Thursday, May 15, 2014


During our Tuxedo Park years, when I was constantly on the road for Deluxe (they said I’d be ping-ponging between Chicago, Los Angeles, London and New York, among other more off-the-beaten-track places, and they kept their word) and Caroline was working at Atlantic and commuting to Manhattan on her own every day, mail tended to pile up on our lovely dining room table, unopened for weeks at a time, eventually becoming a kind of “mail earthwork” with its own topography, archeological levels and mini-landmarks.

It was an embarrassment and disgrace, I suppose, and remained so until Mara came to live with us and solved the problem.  (Mara solved every problem.) 

Because our Tuxedo house was originally only intended for weekend occupancy, we never had a mailbox installed at the end of our driveway for daily delivery.  We found it more convenient to retrieve our mail from TP’s historic and distinguished 1886 Bruce Price post office. Like the Cheers bar in Boston, everyone knew our name there and, remarkably, always seemed pleased to see us.

One weekend morning when we had neglected to visit the p.o. for a while, Caroline asked me to make a stop there to empty our box.  Jane, who was probably around 8 years old at the time, looked at us stunned and said sternly (with a soupçon of alarm):  

“Don’t you think we have enough mail already?” 

Mara’s long-gone now sadly, but our mail habits have become somewhat more orderly in Berwyn.  Bills never get lost and as a result our credit rating is perfect.  

But our dining room table is a still a mess, having been taken over by a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle Caroline and I gave Jane for Christmas.  

The puzzle displays an undersea theme featuring sea tortoises, octopi, clownfish, anemones, dolphins and seahorses.  But 3,000 pieces are far too many and the puzzle’s presence and dining surface’s absence have sown seeds of discord in our happy family.  Caroline and Jane enjoy sorting and solving the puzzle’s mysteries.  Jane, in particular, with her gift for geometry, is a whiz.   

But I can admit that the puzzle stresses me out and, I think, reflects deeper stresses all-around that we’ll need to address once the shapes are fully assembled, photographed and, perhaps, glued into a permanent image.  


  1. I remember Caroline was always a whiz at jigsaw puzzles, so one year, my mother gave her an all white (or all black?) puzzle for her birthday. She seemed to like it. It would have driven me crazy. Great memory. - Anne

    1. Caroline is still very good at jigsaw puzzles. Jane is astonishingly good at solving them. It's finals week at Baldwin and the house is on semi-lockdown. The puzzle should be completed shortly. It better be. It's driving me crazy. I want my table back. Curtis

  2. Curtis, thanks for your reply. I thought I would get an email alert of your reply and am struggling with how this blogging comment thing works. So I just joined/rejoined your blog. Your blog always shows up on my old Google reader by way of Flipboard on my iPad and through all this technology muddle, I do think of you all often. Anyway, many provocative pieces on ACravan, but often so puzzling that I don't know what to comment...cheers, Anne

    1. Oh -- please just comment anyway. Everything basically reflects my mood and (for the most part) things I find funny, moving or (in terms of book excerpts, etc.) artistically interesting. The odd part is that I'm not in the least bit exhibitionistic, but blogging seems at odds with that. I pick up a lot of information and buy a lot of books at a great second-hand bookstore in Bryn Mawr called The Title Page. It's on the way to Baldwin and fills in the gaps waiting for classes or piano lessons to end. Curtis

  3. OK, I will comment then. I know what you mean about blog versus exhibitionistic. They don't necessarily go together. The book store sounds lovely. - Anne