The View From 32


MAY 6, 2007    More below: FORGETTING

Group of cyclists dressed in colorful garbShowing their colors

It's not exactly the same as the Hell's Angels and their colors, but cyclists seem to have a compulsion to wear not-very-flattering outfits in extremely bright colors.

We all, a good part of the time, dress to show that we're part of one group or another (or we'd like to be part of the group). Serious cyclists (or those who want to look serious) have the most colorful uniforms of any group past the age of 21. Outfits like these give older people a defiantly outlandish look, kind of like teenage rebellion with gray hair.

Most of these folks probably dress conservatively six days a week, so why should I criticize how they dress to have fun? I shouldn't, of course, but it just strikes me as an older version of the kid with the purple and red mohawk and 16 piercings. Nothing wrong with that, just makes me smile.

Alice, Chris and others at table.The occasion for this gathering was the annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for Stanford House Hostel in Peninsula, Ohio. There were also a bunch of other people dressed in much duller colors, like me.

We finished our breakfast and walked outside to find a whole bunch of our Near West Side neighbors sitting around one of the picnic tables. After the conversation slowed down, we hiked up to Brandywine Falls, a scenic overlook about 1.5 miles away.

It was a fabulously sunny day, cool and breezy, a great day for walking.



Hindenberg, Kent State killings, September 11th imagesForgetting to remember

Springtime in Northeast Ohio also means May 4th, the anniversary of the killing of four students on the Kent State campus in 1970. Earlier in the week I gave it a brief passing thought, but spent the day itself as I would any other Friday.

In years past I've created commemorative postcards, taken part in the candlelight march around campus, or at least thought about doing something in honor of the students who died. I'm ashamed that I forgot them.

What reminded me was a news story this morning about the Hindenberg disaster, another event that at the time seemed as if it would live on in memory forever. If I hadn't been in the car listening to NPR I'm quite sure it would have never crossed my mind, despite the images and sounds that once reminded, I so clearly connect with it.

The Hindenberg was 70 years ago. Kent State, 37 years ago. September 11th, 6 years.

How long before we begin to forget? And what do we lose when we do?