Sunday, November 22, 2015

7478. BELOW THE WATER LINE, pt. 80

(pt. 80)
All that school stuff was just about it for me. I
never minded the big, old school, called School 4,
but they added this new, little, school-architecture
style heap right next to it and called it School 5. That's
the one I've written about, with that cloakroom door.
Kids had to attend their first couple of years in the 
newer of the two schools. Kind of a shame, because
maybe if they'd done it the other way around and put
the earlier classes in the old building there'd be less
of an institutional framework imparted and more of
a 'traditional' and older sense of scale and place. The
newer school had none of that. Can't beat progress.
It never mattered anyway, because all of our 'duck
and cover' air raid drills and stuff took place in the
littler, new school. I always wondered, since I had
to die anyway, couldn't I just walk up the street and
go home to die, instead of this duck and cover crap 
under my twerpy little desk. And if I was just going
to be vaporized anyway, by those Commie bastards
we kept hearing about, what did it matter where I was.
And then, to top it off, I'd start thinking 'hey,wait a
minute, all this atomic bomb stuff, why are we always
blaming others? We're the only ones who've ever 
dropped this thing, what's the deal? The nervousness
of guilt?' Well, anyway, it was all bullshit.
Everything always is anyway. I mean everything. 
One time when I was much older, I followed up on
something which really always bugged me, and it
proved my point: Our local newspaper was the Home
News Tribune, by name, and for a while they were 
running a column where people could write in and 
ask about some curiosity in the area, something they'd 
seen and wished to know more about  -  an old tower, 
a lost building, a remembered park, etc. There's a
section of town around me called 'South Edison'; it's
a crummy, geography-strip of an otherwise sprawling
mess of nothing much. It's often referred to itself as the
'Clara Barton' section of Edison. I always knew it was
bullshit, but then they began hanging banners from all
the lightpoles and stuff along the section of Amboy
Avenue that ran through it. The banners were all puffed 
up crap about welcoming people to the 'Historic Clara
Barton Section' of Edison. That finally got my hackles
up, and I wrote a letter asking what exactly was so 'historic',
and since when, about this 'section'. I knew Clara Barton
had never even set foot in New Jersey, except once, it was
maybe documented, that she might have visited and elderly
Walt Whitman, in  Camden, Mickle Street, when he lived 
there. She, and he, actually, was a Civil War nurse who
field-tended the wounded, dead, and dying, and whose name
was connected to the founding of the Red Cross. That was it.
The newspaper actually printed both the letter-request, and a
reply. Answer  -  nothing historic about it at all. Fact of the
matter is, she'd never set foot in central or north Jersey, and
the only connection was that the local old schoolhouse was
named the Clara Barton School back in the 1920's when it
was built. That was it  -  the town otherwise was just playing
up a completely bogus connection in order to boost some
sort of civic identity on an otherwise miserable place. The
only reason it was the 'Clara Barton' section at all was
because of the old name of an old, no longer used, school,
(it was now a seniors' living, apartment complex, added onto).
At least they owned up to their bullshit. 
The same thing happened another time too  -  I was referring
to an old road map and on it, in the 'Sewaren' section of old 
back areas (which are now all refinery pipes, tanks, and
transmission lines, Shell Oil Co., etc), were clearly marked 
two old town names, with dots for location, etc. They were
called 'Maurer' and 'Ferrer', by name, each. I wrote the same
guy and the newspaper, and asked about that. He printed and
replied that, yes, they'd both been two older communities, 
(there was even, to this day is, a 'Maurer Road', now which
 leads  nowhere, and is off-limits, closed, but still shows a
street sign), As it turns out, and as the guy printed, those
were both old communities through the beginning of the
twentieth century  -  small villages, homes, people, etc.,
the entire old sense of American place. There were now
some sluiced and channeled waterways there, rudely done,
which had once been streams and ponds and brooks. By 
the 1940's, the places were erased, as most of the lands 
thereabouts, that entire Sewaren to Perth Amboy section, 
in fact had been disfigured and made gross by tank farms,
fuel-truck refilling stations, and a few miles of silver 
pipelines and refinery stations propped up all over the
lunar, industrial, raw, rude and foul landscape. Goes to
show  -  the lives we lead are complete fictions; things
are foisted on us to make the narratives the powers that be
wish made. Had I not scratched a little, no common 
knowledge of this gross indecency would have even 
come to light, nor the information for it brought out. Kids
certainly aren't taught it. Our entire ways of life do not
utilize it  -  it is subsumed, this information, and kept
hidden away  -  lest we know what we have lost. It's a
really sad and sorry state. In addition, the local graveyards
are filled with old-line Slovakian and Hungarian names,
the people who'd lived and  tended (or mistended) these
lands, and from whom all of this had been taken. The old
legacies of Pert Amboy, Woodbridge, Sewaren, Port
Reading, and environs are simply ignored, after first 
being destroyed. And here we were, being taught
 to hide under our desks. What a crock of shit.

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