Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September is Always a Bear of a Month

The stock market is down for the 3rd straight day after a long rally this summer turning the bull market into a bear market.... The stock market has crashed big time 2-3 times in September in my lifetime. Once, when I was the administrator and programmer for a stock market fund in 1987 at Dayton's it was a big 500 point drop and people came to me begging to forge their data so they would have not lost their life savings! It was a big crash (not the 1929 version).

I just met with a vendor who said they are doing well financially so that is a glimmer of hope. I also get a bit bummed on September 10th - as that is the day in 1976 that Dad had a brain aneurysm and ended up passing away. So, I get super nostalgic this time of year. I remember that Dad started exhibiting symptoms of his brain aneurysm at the Minnesota State Fair - I got sick (vomited) on all the milk you can drink and Dad got a raging headache that would turn out to be fatal. We sat on the sidelines while everyone else had fun - sitting on a bench for the longest time - without speaking, just hanging out in our shared misery. It was a hot day and we had brought our rusty, yellow wagon for Danny to ride in (he was 4 years old) in and we took the bus from the park and ride. It was my first ride on a city bus ever - I was 13 years old. I rode the octopus and the giant slide and as many rides as possible back then...on a full tummy of milk and then hurled as the turnstiles hit me in the gut on the way out of the State Fair - great..

Back in 1994, when Guy and I were engaged, I finally went back to the to the State Fair. It was the first time I'd been back since Dad died and I cried and cried - everything was the same. The "all the milk you could drink" booth, the ticket booth, the haunted house, the same freak shows, the global village, the animal barns, the food stands, the grandstand - it was all the same! The same structures, the same layout, the same paint colors. It was like a time-machine and I was so, so sad. I was so glad to have Guy with me. Guy didn't think I was too nuts because I told him I was nervous going to the State Fair thinking it might trigger some memories I couldn't handle. And it did. We sat on the same bench that Dad and I shared for all of those hours 18 years earlier. We went on the same scary ride that really wasn't scary that I begged Dad to take me on and we laughed and laughed that we got ripped off because all we did was ride a mini roller coaster through a dark tent - the painting advertised horrors and we got a dark tent. 1976 was my first Minnesota State Fair where I ate my first mini-donut and my first deep-fried cheese curd. I watched Dad play ring toss (his specialty) and he won me a plush pink and red fox stuffed animal with a heart shaped head. I had that fox stuffed animal until after I was married - squirrels ate it after I moved it to a box in the garage (damned squirrels!).

Funny thing - almost every year since we've gone back to the State Fair. One year, they tore down the "all the milk you can drink" booth and rebuilt it into a red, new structure instead of the blue, old shack. The freak shows disappeared early and then recently re-appeared with heavily pierced 20-somethings eating fire and performing lame magic shows. One year, they painted and upgraded the haunted house - it doesn't look the same anymore (less scary). Last year, they completely redesigned the global village and upgraded it. Sure, there are still the barns and buildings from the 1930's but now that I go there every year - I see that time marches on, even at the Minnesota State Fair. The ride Dad and I went on is long gone - even if it was a rip-off - I was sad to see it go. A couple years ago I started to see memorial structures pop up at the State Fair. A bench dedicated to this person and a sculpture dedicated to this other person - I think it would be great to fund a bench at the State Fair and dedicate it to our Dad. I would like something tangible there to tell others the story of that sad little girl with her tummy ache and her mortally ill Dad - holding hands despite the heat and both expecting to feel better tomorrow. Little did I know it, but on that day, on that bench...we both experienced a major milestone in our lives that we both never recovered from.

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