The thousands of Applebees across the country have the same policy concerning their decor. When they first open a restaurant, they select a few local college and/or high school and place about a dozen photos of the school's athletic teams and/or clubs on the restaurant's walls.
The Applebees located in Fresh Meadows was no different. Back around 1993, when they opened, they put about 20 pictures of Lewis' teams up in the restaurant's waiting area.
Over the last 15 or so years, I had gotten used to friends and/or strangers coming up to me
in the neighborhood telling me that they saw me with either the baseball team picture of the basketball team picture on their last trip to Applebees.
Back around 2002, I even suggested to the manager of the restaurant that he update the pictures with current ones, but he said it was the policy to leave the pictures up that were appropriate when the restaurant first opened.
THEN, last week, Juliet (my teenager) informed me that the restaurant had updated the pictures, and now had photos of the current teams, thus removing me from posterity.
And while it should be a small item when you look at the big picture of life; for some reason, I feel wounded to the core.
R. J. –
I FEEL THAT ARTHUR MILLER'S LINE FROM, "DEATH OF A SALESMAN," APPLIES TO YOUR COMMENTS --- "attention must be paid." YOUR STORY IS NOT ABOUT PERSONAL EGO, IT IS FAR GREATER THAN THAT.
WHEN I GOT MY FIRST TEACHING POSITION IN BROOKLYN, AT JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL #35 A.K.A. STEPHEN DECATUR - THE PRINCIPAL WAS TRYING TO SAVE MONEY AND MAYBE THE TIME NEEDED FOR MINOR RENOVATION - ANYWAY, THE PLAN WAS TO TAKE THE OLD ATHLETIC HALL FAME NAME PLATES FROM THE LARGE AND VERY HANDSOME WOODEN PLACARD AT AND ABOVE THE MAIN AUDITORIUM STAGE, PAINT OVER THEM WITH THE NAMES OF THE CURRENT AND FUTURE CROP OF STAR ATHLETES PRODUCED BY THIS GREAT INSTITUTION’S NURTURING SPIRIT.
I CAME TO THE SCHOOL IN JANUARY OF 1968 AND THIS PLAN MUST HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED AND DECIDED UPON BEFORE I
CROSSED THE DOOR – THE ACTION WAS IN MOTION WHEN I LEARNED ABOUT IT – SELFISHLY I RESCUED MY OWN NAME FROM THE PILE OF MY CLASSMATES / HEROES THAT HAD BEEN VIRTUALLY GIVEN THE DEATH PENALTY.
IRONICALLY, I SALVAGED THE ONE NAME THAT I THOUGHT WAS THE LEAST DESERVING OF ALL THOSE ON THE BOARD.
HAD I BEEN A VETERAN STAFF MEMBER, WITH A GREATER VOICE, I MIGHT HAVE HELPED FIND A WAY TO PRESERVE THAT
WONDERFUL TRIBUTE TO FINE ATHLETES, ONE OR MORE, WHOM HAD REPRESENTED THE UNITED STATES IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES.
I ALSO KNEW THAT WONDERFUL FOLKS ON THE STAFF – BOTH FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATORS, WERE STRONG ADVOCATES FOR THE SCHOOL AND IF THIS WAS HAPPENING, MAYBE IT WAS NOT SO SIMPLE TO UNDO.
ANYWAY, THERE IS A NATURAL PAIN THAT COMES WITH SEEING HISTORY DISAPPEAR BEFORE YOUR EYES, SEEING THE LIBRARY
OF HUMAN ACHIEVEMENTS BURN DOWN – OF HAVING SOMEONE DECIDE THAT THE OLD GRAVESTONES SHOULD BE REMOVED FOR NEW ONES – THAT THE OLD NOVELS, LIKE ”NATIVE SON,” SHOULD MAKE WAY FOR NEWER WORKS - THAT TALES OF MY
DAD AND HIS DAD, SHOULD BE SILENCED SO WE CAN DISCUSS MY GRAND-KIDS.
RANDY, THERE IS SOMETHING FUNDAMENTALLY AND INTRINSICALLY WRONG WITH SAYING THAT JACKIE ROBINSON OR PAUL ROBESON ARE TOO OLD SCHOOL TO BE RELEVANT IN THE WORLD OF 2009-- IF THEY ARE NOT RELEVANT, WHAT CONTEXT IS THERE TO EVALUATE THE CURRENT CROP OF CANDIDATES WHO FOLLOW IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS.
WHEN YOU MENTION THE ORIGINAL TRIBUTES TO FRANCIS LEWIS HISTORY BEING REMOVED, FOR THE SIN OF BEING TOO
HISTORICAL, I UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM – THERE IS A TWILIGHT ZONE QUALITY TO THE PREMISE OF HISTORY BEING TOO OLD TO RETAIN.
COACH JAMES, I WOULD GIVE YOU ONE PIECE OF ADVICE – IN FUTURE WRITINGS, DON’T START YOUR MESSAGES WITH THE WORD “FRIENDS,” -- NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE ARE GOING TO OPENLY APPLY THAT TITLE TO THEMSELVES – I SAW THE WORD “FRIENDS,” AND THOUGHT, THIS MESSAGE FROM RANDY IS NOT INTENDED FOR ME OR ANY DECENT PERSON.
RANDY MUST BE SPEAKING TO HIS ASSOCIATES WHO ARE INCARCERATED, AWAITING INCARCERATION OR APPEALING THEIR FELONY CONVICTIONS BEFORE THE FIFTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT.