Showing posts from November, 2015

Autumns: 4

I was back working full-time nights after moving to Utah, and Lori let me sleep every morning after I'd be up past 1 a.m. every night (our deadlines were later back then, and I could never just come home and go to sleep. However, this late September morning, not two months after we moved, she woke me up early. Our apartment had a balcony with a nice little view of the Salt Lake Valley, and this day, for the first time, there was snow on the mountains across the distance. The sight -- one we never had growing up -- cemented the reality or our move into a new chapter in our lives. And it sure was pretty.

The sunsets in November are even more amazing. The sun drops beyond the Oquirrh Mountains, giving off an orange glow above the silhouetted peaks. The view is unique to my Utah experience, but it feels like the Novembers I have encountered my whole life.

I played so much Atari in 1982. Megamania and Pitfall. Berserk and Defender. Starmaster and Demon Attack. E.T. came out No…

Autumns: 3

November in Chicago isn't my favorite time of year in my hometown. But in a sense, it's the most perfect definition of what being a Chicagoan is. I delineate this stretch as the weeks between my birthday on Nov. 6 and the first snow in which the ground stayed covered. It encompasses Thanksgiving. It is characterized by gray skies, 40-degree highs, and incredibly early sunsets. Darkness settles over the city before 5 p.m., but it's not quite winter yet. The time is just ... bland, lacking any features.

And yet, Chicagoans endure this time. They know winter is ahead, yet they go about their days, working, living, pushing forward. Even today, I can listen to a Chicago radio station (via the Internet, of course) in November and this characteristic is evident. Rejuvenating May afternoons, quiet summer mornings, crisp Octobers, and even stark, snowy winter evenings are more appealing, but November is more defining.

Fall 1987 turned out to be my last autumn as a full-time Ch…

Autumns: 2

Have you ever reflected upon a certain period of your life and thought that it was the time when everything was clicking perfectly? I look at the fall of 2011 and think the stars were aligned. The summer going into that autumn was absolutely great. The streak continued through the fall. Ben was thriving as he started kindergarten, and Michael was enjoying second grade. I only coached Ben's soccer team that fall, but Michael was on an advanced rec team and learned so much -- it was one of the first times his natural athleticism that we take for granted now began to show through. I was getting steady freelance editing work and doing the NFL page for the newspaper on Sundays. Popcorn was in the height of her puppyhood and was so much fun.

Of course, it didn't last.

The first autumn I truly have flashback-type memories of in 1979, when I was in fourth grade. I do remember football on Halloweens from earlier falls, but it wasn't until the end of the decade that the exp…