Any time Roger Ebert puts up his own person reveries on the past, it is the best reading over at his Sun-Times Journal. Even tough I more or less agree with his politics, I find his personal processing and musing of his past to be 1000x more compelling. Today he put up the opening pages of his Memoir there, and it is well worth your time.
“When I returned to 410 East Washington with my wife, Chaz, in 1990, I saw that the hallway was only a few yards long. I got the feeling I sometimes have when reality realigns itself. It’s a tingling sensation moving like a wave through my body. I know the feeling precisely. I doubt I’ve experienced it ten times in my life. I felt it at Smith Drugs when I was seven or eight and opened a nudist magazine and discovered that all women had breasts. I felt it when my father told me he had cancer. I felt it when I proposed marriage. Yes, and I felt it in the old Palais des Festivals at Cannes, when the Ride of the Valkyries played during the helicopter attack in Apocalypse Now.
I was an only child. I heard that over and over again. “Roger is an only boy.” My best friends, Hal and Gary, were only children, too. We were born at the beginning of World War II, four or five years earlier than the baby boomers, which would be an advantage all of our lives. The war was the great mystery of those years. I knew we were at war against Germany and Japan. I knew Uncle Bill had gone away to fight. I was told, your father is too old so they won’t take him. He put bicycle clips on his work pants and cycled to work every morning. There was rationing. If Harry Rusk the grocer had a chicken, we had chicken on Sunday. Many nights we had oatmeal. There was no butter. Oleo came in a plastic bag, and you squeezed the orange dye and kneaded it to make it look like butter. “It’s against the law to sell it already looking like butter,” my parents explained. Daddy and Uncle Johnny ordered cartons of cigarettes through the mail from Kentucky. Everybody smoked. My mother, my father, my uncles and aunts, the neighbors, everybody. When we gathered at my grandmother’s for a big dinner, that meant nine or ten people sitting around the table smoking. They did it over and over, hour after hour, as if it were an assignment.”
Read the rest here.