Topical Guide 57
Drinking: Cocktails, Cocktail Shakers
She brought out a cocktail shaker, a glass cocktail shaker with a red plastic top. The top was in three parts. The lowest of these was threaded and screwed onto the glass shaker. The topmost part was a cap that slipped onto the middle part and was removed for pouring. The middle part was attached to the bottom part by an axle, so that it could be rotated freely. Through a window in the middle part, recipes for drinks, which were embossed on the bottom part, showed. I can see the cocktail shaker through the haze of memory with the odd vividness that a small detail from the past sometimes assumes, so sharply and clearly that I can read the recipe showing through the window in the top. It was for a drink called “Between the Sheets.” To make this drink, one was instructed to combine equal parts of rum, brandy, triple sec, and lemon juice. May next brought out a stemmed glass, with a band of red and a gold rim, and a little bottle of cherries, with stems. From the cocktail shaker she poured herself a Manhattan. While she drank one or two or three of these, Raskol and I ate.
Little Follies, “Life on the Bolotomy”
Cars: Studebakers, Chryslers
Despite Peter’s grandfather’s extraordinary success as a Studebaker salesman, May Castle drives a Chrysler!
“May,” said Raskol when we had finished, “how did you get this food here without having it get cold?”
“I drove,” she said.
“You drove?” I asked. “Do you have a Jeep?”
“A Jeep?” she asked, laughing. “Do I look like a woman who has a Jeep? Certainly not. I drove my Chrysler.”
Little Follies, “Life on the Bolotomy”
Some people bought a Studebaker from Herb rather than another car from someone else just because they liked Herb and didn’t want to disappoint him. Even May, who informed Herb when he first suggested he had a car that might interest her, “In my family we have always owned Chryslers,” eventually gave in and bought an Erskine roadster. (She refused to abandon her loyalty to Chrysler entirely, however; she went on buying Chryslers for as long as she went on buying cars. Herb suggested, often, that she bought Chryslers just to get his goat. She would ask, “Is it working?”)
Herb ’n’ Lorna
The Erskine was an American automobile brand produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, United States, from 1926 to 1930. The marque was named after Albert Russel Erskine (1871–1933), Studebaker's president at the time.
“You know—well, I’m sure you don’t know, but one day you will—a memory will blur with time until only the most general outlines of things remain, like the unidentifiable people in a fuzzy photograph, and yet, off to one side, some tiny detail will stand out crisp and clear and sharp, as if a single ray of light had caught it just right and burned it onto the film. Years from now, some detail may remain from tonight, if you’re lucky.”
May Castle in Little Follies, “Life on the Bolotomy”
SOMETIMES MY MEMORY seems to be mush, with shining moments scattered through it like chips of marble in wet cement or peas stirred into mashed potatoes. I’d like to be able to take a closer look at some of those moments, but whenever I reach for one I disturb the mush, and the moment I seek sometimes sinks out of sight. I reach, I scoop, I grab. Sometimes I get what I’m after, but more often I come up with nothing but mush, or I get hold of a different moment, not the one I wanted. Reaching for a chip of marble, I come up with a pea. Once in a while, though, something—some random turbulence in the mush, perhaps—brings to the top a chip that surprises me, one I haven’t looked for, but one I’m happy to see,
Peter Leroy in Where Do You Stop?
[more to come on Monday, August 2, 2021]
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Hey, Mark. How about a photo of the Erskine that May owned?