biology researcher used the same table and method to create a cover image for the Cell biology research journal.

That table has some life in it. We just set it up in our office as it makes a fantastic spot to do video meetings.

Then the clowns.

I have no idea where Mom got the interest in collecting ceramic clown figures. Her house had a huge cabinet overflowing with them. I remember once time Dad visiting me in Arizona and he asked for ideas of a gift to take home to Mom. It was Another Clown.

Clowns! Clowns!
Clowns! Clowns! flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

My sisters and I had laughs and a dilemma on cleaning out Mom’s house 9 years ago.

“Who’s going to take the *#^$&$ clowns!”

Note that this was said in total Levine sarcasm laughter. We decided to each take one (I went small). The rest were donated to the gift store at the hospice that cared for Dad.


I really don’t have issues of Coulrophobia I just don’t desire a wall of ceramic clowns. I can manage one.

And then the memories of Ocean City, MD. My sisters and I agree those summer vacation memories were such key ones for us. My parents were mostly happy, but they seemed most joyous for those one to two week stays at the same tiny apartment we rented for a week. My sister reports the place is gone, replaced with a parking garage, but it was just around the corner from the original Phillips Crab House.

The plastic boxes each hold a color image you can see when you peek inside, a kind of time machine to look back to say 1974. It was this beach hustle where a photographer walked up and down the beach, selling the tourists on a keepsake. There was no quick selfie thing, you had to wait til they processed the film as a color positive and inserted in the box. My other sister found out you could get a digital image by holding it up to an iPhone camera.

So I could share the image, but some things maybe should just staying where they are.

My sister sent some more photos this here is a vintage maybe early 1980s picture of the folks in the kitchen of the home I grew up at in Baltimore.

Mom and Dad, circa?? 1985?

Beyond seeing them together in a photo I’ve not seen in a long time, there is always the transport back via the details. That vintage 1970s harvest gold colored fridge, which actually replaced a much older vintage one. I love seeing the box of Snyders pretzels in the background, see my habit was seeded as a child. Of course Dad is wearing his flannel shirt, his favorite comfort outfit. Mom is in her era of the blonde dyed hair (hide the gray). And the old chairs kitchen chairs around the table we did our meals, I remember how you could endlessly swivel in them. The old table which was there since the beginning of time.

Objects, memories, and time.

There goes 9 and 19. There will be a 10 and 20, and…

Featured Image: Not uploaded to flickr, but it will be soon, and as usual, shared under Creative Commons CC0.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Thank you again Alan for sharing such special memories of our mom and dad. This day is never easy for me. I too have the telescope pictures of our good times at Ocean City. Imagine being so excited about our one week trip to the beach!! When I was at the beach in October, I walked to the spot where we would sit for hours. So many memories!! And those clowns!!! We asked mom’s neighbors and friends to please take one in her memory! We need to keep telling those stories and sharing those memories! Love you!

  2. What a precious and wonderful memories of your childhood . It seems like you are very close to your sisters and it should be that way .It reminds me of my own childhood memories .

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