The Journey Begins…

“Grandma, when you die, will they bury you?”

“Yes.”

“Very deep.”

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll just dig you up again!”  —–Kornei Chukovskij From Two To Five

The journey, which would eventually lead to The Magicians Of Form, started in childhood.  For the book represents a synthesis of the many conversations I had with my Dad and Grandma  Lillian about forms that I encountered throughout my life.  In retrospect, I believe there was an unseen path that was guiding me to complete that book.  Little did I know it, but these apparently innocuous discussions held the seeds of a definite future purpose.

To understand the determination and courage needed to finish the volume, I have to look back to a now distant world:  a world before abstract reasoning had taken firm hold, and banished me from an all-inclusive world.  A world in which sensations, colors, sounds, and forms enticed with a vividness, excitement, and spontaneous directness that become dulled in adulthood.

To go to that special place, I need to summon memory as my guide.  Fragments of thoughts and images fly into my mind:  pine cones scattered along a path, a night sky covered with sparkling stars, the rough red of jasper, sand painting, sticker albums, wooden puzzles of a bus, and Old King Cole, a record player on the ground spinning music, farm lotto, water-colored flowers, The Golden Book of Children’s Verse, and, one verse in particular:  “When I grow up, I will carry a stick, and be very dignified.  I will have a watch that will really tick.  I will have a tall house that is built of brick.  And no one will guess that it’s just a trick, and I’m really myself inside.”, The Big Ball Of StringThe Big Jump And Other Stories, and Gillespie And The Guards( in which a child outwits adults in power), The Five Chinese Brothers(in which every brother has a special skill to keep him from harm), arithmetic problems with shiny colored dots, glasses of lemonade, scoops of chocolate ice cream, dragging a watering can to create my own river in the sandy beach,  Grandma’s Archie the Chipmunk bednight stories, making a miniature golf course out of my parents’ lawn, climbing walnut trees, listening to Walt Disney’s The Grasshopper and the Ants, dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Overture Miniature from the Nutcracker Suite and watching the falls of Lone Pine Creek…

“How high is high?”

Grandma said I asked this question when I was four-years-old.  It was the start of many questions I had about the surrounding world.  My special path was unraveling before me.  The hour glass of time was running.  The journey begins…

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

3 Responses to The Journey Begins…

  1. berlioz1935 says:

    How delight- and thoughtful. Your memories seem to be much more colourful than mine. Mine are more monochrome, people seem to be two-dimensional. Sometimes dreams, films and memories are the same black and white. When my Granddad died, in 1940, I was two weeks short of being five. He was my first dead person I saw. I can’t remember having had any conversation with him. Still, I remember him being quiet and comfortable to be with.

    • Thanks for your comments, Berlioz. My Grandma Lena was the first person I knew that died. I remember staying in Grandma Lillian’s bedroom to receive the news. That was in 1962. She was 73, and I was nine-years-old. I recall that she was in a wheelchair, and liked to visit other old ladies at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills. My Grandpa David used to take a “magic” chocolate Hershey bar from the closet when I came to visit them.

  2. auntyuta says:

    It shows how wonderful it is when young children are allowed to ask questions. At a certain age kids seem to be full of questions. Some adults are very good at finding some stimulating answers.
    It is enormously interesting what sort of answers and pictures stay in our memories for ever and ever.

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