Saturday, July 16, 2016


That same cemetery holds the
gravesite of Grover Cleveland.
He was a pretty non-descript
President, no one anyone really
ever cared about. Born in, I think
it was, Caldwell, NJ, where you
can visit his childhood home  -
it's a bit sad and awkward now,
right on a highway-type road,
busy, all the nice, scenic stuff
long ago cut and/or removed.
Typical New Jersey ignorance.
Other than a rest-stop on the
Turnpike, nothing's even really
named after him in the state.
There's a Grover's Mills, down
by Princeton (where the 'Martians'
supposedly landed in the Orson
Welles radio broadcast), but I
don't think there's any connection.
Who knows. He's just a big, quiet,
unheralded NJ secret. Maybe
'Jersey Boy Subs' in Morristown
has a sandwich named after him,
like they do for 'The Boss', and
Sinatra, and all that. 'The Grover
Cleveland', all fat and gristle.
No matter, he's buried, kind of
nicely but way understated, in
Princeton. Heralded as 'President
of the United States', with some
dates. No one really even cares.
The funny story about him, and
it shows how much the world
and country have changed : he
was able, in complete secrecy,
during the time he was President,
with cancer of the jaw or
something that no one knew
of, secretly escape DC, get on
a boat, remain there for a pretty
long duration, and have, on
that boat, wherever it was
then, a medical team perform
jaw surgery on him. Major
stuff, with no one knowing.
Try that today; there be
forty other boats chasing
him down and news-creeps
everywhere. I don't even know
how it all turned out  -  if he
lived a long time after that,
stayed with the job, or even
how he ended up being now
buried in Princeton.
Einstein's house is there too,
up the road a little, westerly.
It's a still-very-nice yellow
house, maybe white now, I
forget. The present owners
wanted, and have, no
identifying marker on
the house. You have to
either look it up or know
where it was. It's in a million
guidebooks and sites, so it
doesn't really matter, but
there's just nothing that
special about it to see.
Princeton, and the University,
together, get gigantic busloads
of Asians on travel-tours all
the time. The big buses park,
and hordes of Chinamen get
off, with a guide or two. Craziest,
pushy people you'd ever want
to see. They swarm everywhere,
and mostly buy nothing, just look,
touch, gawk, talk, jabber, stare,
take photos, and the rest. They
used to come into the bookstore,
and the Princeton University
goods store next to it, and crowd
out the restroom, all the while
jabbering but never really
buying. It was bizarre; they'd
walk around for an hour or two,
some Chinese guide would be
ranting on in Mandarin or regular
modern Chinese (Mandarin is
like their 'Old English' but
certain people still use it).
When they'd cross the street,
for the start of the campus
tour, and often with kids in tow,
12 year olds as perspective
students, they'd get totally
intense, gathering together
to mumble, taking photos in
little groups, and trying to see,
or understand, everything. I
asked about these tours once,
and was told most of them
actually are 'college campus'
tours, booked as that for Ivy
League schools, which the
Chinese preferred. The entire
eastcoast area was covered.
The buses would travel,
Harvard, Yale, Princeton,
Columbia, UPenn,
(Philadelphia) and
all that. Hard at work
tourists, working
the land.
I find people are basically,
in such situations, polite and
reserved. They know they're
only temporary, and out of all
context. I would often talk
with people as they asked
questions, directions, etc. One
time, I remember, myself and
a guy I knew in the Physics
Dept., basically an almost
always half-drunk guy named
Alan, who no matter what else
was solid and gold; a good friend.
Some lady, alone, stopped us;
she said she was visiting from
Texas and that the two of us,
together, looked like the
quintessential 'university
types', the best she'd ever
seen, blah, blah, and she'd
really need our pictures to
bring back to Texas with
her, so is it OK if she
photographs us. We agreed,
laughingly. Alan made the
stealthy crack or two about
her being worth it  -  'maybe
we should ask her if she
wants us to show her some
real Princeton hospitality,
wink, wink...' Point was, she
was pretty attractive yet, and
he tuned right into that. All I
said to her was, 'So let me get
this straight - you're from Texas
and you're going to shoot us?'
Big joke. The Chinese will
photograph academic settings,
while cute, middle-aged ladies
from Texas will photograph
two Princeton crackpots.
On the whole, however, the
Princeton campus was pretty
heavenly, all about. I used to
just love the walking around,
through, and past. The Ginko
trees were lovely, their patch
of color dropping all over the
ground for Fall mornings. One
time I came across a woman
appreciating the trees, in the
same manner I did - we began
talking. She was fully versed in
tree-lore and horticultural and
arborist stuff, and it was pretty
fascinating. Ginko Tree : oldest
tree known in existence, made
mention of in the bible, splendid
archaic tree. Then we began, at
my initiation, talking about the
ages of the apparent things
before us that we all see. 
We decided that the oldest
remaining designs, from an 
entirely other place and time, 
other-worldly and unchanging, 
obvious proof-positives of 
another world, outside of 
time and place, were tree 
bark, tree leaves, and  -  
upon entering a woods or 
forest, the coverage and 
canopy of all the assorted 
leaves and foliage
around one's self while
therein. Our little self-
medicated conclusion was
over, but I wasn't done. I
then said to her that we'd
missed an entire further page
of proof-positives of the
archaic thread of limitless
and ancient time we live 
amidst, (yes, this is how 
university people
will talk) and I asked
if she'd ever seen any 
up-close bugs; any of them,
beetles to grasshoppers to 
flies. How I almost thought
they were, with all their armor
plate and coarse and multiple
layers, more proof-positive of
a very, very old design lab.
The she said, unbelievably
enough, I thought, 'What?
Old design? Have you not
ever looked at a vagina or
a cock and ball sack? That's
archaic design, speaking of
folks and layers, and it hasn't
been changed in a billion years!'
Egads! I thought to myself,
'gotta' be time to go.' being the
proud university bookstore guy 
that I was,  I piped up 'Balzac?
He's one of my favorite writers.'

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