The Basement Tapes

•August 15, 2014 • 2 Comments

When I saw the cassettes I thought, “Oh, wow. This could be the motherlode.”BasementTapes

Or, a big disappointment.

Digging through boxes of photos, letters, and memorabilia, I found something I never expected to find: three cassette tapes that I’m fairly certain contain my voice, along with others, back when we were teenagers in the mid-to-late 1970s.

One C-30 tape likely had the biggest vein of material, while the other two 60-minute tapes probably contained TV programs from the early 1970s, about UFOs and In Search of Ancient Astronauts—real mind-blowers at the time.

So, I just recently had them digitized. You know, before they dissolve into the ether. Then I was itching to hear what they had to say.

Here’s what I uncovered: The earliest tape, the C-30, is shot—completely off the spool. Unless someone out there knows how to repair that, its secrets will be lost forever. The other two tapes have been converted, so I’m sharing clips from them here:

Basement Tape #1

Date: Monday, Feb. 20, 1978; Total length: 11:04 minutes

It was a terrible day.

After smashing up the Dartillac, and probably grounded indefinitely, I was at home listening to the radio and messing around with the tape recorder. Maybe some friends stopped by, or my brother and our neighbor friends recorded with me prior to leaving for the ski slopes.

1970s KidsIt begins with Pink Floyd’s “Money,” then (around 4:26 in) we kids interrupt, goofing around as only teenagers know how to do: “KQ Fireline… oh wow, man. The moon is beautiful today! Hello in there! We’re recording nothing of value!”

“Testing 1, 2, 3…” The date is confirmed at 5:35 in, with a KQRS radio ad for the County Seat (a clothing store that mostly sold Levis) at the six-minute mark. Some Hall & Oates at 6:20, then the slowed-down voiceover from some TV show, likely the UFO program I’d taped over (“Would… you… believe?”).

At 7:15, we switch over to KDWB, where John Denver plays “Sunshine on My Shoulders.”

But you really have to stick around for a hilarious ad spot for the movie The Trial of Billy Jack beginning at 9:49. “He’s coming!”

Who? Billy Jack is back!

Amazing how prescient the dialogue is even today: “One way for the rich, and one way for the rest of us!”

Basement Tape #2

Date: unknown, likely 1978; Total length: 4:32 minutes

KQRS, the album rock station for the Twin Cities, was playing the latest from The Eagles’ Hotel California. So, given that record’s release in February 1977, and mention of Joe Walsh getting But Seriously, Folks in the can, it’s likely this clip was actually recorded in 1978.

Ah, those were the days of sexy, smoky-voiced female DJs, whom I distinctly remember feeling very cozy listening to.

At 00:39 in, there’s an ad for a “CBS All-Stars Show” at the State Theatre, Saturday, Dec. 3, featuring Billy Cobham, Tom Scott, Alphonso Johnson and Steve Khan—tickets were only $7.50 and $6.50!

The opening bars of Kansas’ “Closet Chronicles” bursts in around 1:51, followed immediately by the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider.” Always loved the wistful tone of that song, like all the old feelings I got while nightwalking.

Basement Tape #3

Date: Thanksgiving 1978?; Total length: 3:08 minutes

Probably from the same time, given The Eagles/Carl Carlton/warbling voiceover on the clip. It’s almost a form of aural art—beamed in directly to you from late 1970s AM radio (KDWB)! Can you dig it?

A “Musk Oil by Houbigant” ad oozes in at 1:44. Hilarious!

“A fascinating fragrance as old as time, as new as you,” and “Pure … and not so pure.”

Remember, it’s a fragrance “for people who give more of themselves!”

Get it? MORE, you horny bastards!

And the DJ banter with three crazy kid listeners? Crazy good.

The clip ends with the rarely played, dreamy-spacey opening to America’s “Tin Man.”

Basement Tape #4

Date: 1977? 1978?; Total length: 10:20 minutes

It’s a long one, but definitely worth listening all the way to the end—the payoff is Rod Serling!

The clip opens with an ad for the latest LP by New Riders of the Purple Sage, Marin County Line, released in 1977. It’s followed at 00:58 by a LaBelles ad for Pioneer stereos, with a jingle that is 1970s cringeworthy: “A word of caution—Prices are limited!”

At 2:12 in, Todd Rundgren’s “The Night the Carousel Burned Down” from his 1972 Something/Anything double-record set, followed by (at 6:26) “I Don’t Know What to Feel,” from A Wizard, a True Star (1973).

Well, space cats, this is the closest you’ll ever get to listening to ’70s music exactly as it was broadcast in the late 1970s.

Then, at 8:46 in, a cataclysmic explosion!

Sodom and Gomorrah. “So complete was the destruction.”

Cue Raiders of the Lost Ark!

Backyard Incinerator

•August 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

MomDad_56Death, then fire.

That’s how my parents went out of this world. And likely I will too.

It’s something I really try not to think about: how my earthly remains will be disposed of. And for good reason. It’s completely out of my hands.

By the time I arrived in Florida in late May 2008, Mom had already been cremated. I was shocked by this, wishing I could’ve seen her one last time.

Then, after Dad died in early September of the same year, a similar regret. Except Pop’s body was still in the morgue when my brother Brian, our aunt, uncle and I met with the doctor.

I asked if I could see Dad’s body.

The doctor wanted me to think carefully about that request since, as he said, “blood had collected, post-mortem, on one side” of Dad’s face.

Did I want that to be my “last image of him?”

The others concurred with the doctor. I was the holdout.

But then Dad, too, was cremated.

I wasn’t even sure if that was his final request. But we purchased simple wooden boxes, into which the ashes of one half of the Family Project were put and kept at my brother’s house until finally, in April 2012, we were able to inter them at the family gravesite in Greensburg, Indiana.

I’ll never forget lowering Dad’s ashes into the ground. They were so much heavier than Mom’s. So like mother’s air-element quality to be light and for Dad’s to be heavy—almost waterlogged, like all the seven oceans were stuffed into that small wooden box, then placed in a tiny plot of earth.

And so the other elements remain: my brother is earth, like the ground into which our parents were laid.

Then there’s me.

Always on fire, burning through life, consuming everything in my path: jobs, money, relationships, you name it.


My Indiana birthplace had an incinerator in the backyard.

While doing research on the previous blog post, I came across this scene and was startled by its effect on me. William Inge’s play Picnic, released as a movie in 1955 and directed by Joshua Logan, shoots me back to a time when three generations passed through our tiny home in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis.

The above left photo, taken in 1956, shows Dad and Mom (right of frame) enjoying a night out with two other couples.

It was a heady time. Post-World War II economic vitality was in the air. Employment was on the rise. All the couples are snappily dressed. They seem relaxed and happy.

For Mom and Dad, it was early in their relationship. In another three years I would be born and—bang—one brand-spankin’ new Family Project, off and running. The house at 1827 East 64th Street was purchased with Dad’s new wages at the Indiana State Highway Department. It was quickly outfitted for all the things the project would need.

Our backyard incinerator at that house resembled the one in Picnic: metal with a concrete base and vented sides. Taking the trash out, lighting the match, burning the trash. Our Cocker spaniel, Taffy, sniffing the grass around us.Edith, Lena Adams

I’d nearly forgotten that Taffy was a gift from Mom’s Uncle Horace. Horace Harter was born in October 1903. He was husband to Grandpa’s only sister Edith (pictured at right with her mother, Lena Adams, who lived well into her 90s and whom my brother and I met many times in Greensburg, Ind.).

All I recall about Edith is a general sadness, so different from her outgoing brother Ray, and who was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970s. She died in 1973.

Edith’s husband, my Great Uncle Horace, a retired assistant postmaster and Presbyterian, had one hardcore hobby: breeding Cocker spaniels and winning awards at dog shows. I remember his basement shelves were filled with trophies and plaques. He was an honorary member of the American Spaniel Club.

Taffy died in Maryland, shortly after we arrived in the mid-1960s.

Dad buried her in the backyard, just beside the playhouse.


On Friday, Dec. 27, 1991, the Family Project went into emergency mode.

A journal entry on Monday, Dec. 30, tells it in full:

“The folks’ house out in Minnetrista caught fire. The old Zenith TV in the upstairs living room exploded and caught fire, igniting the couch and everything surrounding it. Mom had left the TV on and went downstairs. She heard the explosion and went upstairs, saw the fire, went back downstairs and called the Fire Dept. It wasn’t long before Dad came up the driveway, soon followed by the fire engines. I’d been at work since 10 a.m., as I was supposed to leave at 6:00 p.m. to take them to the Comfort Inn on Highway 494 where they were to stay till their plane bound for Florida left the Int’l Airport at 6 a.m. Sat. I called home at close to noon to tell them I’d be out there earlier than expected and Mom picked up the phone in the garage to say the house was on fire. I left work right away…”

When I made it to the house, it wasn’t as badly damaged as I imagined. But, as the entry continues, “…when I saw the sooty walls upon which were the family photos, I got really angry and took them down.” It was a helpless feeling to arrive so late.

Brian convinced our parents to continue with their Florida vacation plans and deal with the house when they returned.

That’s when, I’m certain, Dad decided he and Mom would retire to Florida.

Two weeks later, after they’d returned, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1992, I wrote: “And then, the second fire…”

Workers making repairs from the first fire had left an acetylene torch burning while they took a lunch break.

The remainder of the house went up in flames.


IncineratorLastSo many elemental connections to this, which I’ve explored before: how Mom (an air element) left the old TV on, Dad (water) rushed home to put out the fire, how my brother convinced them to go on vacation (down-to-earth) and I, fiery nature, fire sign Sagittarius and all, felt so unable to be “a good, helpful son.”

You see, Dad abhorred the smell of smoke.

I’m certain my fiery impetuosity often rankled him. I do know that as I entered my teenage years, we had more than our share of misunderstandings.

And I’ve failed at so many things since then.

I’ve been a poor son and brother. Partner, and friend.

I’ve burned through it all, only stopping when everything had been consumed.

No Picnic

•August 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

On Monday, Nov. 17, 1980, my calendar-planner’s entry read: “Meet Jim @ theatre entrance @ 1:30 to go to River Falls until approx. 6 or 7pm. See Kristi.”Picnic1

I have no idea who these people were.

My best guess is former high school newspaper editor Jim Borgheiinck, meeting me at Lakewood to drive to the University of Wisconsin to visit my old high school girlfriend Kristi Peterson.

But why those two?

And why then?

Not having a journal or diary to corroborate has been a frustrating exercise in personal archaeology. But due to a fastidious nature, I was able to unearth copies of letters I wrote to friends while I was at school in White Bear Lake.

On that Monday I wrote a letter to high school friend Terry Hollingsworth. Apparently we’d talked on the phone the previous Friday night, and promised to write letters going forward.

But something happened that Friday that totally knocked me off my feet.

I had to tell someone about it, so it’s likely I called Terry, then followed up with that letter, just so I could better understand my thinking. I’m grateful I kept a copy:

“I went to the Lakewood Community College’s Theater Department’s production of Picnic, set in Kansas, circa 1950. …I was fascinated by one of the leading characters, Millie, played by this Angelette girl who really knew how to smile. She was beautiful, in both character and obvious self. I wanted to know her, find her out, be present during the offstage moments of her life, witness her finesse in pure smiling. I hope to meet her sometime. But I am again doubtful that any relationship I imagine could form. After the performance that night, I was standing outside the auditorium talking with a friend of mine when she flew up out of nowhere, still in costume, and said hello to my friend. I wanted to congratulate her on the show, say something, anything to her, but I stood there nodding and listening like a fool whose eyes possibly betray more than anything his surprise and anxiety and compunction.”

Her name was Angelette McCusker. The letter continues:

“I saw her again today in the hall as I was going down to the cafeteria, and I … thought I caught a look from her, and continued on my way. She seems bubbly and composed at the same time, a girlish mixture of mature lightheartedness and deliberation. So today this is how things stand: I wish I had the same decisiveness that my friends here at Lakewood seem to have in meeting girls. I am directly by nature too shy, and self-conscious of my appearance and mannerisms in a situation of first meeting.”

So, I wrapped up that first letter with the sign-off “Brothers in words, Mike,” and that was that.

After two weeks, I hadn’t heard from Terry, so I wrote a second letter on Monday, Dec. 1, 1980. Four paragraphs in, this:

“I met her today. I met the girl, Angel, I told you about in the last letter, yes, the actress that has stolen my heart. This is what happened: Pat, a friend of mine, and I had just walked upstairs from the first level of the school … when we passed the Business Office upstairs and both of us spotted Angel with two of her friends. One of the girls knew Pat, because on Halloween day he had dressed up very realistically as Bruce Springsteen, and she called to him: “Oh, Bruce!” We both did a kind of about-face and went over to talk to them. Terry, now is when everything in my memory goes just a little hazy. You know when I told you in the last letter about First Meetings? Well it all applies. The general conversation was set on Pat, he was indeed the reason for the meeting at all. The girl who called him over, and who by the way also appeared in the play with Angel, roughly introduced us… I ventured to say to Angel that she was very good in the play (I thought I did pretty good for someone who was nervous as hell and almost in pieces just seeing the girl at a distance), and she replied: “You remember me from that long ago?”

Gulp. Busted.

The letter reports I blathered “something inconsequential” to her, then later went on to muse to Terry about the feeling of being newly in love:

“Have you ever noticed how you act when you’re infatuated/in love? Besides being forever red, hot and all flushed in the face, your love seems to pop up everywhere and the surprise is always fresh and complete. She seems a little different every day; wasn’t her hair dark, chocolate brown? No, now it seems much lighter, with shades and tints of blonde. She is the popular one in a bunch; then she is the lonely one just around the corner. She seems to watch you from afar, and then all of a sudden it seems she sees you the same way you see a crowd, all at once. She is beauty in a glance; frightening to face eye-to-eye. Perhaps most of all she thrives as your beloved object greatest in the lonely hours of your imagination, your momentary flights and touch-downs of fantasy. Her greatest impact on you is out of your sight. Your loved one is about as close as you could come to calling something a Real Ghost.”

Then, on Saturday, Dec. 20—the last letter of 1980—no further mention of Angel. I’d already been home on winter break for nine days. I was feeling lonely and anxious about the forthcoming year. And Terry finally responded to the slew of letters he was receiving.

Picnic2Of course there’s no letter or journal entry to confirm these things, but Angel and I did start seeing one another.

I recall only one date off-campus, with Mark Luebker and his girlfriend Susan, at an Italian restaurant just down the road from the college.

Angel and I held hands, and kissed a couple times in quiet nooks at school. All the while I was burning with desire to take it further.

But after winter quarter began, Angel handed me that dreaded of all things, the Dear John letter: “Mike, I refuse to hurt you any longer by leading you to believe my feelings are more than what they really are. I value your friendship too highly.”

Wham!—color me crushed.

She’d also sent an early draft of the note, signing it: “Millie.”

I quickly realized that the winter of 1981—my last year at Lakewood—was going to be, well, no picnic.

Nursery Birds. Mmmm, Birds.

•July 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Nearly four years ago, I published this second post. All-new stories again next Friday morning. Happy late summer, friends!

Originally posted on Completely in the Dark:

That’s the first “media” I ever “consumed.” Literally.Nursery birds

Story has it my parents bought a mobile of brightly colored birds and hung it above my crib. You know, something to keep my baby-sized brain occupied.

I vaguely recall them. They had spongy bodies and little floppy wings (photo, at right).

Story also has it I tore the wings off my nursery birds. Probably gave ’em a gnaw or two.

And so, an editor is born.

It was in this little house on East 64th Street, in Broad Ripple, just north of downtown Indianapolis, where we lived until 1966, when Pop landed a plum gig with the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and we packed up and moved East.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

All those things: A baby book, a lock of hair, baby cards with elephants and clowns. Story has it gypsies down the street took care of…

View original 475 more words

A Tortoise on Segmentation

•July 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lakewood mirror

“Bad faith also results when individuals begin to view their life as made up of distinct past events. By viewing one’s ego as it once was rather than as it currently is, one ends up negating the current self and replacing it with a past self that no longer exists.” —Wikipedia on Sartre, Being and Nothingness

It was good to be back.

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1980, the calendar-planner reads: “School starts at Lakewood Fall Quarter.”

Then, not a single entry in any of the remaining calendar days that month.

Strange. I’d just begun one of the most creatively active periods of my young life. Homesickness was a thing of the past; I loved being away from the Family Project. I’d made new friends at college and formed some intellectual partnerships. And, except for a diary or journal, was writing more than I had before.

How could I not look forward to it?

So, to get some focus on that period, absent said journal or diary, we have to revert to the other, smaller calendar-planner. On Wednesday, Sept. 24, I’d noted a meeting with financial aid advisor Marv Cohan at 10:30 a.m. I don’t recall ever getting financial aid at Lakewood. However I was doing a lot of writing in the back notes section of that little planner. The day before my meeting with Mr. Cohan, I wrote:

“Segmentation is the human kindling needed to combust the energy and immediacy of pure life.

War, killing, patriotism, socialism, nationalism, destructiveness are all visible components of segmentation, mankind’s most dangerous aspect.

Segmentation is impatience and, chiefly, ignorance. It is the world’s most diverse (viable) blind force.”

Uhhh… What?

Well, I’d spent the previous year devising a new philosophical system. It had begun as early as April 23, 1980, in the same notebook: “‘Hollow man’ context with ‘segmented emotions.’” Nearly a month later, another note: “We must check Segmentation! See 4-23 analysis only begun!”Segment_CITD

You see, I wanted to be a philosopher. While commuting to summer jobs between school years, I was constantly reading. After returning to Lakewood that fall, I was on fire. I’d planned to write A Treatise on Segmentation:

“Segmentation in Ideology: believed thought, must be expressed…

Segmentation in Communication: expressed only in an apparent ‘non-belief’ situation…

Dreams vs. reality

Segmentation vs. multiplicity…”

I admit all these 30-year-old scribblings are pretty vague, so let me see if I can describe—through the mind of a slow-witted 50-year-old—exactly what I was thinking.

“Segmentation” is duality: the ability we humans have to dice up the world into good-bad, white-black, right-wrong—segmenting something that perhaps cannot be so easily divvied up. I started to call its opposite quality “Oceanic Community.” It flowed all around us. Yet as humans we choose to divide up Oceanic Community so we can consume it in pieces—and, probably more importantly, accept those pieces (or segments) as our “whole reality.”

As I was drafting this post serendipity stepped in, in the form of an essay by Alain de Botton, writing about Jean-Paul Sartre. I was startled to recognize in de Botton’s analysis of Sartre’s philosophy the bare bones of what I was thinking in 1980. And I don’t recall reading Sartre to have even filched a scrap of his philosophical tenets.

For Sartre, rejection of the inherent freedom of human existence was pure and simply “bad faith.” That was the ground I was trying to cover in describing Segmentation. All the artificial roles imposed by humanity on other humans could be discarded by acknowledging their meaninglessness.

Oceanic Community, therefore, was the state of embracing one’s natural freedom.


That fall I was renting the back bedroom of a Mahtomedi home owned by a widow named Mrs. Marvel Weisbrod. It was a mere block or two away from the previous year’s rental on 61 Pine Street. I remember college bookstore friend Mark Luebker’s reaction when I told him where I was living: “Mrs. Whitebread?! That’s rich!”

Lakewood 1980The student newspaper, the Lakewood Logue, brought me in with open arms as executive editor under new editor-in-chief Rod Gunsell. I had a desk, typewriter, was clad in my corduroy jean jacket, toting my latest book, and at-the-ready with fresh snarky attitude.

On Sept. 25, a Saturday, I was slowly back at work on the treastise: “Vigorous examination of many perspectives cancel out or at least minimize segmentation.”

By October 1980, old Lakewood friends Jill and Pat, Mark, Warren, along with new people, Rod, Lisa, Ed, and a shy, lanky and bespectacled guy we called Spider, all stopped off for drinks at the local watering hole, Jethro’s. That second year at Lakewood, Jethro’s became our go-to hangout. It was a place to break away from the school paper office, which, in tribute to our favorite TV show at the time, we dubbed “The Swamp.”

I wish I had a detailed journal from this time because it was so fertile and active. What was I really thinking and feeling in my second year of life at community college? Perhaps the only clue lay in a pocket calendar note for Oct. 1, 1980:

“When we are feeling heartfelt pain, or heartfelt joy—then we are true, real; other times we are dangerous.”

On Thursday, Oct. 9, I made one last note to A Treatise on Segmentation:

“Segmentation is riding in a car, gazing out the window at a forest. Affinity is standing in the forest. Creation is being the forest.”

Leaving the Lake

•July 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

“The past is a story I tell to forget about the present.”

Yeah, yeah, I know.Bear Lake Michigan 1960s

I wrote that the past is nothing I’m particularly fond of. That the beating heart of this blog lies in the questions that arise out of what I thought my reality was—even when the diaries, journals, calendars, and photographs reveal otherwise.

Maybe it’s more truthful to say I’m not a big fan of the future. If that were true I would’ve gotten through college sooner, would’ve made all the necessary concessions to raising a family of my own—AND I’d probably be way more financially responsible. Well, 20/20 hindsight is … like having no vision at all.

You see, I got four drafts into this post and hated reading it every single time.

It was because I was rationalizing, and I had strong feelings about the Family Project photos I’d discovered. Without documentation, original source material, a journal entry, a letter or note—it was just more thinking about old feelings.

And thoughts about feelings are unreliable.


It wasn’t always that way. When I was young all I did was dream about the future.

When I look at the top right photo of my toddler self, tossing a rock near Michigan’s Bear Lake, it makes me happy. It brings together the Best Me with the independent child I once was. I’ve no doubt that by that deep blue lakeside I felt joy all the way down to my tiny toes. And in those sparkling waves I saw worlds of possibility.

MomDad_80sBoatThe photo at left was taken in either 1979 or 1980, probably for my Lakewood Community College Photography class. Casco Point pal Dan Rogers, with moustache newly grown at his university, is to the left of Mom at center, with Dad at the wheel of our boat, heading out into Spring Park Bay. We were taking what would likely be one of our last boating excursions of living nearly a decade on Lake Minnetonka.

By late summer 1980, the old place would be sold.

It’s a great informal shot—rare in that nobody is putting on appearances just because a camera’s pointed at them. But it brings back mixed feelings: where I was at that time in my life, trying college again, living at home for the summer, and hoping to one day escape the orbit of the Family Project.

My foremost feeling is of Dad driving the boat. He was in those days the Type A controlling person, always in charge, always with a plan—or at least a backup plan—and intolerant of people who didn’t share those qualities.

Mom and I were more alike. We were flexible; we shifted with the winds if necessary. But we were also caught in storms of our own making. For years those storms dominated our lives. Likely they will continue to roll through mine, but I no longer give them the power they used to demand.

That is probably the only wish I have—the only vision I have—for the future.


Perhaps leaving is too easy.My beautiful picture

Walking away from a bad relationship or failed marriage. Quitting a hateful job. Or abandoning skills and talents out of fear of failure (or success). Maybe it’s not the right thing to do.

Or maybe it is.

Leaving the lake was easier than I thought: a moving van was packed, furniture put in transit, maybe a quick look back, and—poof!—gone. Never to see that person, that place, ever again.

I don’t remember the exact day we left Casco Point. And I’ll probably never know because I didn’t keep a journal that year. Can’t begin to tell you how much I regret that.

But based on other leave-takings: setting out from Maryland to Minnesota, the last year of summer camp, last day of high school, I do know it’s all about distance. The pain of leaving always lies in its reflection, the passage of time after the car door slams and the past quickly fades in the rearview mirror.

Well, here I am now. In the present, sitting at my desk on a beautiful summer’s day. The windows are open. A fan gurgles in a corner. Green leaves burn brightly through windows overlooking backyards and fences. The air is cool and sweet. I’m feeling rested and content.

But that’s where I stop. Because thoughts about feelings are unreliable.

Bear Lake FinalI need to learn how to better trust the future, to dream about how it could be and realize it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bitter continuation of the present.

Perhaps it’s just a muscle that’s grown weak over time. You need a strong imagination to see into the future. And I want to know where I’m going.

Could it be toward a new family (that seems impossible at my age), new people and places?

Mom’s no longer here to comfort me. Dad’s no longer steering the boat. I’m alone in the boat. I’m the one steering the boat.

Maybe I am the boat.

And when that boat comes ashore, will I have truly arrived?


•July 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Happy 4th of July. An oldie but a goodie. New stories next week. Enjoy your independence! Peace, love and joy, Mike

Originally posted on Completely in the Dark:

Confining, yet cozy. Wide open, and breathtaking.

Inside, standing on my bed’s headboard, looking out the window.

Or outside, watching as the streetlights hummed in crackling blue-white light, then flickered on for the night.

In 2006 I worked as sound guy on a short film submitted to the 48-Hour Film Festival. We made a base camp at a house north of Minneapolis—a house that, from the inside, stepped right out of 1973: Shag carpeting, batik on the walls, framed photos of the family that lived there and seemed like time had stood still when Nixon announced that Haldeman and Erlichman had resigned as White House aides.

It zipped me back to a time I’d lived through but completely forgotten: muted earthtones, floral prints, Jello 1-2-3, and ABBA funkin’ it up to the sound of “Hey Hey Helen.”

So, lately I’ve been thinking about how physical spaces have…

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