Category Archives: Memory

Booksellers and booksmellers

Booksellers and booksmellers by David Benjamin “I know every book of mine by its scent, and I have but to put my nose between its pages to be reminded of all sorts of things.” — George Gissing MADISON, Wis. — I started smelling books — every serious reader does this — at the Tomah Public Library,…
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Back home, in the Shinjuku death maze

Back home, in the Shinjuku death maze by David Benjamin CHIGASAKI, Japan — On the streets of Tokyo, population 20 million, facing waves of 80-year-old kamikaze bicyclists wearing surgical masks and wielding umbrellas like bayonets, watching with wonder as an office lady in a pencil skirt sprints through traffic on three-inch heels with a stack…
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Papa’s thumbnail

Papa’s thumbnail by David Benjamin MADISON, Wis. — My grandfather’s hands fascinated me. Papa, as we called him, put in fifty years at the Milwaukee Road frog shops in Tomah. He was a machinist, repairing switches and the huge steel “frogs” that intersected rail lines. When he arrived home after his eight hours, I would…
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Fix it, America

Fix it, America by David Benjamin “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.” — Samuel Johnson MADISON, Wis. — Sam Johnson’s observation on the nature of knowledge keeps coming back to me, sometimes unexpectedly. The latest occasion was a comment by Paul…
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The universal kitchen table

The universal kitchen table by David Benjamin “Out of the kitchen, to stew is to fret, to worry, to agitate. In the kitchen, however, to stew is to have great expectations” — Molly O’Neill PARIS — In another life, with another wife, my in-laws were Ralph and Edie, who lived above a store in Jamaica…
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