In this sequel, a writer shares a collection of random memories spanning several decades—simple yet special moments that still tickle his brain and send his fingers to the keyboard.
Lubow (Time Pieces, 2016, etc.) grew up in Chicago in the 1940s and ’50s. For most of his professional life, he worked in advertising, eventually opening his own successful agency in the Windy City. And it is with an adman’s skill that he distills the small events of his life to their sensory core. In this collection of essays ranging in length from one paragraph to no more than three or four pages, he shares his joys, gripes, and occasional bits of wisdom through reflections on things as poignant as his grandfather dying suddenly in front of him when he was 5 years old, and as ordinary as a bowl of “Cheerios with real milk and sugar. Yeah...” A piece entitled “1957” is a nostalgic riff on what was for the author a perfect time and place, before cellphones, passwords, and internet slang. “I don’t need air conditioning, don’t like seatbelts or the underpowered cars of today,” he tells readers. “I was fine with life as I personally knew it in 1957. Would I go back? In a flash.” There’s plenty of soft-edged humor, but Lubow’s clever essays also reveal a sense of melancholy: “I wondered recently about the certain low-level of insecurity many of us live with, and this seems to be more pronounced as we get older, especially if we’re loners….Maybe it’s time to take something for the chronic itch of insecurity that seems here to stay.” Most of the pieces are lighthearted—wonderful stories from the author’s days as an adman and essays that explore his love of words in all their varied contexts, including an overly long description of his passion for crossword puzzles. And in “The anti-gourmet of today.,” he admits, with self-deprecating humor, to a wide range of quirky food preferences, unusual culinary combinations that indeed sound rather unsavory.
Wistful and witty personal essays; best enjoyed in nibbles.