Carson’s

My brother Brian and I will most likely be the last generation of our family to work at Carson’s.

A few weeks ago, their owners Bon Ton announced that they are closing down all their stores permanently, including Carson’s.

We both were third generation of our family to work at the well-known Chicagoland department store. While I worked in the Men’s Department, first in Accessories and Dress Shirts, then in Slacks and Dockers — no snide remarks, I heard them enough when I worked there and would say, “I work in Men’s Slacks and Dockers” — and my brother worked in stock distribution, of the three generations of Facks who worked at Carson’s, our Dad had reached the highest out of all of us: furniture buyer.

The first job I ever knew Dad had was working for Carson’s on State Street in downtown Chicago. At the time I didn’t appreciate it, but the wrought iron facade of the Louis Sullivan building was an architectural masterpiece, both of early high-rises and of city architecture, of which Chicago reigns as Queen (if not King).
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A Happier New Year, 2017 Style

When another New Year rolls around, quite a few of us make resolutions to make this year different from the last.  We’re going to lose weight, or stop drinking so much, or run three times a week.  How often we stick to these resolutions really depends on our outlook and our drive to make such a significant change in our lives.
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Learning to Enjoy Things Again

One of the side effects of the dissociative disorder known as depersonalisation, for me at least, has been the lack of finding enjoyment in many things I used to enjoy.  This has been particularly disturbing for me, as, for those of you who know me can attest, it usually doesn’t take much to amuse me.  That makes me sound rather simple, but, at one time, I would find enjoyment in something as simple as reading a book in my bedroom or listening to music while doodling on a piece of paper.

Yesterday, my counselor asked me point-blank about what I enjoy doing now.  We had been speaking about my falling out of love with Star Trek (something that had been happening for a while, I must admit) while feeling so upset and then overwhelmingly relieved and happy that I was still able to continue portraying Ken Kato in Henglaar, M.D., which, to be honest, was one of the few remaining things I used to like doing that I still enjoy doing.

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Memories of Grandpa

On Thursday night, Noel and I were watching a special episode of Gold Rush where the young miner Parker Schnabel was dealing with the decline of his grandfather John Schnabel.  The final shots showed John celebrating his 96th birthday in a hospital in California after an operation to attempt to restore blood flow to his leg.  John died a month later, peacefully, in his sleep.

The finer details aren’t totally important, but the relationship between John and his grandson Parker, on film at least, reminded me very much of my relationship with my Grandpa, who was born in the same year as John and suffered from prostate cancer the same as John, but only lived to 83 and a half, compared to John’s 96 years.

You could see that John felt the sun rose and set in Parker, and Parker didn’t seem too terribly reserved in showing his love for his grandfather.  My Grandpa had always encouraged us to show our emotions, that it was okay to hug, to cry, to laugh, to tell people what they meant to you.  And I think this helped make me a more caring, empathetic person.

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Worlds Apart

By the time you read this, I’ll be jetlagged to here and back in Chicago on the first evening on our a six-week visit.  I honestly am excited beyond words.  Well, as excited as I can be with depersonalisation (although it does come ashore and retreat like the tide, and really depends on the day and how much stress I’ve had that day).

I was texting back-and-forth with my sister-in-law Darcie on Sunday, and the subject of living in New Zealand and visiting my stomping grounds in Chicago came up.  I have spoken about this before with other people, so the concept isn’t exactly new to me, but I thought it seemed timely to bring it up again.

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1995: A Turning Point in My Life

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Part of me feels I should say I’m sorry but I’m not sorry.  A lot of shit has been going on in my life, and I’d like to hope most people would agree that real life takes precedence over a blog or keeping others entertained.

There’s a lot to write about, a lot I need to tell you, but I had a bit of an epiphany today, and I wanted to share it with you all.

Last night, I was feeling a bit nostalgic, very awake, and slightly under the influence of a few glasses of vino, so I rummaged through our cabinets below the bookcase with our DVDs and Blu-Rays in them to haul out my old photos from my pre-New Zealand days.

Some bring tears to my eyes.  Some make me long for yesterday and for those who are no longer with us.  Others make me smile.  Others again make me laugh heartily.

I found a photo of someone I haven’t spoken to in a long time, someone who, to be totally honest, hasn’t crossed my mind a lot lately.  He does once in a while, but with time marching on and a million other memories cramming their way into my head every month or three, and having seen each other last in 1995 when we were both totally different people, these thoughts grow fewer and farther the more distant that year becomes.

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My First Colonoscopy

Okay, this probably isn’t the best subject to approach on my first blog back for a while, but my Mom said I should write the experience down so I can remember it the next time I get anxious about having a colonoscopy…

My family has a strong incidence of colon cancer.  My Oma died in 1987, only a year or so into her retirement, from colon cancer.  She’d been showing the signs but wasn’t willing to see a doctor about it until it was too late, and she was given a month to live.  I remember the day we found out very vividly.  My brother Brian and I came home from school to find my Dad on the phone in the kitchen, and when he turned around to look at us, his eyes were pink and he was upset.  I think Brian and I got upset because he was upset, and I’m pretty sure we had a family meeting in the back porch of their house where they explained the bad news.

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