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» Thursday, July 10, 2003
Sorry for the missing post yesterday; I was catching up on my personal journal and didn't have time to write both reports. Yesterday was actually a bit of a "rest day," as we knew today would be a long day. We mostly dropped in on hobby shops and one bookstore that I've been going to for years, Readmore on Route 44 in Taunton, MA.
(James told me he doesn't know what I see in Readmore. It certainly isn't much to look at; appears to have been set up in an old car repair center from the outside. Inside it's full of an amalgamation of various different types of bookracks, wooden and metal, an old linoleum floor, mismatched lighting, etc. Well, at the time I found the place, every single bookstore in downtown Providence had closed and the only existing one in the area was the Waldenbooks at Warwick Mall. So it was neat to find a bookstore that stocked both old and used books. Also, they always have a very eclectic collection: travel and cook books I've never seen anywhere else, at one time a really neat collection of old children's books. In addition, their stock moves so variably that often you can find books that are otherwise out of print anywhere else.
However, yesterday morning we did have a great time exploring a Russian submarine that is berthed in Providence Harbor. This is Juliette 484, which was featured in the recent Harrison Ford movie, K-19. It is part of what is a proposed addition to the Quonset Point Air Museum along with the aircraft carrier Saratoga, which is presently in Middletown, RI, just north of Newport--once the politicians figure out who's going to graft what. Meanwhile Juliette sits off Collier Point and volunteers give tours. (We had a very knowledgable 16-year-old boy who is planning to join the Navy and go into the submarine service when he graduates high school.)
Before you go into the sub you have to prove you can go through a circular opening 3-4 feet in diameter, because during the tour you go through seven hatches of the same size. Well, we managed it, despite that around every small hatch there were raised platforms, or low handles, or other obstructions! The crew of 48 lived cheek-by-jowl in the midst of wheels, levers, pipes, valves, torpedoes, bulkheads, dials, etc.; it was like being on duty in Fibber McGee's closet. Fascinating to look at, but not much to consider living in! Oddly, after the Russians retired the sub, it had been taken to Finland and used briefly as a restaurant (the restaurant was on the very lowest level, which visitors now aren't allowed in due to the steep climbs!), and then was auctioned off on e-Bay!
As for today, well, today was half the entire reason for us daring the hot temperatures to take a vacation in July (beside the fact we hadn't had a vacation for two years and were going stir-crazy). We wanted to see the play Say Goodnight, Gracie, which was playing at the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York City, before it went on tour (since at that point we weren't certain if the tour would hit Atlanta). Gracie was written by our friend Rupert Holmes, and given the invitation to come see the play, we jumped in with both feet.
We left home at 8 a.m. this morning, expecting a lot shorter ride than we got. We were nonstop except for a stop at Friendly's in Mystic, CT, for breakfast, but the trip seemed interminable. Safely routed by Rupert's indispensible "right hand" Teressa Esposito past the hysteria of I-95 and down the east bank of the Hudson River, we made it to the parking lot by one o'clock, just in time to get James a nosh before going back to the theatre.
Say Goodnight Gracie is the story of the career and life story of George Burns and Gracie Allen, a one-man show performed by Frank Gorshin. I am, admittedly, a prejudiced reviewer. However, my opinion this time meshed with many other less prejudiced reviewers: this is a wonderful, wonderful show--funny, charming, and in the end, moving; as the curtain fell I was crying, not just because of the conclusion, but because it was over. Talk about the world's quickest 90 minutes!
After the performance we had a fabulous dinner at a place called Emmett's with Rupert and Teressa, all too short because they were heading to a meeting. There are always moments I would like to freeze in amber and this was one of them.
We had a walk around the Times Square area and took some photos, got James a real Nathan's hot dog and some of the fries, which were as good as Rupert described, to take home, and then headed home. We had a dickens of a time just getting from 8th Avenue to the Henry Hudson Parkway, a total of four blocks, because the street was jammed with traffic. Then we ran into roadwork at least three times in Connecticut, so the drive was a numbing 4 hours home.
And it was worth every minute of it. We listened to old Burns and Allen radio shows both ways.